Best computer qualities for large SketchUp models and HiRes Podium renderings?

I use SketchUp for commercial interior design at an architectural firm. My computer is old and slow and we are about to replace it.

I do not know a lot about the interworking’s of computers but I need to know what is going to help my computer handle big models quickly and efficiently when they have lots of glass, components (furniture), and materials/etc. I also do a lot of high res renderings with mainly Podium.

What kind of CPU/GPU and whatnot will help get me some speed for these heavy models? Any advice will be greatly appreciated!!

SketchUp Hardware and Software Requirements— SketchUp Help

Hardware, and Operating System Requirements — Podium for SketchUp

Hey Geo!

I have seen the requirements, but I have been told they are basically the minimum. I am wondering if there is a way to go beyond that for speed in rendering and navigating the model…?

Need the latest i7 Intel main processor and a discrete NVIDIA graphics processor, the best you can afford and 32GB RAM.

If laptop, see this table - we use P3000GPU version graphics processing unit

People say the speed of the main processor isn’t important, save some money, that’s wrong.

There are studies comparing the i7 to Xenon (for high demand video rendering) which show that the Xenon is no advantage.

Examples we use


Here is a medium-spec mobile workstation from Lenovo we use, but with 64GB RAM

A maximum-spec for the same is about twice that cost.

ThinkPad P71
Part No: 20HKCTO1WW
Configuration Details
● Intel Core i7-7820HQ Processor (8MB Cache, up to 3.90GHz)
● Windows 10 Pro 64
● Windows 10 Pro 64 English
● 17.3" FHD (1920x1080), anti-glare, IPS
● 64GB(16x4) DDR4 2400MHz SoDIMM
● NVIDIA Quadro P3000 6GB
● With Color Sensor
● 720p HD Camera with Microphone
● Keyboard with Number Pad - English
● 3+3BCP, Fingerprint Reader,Color Sensor
● Integrated Fingerprint Reader
● Hardware dTPM2.0 Enabled
● Hardware dTPM
● 1TB 5400rpm HDD
● DVD Burner, 9.5mm high, fixed
● 2TB
● Smart Card Reader
● 8 Cell Li-Ion Battery 96Wh
● 230W AC Adapter - US(3pin)
● Intel Dual Band Wireless AC(2x2) 8265, Bluetooth Version 4.1, vPro
● Integrated Mobile Broadband upgradable
● 17.3" FHD IPS eDP (1920x1080), 300nit, Non-Touch, 2D-Camera, Color Sensor, WLAN/WWAN
● MiniDP/Full Size DP Cable
● vPro Certified
● Publication - English
● 1 Year Depot


Sub total:
Tax :
Recycling Fee :


A somewhat cheaper small desktop-in-one is this with slightly lesser CPU and GPU’s, no monitor in this spec

They have some nice monitors which hold the Tiny desktop


										        								 ThinkStation P320 Tiny

									   																					Part No: 30C2CTO1WW

Ships In:

							            								                 Ships in 5-7 business days





Intel Core i7-7700T Processor (8MB Cache, up to 3.80 GHz)

Windows 10 Pro 64

Windows 10 Pro 64 English

32GB ( 16+16 ) DDR4 2400 SODIMM

Nvidia Quadro P600 2GB 4xMini DP Tiny



4xMini DP to DP

P320 Tiny Q270

Internal Speaker Tiny

1TB Solid State Drive M.2 PCIe MLC OPAL

Integrated Ethernet

Intel 8265 2x2AC+Bluetooth Version Tiny vPro

USB Traditional Keyboard Black English

USB Calliope Mouse Black

Tiny Top Cover EOU Screw

Dust Shield Tiny

I/O Box with Cable Tiny

VESA Mount Tiny

Publication English

3 Year On-site


										        								 ThinkCentre Tiny IV Vertical Stand

									   																					Part No: 4XF0N03160

Ships In:




										        								 Lenovo 16GB DDR4 2400MHz SoDIMM Memory

									   																					Part No: 4X70N24889

Ships In:



Sub total:
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@stevenmonrad Quadro cards, for SketchUp? You’ve got to do some reading. Xenon, what’s that? Although, I do agree with your XEON statement.

@TRobson Basically what you want is the highest base clock (ie. not when boosted) rated CPU (try to stay away from mobile CPU’s) you can afford (I’ve got an Intel i7 7700K which runs 4.2GHz stock over all 4 cores), a good recent GTX nVidia GFX card (again desktop grade stuff is preferential), some SSD’s (not less than 512GB for OS, whatever amount you need for storage), 16 - 32GB RAM (more if you can afford it). I’ve found a 1920 x 1080 screen to be sufficient, higher resolution tend to be problematic with icon sizing, etc. (my 4K screen is zoomed up to simulate a 1920 x 1080 screen because of that).

My personal choice is OriginPC EON17-X which is custom built to your order, yes I do have one and it hasn’t skipped a beat in the last 8 or so months I’ve had it. It’s not ultra portable, but portable enough for a desktop replacement laptop.

Remember SketchUp is single threaded, so many CPU cores don’t benefit it, but other applications you may be using might (like some rendering software, not sure if Podium would, but i gather it too is GPU based these days so check up on that). In terms of GFX card the general best bang for your buck is a GTX1060 (not the 3GB versions if you’re rendering), obviously the higher the better but is would rather be other applications benefiting from the increased GFX grunt (like GPU rendering) and increased GPU memory, be careful of going the GTX1080 route as for some reason some rendering applications aren’t utilizing the newer generation GFX RAM on these correctly, so maybe go up to a GTX1070 if you need to. The more complex a scene you’re rendering the more RAM it will need.

These low-end Quadro cards are slow and practically useless - meant for 2D AutoCad work.
High-end Quadro cards are a waste of money, high-end GeForce cards are more powerful and less expensive. There is no benefit of using quadros for SketchUp.

There are cheaper and more powerful alternatives. For SketchUp use, look for processors at the higher end of the single-threaded performance chart PassMark CPU Benchmarks - Single Thread Performance

Depends on how much you have in the budget, the better the computer, in general the better it will run SketchUp. Main learnings after using lots of combinations is try to run GTX over Quardo, no benefit really especially for the price point as @Anssi says.

My best advice after trying so many things over 10 years (and now being lucky enough that my new job has awesome computers!) Is to go for the cloud route. Have a good machine to make your model, assemble and make a medium resolution proof then send it all to the cloud for rendering.

Since SketchUp is all geared towards CPU productivity (and not Podium but most commercial renders) are GPU based then having two computers can be much cheaper.

Even on my work machine (below) I have some issues with larger files so I usually create a master template in SketchUp and then assemble a final model inside the render engine (who 9 times out of 10 handle large* models better than SketchUp).

At home I have an overclocked i7 with 32GB Ram and Dual 980ti.

SketchUp runs well and I can take in fairly large models of between 300-700MB. Rendering is good I can do a 10k frame (average across multiple GPU render engines) in about 1h-11h depending on its complexity. 1080HD is about 10-30mins per frame.

In work I have an AMD 16 core Threadripper, 128GB RAM, Dual 11GB 1080ti

SketchUp runs exceptionally better, for some reason I still have issues when loading large files (+1GB) but the difference is once they have loaded they perform much quicker. Rendering times are greatly improved, as above times come down to seonds-2 mins for 1080HD.

You will get to the point however, when SketchUp is not going to get (noticeably) better without a lot of hardware upgrades. You will instead see an improvement in rendering, and then again depending on the budget you have a few options:

Most bang for the buck is using a cloud service such as Amazon or a specific rendering company and just send them the files. If you are doing serious rendering then you may want to build a render farm but you have to weigh that up against how much work you have and how quick you need to do it (also factor in cooling costs and running costs).

In work I have the machine above that lets me do still renders at 10k, animation tests at 720p and generally do all my proofing. I then have a render farm for full frame animation at 4k. If I did not have that then I would just use a cloud service.

The render farm allows 4k animation in an ‘ok’ timeframe ( a weekend ? ish).

It consists of 16 racks, each rack has: 8 core CPU, 64GB Ram and a 12GB Quadro K6000. I don’t use Podium but our render engines accept SketchUp file format directly.

*large 500MB-1GB = subjective to SketchUp

depends obviously on the type of system (desktop or notebook) as well as amount of money you wanna shell out.

for a capable desktop system checkmark the following parts:
• CPU: intel i7-8700K (best single-thread performance req. by SU)
• GPU: nVidia GeForce GTX 1070 (or bettter)
• RAM: min. 16 GB made of 2x 8 GB modules only (or better)
• System Medium: Samsung Evo (or Pro) SSD w/ 500 GB (or better)

• Xeon workstation CPU (no benefit)
• CAD graphics card series nVidia Quadro or AMD FirePro (no benefit)
• AMD Radeon graphics card series (driver w/ flaky OpenGL support)

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