Best Laptop for Sketchup and rendering

I have a 2016 HP Spectre with an i5 core and 8gb of ram and a basic nvidia geforce card/ I want to start rendering and need a recommendation on a great laptop. Was looking at Titan brand. Want to have up and running before basecamp. Please make recommendations!!! THanks All

I recommend a ‘workstation’ class machine. I wanted a mobile workstation and tested both - a Dell Precision 5520 and a HP ZBook Studio G4. I really like the HP support so, while the two machines were very similar in performance I chose the HP. My HP has the Intel Xeon CPU E3-1535M v6 @ 3.10GHz with the Intel integrated HD P630 GPU and discrete Nvidia Quadro M1200. I also have 32Gb ram, 1Tb SSD, and DreamColor 4K display. It is an amazing workhorse and fast. I use AutoCad, Revit, Maya, and SU Pro 2018. My only regret is not waiting another few months. HP recently introduced a newer, faster ZBook G5 with a 6 core CPU and faster GPU. The best feature of the new G5 is the modular design of the mobile workstation. The back can be easily removed to allow each of the system components to be upgraded!!! Check it out. Good luck on your choice and don’t forget about the technical support side of the decision. HP business equipment support is located in New Mexico.

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That’s fantastic information, thank you so much! If I can ask what size is the Display on yours?

15.6" - 3840 x 2160 DreamColor display. It is really bright, very sharp, and well suited to Adobe color rendition. However - my 2nd regret is not having the touch screen option which is available on the Dell Precision 5520. HP is supposed to offer the touch option on the G5 but not sure when it will be available.

OriginPC’s EON17-X or EON17-SLX

These are quite configurable, very powerful, and (depending on your component choice) aren’t cheap. It’s not an ultrabook, so be prepared to carry something that isn’t exactly light.

But it’s powerful, true desktop class performance and is portable. I have the EON17-X, a fairly high-end spec at that, it hasn’t skipped a beat in the 7 months I’ve had it.

you don’t need neither a Xeon nor a Quadro for SketchUp, instead of burning money use a high-clocked Core i5/i7 and a GeForce GTX instead:

PassMark CPU Benchmarks - Single Thread Performance
PassMark Software - Video Card (GPU) Benchmarks - High End Video Cards

SketchUp is single-threaded, multiple cores won’t help anything during modeling operations in SU… rendering is another thing.

Glossy touch displays are a pain if a window/light behind or if using outdoor… a 4K resolution leads to faint user controls, be prepared for distorted dialogs also.


Thanks. Can definitely get pricey if you take the top options

I have a glossy screen now and it sucks outside. Not sure where to go for over clocked cpus in a store bought workstation

G5 is a gaming computer line?

not/never over-clocked but high-clocked stock versions (see benchmark list).

No - G5 is more of a ‘workstation’ line. I had many conversations with Dell, HP, AutoDesk, SketchUp and others in advance of selecting the ZBook Studio to convince me that a ‘gaming’ computer is not the right choice for these applications. While a gaming computer [which HP, Dell, and others offer] focuses performance on gaming graphics [look into the UserBenchMark app for performance measurement of various systems and components] the type of calculations and processing power for drawing, modeling, and rendering within AutoDesk (Revit, AutoCad, Maya, etc) and SketchUp are different and the recommended configurations will focus more on the combination of CPU, GPU, memory, hard drive, and network.

Of the mobile CPUs - the Intel Xeon E3-1535M v6 @ 3.10GHz (4C) has a Single Thread Rating of 2304 compared with Intel Core i7-7500U @ 2.70GHz (2C) with a Single Thread Rating of 1929.

And of the mobile GPUs - if you are willing to pay for it - the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 with Max-Q Design 8192 MB, Core Clock(s): 1468 MHz, Memory Clock(s): 2500 MHz, Graphics API Support: DirectX 12.1 OpenGL 4.5 Max TDP: 110 W. Another option - NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M 4096 MB, Core Clock(s): 1097 MHz, Memory Clock(s): 1253 MHz, Graphics API Support: DirectX 12.0 OpenGL 4.5 Max TDP: 65 W.

If you’re going to use SketchUp:

  • a Xeon CPU won’t be better, although you’re paying more for it; these normally favor server environments because of higher core count (but lower clockspeed). If a piece of software is singlethreaded, like SketchUp and many others, then the additional cores won’t help you apart from running other applications in the background, for this even a quad core CPU is sufficient. Rather look for a highly clocked CPU that is midrange (Intel i5 class) and up (Intel i7 class) in the technology tiers. Desktop CPU’s > mobile CPU’s.
  • a Quadro (nVidia) of FireGL (AMD) won’t be better, although you’re paying more for it; if the software you’re using doesn’t have a special driver available then it cannot make use of the advantages the workstation GFX cards offer. Rather go for the nVidia GTX range of GFX cards (less problems reported with SketchUp), I believe the GTX1060 (not the 3GB version) is the sweetspot (price vs performance) at the moment. Desktop grade GPU’s > mobile GPU’s.

If your rendering software can make use of GPU rendering then a good to better GFX card is highly advised, the more video RAM the better (obviously dependent on the complexity and size of the models you’ll be rendering).

@rhbern can preach as much as he wants about a workstation machine for SketchUp, he’s wasting his breath as it is ill-informed information being offered. While some software may take advantage of workstation class hardware, SketchUp is not currently amongst those. In fact very few software can take advantage of workstation class hardware.

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I appreciate all the information. So real world application is I’m a design/build contractor that’s in the field as well… I live on the road basically so I want to be able to create really nice images to show clients and would love to be able to do some reasonable rendering, not the killer, 2 day rendering stuff I see people at a much higher pay grade then me doing. I don’t want it to crash, or skip, or see the friggin hourglass go round and round. I use a 3d mouse. I’m fairly decent at this for a carpenter, doing sketchup since '08 when I’m not covered in sawdust. Shiny screen is bad, SSD is good, can’t be a prima donna cause it’ll be on a jobsite or in a truck. 15-17" monitor. Just some thoughts. Point me towards a good system I can get, under $3000 would be nice. THANKS!

I have been very satisfied with the two Dell Precision Workstation (laptop) computers I purchased. Both have proven to be real workhorses and neither has resulted in any significant problem. I use both for design and condoc work and to a lesser degree for presentation (rendering). The units I own were purchased several years ago and the Precision line has incorporated quite a few embellishments since then.

These computers can be built to suit your taste and budget and I think they can be obtained at a purchase price south of $3000.00.

[EDIT]: I recall taking delivery on each of the orders within 30 days of making the purchases during which period the units were assembled to the specs I agreed to. I should also emphasize that the support I have received from Dell has been second to none. I have been able to speak to technical representatives with any questions that arose when I was acclimating to one system or the other and although I have not had to take advantage of their service policy, Dell provides an option for a tech support person to actually come to your location and provide next day service as required. The warranty period may be extended beyond one year for a reasonable upgrade cost (as I recall it was around $100.00 for 3 years, but don’t quote me on that figure).

Of course defining the “BEST” computer is highly subjective and opinions will vary wildly as what I consider best may be viewed as marginal by someone else.

Thanks. I was hoping someone would have experience with Titan Computers. THey get allot of talk on some of the other forums.

Hey ccorey, I didn’t intend to add confusion to your search for the ‘right’ laptop and certainly didn’t intend to preach as suggested by Julian. I was sharing my experiences with you as they relate to not only SketchUp but to the AutoDesk building design suite which is my primary focus/ use and it requires a mobile workstation for performance. As long as your focus is primarily SketchUp then take the advice offered by Julian but expand your search to include any laptop manufacturer that allows you to custom configure the machine and, most importantly, offers great technical support when needed. Good luck on your search.

I prefer to disagree after more than 30 years using Autodesk software on all kinds of hardware from IBM AT 286. What runs SketchUp well will run the building design suite applications too. Revit has a different graphics pipeline compared to SketchUp (Direct3D vs. OpenGL) but the basic requirements are the same: a processor that offers good single-thread performance and a graphics card that can keep up with the CPU. AutoCad is less demanding on hardware. Quadro GPUs are unnecessary as Autodesk-specific extensions to Quadro drivers were discontinued, if I remember right, at least 10 years ago. I don’t know if any of those application specific driver extensions exist any longer.

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I greatly appreciate the input! All the clocking talk and ramming gigabits is over my head lol! I just want a machine that does what I need, it doesn’t have to be able to launch a rocket, just do a nice rendering of one!

I have a titan workstation, it’s the titan x151 and I’ve been using it 5 days a week since last October and so far i’m happy with it, they also have mobile workstations with the same hardware which is around $2000.00 I believe

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