It’s true! Most processes in SketchUp use the graphics card for processing at some point. Whether it’s drawing a 3D face, rendering a texture on a model, or exporting a video animation - these operations (and many more) rely on the graphics card.
What does that mean for you? It means that your computer needs to have a 3D capable graphics card (eg. a card that boasts that it’s great for 3D graphics processing), a fast processor and a reasonable amount of RAM. The last two are a bit subjective, but if the graphics card that you’re looking at features those capabilities, it will probably be a good fit for SketchUp. Lastly, you’ll want a card from a manufacturer who provides consistent and regular drivers for the card. Drivers are the set of instructions that the Operating System uses to talk to the graphics card. If those instructions don’t make sense because of bad drivers, you’ll probably see issues in SketchUp. Updating your drivers frequently is something that we recommend:
Update drivers - http://help.sketchup.com/article/36254
What about makes and models for graphics cards, you might ask. Unfortunately, the variety is so large that we could hardly provide a definitive list. However, the common brands to look for are NVIDIA and AMD. These companies produce cards that are optimized for 2D graphics (i.e. for Photoshop) and for 3D graphics (i.e. for SketchUp ). You want the 3D version.
Even with a great card and a great computer, there are some things that you can do in SketchUp that can bring performance to a screetching hault. To help prevent those kinds of issues, check out these Knowledge Center articles which give tips on settings and modeling techniques to help keep SketchUp humming along: