Ditching iMac for PC for SU Pro 2018 and V-Ray. Help Please



Hi there Community! Duncan here,

I am a set designer in the film industry and I am see the hand writing on the wall with Apple’s commitment/support to the 3D software industry or lack there of. I am asking for suggestions as to what to buy to assemble a non-apple PC: motherboard, and graphics cards, ram, etc… My work flow is: Design in sketchUp, plan, elevations and details in LayOut; Pre-visualization illustrations of the set models rendered in V-Ray.

Thank you to all of you who make this forum such a rich treasure trove.




Hardware aside, would you consider moving away from Vray to a faster GPU based alternative?


don’t assemble w/ the risk of incompatibilities and nobody to complain at but buy something decent from e.g. the big three (HP, Lenovo, Dell) and upgrade parts if required as e.g. the graphics card or working memory or the PSU only:

• CPU: high-clocked i5/i7 (no AMD Ryzen besides for rendering plugs/apps)
• GPU: nVidia GeForce GTX 1060 (or higher; V-RAM depending on screen res.)
• RAM: 16 GB (or higher; no AMD Radeon, no CAD series)
• System Media: SSD (e.g. capable Samsung Evo/Pro series)

and you’re fine.


For hard drive go to PCIe M.2 SSD based unit. SATA 3.0 is limited to ~600 MB/s while read while a M.2 can read up to 2,500 MB/s. Prices are coming down as well. Amazon currently has a WD 500GB NVMe PCIe Gen 3 for $170 (1,000 GB MB/s model). Not a super fast one but faster than a SATA unit.


Yes I would. All i am interested in is servicing the PD/AD/AAD. Please I am eager to hear all suggestions.
Thank you!


Thank You! Yes, My plan is to build with an expert so that I can be supported if anything hiccups.



Thanks Sean, I’ll check it out!



If you don’t mind a comment about part of your topic, what Apple seem to be doing is outgrowing OpenGL. Their Metal system is reasonably powerful, but they have still let OpenGL apps work as well as they can. A possible solution to performance issues on future macOS would be for SketchUp to take advantage of Metal.


Make sure you check (Motherboard manual) that the M.2 slot is really using Sata 3.0. It’s very common on older or cheaper motherboards that M.2 slots are tied to a Sata 2 bus and a newer SSD (1,000 - 3,500 MB/s) would be a waste of money. With Sata 2, a 5-600 MB/s ssd would be the fastest the system could use (this would still be 10 times faster than a regular hard drive).


Agreed, check that is a current M.2 slot. Good call.


which a user in real life is regularly not limited by… besides maybe using the system as a database server… which is typically seldom, i.e. don’t waste money in a M.2 (roughly double the price of a SATA) but invest in the CPU, which gives you much more bang for the buck SketchUp wise.


Uh not double the price if one shops smart. Sure there are dirt cheap SATA drives but I also would not tell someone to buy one of those. $20 - $30 price difference is not enough to make a whole lot of difference when building a potential Core i7 based system.
Here is a good price/performance comparison…

I’d go ahead and spend the $15 price difference :wink:
Yes, PCIe SSDs used to be pretty expensive. Right now they are priced well that is until some trade war with China kicks in but that’s another discussion.


Yes Colin, as you said, “…let OpenGL apps work as well as they can”, but this is not good enough for me. I have spoken with many 3D software tech reps about this issue and due to Non Disclosure issues they’re being tight lipped about they’re commitment to Metal, The iMac Pro’s use of the Radeon Vega 56 and 64 GPU, and I understand their stance on the issue. That being said I think it is time to contact Apple and see if I can get into the loop as a beta tester for metal/Apple’s new direction and its commitment to all 3D related software. I was a beta tester for Apple’s FinalCut Pro in the 90’s and hopefully they will let me be apart of their end user eval process for this next shift. That being said I am going to continue moving forward building a 3D workstation and be committed to being a multi-platform user once again.

Thanks so much Colin for your statement, it gives me an opportunity to share an openness to all solutions regarding this topic.



Thank you, mclancer, I’ll put your’s and sean’s into my notes.






Good luck Don and keep us up to date.


wouldn’t buy this small size any more, bigger sizes differ more :wink:

comparing the reference (aka Samsung SSDs), the recent 860 Evo 1TB (SATA) is available for ~200 bucks whereas the 960 Evo 1TB (M.2 PCIe) for ~285 bucks…

oki, only 40% more, which is doable :yum:


Yeah see, $85 is not a deal breaker when you are building an i7 based system. :wink:
Mine has a 520 gb drive with 42% free.


Metal isn’t new, it’s just Apple encouraging it more now. If you have an Apple developer account you try out some betas, though I haven’t gone seeking FCPX in particular. I use FCPX a lot, and probably wouldn’t be able to risk a beta anyway!

I am running 10.14, and SketchUp seems to be ok in it, including LightUp, which uses OpenGL a lot.


What machine are you using?