Graphics card advice for tight budget, hobby use


How much will I have to spend to get a graphics card that is good enough for woodworking oriented hobby use to replace the integrated graphics on my MB? Any advice on what to get would be great as well. It’s been a decade since I had a need for anything other than integrated graphics and I simply don’t know how to shop for one beyond the specs in the sketchup suggested HW specs and HW requirements. I see a lot of $500+ cards recommended for this, but what about budget hobby good-enough I won’t scream at it and give up? Can I get a card for $50? $100?

I don’t believe I’ll work with particularly complex models at any point on the machine in question. If I do need to I can use the computers at the makerspace here.

My mothorboard is an ASRock AM1B-ITX with integrated AMD Radeon R3 Series Graphics in A-series / E-series APU, 8G ram, a 256G SSD, and an AMD Athlon 5350 2.05 GHz. I’m stuck running linux (which I greatly prefer, just not for this on program) but finally got sketchup working well in wine, albeit without tooltips when I mouse over icons (regardless of settings. If I find sketchup appealing enough and run into problems using it via wine I will get a copy of windows to boot to, but I can’t presently afford both a graphics card and a license.

Thank you for any help you can give! I spend a great deal of time in my woodshop and run into situations where sketchup would help quite often, not to mention the amount of models out there I can use to see others’ solutions to issues.


nVidia cards seem to have fewest problems with their OpenGL support. Try searching for an nVidia card (that physically and electrically fits your motherboard - you don’t say what kind of slot it has for that). Start in price range $50-100.

Then check on nVidia website what level of OpenGL its latest drivers for that card support - you need v3.0 at least for latest SU 2017.

Others may have more specific experience of what works for them at a price you want to afford.

Have you checked the capabilities of the existing onboard graphics? It may well not work with SU 2017, but older versions are less demanding, and I think SU2016 only needs OpenGL v2.1.

PS. If you have SU working under Wine, how is its performance now? Not fast enough? Crashing or giving BugSplats on some operations? Or already ‘good enough’?


difficult in the claimed price range, the best starting from roughly U$ 110.- would be the brand-new GTX 1050/1050Ti. With most of them not requiring a separate power supply connection sothat even systems with weak power supply units can run.


First thing you could try is to install the latest graphics drivers from AMD. I haven’t had the time to test it thoroughly, but a notebook I am testing at work seems to work OK with SketchUp 2016. I’ll try to find the time to test v.2017 next week. It has Radeon R7 M340 graphics.