Hardware Recommendations - Community Feedback

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#1

Hello SketchUppers!

It is not uncommon, both on the forums and in our Support requests, to be asked “What’s the best computer for SketchUp?” or “Should I upgrade x to maximize performance in SketchUp?” which can sometimes be tricky to answer. This can be tricky partly because the best computer can still suffer under a poorly organized model and partly because “the best hardware” is a moving target. To that end I have some generalized feedback about the hardware side of this question which I’m posting below. Past that, I invite users to respond with their more specific hardware experience as well.

To preface the rest of this post I will say that we really try to steer clear of making specific recommendations for hardware and defer to the wisdom of the crowd (the forum) to ensure they’re talking to people that are buying new computers and not people running on company provided whatevers. We don’t have specific hardware which we can say there are no compatibility/crash issue with… sadly that can change from day to day as the video card manufacturers changes their drivers. With that being said, there are some non-specific recommendations below.

Disk Drive: Having a Solid State Drive (SSD) shouldn’t have much effect on SketchUp performance, it only speeds things up when you’re reading and writing on the Hard Drive, so maybe file opens and file saves, and the initial file launch. Once SketchUp is open then it’s hanging out in system memory (RAM) which is much faster than an SSD. Most systems are coming with SSD and it can’t hurt SketchUp, but it is definitely not going to be a game changer.

Processor: A higher CPU speed will be great, though remember that we don’t support multiple cores so really a 1 core high speed will be more effective than a 2-8 core with a slower clockspeed. A current generation computer should be plenty powerful enough in the CPU power department, remembering that the “more mobile” you go, the less powerful the processor will be. eg. A Macbook will be slower than a Macbook Pro, or a Yoga will be slower than a Dell business class laptop.

System Memory: Having more RAM can net a decent boost but it has limits. Having 4 GB of RAM should be plenty but if you have more then it’ll generally handle the extra junk an operating system tries to load more easily. Similarly, if you’re running iTunes or Spotify in the background the extra RAM will similarly be helpful.

Graphics Card: The last and arguably most critical consideration is the video card, both with the GPU power and the video card memory. I’ve always suggested that the latest generation will be excellent and I discourage paying extra for bleeding edge. The increased GPU will be helpful, but the increase in performance will not likely scale to the cost of a video card released last week. Video card memory? Get as much as you can on the card you choose. Brand? It’s pretty much AMD/ATI vs NVIDIA at this time, nobody else is producing a 3D accelerated video card to talk about, from year to year it changes as to which brand is better… they are neck and neck. Many new systems have integrated Intel based video cards, these are fine for mobile web activity but they haven’t proven to be something to recommend when someone wants to optimize performance.

Personally, I encourage folks to use a desktop system which can be upgraded easily over time (mostly new video cards as they become more reasonably priced) but a laptop should work for many or most people. Again, by my preference, I’d probably get an Intel i7 processor, at least 8 GB of RAM with either ran SSD or Hybrid drive and then as much video card as I can fit in there for under $250 (USD.) Note that you can also get an AMD based system, current generation, and get similar results.

If you are using a certain system, or have upgraded your RAM or your video card and can offer some evidence, anecdotal or empirical, that it’s had a positive effect in your workflow then please share it below. Refer folks back here when you hear the question and hopefully we can get everyone knowledgable about what works for SketchUp.

Hope that helps!

PS Edit: What’s all this about single core only? @denisroy Has a GREAT post explaining why it isn’t in SketchUp’s wheelhouse in a different thread here.


Deleting posts that have replies
#9

intel CPUs are preferrable over AMD CPUs especially in connection with applications as SketchUp using a single core only:
https://www.cpubenchmark.net/high_end_cpus.html

The performance of AMD and nVidia GPUs is often comparable, the OpenGL support of the AMD drivers not. Therefore go for a nVidia GeForce GT(X) if ever you can:
http://www.videocardbenchmark.net/high_end_gpus.html

For a Windows based desktop system the nVidia GeForce GTX 1060 delivers (currently) the best bang for the buck.


#10

Hi Jody:

I am currently doing work for a client (Dominic Cozzocrea) but unfortunately he is deaf and I have to assist him with various Desktop PC problems. He currently has a Dell Optiplex 760 running Windows 8 with 4 GB of RAM and an integrated Intel Video adapter. He owns a valid copy of SketchUp Pro.

Everytime he attempts to launch the application, he receives the below message:

The following errors were found when launching Sketchup:
-Hardware acceleration is unsupported or has been disabled on your graphics card.
SketchUp requires the you use a hardware accelerated graphics card

I can only assume that the PC is too old for his needs. He has decided to purchase a new PC where he can perform his Architectural and Game 3D rendering. He is trying to stay below a $600 budget.

Will SketchUp Pro work with the machine in the below link or will he have to additionally add a high end video adapter? Basically, can you make some recommendation’s?

Premium High Performance Business Flagship HP Pavilion Desktop PC Tower Intel i5-6400T Quad-Core Processor 12GB RAM 1TB Hard Drive Intel Graphics 530 DVD WIFI HDMI Bluetooth Windows 10:

https://www.amazon.com/Performance-HP-Quad-Core-Processor-Bluetooth/dp/B01MQQ28GH/ref=redir_mobile_desktop?encoding=UTF8&keywords=hp%20pavilion%20570-p020%20desktop%20pc&pi=AC_SX236_SY340_FMwebp_QL65&qid=1499707687&ref=mp_s_a_1_fkmr0_2&sr=8-2-fkmr0


#11

Passmark : intel i5-6400T

if money is tight but you’re still looking for (single core) performance required by SU, search for a system with a recent intel Core i3 as e.g. the i3-7350K/i3-7320/i3-7300.

Integrated (lame) intel HD graphics is dedicated to office/internet/video and not made for a use with 3D applications… adding a dedicated nVidia GeForce is recommended. If money is tight but you’re still looking for OpenGL performance required by SU, add a small and less power consuming GTX 1050Ti to the system (low price, great value).


#12

Easiest thing to do to understand what will be good for Sketchup is to look for a gaming PC.

Lots of websites update their recommendations for systems at different price categories. For example

CPU: any i5
Video card: GTX 1070
RAM: 16gb
Storage: SSD


#13

 


#14

I’m building a PC for a client that needs a 3D modeling/designing/rendering workstation. He mostly just wants to use SketchUp and that too every once in a while. He also wants a mechanical keyboard and a 20" monitor as part of the build. At first, I though of using an Nvidia GeForce GT 1030, but then I remembered the Nvidia Quadro P400.
I also found out that the Quadro doesn’t seem to work with anything less than an Intel Core i5. I’m in a serious dilemma as to what parts should go in my final parts list and would love some advice in case I need a better GPU/CPU/ or more RAM.
And please note that I live in India and that some parts will always seem overpriced as compared to prices in the USA.

PCPartPicker part list: https://in.pcpartpicker.com/list/xKMWtg
Price breakdown by merchant: https://in.pcpartpicker.com/list/xKMWtg/by_merchant/

CPU: Intel - Core i5-8400 2.8GHz 6-Core Processor (₹14930.00 @ Amazon India)
Motherboard: MSI - H310M PRO-VD Micro ATX LGA1151 Motherboard (₹7599.00 @ Amazon India)
Memory: Crucial - Sport LT 8GB (1 x 8GB) DDR4-2666 Memory (₹5805.51 @ Amazon India)
Storage: Toshiba - 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive (₹3150.00 @ Amazon India)
Video Card: PNY - Quadro P400 2GB Video Card (₹8650.00 @ Amazon India)
Case: Rosewill - SCM-01 MicroATX Mini Tower Case (₹1489.16 @ Amazon India)
Power Supply: Corsair - VS 500W 80+ Certified ATX Power Supply (₹2837.13 @ Amazon India)
Optical Drive: LG - GH24NSD1 DVD/CD Writer (₹999.00 @ Amazon India)
Operating System: Microsoft - Windows 10 Home Full - USB 32/64-bit (₹7699.00 @ Amazon India)
Monitor: BenQ - GW2270H 21.5" 1920x1080 60Hz Monitor (₹7798.00 @ Amazon India)
Keyboard: Gigabyte - FORCE K83 Wired Standard Keyboard (₹3550.00 @ Amazon India)
Mouse: Logitech - B100 Wired Optical Mouse (₹275.00 @ Amazon India)
Total: ₹64781.80
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2018-05-31 08:07 IST+0530


#15

Do not buy low-end Quadro cards. They offer no benefit over GeForce cards in Sketchup use. A similarly priced or even cheaper Geforce performs much better. The GFX 1030 you mention is much, much faster and quite a lot cheaper. The money spared might be spent on more memory. 8GB is quite small these days.


#16

Thanks a bunch Anssi!
So the GeForce GT 1030 is actually better than the Quadro P400 for SketchUp? Okay! What about the rest of my parts like the CPU and RAM? Are those just fine? Should I get something better? Here’s my new list:

PCPartPicker part list: https://in.pcpartpicker.com/list/zVdDjy
Price breakdown by merchant: https://in.pcpartpicker.com/list/zVdDjy/by_merchant/

CPU: Intel - Core i3-8100 3.6GHz Quad-Core Processor (₹9395.00 @ Amazon India)
Motherboard: Gigabyte - B360 HD3 ATX LGA1151 Motherboard (₹5765.84 @ Amazon India)
Memory: Crucial - Sport LT 8GB (1 x 8GB) DDR4-2666 Memory (₹5766.54 @ Amazon India)
Storage: Toshiba - 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive (₹3150.00 @ Amazon India)
Video Card: Gigabyte - GeForce GT 1030 2GB Video Card (₹6552.99 @ Amazon India)
Case: Thermaltake - Versa H22 ATX Mid Tower Case (₹2636.28 @ Amazon India)
Power Supply: Thermaltake - Smart 500W 80+ Certified ATX Power Supply (₹2670.10 @ Amazon India)
Optical Drive: LG - GH24NSC0 DVD/CD Writer (₹1160.00 @ Amazon India)
Monitor: BenQ - GW2270H 21.5" 1920x1080 60Hz Monitor (₹7796.00 @ Amazon India)
Keyboard: Gigabyte - FORCE K83 Wired Standard Keyboard (₹3400.00 @ Amazon India)
Mouse: HP - X500 Wired Optical Mouse (₹219.00 @ Amazon India)
Total: ₹48511.75
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2018-06-06 09:33 IST+0530


#17

If it can be made to fit in your budget, I would think that 16 or 32 GB of memory would be a good choice for a computer intended for 3D applications.
Both the CPU:s you list in your posts should have quite a good price/performance ratio for SketchUp use (SU is a single-threaded application) but if a rendering plugin or an external rendering application is going to be used, the number of processor cores and the hyperthreading ability become meaningful. Here is a PassMark comparison of the two:
image


#18

I am in the process of building some new machines in work, I know that SketchUp only utilises a single core, so therefore you should get the highest clockspeed (I have found one with 4.2GHz so thats ok).

However a question, If I have two CPU’s, can I utilise a single core on both, or will it just run on one of the processors?

I am debating either getting:

  1. two CPU’s with a lower core count but a higher clockspeed (if SketchUp can use multi CPU).

or

  1. two CPU’s with a higher core count but with a lower clockspeed (if SketchUp can’t use multi CPU).

Thanks in advance!


#19

no

yes

A model uses one core, independant of where this core is, in the first CPU or in the Second.

Could be that another instance of SketchUp (Opening another model) can be set to use a different core, but I do not know how to manage that.

You have other software with requirements as well, don’t ya?


#20

You have other software with requirements as well, don’t ya?

Indeedy, but I mostly got those covered.

The 4.2GHz processor is in a 12 core CPU. The lower 3.8GHZ CPU is 28 core however.

So since SketchUp can only use one, I will most likely go with the 28 core, as it will be more useful to have two of those of those (for the other apps I need) that have a marginal gain from the two 12 core CPU’s just for SketchU (whilst SketchUp can only use one of them anyway).

It would have been worth it only if I could have ran SketchUp over two 4.2 CPU’s.

Also today I learnt that you can have 1500GB of RAM in a desktop PC (no I will not have that :sweat_smile:)

Thanks anyway just wanted to quadruple check!


#21

you might check these as well!


#22

Unfortunately the machine I am building only takes Quadro Cards (not technically of course, just due to other boring reasons) so I will probably get two of those, but they have 24GB onboard RAM so they will be pretty nippy.

However, related to that news, there will be a new Quadro 48GB RTX8000 released soon so maybe upgrade to those.

Probably wait to see some benchmarks when they all come out, definitely looking at the 2080ti to upgrade my 980ti at home asap however! I don’t think it has long left, it’s been running 95+ degrees over the summer.


#23

Please keep in mind, you don’t buy time!

:grinning:

But Quality


#24

Haha I read that first here a while back, and while I agree, in this case I am actually downgrading my computer would you believe it! (Server based > desktop based).


#25

Why only 4.2ghz??? Is that with or without turbo?

Intel® Core™ i7-8086K Processor

  • 12 MB SmartCache Cache
  • 6 Cores
  • 12 Threads
  • 5.00 GHz Max Turbo Frequency (all cores)
  • K - Unlocked
  • 8th Generation

#26

With turbo it’s 4.2GHz

You can only run two CPU’s if they are Xeon and not Core. So although the clock speed is much lower I will have:

Intel® Xeon® Platinum 8160

  • 33 MB cache
  • 24 Cores
  • 48 Threads
  • 3.7GHz Max Turbo (all cores)

But they key is that I will have two of them on the same motherboard as it has two sockets. And although the majority of software is not going to run over both CPU’s, a lot of my CAD/Design stuff will so it will be super handy.

My knowledge has only really extended to gaming PC’s and low end workstations, I did not even know you could have more than 1 CPU until last month so I am slightly out of my depth ha. Just want to get the best deal performance wise.

The key was that if SketchUp would run over both, then I would have taken the performance hit overall to drastically increase it’s capability, however since it’s not I may as well turn it up to 11 as it will have a greater impact on my other apps.

Ed, wrong CPU, adjusted now.


#27

I see, so you’re limited to the higher-end xeons. I’m curious what design software you use that can actually use all those cores?
My firm does a lot of computational work (structural loading, water modelling, raytracing, traffic models, etc) but we would send these processes to a remote PC (bit like a server but in a desktop case). Multi CPU does take quite a lot setup to get it running properly and most software has to be written to specifically to use the two CPUs.

Sketchup will run fine on those systems. Unless you are pushing the limits of model size/hardware on a constant basis, then the difference between 4.3 and 5.0ghz wont be that noticeable across a day’s work.
Same goes for video cards. GTX1060 to 1070 is noticeable but 1070 to 1080 isnt really noticeable for me.