How much would Sketchup Pro benefit from a CPU upgrade?


I am currently using a PC with an old (but overclocked to 4.3GHz) i7-2600K CPU along with 16GB DDR3 RAM and an RTX 2070.

Sketchup seems to be working OK for the most part, but when I first load complex models (over 300-400mb, more than 4.5 million edges) it stutters a bit when navigating around (with my Space Mouse) for the first minute or so. This without shadows and while using a fast style.

If I turn on Profiles and Shadows then it becomes quite slow (SketchUp seems to temporarily disable shadows and most profiles while moving around). Still none of the CPU cores, nor the GPU are anywhere close to 100%.

So, would I see a significant performance improvement if I move to something like an i5-12600K (while keeping the same GPU)?

SketchUp is a single core application so more cores won’t help with performance. A faster CPU will help. You should also take a look at your modeling workflow. Shadows and textures will tend to have a big impact on performance but that’s mostly GPU. Leaving shadows off and switching to Monochrome Face Style while working can help. Perhaps your models could use some improvement to speed them up. That seems to be a fairly common need.

You could share one of your complex models and let us try on a different machine to see what we get.

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My unreliable prediction would be that yes, you will see a performance improvement but not a performance explosion. It would be noticeably faster but a model that size will still be clunky whatever the hardware spec. Making the model lighter is the only option to make it really faster.

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Unfortunately I can’t share the model I am working on (what I have in this size is basically different versions of the same model), but I tried a few complex models from the 3DWarehouse. I couldn’t find ones that had a very big file size, but I found several with a large number of Polygons

This one: detailed+citabel+stronghold+circa+1690 | 3D Warehouse is 21mb/16 million polygons.

And this one: Nuevo Monumental River Plate (FULL 3D) | 3D Warehouse is 33mb/60 million polygons.

While they downloaded quickly since they are small, Sketchup took about 1-2 minutes to allow me to place the first one, and 7 minutes to place the second one. (I closed and restarted Sketchup with a blank file before importing the 2nd one). I turned off Profiles in both before testing.

With the first one navigating around with the mouse (orbit, pan, zoom) wasn’t an issue because it would disable textures and hide some objects while moving around. While using the Space Mouse however it was very choppy when the whole model was in view. When I was at “street level” then I could also use the Space Mouse with almost no issue.

With the second file, when having the whole stadium in view, even moving with the mouse (orbit, pan, zoom) was not great, since it would freeze for a couple of seconds after the movement was over. With the Space Mouse it was basically impossible to move around when the whole model was in the viewport.

(I also tried loading both in Enscape, and no issues at all. My RTX 2070 wouldn’t go above 15% and CPU utilization was low as well. My own model can push my GPU and one of the CPU cores close to 100% when moving around quickly and the whole model is in view, maybe due to the large textures, Enscape objects and proxies.)

So I wonder how a recent CPU can handle those 2 models in Sketchup. If anybody could try and let me know (and if you have a Space Mouse please let me know how well it works with those models also)

You can go and buy the absolute fastest PC money can buy and the models you cite will still be very slow. This is a modelling problem, not solvable with hardware.

3D modelling applications are all single threaded so everything in a model must squeeze through a single processor core.

This is why I haven’t upgraded my CPU for a decade.

However the 12th gen intel CPUs offer very good single core speed increase, and the price is quite low ($300) for the i5-12600K (which would also allow an overclock).

The single thread performance of 12600K according to PassMark is 4000, while my 2600K (after the overclock) is 2088, so nearly half. PassMark CPU Benchmarks - Single Thread Performance

Just 2 years ago no CPUs had a single thread score over 3000 (only exception being the Intel i9-9900KS which scored 3046), but in the last 2 years the single thread speed increased as much as it had done in the previous 8! (thanks to the competition by AMD and Apple)

So I wonder if those PassMark single thread scores would translate to Sketchup, or if there is something else holding this program back.

I looked at the same scores, and my prediction would still be that what you would get is a noticeable boost, in the meaning “you can notice it”, but definitely not a 2x increase. The operations that currently lag would still lag, but with a little shorter waiting times.