How to upgrade 2013 Mac Pro for Sketchup Pro

I’m using Sketchup Pro on a daily basis for my design studio and finding that my Mac Pro seems to get bogged down when I’m jumping between scenes and it has to re-render. Basic modeling tasks seem to be fine unless I’m zooming in and out too fast.

That has put me on a search to find an upgrade path. I’m have no desire to move to a new machine. I kind of like my trash can. So, I have looked into egpu’s but the details and the specs make my brain hurt with all the options available. Then I started wondering if that is really the need. That’s when I realized I need to ask the Sketchup Community. There is probably someone who can quickly tell me where the problem is and what to do to solve it.

See images below of my current setup from “About this Mac”. Let me know if you need more info. I’m also running SKU 2018.

Screen Shot 2020-01-27 at 9.00.09 AM Screen Shot 2020-01-27 at 8.47.03 AM Screen Shot 2020-01-27 at 8.55.59 AM

How complex are your models (look at model info statistics)? A model with a million or more edges will bog down any computer at times.

The only other thing I noticed is that the FirePro might not be the best graphics for SketchUp.

Current model I’m working on is only 86,000. It’s more a schematic design of a kitchen and doesn’t possess much of the part detail I can get into. So…say another 100,000 on top of that. Nothing close to the million mark you are talking about.

So that leaves the direction I was going which is the graphics card. Is there a recommended card for this setup?

Best option seems to be cashing, I think.
You cannot upgrade the videocard, according to some sites.
It might be that the performances are influenced by temperature, if to high, the graphic card get’s choked.
Turning of profiles should improve performance.

Had read a bit about the lack of upgradeability of the onboard graphics cards. A weird feature flaw for sure for a so-called pro-sumer/professional machine…but that has already been hashed to death.

What is the option you speak of “cashing”. Cash it in? as in trade it in? Or did you mean caching? If the latter, I haven’t heard of that process before. And profiles? What is that? Sorry I’m not super educated yet in the deep end of the pool of SKU.

How about EGPU’s? Reasonable solution?

Cashing as trade in, I meant.
The external gpu’s need a very fast thunderbolt, Your memory is 1.8 mhz, which isn’t very fast

The profiles are the lines or edges that suround objects like components. They need more rendertime.
Turn of in View->Edges

Crappy answer I didn’t want to hear…but that’s life I guess right?

Now I understand one thing…Speed of thunderbolt is important. I was listening to someone talk about this last night and didn’t get why he kept saying that the I/O on the 2013 Mac Pro was always going to be the problem. Doesn’t matter how big the pipe is that you connect to the 2013 (TB3), if you connect it to a “hose bib” that is smaller (via a TB3 to TB2 or less adapter) it bottlenecks there. Now I get it.

Thanks for that…might be time to give it a different job in the studio.

Huh, I’m curious about the performance issues you are experiencing. Your tower out classes my MBP in pretty much every department, but I am able to work smoothly on larger files while still running two external monitors. The file on my desk today is over .5M edges and is running fine. Perhaps there are other reasons for the slow down? Perhaps it’s not your hardware, are you able to share a file that bogs your machine, maybe via google drive?

Please read this …

… because …

… indicates to me that you may be using (slow) presentation styles in modeling scenes.

The are different kinds (uses) of scenes. Modeling, image export, print/plot, animation, thumbnail (to name a few.) These different kinds of scenes usually use differing styles. (I try to name my styles the same name as the scene it uses, or visa versa.)

Modeling scenes should all be a fast style (no profiles, no endpoints, no jitter, no back edges, etc.,) straight edges (no sketchy edges) and monochrome face render (shaded & textures off) or color by layer.

Only presentation output scenes should have a style with presentation properties.

When setting up (creating) numerous animation scenes, a user can temporarily use the fast modeling style. (This can be done from starting from a modeling scene that has the fast modeling style set as the style it uses from the “In Model” styles collection, and when the new scene is created, it’ll inherit all the current active scene’s properties.)

When they get all the camera positions set correct to their liking, they can go through (manually or using a script) and set the animation scenes to use the animation style they’ve added to the model.
(Ie, it is much faster for the viewport to render monochrome mode with straight lines, and so much faster to orbit when changing the camera viewpoint.)

This sounds very much like a perfect description of what was happening. I do all my basic modeling with zero background effects and basic lines and white surfaces. After that is done I then do exactly as you said, I set up all my scenes. After all that is complete I then go back in and start applying all the materials and styles. I currently use a main model file and then import that into two others to do other scenes to keep the number of scenes down per file. You have hit it correctly, it wasn’t until the materials and styles were added that I started to see slow downs.

I hadn’t considered the possibility of having the output style and a working style to switch between to make things faster. That’s a good solution. Still have a lot to learn about styles though, so thanks for the push in the right direction.

The good news is that if managed well your current tower should be very capable of running complex models.
Another serious performance hit is the presence of shadows, which if turned on really slow down even basic navigation, shadows like complex styles, should be used for output only as they take a lot of time to calculate.
One trick sometimes employed to help make the switch from a working stye to an output style a bit quicker is to save all scenes with the style information turned off (unchecked). Then all scenes adopt whatever style settings you currently have. Switch to modeling style, all scenes are ready for modeling, switch to output style, all scenes are ready for output. This can be done with shadows too, I use different sun positions for separate scenes so I could not do that in this image.

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It is common for users to set up template(s) with several different kinds of scenes and styles. (Mine has “Thumbnail”, “Print” and “Work” scenes with complimentary styles of the same name. The last is the scene used for editing.)

I like that…I had skimmed a reference recently about it but it went in one ear and out the other. My mind was searching for some other answer and I didn’t really get what the reference was about. Now it makes sense. I have to put in some more time on scene and template setups. Ultimately that’s a better solution than new gear (which I really detest).

The location for your templates will be in the user library path on MacOS …
"~/Library/Application Support/SketchUp 2018/SketchUp/Templates"

You can get there quickly from inside SketchUp by clicking the folder icon button to the right of the Templates path, in the Files panel of the Preferences dialog. The path will be opened in the platform’s file browser … Finder on Mac I think. (File Explorer on Windows.)