iMac or Mac Mini?

Hi guys, I need some advice!

I use SketchUp a lot, also in combination with the 3D data of Google Earth Pro, and planning to start rendering with Enscape.

Now I want to upgrade my system for this. The options are:

  • an iMac with M3-chip, 10-core GPU and 24GB of memory;
  • or a Mac Mini with M2-chip, 19-core GPU and 32GB of memory.

Would like to make this decision based on the performances with SketchUp/Google Earth/Enscape, but don’t know what’s more important for that; the kind of chip, or the amount of GPU. Who does know this?

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You should wait a bit and get an M3 pro Mac mini, iMacs have only the basic M3 chip, for enscape you’ll get better performance with a more powerful gpu and for sketchup a cpu with better single core performance.

Thanks for your advice, Francis! Good to know that a powerful CPU is important for SketchUp, and a powerful GPU for Enscape. I did not know that.

Actually, I realised I’m better off with a laptop. So I recon, a Macbook Pro with M3 Pro‑chip, 12‑core CPU, 18‑core GPU, 16‑core Neural Engine and 36 GB of memory, will also be a good investment, right?

That will be an excellent choice. Just be aware that there have been some birthing problems reported with SketchUp 2024 on the M3 chip, particularly when external monitors with different resolution are connected and when anti-aliasing is set to other than 0x. This will all be sorted out sometime soon, but in the meantime if you get an M3 you should search the forum for workarounds to the problems in case you too run into them.

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It’s worth considering an M2 or M1. Just my two cents and if money is no object then disregard. But you can get a very powerful used or Apple refurbished MacBook Pro with high spec and more ram for significantly less cost that will still provide a very crisp and speedy SketchUp and general computing experience. A thought.

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Thanks guys, food for thought!

Not sure if this offers any insight for you floorvanwp, but I recently bought the latest albeit cheapest Mac mini due to my frustration trying to learn sketchup on the latest iPad Pro 12.9. I’m just learning via the tutorials, and I had one crash towards the end of the sketch fundamentals course. Now I’m on the modeling fundamentals course and just had another crash while doing lesson 5, which is a very simple model. Hence me finding this post, I’m guessing that this Mac mini isn’t up to the job? It’s got an M2 with 8gb and 256ssd. I have always had MacBook pros but after recently moving back to the states, I’m tight on cash but thought these specs would be adequate for some relatively simple sketchup work. Anyone know if the ram is the biggest factor here? or the graphics card? I can still return it, but don’t know how much I need to upgrade.

The idea of birthing problems discouraged me to buy a M3. Together with my budget. :slight_smile: So the remark of endlessfix was refreshing to me, I ended up buying a refurbished Macbook M1 Max, with 32-core GPU and 32GB of memory. I have not done a lot of work yet, but the first experience is good. Also bought a Magic Trackpad by the way, love it as an extra way to zoom and overall as an alternative next to mouse and 3Dmouse!

riley.james, I cannot imagine your M2 mini is not sufficient for your work. Sounds to me that you first need to take a look at your models/workflow to find out what is causing the crashes.

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