Is the Intel Iris Graphics 5100 card any good?


I would like to know if someone has been running Sketchup on a machine with an integrated graphics card, specifically the Intel Iris Graphics 5100.

Is any good? Can it handle Sketchup?



integrated graphics sub-systems as your intel Iris 5100 are never good for using with a OpenGL-based 3D modeler because a) lame and b) flaky OGL support of driver… they are made for office/internet/video.

If anyhow ensure to use the latest driver version.


I’m running the Iris 5100 on Mid-2014 MacBook Pro RD 13" with SU Pro 2015 driving a Dell U3415W monitor (3840x1440).

I’ve had zero graphics issues: no lag, freezing, tearing, striping etc. Screen rendering / animation is smooth and quick — at least on mid-sized models (up to ~50MB - I haven’t made any larger models to test their performance).

I’ve also been using it with Twilight for renders, and — as long as you’re parsimonious in your render settings / lighting sources / textures — it produces decent-looking renders in reasonable times. (of course it’s not remotely up to really heavy-duty rendering, but no integrated card is)

But not sure how it will perform with SU 2017: I’m about to download the trial to see if it’s up to the task before springing on the upgrade.

Hope this helps.


This is just wrong, or at best an overly-broad generalization. It depends entirely on OS / version / Open GL driver support (Apple’s has been very good over the years).

My current MacBook Pro is my third Mac using integrated Intel graphics and I’ve never had a single Open GL / driver issue from SU5 through SU8 and now with SU Pro 2015. (I should have noted in my original response that I’m currently running on El Capitan)

Maybe that will change for the worse with 2017 / Sierra: I’m about to find out.


This is pretty true (lame / Win: OGL support), nobody using SU professionally should be recommended to use an internal graphics system for 3D modeling at least on desktop systems… just use the search function of the forum for the proof of claim.

Running SU sucessfully on a internal graphics system doesn’t mean that this is a desirable configuration especially for the recent SU v2017 (= OpenGL v3.0+) and actually not adhering to the system requirements too.


To give you some background about my question. I am about to move abroad for a year and am not taking my current iMac along. Since I will have to buy a new computer upon arriving I am trying to decide between two alternatives, both bearing in mind the fact that I will have to haul said machine back home.

Thus I am trying to decide between a MacBook Pro and a Mac Mini. Both can have the same processor and the same amount of RAM. The differences between the two (besides the fact that the Mini comes without screen, mouse and keyboard) are the graphics card and the price (the Mini is about 50% cheaper).

Thanks to all.


Intel Iris 5xxx is 5th generation APU graphics. These are old components.

Current Intel APU releases are in the 7th generation. As we write this, Intel is likely working on the 8th generation of it’s CPUs/APUs (And perhaps planning for the 9th generation.)

Except that the makers of SketchUp themselves say
on the SketchUp Hardware and Software Requirements page:

Historically, people have seen problems with Intel-based cards with SketchUp.
We don’t recommend using these graphics cards with SketchUp at this time.

(Last sentence emphasis by me.)


I’m inclined to agree with @db11, at least regarding the quality of drivers. The drivers directly from Intel and from many PC vendors are fraught with OpenGL errors, especially for the low-end HD Graphics. Apple has been much more cautious about their drivers (maybe Intel’s are only available for Windows so Apple had to write or customize their own?), and there are far fewer reports of OpenGL issues on Macs.

That is not to argue with @sketch3d_de’s point that integrated graphics, whether base Intel HD or high-end Intel Iris Pro, are not a good choice for SketchUp. As long as you only work simple models you might be fine, but you are at risk that sooner or later a model that is fine on a “up to snuff” computer will choke on the Integrated Graphics. For serious users, Macs are still available with discrete graphics. For example, the 15-inch MacBook Pro comes with a Radeon Pro 450 or 455.

That leaves the age-old arguments about value vs price and preferences of how things work which I won’t get into because years of Windows and Mac users throwing bricks at each other haven’t yet resolved anything (no matter what each side may believe!).


You have been very helpful with your comments so far!

Thanks, Dan. I had read Sketchup’s hardware recommendation but that important thing had escaped me. I would not mind buying a graphics card that is not the latest provided it performed as expected.

And since at least two of you mentioned the size of models, mine tend to be quite big and very detailed


Please let me know what you think of it when you update.


Just as a point of information, I have been running SketchUp 2017 under macOs Sierra 10.12.4 on my mid-2012 MacBookPro Retina with no problems. Yes, it can get somewhat slow if I load a truly enormous model (hundreds of MB, millions of edges or faces), but I believe that almost any computer would struggle with such monsters.


As far as I know, it is not possible to update drivers on Macs.


I think that the base OpenGL code originates from, and then the GPU mfgrs adapt it to their chips, then pass it on up to the board mfgrs (motherboard mfgrs, who tweak it further to work with their BIOS / graphics card mgrs who tweak to work with their VBIOS,) who take into account the specifications of certain operating systems. So, the code goes through several hands when it comes to PC implementations.

With the Apple scenario the number of “code cooks” is reduced to a minimum as they are their own expert at their own OS, and also the mobo manufacturer.


To keep your Mac drivers up-to-date, keep your OS updated. The drivers are bundled with the OS updates.


Edson was asking if anyone had experience with that particular card using SU. I do, and I related my lived experience with said card.

No-one is suggesting that dedicated graphics cards aren’t preferable / superior / recommended — of course they are. He was asking if it was workable. It is — at least on a Mac — and within the parameters that I described.

I’m well aware of the nightmare of integrated cards/Open GL driver problems on the Windows side, which are undoubtedly the reason for their blanket, official condemnation. But I made the assumption that he was likely inquiring about a Mac, since very few Windows machines up-spec to Iris — they’re almost all Intel HD ___.

If he was asking if SU recommends said card (or any integrated card), I would have given him the same answer that you and sketch3d_de did.

No disrespect intended to either of you.


Will do.

I was planning to download it today — but ended up too busy, and ran out of time. Should have time to install it tomorrow, and will try to give it enough of a run to report back by the end of the week.


you assumed right. I am on the mac side. as I explained elsewhere on this thread, I am thinking of buying a Mini but only if can get confident that it will handle big models. thanks.


imagine you have saved 50% for getting bothered because of lagging during screen transformations for an anticipated operating life of min. 5 (probably more) years… don’t you think that the 50% more hurt only once whereas waiting for the system hurt every day of SU usage? And even if the Mini would deliver enough performance, are you willing to take a chance that it will not?

. * hinthint * why not go to the next Apple store and ask if for evaluation purposes installing a SU 2017 trial and loading a big model (of you) from e.g. the 3DWH is allowed?


if you would have filled in your profile accordingly, I would not have erroneously referenced to the flaws of the Windows versions of the intel graphics drivers. Integrated stuff not being fast still applies.


You are absolutely right. Profile is complete now. Thanks.