Mac Book Pro 2021 16" M1 Pro or Max

Hello all.
This may be a bit early to ask, but has anyone got hold of a new MacBook Pro 16" with either the M1 Pro or M1 Max and how does Sketchup run on it?


I am also VERY curious about this. My machine will arrive November 11th and the first reviews read like a dream but of course to really shine Sketchup would need to run without Roseta2 and would need to embrace Multi-Core, etc. a bit more… Still - VERY curious about how it performs day to day. Using a 2019 Macbook Pro at the moment that runs very hot for almost ANYTHING, so what I saw so far with the new Machines looks very promising.


Let me know how you get on when it arrives.
And totally agree, let’s hope Sketchup will eventually run without Rosetta, but not sure that will happen soon!

1 Like

Since they have a working iPad-Version they should have some understanding about the underlying chip-architecture… :smile: So - here is to hope!

1 Like

Which machine did you get? M1 Pro or Max?
I’ve heard the M1 Pro has a longer battery life.

Ideally it would be nice to have 1 machine that is portable because I currently use 2 machines (iMac Pro and M1 MacBook Air). It’s not terrible because I use iCloud Drive, but there have been those occasions where I’ve saved on the MacBook Air and then shut it without letting it sync and later look for the file on the iMac… easily solved of course by being a bit mindful…

1 Like

Because Apple silicon puts so many functions on a single chip and ties them all closely together, it is difficult to predict comparative performance based just on specs and non-specific benchmarks. We will need to wait for real world experience from the early adopters to know better how SketchUp runs. But there are some general observations we can make.

All of the Apple Silicon variations use less power and stay cooler than the competition. That is of great importance for laptops, perhaps less so for desktops where better cooling is feasible.

There are not a lot of apps that have yet been ported to M1 native, instead of running via Rosetta 2. So, although we can assume that native code should be faster, there is not much beyond anecdotal to establish how much faster - especially for a specific app such as SketchUp.

The CPU cores in the M1 Pro and Max are the same as in the base M1. What differs is the number of cores and the allocation between performance and power-saving versions. Since SketchUp uses only one core, there will be no real difference due to CPU variations between these chips. As has been explained innumerable times on the forum, there is no possibility that SketchUp can be rewritten to be multi-core. However, renderers should be able to make use of the additional cores, and that should make the Pro or Max faster than the base M1.

The Pro and Max come with different options for memory than the base M1, notably larger amounts and wider access paths. SketchUp is not a memory hog, but having more memory lets you run more things simultaneously before they start competing with each other. Also, the Pro and Max have wider paths to memory, which may have an impact on performance. But benchmarks published so far suggest the benefit isn’t enormous.

The GPU is a different question. Apple’s GPU is a unique proprietary design. It is coupled tightly to the same memory as the CPU, so the need to copy data back and forth between external GPU memory and main memory is eliminated. That ought to lead to speed gains. But the same statement is true of Intel’s Integrated Graphics, and we all know how poorly they perform for SketchUp. It is also hard to know how much effort Apple has or will put into their implementation of OpenGL on M1. Several years ago they declared their intent to stop supporting OpenGL, though to date they haven’t followed through. We outsiders have no way to know whether SketchUp will be reworked to use something other than OpenGL or will rely on whatever OpenGL Apple provides. There have been many statements over the years that imply SketchUp’s internals are very much entangled with OpenGL concepts, so rework wouldn’t be a trivial effort.

Nothing else about the M1 Pro or Max has any evident relevance to SketchUp.


Discourse only allows you to add one “like” to a post. I would have put 5.

1 Like

“The beast” will arrive tomorrow. I already thought of some tests to check Sketchup-Performance. & Layout-Performance. So excited!!!


I’m keen to hear your findings. Thanks in advance.

I currently have two 14" MacBook Pros that I’m testing with Sketchup and Monterey. I have the PRO model: 10 core CPU, 16gb, 1tb SSD and the MAX model: 10 core CPU, 32 core GPU 64gb, 2tb SSD.

My 3D house plans model work great on the MAX but they have hung multiple times on the PRO.

It may be the 64gb of memory that is making it work better on the MAX as the single core CPU speeds are the same and Sketchup currently uses only a single core. Or perhaps it really is taking advantage of some of the 32 cores GPU. Occasionally I will get a beachball or white flash, but so far, it’s been fine and very zippy to render most anything I throw at it. So much better than my crash ridden 16gb i7 intel 2016 MacBook Pro.

1 Like

I’m sure it runs very well, it already runs well in my experience on the Mini.
SketchUp is reliant on the CPU rather than the GPU and these machines all fair well for that.
I’d expect it to work as well as any $3000 machine would.

1 Like

Hello @napperkt !

How’s the beast doing? I’m trying to work out which one I need so any tales you have would be useful! Hope you’re enjoying it! :wink:
Best, Sally

(Hasn’t arrived yet.) Slightly upset. Thought I could test it to the Max (or Pro?) this weekend… Will post my findings as soon as I get it…

Getting anxious about mine now. Its delivery date was Nov 10-17th, and so for the shipping address I used where I am until the 19th. Now it has changed to Nov 12-19th. It could arrive on the 19th in time for me to take it to the airport, but as I plan to restore from Time Machine, and other time consuming reinstalls, it might as well ship to where I live, and sit there waiting for me.

So the beast arrived and I am setting it up as I speak. It certainly is BIG coming from my love-hated 2019 16" MacBook Pro but it is a cool cat as well that is for sure. I don’t have all my data on here right now to do some proper testing. So far Sketchup is behaving kinda as expected with 2 problems.

  1. Some graphical glitch with transparent objects (see screenshot)
  2. VRay doesn’t work yet (no clue - menus won’t load, some permission error it seems).

Will do some Layout-Render-Tests and stuff and report back tomorrow after my first day of working with her.

1 Like

I received my 16” MacBook Pro with M1 Max, 32 GB ram on launch day and have been using it for a few weeks. I use SketchUP Make 2017 mostly to design my woodworking projects. SketchUP definitely runs way better on this machine than my previous, a late 2013 MacBook Pro with i5 and 4 GB of ram. However, the app has to run through Rosetta 2 and I’ve noticed it takes its toll on my battery when I have this program open. Also, I still occasionally get a rainbow wheel of death for 30 seconds when I work in my 410 MB model of my house with a ton of geometry and imported objects. I assume that’s not because the M1 Max isn’t capable but because SketchUP Make isn’t optimized to take advantage of the hardware. But the model definitely runs a lot more smoothly when zooming, rotating, etc and the larger screen is great for seeing the details. I can’t say if the experience would be the same on a M1 MacBook Air if SketchUP isn’t utilizing the power of my machine but overall I’m happy with it

I should know more about this, but is VRay native M1? If it is, can you set it to use Rosetta, and would SketchUp then talk to it ok?

I get these error messages. V-Ray seemed to install fine. After install it send me to the login page , checked my license, etc. so all that worked out fine. It seems to have problems loading the actual extension into Sketchup if I read this correctly.

Program is running smoothly so far - if you compare it to the other (non-rosetta) stuff I have the machine it’s a bit laggy but that’s only because the rest (like Affinity & Apples native apps - OMG!) is SO f$%§ng smooth. Compared to my 2019 machine it feels quite nice and the machine stays cool.

That transparency bug is a bit annoying but can be solved by going from “prettier” to “faster” transparency in the style section. Still - A LOT of potential for Sketchup here, once it goes native.

Your V-Ray problem might be the same as solved in this thread:

That indeed did the trick!