Macbook pro 13¨



Hey guys i was wondering if y’all can help me with some decisions regarding the purchase of my new computer…

I usually work with SketchUp (3D modeling), AutoCad (Plans) and Photoshop for image editing… im planning to buy the base model of the new macbook pro 13¨

2.0GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor, Turbo Boost up to 3.1GHz
8GB 1866MHz memory
256GB PCIe-based SSD
Intel Iris Graphics 540

But i don’t know if i should upgrade the Processor or The RAM…

2.4GHz dual-core Intel Core i7 processor, Turbo Boost up to 3.4GHz


16GB 1866MHz memory

ill be able to just upgrade one of them since this macbook is very expensive…

With upgrade should work fine with ketchup AutoCad and photoshop? (Im an architecture student)


The performance related articles talk about CPU and RAM affecting performance, but it’s not easy to tell how much effect each one has. You have SSD, so disk access is going to be very good, which might mean that having more RAM isn’t as important. But, 2.4 is only 20% more than 2.0, whereas 16 is twice 8!

You will also read that the minimum CPU speed given is 2.1 GHz, which would argue that 2.0 GHz isn’t good enough. I’m skeptical about that making much difference.

Of the two I think the extra RAM could be more useful with big models. But, others here are more experienced in using different hardware with SketchUp, so wait a bit to see what other comments are posted.


If an user keeps other open applications at a minimum, SketchUp will probably use the TurboBoost mode of supported Intel processors. Sketchup 2017 runs quite OK with my Asus ultrabook that has an i7 processor with a nominal speed of 1.9 GHz.



I would choose doubling the RAM to 16GB as much more helpful for performance, compared to increasing the CPU clock rate by a modest amount. (In fact I would choose doubling the memory over increasing the clock rate by a major amount!) The more memory the better.


Memory. Memory. Memory! I’m running a 13" Mbp 2013 with 16 gb i7 cpu and SSd. The speed is absolutely fine as su is pretty much single threaded, and the ssd makes things fly but I’m still having to manually manage memory with memory cleaner to give su some headroom. Safari tabs eat a very large breakfast.


Useful tip. I tend not to worry, if I have Safari and other things open while SketchUp is doing something, I’m working faster overall, even if SketchUp isn’t.


Thank You SOO much! im going with the 16GB RAM! THANK YOU SO MUCH!


Thanks!! im going with the 16GB RAM!


Another question heheheh, will the Intel Iris Graphics 540 work fine? i dont know why im all worried of SU crashing and all that stuff… :frowning:


I looked into that a bit, and it does sound like integrated graphics, which isn’t always a good thing. It also compared poorly against dedicated Nvidia boards. But, it is a modern GPU, and I would remain hopeful. Especially as going to something better is significantly more expensive.


Compared to a dedicated GPU - no contest but SU doesn’t really tax the GPU all that much - the biggest prob is again memory as the integrated chipset uses system memory - I have the 2013 Iris chipset in my MPB and its fine, I run a twin monitor setup (or triple if you count the MBP display as well) and I have quite large texture maps as my models are rendered in maxwell so my materials are maxwell materials to some degree. Limitations from the integrated GPU don’t really noticably adversely affect my workflow unless my model gets complex and has large tex maps and foliage models etc - but at that point its about scene management to keep the memory available - again Memory cleaner is invaluable to me as it gives you a percentage free in the top bar and you can optimise at a click. Hope this helps


The RAM amount will only allow you to keep more applications open while you are using SketchUp. The way that adding more RAM increases the performance is if there is such a small amount to beging with the OS itself cannot function properly.

The only other way RAM changes would increase performance is by increasing the clocking rate. Since you can’t change that by simply adding more (that parameter is a byproduct of front side bus speed, RAM generation and Processor Speed) it is just inherent to your particular system.

Saying all that, you would be best paying for the higher processing speed, though Apple tends to charge much more than it is worth to “upgrade” that aspect of your system. They always do.

Good luck!


so you recommend me to upgrade from i5 to i7 instead of 16GB RAM?


As with everything, it depends. How are you planning to use your system? Will you be running SU alone? Or do you need other applications running at the same time? What are you currently used to with your system? That can give you an idea of if 16GB of RAM makes more sense that a CPU upgrade.

I was only providing system information that more RAM doesn’t increase your performance like a CPU clock speed increase does, unless the system has memory maxed out already.

If it was me, I wouldn’t expect my system to be running 20 tabs in Safari, SU, Mail+other apps all at once. I would tend to have a few tabs open and SU, since that was what I was working on at the time. And in that case I would upgrade the CPU.

Like I said it depends on how you use your system. If you like having all your applications open, then go with the RAM as it gives SU the memory it needs without having to page blocks of memory to the drive. But if you want SU performance increases as a single running application, you have to upgrade the things I mentioned in my first response.

Hopefully that helps? :slight_smile:


Heres my system - the only safari tab I have open is this one (memory hog!) ;0)
1 sketchup window open and Photoshop open just to put this graphic together - 8GB, you are going to be paging alot!

I would not have a load of safari tabs open and Photoshop open normally - it makes sense to keep thing lean and mean but obviously you need to have the tools open that you need in order to do the job, in my case that is usually Safari (1 or 2 tabs), Evernote on top of SU and Layout.

OS X, I mean MacOS, uses virtual memory efficiently by default so disk access is a factor, so the more physical memory you have the less paging will take place - you can see from my system there is about 0.5Gb of swap used.

SU alone is using 4GB of memory - honestly, don’t worry about the CPU unless you are going to be doing a lot of rendering and thats a whole different kettle of fish, but in a modern MBP the difference between i5 and i7 will not be noticeable for day to day work (again rendering is a different use case), whereas

hope this helps



Sorry, I didn’t finish the post 'cos I ran out of memory ;0)


You are THE BEST! thank you so much! i don’t feel guilty about the purchase anymore… i love mac and im more comfortable with mac! Thank you!!


We use Autocad and very large SU files for architectural work, with lots of image files and very large spreadsheets, all simultaneously.
There is a significant difference between an i5 and an i7 (complex SU models) to the point we don’t use i5 computers.
8 Gigs of ram has always worked well, with SSD and i7.
Refurbished or well-maintained MacBooks with fresh OS loads with full installs of Autocad and Adobe Creative Suite, either CS 6 or CC, plus more are available here in the SF Bay Area on Craigslist for $600-800.
We prefer the discrete (separate) NVIDIA graphics processors but have no trouble with the integrated Intel versions.


Hey Bifterx! i just wanted to let you know that i finally bought the Macbook! i ended up buying the 15 inch Macbook Pro with 16gb Ram and i7 so problems go! hahaha

just one FINAL question… already installed PS, Ai, Id, Sketchup, Autocad and Artlantis 6 (but it seems not to work with Sketchup Pro 2017) (tried downloading the SU 2016 Plug in but nothing) which let me in a big render situation… what kind of render do u recommend me? im used to Lumion so if you know a Render engine as quick a Lumion that would be helpful :smiley:



Hi Alberto
Congrats on your purchase! Yep getting the top spec would tend to sort out any problems👍

I use Maxwell Render, which is a sloooooooow Renderer but physically accurate and i like the interface for SketchUp and works for my workflow.
So probably not for you if you are after speed.

Podium is very quick (probably not as quick as Lumion) and has a SketchUp specific workflow. Also Thea Render is very good.

Hope this helps