ThinkPad support for SketchUp Make 2017

I’m trying to find a new laptop which will run SketchUp Make 2017, preferably a ThinkPad. My models are not terribly complex (mostly designs for my personal woodworking projects), and I have used this version of SU on a previous ThinkPad without any problems, but I think that had a discrete graphics card, which I can’t seem to get on current ThinkPads (at least not any I can afford). The ThinkPad I’m currently using only supports OpenGL 2.1, so SU won’t even open on it.

I’m currently considering getting a ThinkPad E14 Gen 2 20TA with an 11th Gen Intel Core i3-1115G4 3.0GHz Dual-Core processor and Integrated Intel UHD Graphics. I can’t get a straight answer from either Lenovo or Intel as to whether this will work with SUM2017, although Intel does say it supports OpenGL 4.6 and hardware acceleration, but that “laptop manufacturers tend to customize their systems with custom settings, drivers, and features that may alter how the processor performs”.

Another option I’m considering is the AMD version of the same laptop: ThinkPad E14 Gen 2 20T6 with an AMD Ryzen 3 4300U 2.7GHz Quad-Core processor and Integrated AMD Radeon Graphics. Both of these have Win10 Pro, if that matters.

I wish SketchUp would have a list of systems that have been tested with their software and either do/don’t support it. Does anyone know whether either of these laptops would run SketchUp Make 2017?

Did you read the answers given in your other thread on basically the same topic?
You should really have added this to that thread.

Yes, I did read them. You told me to find a laptop model at a store and try it out. Since then, I have narrowed my choices down to these two, neither of which is available at any local store that I can find. I was hoping maybe someone here had some experience with these models, since there’s no way to ask a question like this of Sketchup directly.

My first question was more general, while this one is specific to these two models of ThinkPad.

As for where I’m asking this question, when I took a look at all the forum category descriptions (which I hadn’t done the first time) it looked like I might have asked my first question in the wrong place, so I thought I’d try here. Sorry, I haven’t been on this forum before, so I didn’t know I was breaking some kind of rule.

Generally, ThinkPads are meant for business users so graphics performance is not seen as important except in the “mobile workstation” category which tend to be overly expensive.

If you are looking for a Lenovo laptop, I found several models in the “gaming” category (IdeaPad or Legion) that fit in the same price bracket as the models you mention and that have discrete Nvidia graphics and somewhat faster CPUs than the models you mention.

I’ve moved both your threads to the Computer Advice category.

1st question, what’s your budget? SU Pro 2021 runs just fine on my refurb Dell Precision 4th gen i7, 16 gb, ssd and Gtx 650. I’m saying this as to not rule out refurb units. :wink:

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The only laptops I’ve ever had were ThinkPads, which I used for my home-based business, among other things. They’ve always served all my needs well, so I guess I’m pre-disposed to want another ThinkPad.

I don’t do any gaming (unless you count Solitaire-type games), and I’m a bit worried that computers in that category wouldn’t meet my business needs. In what ways are gaming computers different from business computers?

I’ve found the two models I referred to for under $600, and I’d like to stay in that neighborhood. Have you had good luck with refurbished laptops? What source(s) have you found to be reliable?

I’ve bought a refurb laptop and 2 desktops from Dell. No issues with any of them. Also bought 2 refurb desktops from Newegg, no issues from them. These were most recent, one for me and one for in-laws.

Shortly put, probably nothing.
When talking about computers, “gaming” is a marketing term or an “user segment” that wants better (graphics) performance compared to people using office applications. SketchUp resembles a game in that much of the time we use it is spent in navigating around in a 3d environment, and that is why it needs similar graphics performance as playing games does.
A “gaming” computer doesn’t force you to play shooting games or to visit network casinos. I have one, and I don’t play any games except occasional ones of Windows Solitaire (yes, I’m boring).
Besides the better “bang for the buck” performance, the main difference between a “gaming” computer and a “business” one is that the latter usually come with the Professional of Enterprise versions of Windows that lets you to connect to corporately managed domain networks.
I’ll not start on “mobile workstations” now as they are far beyond the price point you are aiming at.

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And not worth the price difference in Su or Acad, Revit, Max, Maya, Inventor in terms of performance.

As an example of a comparable new old stock laptop, with a 10th generation quadcore i5 (instead of a 11th gen dual core i3,) a bigger 15.3 inch display, and discrete Nvidia GTX-1650Ti graphics with it’s own 4GB GDDR6 VRAM (instead of hogging part of your system RAM,) same SSD size, same 8GB system RAM.

You get a US (rather than China made) product and new hardware warranty support, rather than limited refurb support (if there is any.) You an choose extra support options if you like.

One thing it does not have is that “nipple” controller in the middle of the keyboard.

It also comes with Windows 10 Home rather than Windows 10 Pro.
(You can always upgrade to Pro directly from the Microsoft Store.)

CORRECTION: I had previously said the CPU was a hexacore in error. It is a quadcore.

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Thanks, but that deal is sold out already. Plus I prefer a 14" display and I’d need to add $99 to upgrade to Win10 Pro, so I guess I’ll need to keep checking the deals/refurbs at various sites until I find what I need at a good price.

What exactly should I minimally be looking for in a processor? Would Intel processors be better than AMD for SU? Will any discrete Nvidia card work with SU Make 2017?

Compatibility Changes says:

SketchUp 2017 - With the release of SketchUp 2017, we’ve removed support for 32-bit operating systems, OpenGL 2.0, and software rendering of models (as opposed to hardware acceleration). We also removed support for OS X 10.9 (Mavericks.)

So this gives you the minimum for the GPU. OpenGL 3.x (3.1 or better recommended) and it must support hardware acceleration. 512MB VRAM min (1GB or better recommended.)
The OS must be 64bit.

I used to run tests under SU2017 on my Dad’s old TOSHIBA Qosmio gaming laptop under Win8.1 with a GTX 670M 3GB GPU.

Fast. i5 or better. (I am partial to Intel. But they are generally more expensive than AMDs.)

Number of cores don’t matter for modeling as only 1 core is used.
Faster is better for rendering (the more cores are better.)

I’m obviously not a hardware person (although I’m certainly learning a bit through this process), and I went back and forth with Intel support for several days trying to find out whether the graphics in the laptops I mentioned in my original post supported hardware acceleration. How can I find the kind of information you’re talking about quickly, when I’ll probably have to jump on any good deal right away? I don’t think I’ve ever seen VRAM mentioned in any specs. Is that a function of the processor or the graphics card? Are there any Nvidia cards I should avoid?

You’ll find it like this…

Not a bad start but I’d upgrade the ram to 16 gb and a 512 m.2 down the road.

When speaking of Intel we talk of integrated graphics that is packaged with the the CPU (sometimes referred to an APU.) Basically the SketchUp does not recommend use on machines with integrated graphics. These machines do not have there own VRAM and so rob system RAM as needed (depending upon the resolution and color mode setting.)

VRAM means dedicated Video RAM which is often much faster than the system RAM.

Again, you will not see it mentioned for machines with only integrated graphics as they steal from system RAM (which reduces memory available for applications.)

It will only be listed for dedicated GPUs and may not use the acronym VRAM. The video memory will just be listed after the GPU model.
(Example: my machine has 16GB System RAM, but my GTX 1060 has it’s own 6GB VRAM.)

Very Old ones prior to GTX. (Like GeForece, GT and MX).

Also since you are going for a notebook / laptop, we are speaking of a mobile video chipset which we call a GPU, that is usually built onto the motherboard. But it is still a discrete (separate) circuit as it would be on it’s own card if it were in a desktop machine.

But the major problem I see is that you insist on a 14" display, which will not have dedicated GPUs since they are meant for student or mobile office work.

Low end gaming notebooks all start at 15.3" displays and 250 - 300 above your range new.

But I did see a couple used on NewEgg for 648-699:

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Notebooks with small displays (12-14") and dedicated graphics circuits do exist, but there aren’t very many models to choose from and they tend to cost more than equivalent or faster 15" machines, typically in the $1200 range. I have an Asus ultrabook with an i7 processor and MX250 graphics. I bought it more for mobility than performance, but it runs my small SketchUp models quite OK. And it shouldn’t break if I drop it (I am not going to try, however).


Yep, I got that. I’m no longer looking at anything without a discrete graphics card. My point was that, if I need to jump on a deal right away, I can’t afford to have to spend days finding out whether it supports hardware acceleration. That information doesn’t seem to be readily available.

If a listing doesn’t mention the term VRAM, how else might it be referred to?

Which model is that? DanRathbun said MX cards were among those to avoid, but you’re saying they might work for me, since I think most SU users would consider my models to be quite small and simple?