VRAY + SKETCH UP PRO 2017 + £6000 = What should I buy?

Hi all,

First post here, but hoping for a positive response…

I am looking for some professional guidance as to what hardware I need to build commericial interior spaces with Sketch Up and render with VRay 3.4.

My models tend to have a lot of VRay reflective and bump textures and the geometry is usually fairly simple.

With this in mind I have a budget of no more than £6000 to buy a rendering PC.

Please can you advise if I should be going for a CPU or GPU biased machine and what specification based upon this for the CPU, GPU and RAM.

I do not need advice on power supply etc as I will not be building it, I will be having it professionally built with the CPU, GPU and RAM specs you guys recommend.

Look forward to the collective outcome you arrive at.

P.S will be buying this week.


I built a machine with a 6/12 core i7 and a pair of GTX970 GPUs two years ago and it’s great.

With £6000 you’ll be able to put a couple of GTX1080Ti GPUs and a fairly hefty CPU.

Go Intel for the CPU and Nvidia for the GPUs and you’ll be set.

Thanks Jason!

I have just received a quote for a Box Apexx 4 6301 with;
AMD Threadripper 1950X 16 Core
2 x NVIDIA Geforce 1080Ti
Windows 10 Pro

What’s your opinion on this setup.

Also, if you don’t mind me asking what sort of render times are you getting on your machine and at what resolution/quality.

Thanks in advance.

Do you mean you just need a ‘render slave machine’ via V-ray Swarm or you will be using this PC for SketchUp modelling as well?

Considering you’ll need for both modelling and rendering, my recommendation for you:

CPU: AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1950X
GPU: Gigabyte AORUS GeForce® GTX 1080 Ti Xtreme Edition 11G (x4)
RAM: Flare X (for AMD) DDR4 32GB (8GBx4) 3200MHz (F4-3200C14Q-32GFX)
SSD: Samsung SSD 960 PRO NVMe M.2 2TB

Note 1: Make sure your memory card (RAM) is Samsung B-die.
Note 2: Consider buying a good PSU (power supply) to improve stability and lifespan of your parts.

Click this for more information.

SketchUp will only use one processor which means multi-threaded CPUs won’t be beneficial for SketchUp usage. So, higher the clock speed (processor frequency - Ghz) better the performance.
However, rendering softwares (including V-ray) will benefit from muli-threaded CPUs. Also when we consider you’ll use multiple applications at the same time (web browser, media player, image editing software etc.), it’s more sensible to buy a multi-threaded CPU (slight decrease on clock speed will be acceptable).

Sometimes hardware specs and parameters doesn’t make sense, so it’s best to trust benchmarks:
Check this for High End CPUs comparison.
Check this for High End Videocards comparison.

Also take a look at V-ray Benchmark and compare CPU & GPU specs and their ranks. (You’ll notice Xeon CPUs and Quadro GPUs, they’re out of range for your budget. Those for big firms that -money isn’t much issue- require precise graphics display with hardware consistency in the long term.)

Lastly check this article about GPU rendering from V-ray. It will definitely be a better/faster choice for rendering but don’t forget that it’s still being developed and you might tweak parameters differently comparing to CPU rendering.

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I’m not sure what you are using at the moment but I went from a top spec MacBook Pro to my monster PC and was astounded at the speed of rendering. In most scenes you can almost move lights in real time and get feedback (I am using Thea Render, but it’s pretty similar)

That setup is the best you can hope for at the moment so, other than optimising the model there is little more you can do for the spec of the machine. You’ll love it.

Hi Filibis,

You’re right, I will be using it for modelling and rendering.

On the machine I have just been quoted for I am not sure if the RAM is B-die. But I will check. Out of interest, why?

With only 2 x 1080 Ti in my build, what sort of difference do you think I’ll see?

PSU sorted, thank you.

Look forward to hearing back.

I’m using an Early 2013 MacBook Pro with;
2.7GHz Intel Core i7 with on board Intel HD Graphics 4000 1536 MB
NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M 1 GB.

and it is painfully slow.

Lets say I was looking to render at Production Quality, 5000px x 2813 how long (roughly) would you expect with 2 x 1080Ti?

Happy to send Sketch up model if you need example.

I’m afraid that’s a bit of a “how long is a piece of string question”

Honestly; you’ll be amazed - just make sure you’re using a GPU/CPU engine when you try :smiley:

I don’t know the exact reasons but official AMD post suggests Samsung B-die chips. (Check this to see variety of memory cards compatible with motherboard showing their chipset manufacturer)

Your current GPU is GT 650M and its result on V-ray benchmark is ~14 min. 30 sec.

GTX 1080 ti (x2) result is ~32 sec. and (x4) result is ~20 sec.

So, comparing to your current GPU, we can say it will be ~27 times faster with (x2) and ~43 times faster with (x4) :upside_down_face:

If you want to continue modelling while you wait for renders to process then you want an extra video card so you dont use up all your GPU power while rendering.

I would build a rig big enough to take 4 video cards but try two 1080 or 1080ti for starters and maybe add a 1070 for doing actual sketchup modelling while you render.

The amount of time to package the scene vs actually raytracing it can mean a big multicore CPU is faster for some workloads involving loads of small scenes (eg animation). Lighting and texture size seem to be a factor in this. I’ve had scenes that process no faster on 2 video cards than they do on one.

Also some renderers (like indigo and corona) are starting to go more for GPU only (not CPU/GPU hybrid)… so the CPU may not be such a huge factor in future. Again this can depend on what sort of scene you’re processing.

Some people prefer 2 rigs…one for modelling (a laptop even?) and one that sits in a room somewhere doing the rendering bit…

Also, get good cooling for the CPU, eg big Noctua twin fan.
And get a good surge/spike protector…protect your invstment… And the PSU should be really big… at least 1.5kw and the best on you can get your hands on.
If you want a nice chassis, the big corsair ones are good.
I find 32GB RAM is a bit small if im rendering a few large scenes at once (but i do outdoors scenes which are ram heavy)

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