What are the minimum hardware requirements for running big models smoothly?

I have been in that situation, about 6 years ago, management did not want to spend any more than necessary. So I bought the minimum required hardware. Six months later the software saw a major major change…wasted $399 and change. The laptop did not have the required port needed for the new software plus using an adapter was not recognized by the software. New laptop time…If I had spent another $75, the required port would have been on board.

Your advice has really helped Geo - thank you.

So this is what I’m going to present to my colleagues as a step by step guide to checking single thread performance before buying a laptop:

  1. Identify the laptops processor:

  2. Go to www.cpubenchmark.net and enter the name of the processor in the search box:

  3. Click on the relevant search result:

  4. And scroll down to find the Single Thread Rating:

  5. You really need the single thread rating to be 2000. If it is - the laptop should work well for SketchUp.

Do you think 2000 is the a sensible minimum by the way - given that the models we use have approx 2,000,000 edges and 900,000 faces?

What about RAM and model size. Is there any reason to believe 16 or 32 mb makes a difference over 8 when it comes to large models?

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You tempt me strangely.

That might depend on what other processes are using the ram. If the processes are utilizing all the ram then the swap file is used. this slows the activity down because the swap file is on the disk drive. This would be less noticeable with an ssd or M.2 storage.

It takes an extremely complex SketchUp model to need more than a few GB of memory. But as @RLGL pointed out, all the other processes in the computer are competing for the same memory. It is typical for the OS itself (including all the helper processes it launches) to use up something near 2GB. Leave a browser and email reader alive and they may eat another GB. Add a photo editor, a renderer, or other heavyweight, and it is easy to have only a few GB free even before you launch SketchUp. So, having just 8GB is living on the edge. I speak from experience, having just 8GB in my MBP Retina. I often struggle to assist with a large model posted on the forum because it drives my Mac into swap. If it were possible (on a MBP it is not, everything is soldered down), this is the first thing about my computer I would upgrade. 16GB is probably enough for almost everyone today, but if you are going to keep the computer for more than a couple of years I’d opt for 32GB, as the memory footprint of everything has been relentlessly growing.


I have the same era machine despite having already bought a mid-2014 machine a while back to move to. Finally getting that done is one new year’s resolution. Still tempted by deals at B&H on this, this and this; all with 32GB of RAM. Also, being mid 2018, you can hang back on Mojave and keep running older 32 bit apps.

I read this entire thread not realizing at first that it was more germane to me that I thought. I was thinking about upgrading my MBP 2014 with an 2.5 GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7, for their latest and greatest. And then when I read that SU only uses a single core and a single thread, the whole thing became moot. Investing almost $3,000 for a barely recognizable performance increase doesn’t seem very wise. I would only be upgrading to get better SU performance since my MBP does every thing else very nicely. I have worn some of the black plastic off on some of the more used keys, but that doesn’t mean a thing. With a solid state hard drive, the computer doesn’t seem to degrade like older mechanical drives do.

That isn’t a bad processor at all! The only thing is that the new model has a professor significantly faster, and the speed difference would definitely be more than “barely noticeable.” I made the same upgrade recently and performance upgrade was significant with the 3.5-4.5ghz processors over the 2.5.

What machine is giving you that clockspeed? On a Mac?

Pretty much all of them can boost well past 4ghz. The listed clock speed is just a base number. This is true of all modern computers considering they all use pretty much the same cpus.

Every single current iMac, MacBook Pro and of course the Mac Pro runs in the 3.5-4.5 GHz speed range. Especially the ones that are close to the $3000 price he referenced.

Sorry to hear that. Now I have to start wanting one again, and the other important person in this household is not impressed. I only use my machine for hobby so there is simply no economic justification for the upgrade, just my convenience.

Don’t be discouraged. Good news is that meeting the minimum requirements is the easy and affordable part. Exceeding them is affordable with just about any current machine and it certainly does not have to be a Mac. A good laptop pc would be great for a sketchup hobbyist.

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Some ten years ago, a user shared this model here in the forum.
I’ve used it as a performance test model ever since.

The statistics show it’s an all around brick.
Faces 2.56 million | Edges 6.75 million | Materials 567

Thus, heavy enough to challenge even high end systems a bit.
File Size 91.7 MB.


SketchUp has a built in performance test of sorts.
Type the following snippet into the Ruby Console and hit Enter
The camera then obits around the model and SketchUp reports n frames/second



Here are the average FPS of my current systems using SU 2018

Dell G7 15.6" Laptop … In Service September 2018
20-21 FPS

• Windows 10 Home 64-bit
• Intel Core i7-8750H CPU @ 2.20GHz – Turbo Boost @ 4.10GHz … 6 cores … 12 threads
• NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 6GB
• 1 - 256GB, SSD Boot
• 1 - 500GB, SSD Storage

Dell Precision Workstation T3620 … In Service November 2016
19-20 FPS

• Windows 10 Pro 64-bit
• Intel Core i7-6700K CPU @ 4.00GHz – Turbo Boost @ 4.20GHz … 4 cores … 8 threads
• 16GB RAM
• NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 6GB
• 2 - 500GB, 7200 RPM 3.5" SATA 6Gb/s HDDs … Raid 1

Dell Precision Workstation T3400 … In Service January 2008
10-11 FPS

• Windows 10 Pro 64-bit
• Intel Core2 Quad Q9650 CPU @ 3.00GHz … 4 cores … 4 threads
• NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 6GB
• 2 - 300GB, 15000 RPM 3.5" SCSI 3Gb/s HDDs … Raid 1


This is great!

So do you reckon with this bit of ruby I can test my models and try out different refinements make them as efficient as possible? This is pretty useful for me as I’m putting together a library that I need to work well on as many machines as possible.

Thanks again Geo


I got a xeon 1230 and 16gb ram. A quick look into Task manager and its clear that its not the cpu thats most important. The problem with larger scenes for me is my GPU memory, I got a GTX 680 with 2 gb ram, and sketchup eats up the VRAM before i reach 30% cpu use.

Im trying to choose a convertible laptop to use out and about for interior design projects using Sketchup occasionally (I will mainly use it on a desktop).
Considering an HP Spectre but it has spec:
Intel® Core™ i7-8565U (1.8 GHz base frequency, up to 4.6 GHz with Intel® Turbo Boost Technology, 8 MB cache, 4 cores)
Can anyone advise if I really need ‘base frequency’ to be the recommended 2.1GHz or will this one do the job?

Any frequency above the 2.1 will work. IMHO the 1.8 base is too low and is depending on the Turbo Boost. My recommendation for a processor would be to get in the 3+ GHz range . Another consideration: See this thread. Perhaps @TheGuz could weigh in on the situation.

That’s really helpful, thank you.
Also for the link to the thread re Sketchup on HP Spectres - i will follow that up!

I think the answer will depend a lot on the nature of the models you will want to work with and the nature of the work you will be doing with them. We see a lot of cases on the forum of interior models in which highly detailed entourage elements have been downloaded from the 3D Warehouse, e.g. to insert a specific kind of appliance or to show realistic furnishing. These are pretty certain to be poor performers on a relatively slow CPU such as that.

Don’t be misled by the turbo-boost rating. It is a sprint rating, meant for short bursts not for sustained load. The fact that HP chose that slow base says they wanted to minimize cooling and power demand, i.e. this computer will tire out and drop back to a jog pretty quickly.

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