What computer to buy?

I am a free-lance Interior Designer that has been doing mostly small drawings by hand. (I used AutoCAD in college & a bit during an internship) Over the last year I’ve gotten bigger jobs and would like to try the Sketchup Pro (or other? suggestions?) I am planning on purchasing a small laptop- possibly with a removable monitor- so I can easily show clients photos of ideas & my drawings as well. My projects are mostly residential- a few rooms at a time. I also design some large art installations as well. What would you recommend? I would like to keep the computer under $400-
No MAC please…


$400 is pretty low for this sort of work. I hope that you’ll be willing to go a little more than this.

Otherwise for the $400 range. that money will certainly go a lot further when shopping for a refurbished computer, or even a good used one.

Try to hold out for a dedicated graphics card. . . the rest of the specs will fall into alignment with the dedicated graphics, more or less.

If the description for the Graphics says Intel HD Graphics then that’s referring to an integrated graphics chip which is part of the motherboard – and also the sort of graphics solution that is set up to handle the minimum requirements for computing.

The dedicated graphics approach has specialized graphics cards inserted into the computer as an extra feature. and they’re typically made by Nvidia, or AMD (…Radeon series) and they usually start to appear in the $800 price range.

At the $400 range there just isn’t a lot of options available past what the basic component set is. so there’s not a lot of recommendations that can be made.

Here’s a sample of <a href=Discounted & Clearance Lenovo Laptops | Outlet | Lenovo US Outlet>refurbished systems on the Lenovo Site. . . all of which have dedicated graphics cards, and those that have the higher price range are essentially using better CPU’s/Processors… and also have more memory which is always very desirable.

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From what has been discussed on this forum recently, perhaps even AMD graphics should be avoided. Sad, as it leaves Nvidia as the only choice.


Thank you @Anssi @JimD @denisroy for all your advice & suggestions. I am starting to understand that I need a lot more power & graphics to run this program! I really do need a laptop however…so I will look into the refurbished option. I may be able to stretch to a $600 price point- wish me luck!

Any other refurbished models you would recommend? ?

My I3 with 2.4 gigahertz CPU does wonders and i put the max Ram in it also still was under $450.00 . . It is a quad core CPU and i run Linux (Ubuntu 15.10 64 bit added Virtual Box to run windows stuff like this program and let it have 2 of my CPU parts and 1.5 gig of ram and 120 megs video some times a bit sow but okay
Linux will run faster and better than windows 7 days a week . . got more software it can run also ! And No virus’s No Bot’s and No Malware . . Gets kinda boring running anti virus
This will connect to HDMI or your HD TV and you got a giant screen ! Samsung I3 quard core 2.4 gigahertz

running OpenGL-based 3D modelers in a virtualized Windows is not recommendable, it’s a just crook only.

if making a living from the results achieved with SU, use with the supported operating systems only.

Works good on my little I3 with 16 gig of DDR 3 ram but the max video I use for windows is 120 megs of the 256 megs there for Video . . as here is the file of my GIANT CLOVER LOL
opened in Sketchup 2015 and the shot shows Linux running ( icons down the side and the Win 7-1 running in Virtual Box

You wanted to see my 4 leaf clover there it is . . Will redo in the 3D printer template and maybe better since I now know how the Push Pull works as you see layer 1 is visable and layer 0 is not

problematic is typically the accelerated 3D display output powered by the OpenGL support of the drirver from the graphics card. Embedding the OGL output of the virtualized Windows window in the Linux display output is not trivial and has already caused display output glitches in those days. Disabling the “Window > Preferences > OpenGL > Use Hardware Acceleration” for fixing this issue is always an option of course.