What is better - more memory or bigger processor for SU

I am presently using a Mac with 3.06 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, NVIDIA GeForce 940 256MB graphics card and 8gb RAM. SU, and especially LayOut is driving up the wall with the slow redraw and processing speed. I frequently have to reboot the machine to get LO to compute things quicker. Using SU Pro 15.3.329

I am going to upgrade the Mac, but can someone please let me know what is more important - the processor or more RAM. Thanks

Compare you current system hardware to that recommended by SketchUp.
Notice your NVIDIA GeForce 940 256MB graphics card fails to meet the minimum recommended.
SketchUp Hardware and Software Requirements — SketchUp Help

LayOut will run faster with these settings…
File > Document Setup > Paper > Rendering Resolution
• Set the Edit Quality to Medium or Low
• Set the Output Quality to High or Medium as desired

No amount of fancy hardware can overcome poor modeling techniques.
See … How do I make SketchUp Run Faster? — SketchUp Sage Site

By “bigger processor” I presume you mean quad-core? SketchUp uses only one CPU core at a time, so there is no benefit from quad vs duo beyond any difference in the single-core performance of the specific chips. More RAM never hurts (except in the wallet), especially if you leave other apps running at the same time. If you check the Activity Monitor while running SketchUp or Layout, you can see whether you are stressing your current memory. If you are using a lot of swap space, that will slow everything down dramatically. A new machine with SSD will make a difference in that case. The fact that a reboot helps suggests to me that you have too much running at a time.

Geo got there before me, but I would agree that the graphics processor is the weakest link in your current system. SketchUp depends heavily on the GPU for many tasks.

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If the OS is swapping more RAM is the only cure, swapping to a SSD instead to a HDD may help but isn’t desirable neither.

SketchUp depends heavily on the CPU for modeling processing, therefore a mediocre GPU is regularly sufficient.(besides using rendering plugins relying on the GPU).

more infos concerning lean modeling can be found in the conerning SketchUp Knowledge Base article too.

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It is no big deal. I ran SketchUp quite OK with a 60MB old Geforce laptop card when the recommendation was already in place. I have never heard of anyone stumbling on video memory issues with SketchUp. Of course, if you are running multiple big screens…

Briefly, I would guess that you are going to be disappointed with the performance boost that can be achieved with hardware upgrades, especially as you are already running a CPU at over 3GHz, even if you spent massive amounts of money for absolutely top-notch technology.


PC here have not used MAC in years. From your orginal post above slow redraw sounds like your model is putting a large rendering load on the GPU. If possible change your rendering to monochrome ( don’t use LO so do not know that is possible) and see if that helps speed. The technical limit of CPU speed is around 3.5GHz ( For PCs) and increased heating has been some what of reasons for dual core operation. All though SU does not use dual cores you should try keep heat load down, check for other programs running that uses other cores and make sure the mac is setting on some thing that will help to conduct heat away from it . Base plate temps in the 100 C range are not good because you will probably pushing junction temps up toward 125 C where reliability starts to drop off.
The 8GB of memory I would increase unless that forces you to buy different unit other wise it should be some what cheap upgrade. You have not included in your profile the MAC sku . They have been in the forefront of OpenGL deprecation so checking for possible update of GPU if possible may help??

it’s not only clock frequency but efficieny of internal CPU architecture of course.

the used intel Core2 Duo E8435 delivers 2,161 Passmark points (1081/core) whereas e.g. a common intel i7-4790k (~330 U$) is good for 11.232 Passmark points (2808/core), i.e. nearly triples the ‘number crunching’.

if time is money (= commercial usage) upgrading the system may therefore pay for itself.


I still wanted to thank you for your advice. Helped me get a better understanding of navigating around. Thanks