Which Fast Graphics Card is best for SketchUp?



Hi you all, I want to get a fast graphics Card for sketchup. if I can afford a usd$1000 Nvidia Titan X card, will it help sketchup viewport viewing smoothness?? I don’t want to buy a expensive card that won’t be useful for sketchup.

people said Quadro is better for 3d applications and Geforce Titan X or other similar cards is best for gaming, is this true?

Thanks in advance.

Hardware Purchasing Advice For SketchUp & LayOut [wiki]

There is a limit to how much it is reasonable to pay for a graphics card for SketchUp use. Mostly, the difference between a mid-range card and the latest ultracool whizbang super card is something between slight and not noticeable.

The screen view in SketchUp is managed by both the graphics card and CPU, with the former taking responsibility for raster effects (shading, textures, shadows, fog etc.) while the geometry (faces, edges) is generated by your CPU. So whatever the graphics card, there will always be a bottleneck with your CPU lagging behind.

Quadro cards have no hardware advantage over consumer (GeForce) cards. On the contrary, for the same price, a GeForce delivers much more performance than a Quadro. Quadro drivers have tended to be more reliable than the “consumer” ones. SketchUp doesn’t use any Quadro-specific OpenGL features, if there are those.



lets say I will get a fastest i7 which is about USD$1000. and it seems like I can get a geforce Titan X? and I don’t necessarily benefit from Quadro?!!


SketchUp uses only one CPU core, so the performance gain from a sexier multi-core CPU may be less than you expected. If you also run a renderer that can use multiple cores, that’s a different story.


If sketchup only use one core , not one cpu. Then that’s kinda pathetic. So a fastest i7 won’t help. :roll_eyes:
I better search for sth else.


Good luck! Multithreading is a nut that the developers of 3D modelling software have been trying to crack for years. Even the most advanced ones still use only one thread for the actual modelling part, with some minor tasks like writing to disk delegated to other threads. Multithreading is cited in the advertising, but when you read what it is actually about it amounts to approximately to this (3D Studio Max, Revit, Archicad…)



Where does LightUp fall in your list? With that you can real time wander around your geometry in SketchUp, and you get lighting and reflections. It is demanding on the CPU though, because it’s constantly sending geometry to the GPU.

SketchUp could certainly use the Scene and Game views that are in Unity. You would do all your modeling in the Scene view, and then open the Game view to get full quality GPU real time rendering.


Wow thanks for the relpies!!!

So I don’t have to invest in quadro graphic cards, I will get a GeForce Titan X instead then or any cheaper but decent GeForce card, right?

Vray for sketchup real time render does allow gpu rendering, does anyone use it already and . Can I set it to achieve realistic render results ?

I know if I get a fastest i7 with 8 core n hyper threading to 16 cores. My render will be at least 2 times faster (since I use a 4 core with 8 core hyper threading i7 cpu).

Can you list the CPU n gpus that you are using that really give fast save n viewport viewing n render result?

If GeForce is suitable for sketchup what GeForce gpu card r u using?

I’m thinking using GeForce Titan X to give me fast preview in vray for sketchup then render my scene fast use fastest i7. I know Thea support gpu rendering very well , not sure about vray for sketchup!

I already done a lot of research, but nothing beats real evidence. If you can list what CPU n gpu you using , then I think I can get more correct evidence on what I should get.
Still I was surprised by so many responses. Thanks you all!!


probably because SU is - as the vast majority of 3D modelers for modeling operations - single-threaded and therefore uses 1 kernel only, i.e. a quad-core CPU with 25% CPU utilization means one core running at 100%…

… SU itself relies mainly on the CPU and doesn’t need GeForce monster cards, they make sense for e.g. rendering plugs only.


Hi @sketch3d_de,

Unfortunately, I have to disagree with your statement, at least a far as my own setups and experiences are concerned and from which I draw most of my conclusions. I understand it might not reflect all possible uses cases (see Disclaimer at the bottom) and know that I do not wish this post to be anything else than informative! :smile:

I have run the following test…

Tasks performed

( Settings: Bold = Enabled setting, Italic = Disabled)

  • Open Sketchup Pro 2016
  • Open @TDahl 's Viking '75 Mars Lander Model from the 3DW (a beautiful and complex 40MB model)
  • Rotate, pan and zoom in/out
    • View -> Edge Style -> [Edges, Back edges, Profile, Depth cues, Extension]”
    • View -> Shadows
  • Rotate, pan and zoom in/out
    • "View -> Edge Style -> [Edges, Back edges, Profile, Depth cues, Extension]
    • View -> Shadows
  • Rotate, pan and zoom in/out
    • View -> Edge Style -> [Edges, Back edges, Profile, Depth cues, Extension]”
    • View -> Shadows
  • 1 min rendering with Visualizer v1.3
  • Push/pull random faces within components
    • "View -> Edge Style -> [Edges, Back edges, Profile, Depth cues, Extension]
    • View -> Shadows
  • Close the model

Hardware used

  • Asus G750JS Laptop (the “1500$ laptop” I’m referring to in my post)

    • Intel Core i7 4700HQ Processor
    • 16GB DDR3L RAM
    • Intel 4600 On-board GPU
    • nVidia GTX870M 3GB GDDR5 VRAM GPU (nVidia Optimus lets you decide which GPU to use on a per-app basis)
    • Samsung Pro 256GB SSD (should have very little influence other than fast program/model load times)
    • Windows 10 Enterprise 2015 LTSB (a heavily trimmed down, strict-minimum branch of Enterprise edition)
  • A minimal process list

    • I close all process that was not a Microsoft Windows process, a necessary driver or the Open Hardware Monitor used to record ressource usage


  • Static SketchUp Settings for all tests:
    • Style used: “Default -> Architectural Design Style
    • View -> Face Style -> Shaded with Textures” even if the model uses 100% opaque hex colors and no bitmap materials
    • “View -> Hidden Geometry
  • I had the hardware monitor capture at a rate of 1 poll per second
  • I waited +/- 30sec between each step to give time to both CPU/GPU to fall back to normal state
  • I have run the test twice. First with the nVidna GPU and then on the Intel GPU.

Result plot for nVidia GTX870M GPU

Result plot for Intel 4600 GPU


  • Using the nVidia GPU

    • We see SketchUp using mainly one CPU core (Core #2), as expected.
    • (1) and (2): The spike versus the spread in (2) comparison is probably due to poll rate frequency and settings being changed as no noticeable difference was seen during these two steps.
    • (3): With back edges turned on, rotate/pan/zoom resulted in some GPU usage and slightly higher CPU usage but never took the single CPU core to or above the 50% mark.
    • (4): With back edges turned off, rotate/pan/zoom resulted in higher GPU usage and average CPU usage.
    • (5): With all edges and shadows turned off, GPU and CPU usage are both average.
    • (7): Push/Pull never took the single CPU core to or above the 30% mark, and made little use of the GPU.
    • nVidia GPU seems useful as it seems to take a good load in viewport operations, even with shadows turned off.
    • The noticeable difference in higher CPU usage for the nVidia test is most likely due to the superior visual quality experienced during this test.
  • Using the Intel GPU

    • We see SketchUp using mainly one CPU core (Core #3) but with some activity from the other cores as well, most probably representing the OS management of the Intel GPU load that ends up spreaded across multiple cores.
    • (3): With back edges turned on, rotate/pan/zoom never took the any CPU core to or above the 25% mark.
    • (4): With back edges turned off, rotate/pan/zoom never took the any CPU core to or above the 35% mark.
    • (5): With all edges and shadows turned off, rotate/pan/zoom spiked one CPU core slightly above the 35% mark.
    • (7): Push/Pull spiked one CPU core to the 40% mark.
    • Although I saw a lot of degradation in the graphic quality during all viewport tests (mediocre performances, no AA, shadows being automatically turned off during camera movements), CPU core utilization sat between 20% and 35%, going up to 40% only once during (7) which tells me that SketchUp does not make such an extensive use of the CPU during viewport operations even when a low-end on-board GPU is used.
  • (6): Although some renderers do use GPU, Visualizer v1.3 made use of all 4 CPU cores during both tests but made no use of the nVidia GPU at all to render the still.

DISCLAIMER: No polygons were harmed during this test. This “backyard analysis” is not meant to be treated as “utter scientific, undeniable proof” of anything. I just wanted to show the data from which I draw my claims and opinions. If results were to be dissected and/or destroyed by SketchUp Sages, Trimble devs or any other higher-power entity, I will humbly crawl back in my cave and resume my SketchUp self-education. :grinning:


screen transformation operations as rotate, pan, zoom (= OpenGL) are done by the GPU of the graphics card of course and therefore do not provide further insight how modeling operations do profit from a faster CPU.

Render plugins obviously have nothing to do with SUs core modeling operations.


thus my remarks at your:


doing some pushpulling of an undefined amount of faces isn’t a real benchmark for modeling operations.

the performance of CPUs is typically compared by benchmarks and not by pricing.

me2 :wink: