Which mac 2021 for sketchUp pro?

Hello all,

i am having serious issues finishing my recent interior design projects in SketchUp. The programm constantly stops to “think”.
To be honest i have NO clue about computers, and i could really appreciate good recommendations for a new mac computer. No long technical solutions please, because like i mentioned IT is not my strong side. I need a simple but good solution.
The file sizes i work on are usually around 250-300MB.
I use loads of textures
And in the future i would like to start using V-Ray.
I am currently working on a laptop from 2015.

Hope there is some one out there that can give me an advice.

250-300 MB is an enormous SketchUp file. Almost certainly unnecessarily so. Textures is one cause of this, but more common causes are overly detailed warehouse components, failure to purge, and generally not careful modeling. Have you purged one of these files? If you go to Window>model info>Statistics what is the edge count in your file?

If we knew more about your current Mac (processor speed, ram, graphics card) we might be able to say if you will see a performance boost from getting a new one or not. But more important is learning lean and clean modeling practices. If you just keep downloading things from the warehouse and dumping them into the file you will soon bring any computer to its knees no matter how powerful.

Thank you!

I can already tell that you are on to a point here. Me edges are no less than 37.500.000. I do use a lot of components in my model. And i also use the purge unused often, to get rid of unnecessary things. I must admit that i don’t look at file size when i chose my components - but then on the other hand i don’t like the idea of having to chose less likeable components just to save space.
More on my computer:
Mac book pro (retina, 15 inch)
Processor 2,5 GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7
Memmory: 16 GB 1600 MHz DDR3
Graphic card: AMD Radeon R9 M370X 2 GB Intel Iris Pro 1536 MB

37 million edges is an extremely large SketchUp model. Perhaps you can save yourself some money and aggravation by identifying what are the most geometrically-heavy components in the model and either replace them with simpler forms, or tag those heavy components and disable the visibility of that tag? Common examples of heavy component are plants.

Also be sure that Shadows and Profiles are disabled in the Style you are using (at least during typical editing sessions); those are very expensive to render on screen.

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Your specs are not bad. SketchUp runs on a single core of your processor, so more cores will not help, processor speed will, you are at 2.5 which is really not too bad, if you went for a newer MBP in the 3’s you might notice, probably not. Ram would help you, 16 is on the low side but workable. 32 or 64 are more the standard now. Your discrete graphics card is also not terrible.

The take home is it’s still a decent computer and with the same file of 37 million edges you would likely not see an enormous improvement for the cost of a new computer. You will probably need one someday, but it’s not going to save you from yourself.

There are tricks to working with higher poly and texture files, work in monochrome style with textures off and make careful use of tags to control visibility of the things you are not working on, keep shadows and profiles off. This can speed up rendering. But ultimately there is no cure for a bloated file with millions and millions of edges except to dump unnecessary high poly components. Do you really need 8mb faucet handles that nobody can see? That kind of thing. It’s something you must pay attention to in the warehouse.

Great thanks!
I will check that out right away. Plants are often used in great numbers, so that could be a good place to start.

That is just GREAT feedback!!

I will try to save me from myself, and see where that takes me:-)


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Two additional suggestions for managing your large file sizes / high poly counts:

  1. Download the ‘Material Resizer’ extension from the Extension Warehouse — it easily identifies overly heavy materials and automatically reduces the size of any material that is larger than a threshold size (that you set). This is one of the big culprits in overly bloated 3D warehouse models.


  1. To reduce overly complex/bloated components, consider a (paid) extension such as Skimp:

or Transmutr:


Whenever I download a 3DWH model, I always open it in a separate file and run Skimp / Material Resizer / CleanUp3 to reduce file size / complexity / geometry issues, etc. (plus: reset the axis / delete unwanted layers ) before importing it into my main model.

Makes a huge difference in keeping file size and complexity under control and within the performance thresholds of my MacBook.

It has to be made clear that no available computer hardware can make a 37 million edges model run satisfactorily. Usually slowdowns start at about a million edges.
The usual model bloat culprits are 3D plants, upholstered furniture, household appliances, people and cars. It pays to be very critical of what you download from the 3D Warehouse. Nowadays the download page shows the statistics of the thing you are looking at. Pay attention to them.

Here is a simple example. Two versions of the same chair, quick render in V-Ray, lousy texturing. One is 20 times heavier than the other. You might spot the difference, but does it really matter?

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That really does not make a difference!

Do you have a general rule of thumb, when you look at the size of a component? When is it going to be too big?

It is the general impact that matters. If you are doing an ultraphotorealistic render of a living room it might be possible to insert a single complex upholstered sofa but, for instance, in an office layout with many workplaces etc. every edge and face starts to count and the items shown ought to be as simple as possible. A single 3D tree in a rowhouse yard foreground might work but you cannot build a forest or park out of them.

Steve Baumgartner (@slbaumgartner) has recently developed a plugin (but I don’t know if he’s ever published it) which can quickly identify which objects in your model have most edges.

He might be able either to run it on your model, or send you a copy for you to try yourself.

Or I could run it for you, if you could upload a copy to a file sharing service like Dropbox, OneDrive, or WeTransfer.

If you don’t want to make it public send me a link by private message (PM) and I can have a look. I won’t share it.

I published version 1.0 on SketchUcation some time ago. Version 2.0 released today.


Hey Anni

Aside from all of the excellent feedback so far on model sizing as a critical feature of efficient modelling, I can offer some advice on V-Ray hardware requirements.

Unless you can afford to spend a huge amount of money on a new Mac you will struggle to use V-Ray effectively. I have an iMac 27 with decent spec but even with fairly simple SU models, lighting and textures, V-Ray was super slow and crashed often.

Specs are:

3.8 GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i5

8 GB 2400 MHz DDR4

Radeon Pro 580 8 GB

Following extensive research and seeking dozens of opinions, I realised that a £5000+ Mac setup might be able to do a decent job but for £2000 I could get a PC to do a great job. Reluctantly (having been a committed Mac user for 15 years) I specified and bought a custom built PC. It has proved a great investment even after a couple of months in terms of render output. Having a reliable and quick interactive rendering option has changed the way I am able to design.

I still use the Mac for everything except modelling and it is great but having a dedicated modelling station is a better setup for me.

One of the best resources I found in gaining an understanding of what makes a good render station is https://www.cgdirector.com/

The balance of cost and performance is not that straightforward and to get the right machine depends on what you want to use it for - static rendering, animation, film editing, 3D modelling etc.

My setup suits my needs on a budget and took compromise to get the right balance of cost and performance. The basic specs are in my profile if you’re interested.

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