Windows or Mac?


I use an intel core i5 iMac and i7 Macbook Pro. On both, sketchup runs fine, but Layout is at times very slow. It is faster on the i7 but it still lags.

I started looking into getting an i9 Macbook or iMac, but then wondered if I should instead get a computer that runs Windows. I know I can run Windows OS on a Mac but in my experience it isn’t as good as a solely Windows computer.

Does anyone have first hand experience running Sketchup AND LAYOUT on a Windows vs a Mac? What do you think?


There may be people with offices here who run both machines. My own experience from what I can glean is that LO is better on a PC and the power of your machine makes little odds.

When I upgraded my Mac a few months ago from a late 2012 model, I noticed quite a difference running SU (it was also more stable), but almost no difference at all running LO.

If I were you, I’d make my choice based on other things. Personally, I wouldn’t go back to PCs unless I really had to.

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That is what I am asking for. Specific different opinions. I appreciate but do not need suggestions on where to get ideas. Your “For example” is what I’m looking for. Your experience.

Can you tell me a little more? Why is LO better on a PC? Why wouldn’t you go back to PCs unless you really had to? This is the information I am looking for. Thanks!

I can’t tell you why LO works better on a PC. It’s just that there are more complaints about LO’s speed in this forum from Mac users. Must be something to do with the way the OS handles the software.

My preference for Macs has little to do with SU/LO, although one really useful built-in Mac feature is the ability to produce PDFs from any program. So when I send drawings from LO, I get the immediate option to print to PDF. I use that all the time.

The relative safety from viruses is another big one. And the fact that shipped software like Pages and Numbers are, like SU, pared back to their basic needs, making them much easier to use (if not as sophoisticated if you really want all bells and whistles).

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Generally speaking, if you are not upgrading from a very old computer, hardware upgrades do not make SketchUp or LayOut go drastically faster. The difference between a just adequate computer and an ultracool whizbang one is noticeable, but just that. Modelling habits, removing all unnecessary detail, is essential.


Interesting! I also create PDFs using LO, but I use “Export”, not “print to”, and I assumed there would be a similar feature on a PC? If I can’t make a PDF from LO on a PC that’s a deal breaker.

I believe you can but you need third party software. It isn’t baked in.

You can export PDFs from LayOut on the PC. Every project I’ve done in LayOut has been finished as a PDF. More than 200 of them for just one client.

That’s not true at all!

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I’m glad I caught this earlier, it was interesting to read that after switching to a PC you didn’t experience the same issues as Mac people did. Do you still use a PC for this reason? I feel like this says a lot to inform my decision.

Yes. My old MacBook Pro has been relegated to running a scanner and I only use Windows machines now for SketchUp and LayOut.

Are there any minimum specs you recommend aside from those required by sketchup?

For SketchUp I prefer macOS. Can’t say about layout but SU ran beautifully on an M1 MacBook Pro vs an i7 laptop.

I wouldn’t have a computer without a decent Nvidia GTX series graphics card now. Fast CPU and reasonably large GPU RAM.


I don’t know what the general public would consider fast or reasonably large, but thanks for the tips! I forgot this is probably the most important question - is there any problem if I create a sketchup file on a Windows, upload it to google drive, and then want to open it on a Mac?

The files will open on either platform. The only thing I see with LO files is that Mac handles text differently than Windows and it’s not unusual to see the red arrows indicating text boxes aren’t big enough. In practice I don’t think it’s a problem but the arrows are a little annoying.

That’s good to know, I hadn’t thought about this. I find the arrows incredibly annoying, but probably not enough to tip the scales in favor of a Mac if the performance is that much better on a PC.

The text box size thing seems to go both ways. I’ve seen it on Mac with LO files created on Windows and I’ve seen it on Windows with LO files created on Mac.

You should probably also consider other applications that you might need to use on the same machine. Maybe image editors or renderers. I use an image editor called PaintDotNet. I prefer it to PhotoShop because I can open it, do what I need to do, and save the changes in less time than it takes PhotoShop to open. But it’s a Windows only program. There are some renderers that are Windows only and there are some applications that are Mac only. Look into the programs you need to use and make sure you aren’t eliminating any of them by one choice over another.

If you utilize extensions, some are Win only. Also consider peripherals (eg. mice, space navigator), and drivers. Some companies prioritize support for Win drivers due to a larger customer base.

I use both Mac and Win and like MacOS better :smiley:, but NOT for SU/LO. If you depend on income related to SU/LO productivity, the answer is Win. My experience is that SU/LO is more stable on a Win platform. Do yourself a favor and do a forum search on “crash, unexpectedly quit, BugSplat”. Also research what platform the heavy hitters use. The numbers may reveal some clues.