Workstation Specifications

Hello everyone.
First of all, let me state that I am not a SU user. I am the systems administrator for a company that designs and builds steel structures and buildings. I have been asked to find a workstation that will run Sketch Up for one of our engineers. I have done a bit of research, and I am looking at buying a Dell 7810 workstation with the following hardware:

CPU - Intel Xenon E5-2630 (8 cores, 2.4 GHz) (I do understand that SU does not support multi/hyperthreading, but I am hoping the additional cores will be useful for rendering)
Graphics Card - NVidia Quadro K4200
Memory - 16GB
HDD - 500GB 7,200 RPM (Finished models will reside on our network)

What kind of performance can I expect from Sketch Up with this hardware configuration?
Should I consider a SSD in addition to the HDD?
Are there other hardware components I should consider?

Thanks in advance for all your help!!

Probably this computer will perform quite OK with SketchUp, and throwing in more money will not give a noticeable performance boost. If your SketchUp models are very complex, with millions of edges or faces, you will experience performance issues whatever the hardware configuration.

I am not sure if I would choose this CPU, though - for sheer SketchUp performance a CPU with a faster TurboBoost clock rate (preferably more than 3GHz) might perform better. This might limit your choice to 4 processor cores, so it is a personal balance issue. TurboBoost helps single-threaded applications like SketchUp.

I too prefer Quadro grahics cards, but many users are quite happy with consumer range Nvidia cards. At the moment it seems that AMD card drivers are causing problems with SketchUp, again.

Anssi

SketchUp Hardware and software requirements
http://help.sketchup.com/en/article/36208

You’ll likely wind up getting a machine preloaded with Windows 10. But SketchUp 2015 was released nearly a year ago, long before Win10 was released, so it is not yet officially supported.


Graphics

  • Avoid AMD/ATI Graphcis
  • Avoid Intel Integrated Graphics

Try to get the highest rated Nvidia card here (that you can):
http://www.videocardbenchmark.net/high_end_gpus.html
(I see that the Quadro K4200 is on this “high end” list, ranked 42nd.)

Do a forum search here to check on what other issues others with Quadro cards have had to deal with:
http://forums.sketchup.com/search?q=quadro

Then be sure to peruse the Nvidia Drivers Support forum to see if there are any still open issues with Win10 and GeForce drivers:
https://forums.geforce.com/default/board/33/geforce-drivers/
Note that beta hotfix drivers are released via forum posting.

:bulb:

1 Like

I share Anssi’s view.
Eight cores sound impressive.
But to single thread applications it’s merely a 2.4 GHz CPU, which won’t impress SU.
3 GHz CPU … minimum

rec. for SU:

• CPU : intel Core i7-4790K/i7-6700K
• GPU : nVidia GeForce GTX 960/970/980 (slower <-> faster)
• RAM: 16 GB (2x 8 GB)
• SSD : Samsung 850 Pro (at least as system disk)

not: AMD CPUs (slow) / GPUs (bad OGL)
not: integrated/shared video systems as intel HD series (bad OGL)
not: CAD video cards as nVidia Quadro or AMD FirePro (no advantage; expensive)

I am relatively new to SketchUp but have 30 years of experience with integrating computers and servers into the small business environment.

Until SketchUp supports some of the higher functions of the CPU you won’t see much performance improvement with over the top hardware.

My experience with clients using SolidWorks & PTC Creo (Pro/Engineer) still leaves me confused about the need for workstation rated graphics cards vs. retail or gaming video cards. Both work equally well if similarly configured. It seems to be a personal preference with strong opinions on both sides.

BobF you mentioned ‘rendering’ which, if the proper software is chosen, will make use of the CPU/GPU processing power. You will see more rapid rendering times and may even be able to use your workstation for other tasks (like SketchUp) while rendering functions are performed in the background.

Because I too am looking to rendering my SketchUp projects I converted my server over to a workstation. I built it myself using the Dell T610 specifications as a guide. Here are the specifications.

Dual Quad Core 2.4GHz Xeon 5620

48GB ECC RAM (16GB reserved for virtual machines)

120GB SSD - Operating System
120GB SSD - Applications
240GB SSD - User Files (Documents, Pictures, SketchUp Drawings etc.)

13TB RAID - 8x2TB Hard Disks in RAID 5

4GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960 Video Card (chosen over the 970 because of many reported issues)

3x24" Dell Monitors

3DConexion Wireless SpaceMouse - The Best Neato Accessory a SketchUp User Can Have!

Plantronics BackBeat PRO Wireless HiFi Headset

Windows 8.1 with Hyper-V. I use my computer as a working lab running 5-7 virtual servers/workstations which it does using less than 2% of the processor power.

I mention the headset because I created a Windows Speech Recognition Macro with the 75+ (and growing) most used SketchUp commands. I almost never use the keyboard. I tell SketchUp what I want it to do, i.e. “Arc”, “Line”, “X-Ray”, “Eraser” etc.(all while listening to my favorite music or sporting event) When used with the mouse and SpaceMouse, speech commands make drawing faster by reducing the need to touch the keyboard. Although it is painfully slow (for reasons I do not know) I can voice input data into the Value Control Box, i.e. “seven feet three and one half inches by twenty nine inches”. or “thirty six degrees”. It does work accurately albeit slowly. Must be an operating system / application thing.

I hope that some or all of this helps.

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:sunglasses: I’ve been wondering how to input dimensions without having to resort to a keyboard - sounds like a good idea (if you’ll forgive the pun)

I would reckon what you have listed would be fine running SketchUp.

if the machine feels sluggish, it would be because of model management than the machine itself.

Investing any more on the hardware itself won’t buy much of speed anyways.

Probably a topic that needs its own thread in which I would love to participate (Speech Macros not Puns ;~). Using speech commands is a great tool for SketchUp drawing/modeling and with the exception of the VCB works great. As I mentioned it’s a speed problem and not entirely an accuracy issue. I am still researching and testing and may get lucky with a solution.

Thanks to everyone for their input! I ended up ordering a Dell 5810 series with the following hardware:

Processor: Xenon E5 1630 (4 cores, 3.7Ghz)
Video Card: Nvidia Quadro K4200
Memory: 16 GB
HDD: 1 TB 7200 RPM

The change in processor allowed enough room in the budget for a 256 GB SSD as well. I’ll post results one the machine arrives and is put into use.

sounds like a good machine to work on. :smiley:

[quote=“BobF, post:10, topic:15309, full:true”]Processor: Xenon E5 1630 (4 cores, 3.7Ghz)
Video Card: Nvidia Quadro K4200[/quote]

probably lots of money for a Xenon slower than a i7-6700K and a GPU much slower than an entry level GTX 960… but surely provides the warm fuzzy feeling having a true ‘workstation’.

Good day TCD1317,

How did you manage to use Voice to interact with SketchUp. Did you create you own extension? Or perhaps you are leveraging your OS’s voice recognition app.

I would love to do the same. Any leads would be appreciated.

Thank you.

Max

@maxime.maugeais, this is a 2 year old topic thread, and TCD1317 has not been on the forum for the last 9 months.

Thanks for the reply. I realize this is an old topic but I haven’t much regarding using Voice Recognition in SketchUp. Currently playing with the Win10 speech recognition but switching b/w tools is cumbersome (i.e. many steps). I was hoping for a more elegant solution.

Cheers