Are you looking to optimize your experience with SketchUp? Or maybe you purchased one of my FOCUSED SketchUp Courses and want to make sure you have the right laptop or computer to use for the lessons? 

In this article, I’ll cover everything you need to know about the best computer for SketchUp and VRay. From the system requirements to the ideal processor, graphics card, RAM, and storage options, I’ve got you covered.

I’ll also explore the best desktop, laptop, and all-in-one computers for SketchUp, as well as provide tips on how to choose the right computer based on your budget and usage needs. Let’s dive in!

Key Takeaways:

Table of Contents

Disclaimer: Affiliate links may be used throughout this article. 

What is SketchUp?

SketchUp is a 3D modeling software known for its intuitive interface and ease of use, making it popular among architects, interior designers, and AEC professionals. Developed by Trimble, SketchUp allows users to create detailed 3D models and presentations for various projects.

Its flexibility and accessibility have earned SketchUp a reputation as a go-to tool in the design industry. Whether you are designing intricate building structures, creating elaborate landscapes, or visualizing interior spaces, SketchUp offers a range of tools and plugins to enhance your creativity.

With its user-friendly features, such as the push-pull tool for easy modeling and the dynamic components for interactive designs, SketchUp caters to both beginners and experienced professionals in the field. The software seamlessly integrates with other platforms like CAD software and 3D printers, further expanding its usability.

There are several versions of SketchUp available – SketchUp Free, SketchUp Pro, and SketchUp Studio.  I recommend SketchUp Pro or SketchUp Studio (find out the differences between the two in my blog SketchUp Pro vs. Studio).  

What are the System Requirements for SketchUp?

Understanding the system requirements for SketchUp is crucial to ensure optimal performance and a smooth user experience. These requirements encompass hardware specifications and software compatibility necessary to run SketchUp efficiently.

For hardware, the minimum requirements typically include a multi-core processor, 8 GB of RAM, and 700MB of available hard-disk space. For a more robust experience, it is recommended to have a faster processor, 16 GB RAM, and dedicated graphics card with OpenGL support.

In terms of operating system compatibility, SketchUp is compatible with both Windows and macOS. It is essential to use a supported version to prevent any compatibility issues.

If you are using a rendering extension such as V-Ray, make sure you research the minimum system requirements for that as well and consider that in your decision on what machine to buy. 

What are the Minimum System Requirements for SketchUp?

To run SketchUp smoothly, the minimum system requirements include a compatible operating system, a reliable graphics card capable of handling 3D rendering, sufficient RAM for multitasking, and a solid-state drive (SSD) for faster data access. Read their most up to date system requirements here

Having a compatible operating system is crucial as it ensures that the software can run seamlessly without compatibility issues.

A reliable graphics card is essential for handling the complex 3D rendering tasks that SketchUp demands, providing a smooth and immersive experience for the user.

Sufficient RAM capacity is necessary for multitasking and running resource-intensive operations, preventing lags and slowdowns during the design process. Their minimum requirement is 4GB of RAM, which is way too low. 

Utilizing a solid-state drive (SSD) greatly improves speed and responsiveness, reducing loading times and enhancing overall performance.

SketchUp 2024's New Graphics Engine

Sketchup 2024 introduces a powerful new graphics engine that comes with some additional requirements. Basically, if you have a Windows machine, you need DirectX12 11.0 support.  You can use their diagnostic tool to see what version you have. My results are below: 

My DirectX System Information Results
My DirectX System Information Results

For Macs, you must use version 12.3.1 or above and requires Metal 2 Spport.  More information on MacOS versions satisfying this requirement are on Apple’s Metal support page

But basically, if your Mac is made after 2019, you should be fine.

What are the Minimum System Requirements for V-Ray for SketchUp?

To be able to render efficiently with V-Ray, you need to exceed the minimum system requirements that they suggest. As of May 2024, their minimum requirement for RAM is 8GB, which in my opinion is not enough. 

What are the Recommended System Requirements for SketchUp?

For optimal performance and enhanced functionality in SketchUp, it is recommended to have a powerful graphics card with dedicated memory, ample RAM for complex projects, a fast processor for efficient rendering, and a spacious solid-state drive to store project files.

These system requirements play a crucial role in boosting the overall performance of SketchUp software. A high-performance graphics card with dedicated memory ensures smooth and lag-free 3D modeling and rendering processes. 

Having sufficient RAM capacity allows users to work on large and complex projects seamlessly without experiencing delays or crashes. A fast processor is essential for quick calculations and efficient rendering of intricate designs. 

Utilizing a solid-state drive for storing project files not only enhances file access speed but also contributes to a more organized workspace, thus improving productivity and workflow.

My System Requirement Recommendations

  • 32GB of RAM or higher (64GB is best)
  • 1TB or larger Solid State Hardrive (SSD)
  • Intel Core i9 Processor or AMD Ryzen 9 series
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX Graphics Cards
  • A 3-button Scroll Wheel Mouse

What Makes a Computer Good for SketchUp?

A computer optimized for SketchUp should feature a powerful processor with excellent single-core performance, a high-end graphics card capable of handling complex 3D models, ample RAM to support multitasking, and a fast solid-state drive for quick data access. 

In terms of SketchUp, the processor’s single-core performance is crucial as it directly influences the software’s ability to swiftly handle individual tasks. An efficient processor ensures seamless navigation through large models and smooth rendering of complex designs. Moving on to the graphics card, its role in supporting high-quality visual representations cannot be overstated. Robust graphics cards enable detailed visualizations and smooth performance during 3D modeling, making them vital for professionals working on intricate projects. Having ample RAM is essential for multitasking in SketchUp, allowing users to work on multiple projects simultaneously without experiencing lag or slowdown.

Opting for a solid-state drive (SSD) over a traditional hard drive provides the best performance for SketchUp and V-Ray. The advantages of using an SSD lie in its fast data retrieval speeds, leading to quicker loading times for projects and improved overall responsiveness of the software. By balancing these key components – processor, graphics card, RAM, and storage – users can create an optimal computing environment for their SketchUp endeavors.

What Processor is Best for SketchUp?

When selecting a processor for SketchUp, it is advisable to opt for models from the AMD Ryzen or Intel Core series, known for their superior performance in handling complex 3D modeling tasks. These processors offer the single-core performance required for smooth rendering and modeling in SketchUp. 

AMD Ryzen processors, such as the Ryzen 9 series, shine when it comes to multi-core performance, making them ideal for multitasking and parallel processing tasks in SketchUp.

I recommend a computer with the Intel i9 processor.
Image courtesy of

Conversely, Intel Core processors, like the Core i9 lineup, are celebrated for their unparalleled single-core performance, essential for tasks in SketchUp that heavily rely on individual core strength.

While both AMD Ryzen and Intel Core processors excel in different aspects, the single-core performance plays a crucial role in enhancing the overall user experience in SketchUp. Efficient single-core performance ensures that intricate 3D models are processed swiftly, leading to faster rendering times and a smoother workflow.

What Graphics Card is Best for SketchUp?

For optimal graphic performance in SketchUp, consider using a high-quality graphics card such as NVIDIA GeForce RTX or AMD processors, known for their rendering capabilities and efficient handling of 3D models. These cards offer the necessary power for smooth rendering and visualization in SketchUp. 

NVIDIA GeForce RTX and AMD processors provide advanced technologies that enhance the overall user experience in SketchUp. The real-time ray tracing feature found in NVIDIA GeForce RTX cards significantly elevates the quality of lighting and reflections in rendered 3D models, adding a touch of realism to your designs.

The parallel processing power of these cards enables faster rendering times and smoother navigation within complex projects. This means less time waiting for your renders to complete and more time focusing on precision and creativity in your designs.

How Much RAM is Needed for SketchUp?

SketchUp operates more efficiently with ample RAM, typically requiring a minimum of 8GB to 16GB (I would not get anything under 16GB) for smooth performance on standard projects. For larger and more complex models, 32GB or 64GB RAM capacity is recommended to ensure seamless multitasking and rendering.

Having an adequate RAM capacity is crucial for running SketchUp smoothly. With enough RAM, the software can handle complex 3D modeling tasks without lag or slowdowns. This enhanced capacity not only boosts the performance of the software but also improves overall user experience by allowing for seamless multitasking.

Shop Laptops & Desktops for SketchUp

Download my FREE SketchUp and V-Ray Hardware Guide to get links to my recommended laptops for SketchUp! 

What is the Best Storage Option for SketchUp?

Utilizing a solid-state drive (SSD) is highly recommended for storing SketchUp project files due to its faster data access speeds and improved reliability compared to traditional hard disk drives (HDD). An SSD enhances workflow efficiency and reduces loading times within the software. 

One of the key benefits of SSDs is their ability to access data at lightning-fast speeds, which is crucial for SketchUp users working on complex projects that involve large file sizes. The improved read and write speeds provided by SSDs result in quicker file loading times, smoother editing experiences, and seamless rendering processes.

When compared to HDDs, SSDs are significantly more reliable due to their lack of moving parts. This enhances data integrity and reduces the risk of file corruption. SSDs are more durable and resistant to physical shock, making them ideal for users who frequently transport their devices.

What Other Features Should a Computer Have for SketchUp?

A computer ideal for SketchUp should offer features like a long battery life for portable usage, a spacious screen size for detailed modeling work, and efficient cooling mechanisms to prevent overheating during intensive projects. 

Extended battery life in a SketchUp-friendly computer ensures that users can work on their projects without constantly worrying about running out of power. With larger screen sizes, modelers can immerse themselves in intricate designs, easily spotting every detail with enhanced clarity. Effective cooling systems help maintain optimal performance levels, preventing slowdowns or interruptions due to overheating. These supplementary features not only boost productivity but also enhance the overall comfort and user experience when using SketchUp.

What are the Best Computers for SketchUp?

Selecting the best computer for SketchUp involves considering factors like processor performance, graphics card capabilities, RAM capacity, storage options, and additional features that cater to the specific requirements of SketchUp users. 

When evaluating a computer’s compatibility with SketchUp, users should prioritize a powerful processor as it significantly impacts the software’s speed and responsiveness.


PRO TIP: If you use the Chaos Cloud for rendering (which I recommend), you don’t need a powerhouse computer with maximum performance. You need a descent PC hardware configuration, but nothing over the top, since the taxing render process will be offloaded to the Chaos Cloud and not done on your computer. 

A dedicated graphics card with ample VRAM is crucial for handling complex 3D models and rendering tasks efficiently.

Having a sufficient RAM capacity ensures smooth multitasking and seamless performance while working on large projects in SketchUp.

Opting for fast storage options like SSDs can boost loading times and overall system responsiveness, enhancing the user experience. Considering additional features such as multiple USB ports, high-quality display monitors, and compatibility with external peripherals can further enhance productivity and convenience for SketchUp users.

Best Desktop Computers for SketchUp

Desktop computers offer robust performance and customization options, making them ideal for intensive SketchUp projects. Look for models with high-end processors, dedicated graphics cards, ample RAM, and fast storage solutions to enhance modeling efficiency. 

When working on complex 3D designs in SketchUp, having a desktop computer with a powerful processor is a game-changer. The processor’s speed and efficiency greatly impact the modeling and rendering processes, ensuring smooth performance even with intricate designs.

Graphics cards are another crucial component to consider, as they handle the visual aspects of your projects, providing crisp renderings and real-time shadows. With ample RAM, multitasking becomes seamless, allowing you to work on multiple design elements concurrently.  

My Top Picks!
Desktops for SketchUp

Download my FREE SketchUp and V-Ray Hardware Guide to get links to my favorite desktops for SketchUp! 

Best Laptop Computers for SketchUp

Laptop computers provide portability and flexibility for SketchUp users who require mobility. When selecting a laptop for SketchUp, prioritize features like long battery life, a large screen size for detailed work, and a lightweight design for ease of transportation. 

Having a laptop that offers an extended battery life is nice to have, but if you are like me, you will likely have your laptop plugged in at your desk while working with SketchUp.  With the freedom to work on the go, SketchUp users can explore various locations for inspiration, making their creative process more versatile.


PRO TIP: Don’t bother with upgrading to a touchscreen laptop – SketchUp is not very usable with a touchscreen.  

In addition, a generous screen size provides a more immersive working experience, allowing for better visualization of complex 3D designs. Whether working in a coffee shop or outdoor setting, a larger display enhances productivity and precision.

The weight of the laptop is an essential factor for SketchUp enthusiasts who are often on-the-move. A lightweight design ensures easy portability, enabling users to effortlessly carry their work setup wherever they go, fostering a dynamic and flexible approach to design projects. 

The operating system plays a key role as well in determining what laptop to buy – do you prefer Windows or Macs?  SketchUp and V-Ray work on both, so it really is a personal preference.  Do you go the Windows route and buy a new Dell XPS or go the Mac route and buy a new Macbook Pro?  It’s really a personal preference!

Shop Laptops for SketchUp

Download my FREE SketchUp and V-Ray Hardware Guide to get links to my favorite laptops for SketchUp! 

Best All-in-One Computers for SketchUp

All-in-one computers offer space-saving designs and integrated components that streamline the workspace for SketchUp users. Look for models with powerful processors, dedicated graphics cards, ample RAM, and high-resolution displays to optimize modeling and rendering tasks. 

The cohesive design of all-in-one computers minimizes cable clutter, providing a clean and organized setup conducive to focused work. The convenience of having all essential hardware components neatly integrated into a single unit enhances the efficiency of SketchUp projects. Furthermore, their compact form factor makes them ideal for smaller workspaces or studios where maximizing desk space is crucial. With fewer cables and connections to manage, all-in-one computers simplify the overall user experience, saving time and effort in setting up and maintaining the hardware. 

In my opinion, for Windows users, the best All-in-One Computers for SketchUp are as follows:

Can I use an iPad for SketchUp?

Yes, but no… let me explain. The SketchUp app for iPad is fairly new, and it’s equivalent to the web browser version of SketchUp. It’s “lite” and does not have all the functionality you need to use SketchUp professionally. You can’t use V-Ray on an iPad (SketchUp extensions are not supported on an iPad), so that right there is the kiss of death if you are trying to create photorealistic renders as part of your business. 

Now, if you want to show your clients a 3D model in SketchUp on-site, or something like that, you can use the iPad app, but for serious SketchUp work, you absolutely need a PC or Mac. No exceptions to that unfortunately (for now).

How to Choose the Right Computer for SketchUp?

Choosing the right computer for SketchUp involves evaluating your budget, usage requirements, and comparing specifications based on user reviews and expert recommendations. Consider factors like performance, portability, and specific needs when selecting a computer optimized for SketchUp. 

In terms of budget constraints, it’s crucial to find a balance between affordability and the necessary specifications for SketchUp. Look for models that offer the best value for your money without compromising performance.

User feedback is a goldmine of information. Check online forums, reviews, and ratings to gather insights into how different computers perform with SketchUp. This real-world feedback can often highlight aspects that aren’t apparent from technical specifications alone.



PRO TIP: Don’t overlook the importance of performance in a SketchUp computer. Opt for models with powerful processors, dedicated graphics cards, and sufficient RAM to ensure smooth operation even with complex projects.

Consider Your Budget

When choosing a computer for SketchUp, establish a budget that aligns with your requirements and ensures a balance between performance and affordability. Evaluate new laptop options, desktop models, and all-in-one computers based on their cost-effectiveness and compatibility with SketchUp.

Setting a budget before purchasing a computer for SketchUp is crucial as it helps you make informed decisions that cater to your specific needs. By considering factors such as processor speed, GB of Memory (RAM), graphics card compatibility, and storage capabilities, you can narrow down your options to find the most suitable device within your financial constraints.

Comparing different computer types allows you to weigh the pros and cons of each, whether it’s the portability of a laptop, the power and upgradeability of a desktop, or the space-saving convenience of an all-in-one system.

Shop Computers for SketchUp & V-Ray

Download my FREE SketchUp and V-Ray Hardware Guide to get links to my favorite computers for SketchUp! 

Evaluate Your Usage and Needs

Understand your specific requirements and usage patterns in SketchUp to determine the ideal computer that caters to your design projects. Consider factors like processing power, CPU cores, graphics capabilities, RAM capacity, and storage options based on your workflow and project complexities. 

Also consider if you will be using this machine in the field, or if it will be stationary at your home or office (i.e. do you need a laptop or a desktop).  

When evaluating your computer needs for SketchUp, it’s crucial to assess the demands of your design tasks. Whether you focus on intricate 3D modeling, rendering high-resolution images, or working on large-scale architectural projects, matching your computer’s capabilities with these specific requirements is paramount. A robust processor ensures smooth handling of complex models, while a dedicated graphics card enhances visual quality and rendering speed. Adequate RAM capacity and fast storage drives are essential for seamless multitasking and quick file access, optimizing your workflow efficiency.

Read Reviews and Compare Specifications

Before purchasing a computer for SketchUp, read user reviews and expert opinions to gain insights into performance, reliability, and compatibility with the software. Compare specifications across different models to make an informed decision based on your design requirements. 

Checking out reviews and expert insights can provide valuable information on how different computers handle SketchUp tasks, ensuring that you invest in a system that can smoothly run the software. It’s essential to dig into the nitty-gritty details of specifications, such as processor speed, RAM capacity, and graphics card capabilities, to assess if they align with the demands of your design projects. By conducting thorough research and comparing various models, you can pinpoint the features and performance metrics necessary for an optimal SketchUp experience.

Frequently Asked Questions

The best computer for using SketchUp is typically one with a powerful processor, plenty of RAM (>16GB), and a dedicated graphics card. Some recommended specifications include an Intel i7 or AMD Ryzen 7 processor, 16GB of RAM, and an NVIDIA or AMD graphics card with at least 4GB of VRAM.

While it is possible to use SketchUp on a lower-end computer, having a high-end computer will greatly improve your experience and allow you to work with larger, more complex models without experiencing lag or crashes. Investing in a good computer will ultimately save you time and frustration in the long run.  

Yes, SketchUp and VRay are compatible with both Mac and Windows operating systems. However, it is important to note that some features and plugins may differ between the two, so it is best to research and compare before making a decision on which platform to use.

Yes, you can use a laptop for SketchUp as long as it meets the recommended specifications mentioned earlier. Keep in mind that laptops with dedicated graphics cards tend to be more expensive, so make sure to do your research and choose one that fits your budget and needs.

No, you do not need a specific type of monitor for SketchUp. However, it is recommended to use a high-resolution monitor with good color accuracy, as this will allow you to see your designs in the best possible quality and make accurate adjustments.

No, you do not need an internet connection to use SketchUp. However, some features such as using the 3D Warehouse or accessing online tutorials may require an internet connection. SketchUp also offers a desktop version for those who prefer to work offline.  Also, SketchUp does need to verify you have a valid license periodically, so it will ask you to login to your Trimble account to verify access, which requires an internet connection. 

Shop Computers for SketchUp & V-Ray

Download my FREE SketchUp and V-Ray Hardware Guide to get links to my favorite computers for SketchUp!