What computer do I need for SketchUp and V-Ray?

What Computer Do I Need for SketchUp and V-Ray?

Two common questions I get asked multiple times a week are “can I use an iPad for SketchUp” and “What type of computer do I need for SketchUp?”.  Sometimes I feel like a broken record when I answer these questions, so instead I’m answering them in-depth below! 

First, you should know that both SketchUp and V-Ray are compatible with Macs and PC’s.  I actually think SketchUp works better on a PC (toolbars are much easier to work with), but most of my students in FOCUSED SketchUp use a MacBook Pro.

Can I use SketchUp on an iPad?

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).

Best Computers for SketchUp and V-Ray

So what type of computer do you need to run SketchUp and V-Ray efficiently? I’ll break it down for you by operating system (Mac vs. PC), and I’m not even going to mention the minimum requirements because honestly, you can barely run both with those and you will become frustrated with slow performance and application crashes. I’ll instead list what you NEED, not necessarily top of the line (although you could), but enough to let you work efficiently.    If you want to know what I use, you can check out this Dell XPS laptop.


  • Windows 10 or 11
  • 16GB of RAM (32 or 64 better if you have the budget).
  • 100GB+ of storage (models and assets take up a lot of space).
  • AMD or NVIDIA 3D graphics card with 1GB+ of memory.
  • 3-button scroll-wheel mouse.


  • Mac OS 12+, 11+, 10.15+
  • 2.1Ghz processor or higher
  • 16GB RAM (32 or 64 better if you have the budget)
  • 100GB+ of storage (models and assets take up a lot of space).
  • 3D class video card with 1GB+ memory
  • 3-button scroll-wheel mouse

My Recommendations

If you just want to get right to it, use the links below to purchase one of my recommended computers!

Dell XPS 15 9510

64GB RAM, 2TB Solid State Hard Drive, Intel i7 Processor

$2,499 Purchase here on amazon.com

Apple MacBook Pro

16GB RAM, 1TB Solid State Hard Drive, M1 Pro Chip with 10-Cores

$2,299 Purchase here on amazon.com

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