12 Best Laptops for SketchUp in 2020 [Expert Recommendations]

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As an architect, you need to rely more on conceptual 3D designing or modeling instead of getting neck-deep into the industrial concepts. The same approach holds for video game designers, mechanical/civil engineers, interior designers, or AEC professionals who often need to create project walkthroughs for a better understanding of the investors and clients.

Although there are several high-end 3D modeling, rendering, and even simulation software for different purposes, SketchUp is quite popular among professional architects, engineers, and designers. Due to the conceptual 3D visualization perspective, shorter learning curve, extensive 3rd party compatibility, easy to use interface, even college/grad schools prefer using it for their students.

Computer-Aided Designing has evolved over the years and there are many high-end and demanding application programs such as AutoCAD, Revit, etc that can help you achieve perfection in the concerned domain. However, individuals use tools and software, based on highly specific preferences.

For instance, Autodesk Maya is a great 3D modeling and rendering tool if you are more inclined towards character-centric animations. Similarly, Cinema 4D, Blender, and 3D Studio Max are the go-to applications for realistic rendering and architectural walkthroughs.

SketchUp, on the other hand, is more of a conceptual platform that is concurrent with most of the mentioned software units but boasts of better affordability and user experiences.

Furthermore, if you are an interior designer, architect, civil engineer, video game designer, or a basic student looking to use SketchUp from scratch, you would require a powerful computer (you don’t need a very expensive laptop though) to get the job done. Most importantly, if your preferred gadget has the recommended specs sheet for running SketchUp, it can also handle BIM applications with precision.

Coming to the laptop selection, SketchUp does require high-end computing resources, including a powerful processor with exceptional single core performance, reliable GPU (preferably with Ray-Tracing support), sizeable RAM for maintaining and handling better workflows, and decent storage support for handling projects, 3D designs, migrations, warehouses, and renders with ease. Apart from that, an excellent display with thinner bezels caters perfectly to the more expressive and conceptual 3D modelers.

Minimum & Recommended System Requirements

System requirements enlisted by our expert take basic and optimal performances into account. However, in most cases, the minimum set of specifications caters to students or basic 3D modelers whereas the recommended specs take modeling, visualization, rendering, simulations, and official system requirements into account.

 Minimum System RequirementsRecommended System Requirements
CPU7th Gen Intel Core i79th Intel Core i7 or better
RAM8GB16GB
Storage256GB SSD512GB SSD or more
Display13.3-inch HD (1920 x 1080)15.6-inch FHD Touch (1920 x 1080)
Graphics2GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 10504GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 or better
BatteryUp to 4 hoursUp to 6. hours

12 Best Laptops for SketchUp in 2020

If you are planning to get a machine for running SketchUp on, you must first ascertain the preferences, skill sets, and requirements of the project or company you are working with. Once you know the extent and range of your performance, it is advisable to select an appropriate machine, based on the system specifications and budget.

We’ve therefore enlisted 12 of the best laptops that can run SketchUp sans performance issues. However, each of them has its own set of USPs. Therefore, buyer discretion is very important before going ahead with the purchase (make sure that it is capable of doing ALL the tasks you’re buying it for.)

Note: Each one of our reviews has been drafted after extensive month-long usage of both SketchUp Make and Pro version. Our experts also used 3rd party renderers like Octane Render and BIM-applications to put additional load on the system and check for sustenance.

1. Best Overall: Asus ROG Strix Scar III

  • CPU: 2.6GHz Intel Core i7-9750H
  • RAM: 16GB
  • Storage: 1TB SSD
  • Display: 15.6-inch FHD IPS (1920 x 1080)
  • GPU: 8GB NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070
  • Battery: Up to 6 hours

The first gadget on our list is the famed ROG-series notebook from Asus, best known for the exceptional processing power and a more game-focused specs sheet. However, there aren’t many consumer-grade notebooks in the market that can match up to the 3D modeling and rendering performances of ROG Strix Scar III.

At the core, you get the powerful Intel Core i7-9750H chipset. As 3D modeling requires excellent single-core performances and higher frequencies, the mentioned i7 processor is probably the perfect fit. The turbo clock speed of up to 4.50GHz ensures that the laptop can handle even the most intricate designing, drawing, and modeling requirements.

However, the existing processor, courtesy of 6 cores and 12-threads with Hyper-threading technology at the helm, is also a class-leading option for advanced, photorealistic 3D rendering.

Besides that, you also get the top-of-the-line NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 GPU with 8GB RAM that works in tandem with the integrated on-chip GPU for handling more advanced renders via 3rd party plugins. Not just that, this graphics processor is also a potent resource if you are planning to indulge in some high-end gaming after your professional 3D designing task on SketchUp is complete for the day.

Coming to the memory allocation, there is 16GB RAM on offer, capable of handling larger 3D models sans bottlenecks. Besides the system memory, the gadget comes equipped with a 1TB SSD module based on the NVMe technology that allows you to store presets, samples, 3D warehouses, migrated data, and other program data sets without hitting a roadblock. When it comes to the OS, you get Windows 10, straight out of the box.

If you are into SketchUp, the 15.6-inch Full HD display is expected to cater perfectly to you. As a 3D designer, you can visualize models with perfection on the IPS panel flaunting a cumulative resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels.

Another decisive attribute is the higher display-to-body ratio of almost 80 percent, courtesy of the slimmer bezels. However, if you are a videogame designer, the 240Hz refresh rate and the 3ms overdrive response time can help you check the gaming speeds and frame rates.

The existing laptop makes interactions easier with its durable, WASD-empowered keyboard. For the more enthusiastic users, the Per-key RGB support is a great virtue for customizing the gadget, further. Besides that Asus also features a responsive touchpad, powerful speakers, exceptional webcam, and serviceable microphones.

The standout feature, however, is the cooling tech bolstered further by the multiple operating modes, triple radiator setup, ADC cooling tech, and the Intelligent thermal layout. The gadget, as obvious, isn’t the lightest in the market at 5.67 pounds. However, there are 7 ports to work with, including USB Type-C, HDMI 2.0b, USB 3.1, and many more.

Asus also makes room for exceptional wireless standards and a sizeable battery, capable of lasting up to 6 hours, on moderate usage. Overall, the Asus ROG Strix Scar III is one of the more sought-after gadgets in the market for SketchUp users or any professional associated with 3D modeling, rendering, and other similar tasks.

Pros
  • Powerful processor
  • Exceptional GPU with RT cores
  • Stellar display
  • Ultra-fast storage module
  • A decent chunk of RAM
Cons
  • Chunkier than usual

2. Best Runner Up: HP Omen 15

  • CPU: 2.6GHz Intel Core i7-10750H
  • RAM: 16GB
  • Storage: 512GB SSD
  • Display: 15.6-inch FHD IPS (1920 x 1080)
  • GPU: 8GB NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070
  • Battery: Up to 7 hours

The new HP Omen 15 is a revolutionary gadget when professional productivity is concerned. Although the Omen-series is usually hailed for its high-end gaming notebooks, the concerned device can easily handle programs like SketchUp, Maya, Blender, etc. with zero hiccups.

Both single-core and multicore performances are taken care of by the Intel Core i7-10750H processor. As 3D modeling is more of a frequency-intensive process, the turbo clock speed of up to 5.0GHz is expected to work wonders. However, for rendering and simulations, the hexa-core architecture is a great asset.

The RTX 2070 GPU from NVIDIA is one of the best-consumer grade GPUs in the market, capable of supporting mental ray and photorealistic rendering whilst accommodating AI-assisted graphics-intensive tasks, especially when BIM programs are concerned. The 8GB VRAM on-board allows you to decipher complex textures and add clarity to the more intricate renders. What else do you need?

It comes with a 16GB of dual-channel RAM that is capable of handling multiple tasks and workflow programs with minimal efforts. However, in case you are looking to set up external stations, the existing RAM module can always be upgraded. Next in line is the ultra-fast 512GB SSD unit.

The 15.6-inch screen is exceptionally vibrant and features a display resolution of 1920×1080 pixels. What stands out though is the micro-edge panel, resulting in a screen-to-chassis ratio of almost 78 percent. The existing screen also comes equipped with anti-glare properties.

Next in line is the RGB keyboard featuring 4-zone color compatibility, anti-ghosting support, and the N-key rollover technology. The WASD keys are perfectly complemented by the silky touchpad. You also get access to dual-speakers which are highly suitable for music listeners (comes with audio boost technology.)

Besides that, HP also makes room for a decent webcam-microphone combo. Apart from that, the Omen 15 also boasts of excellent thermals, based on the ‘Tempest Cooling’ technology.

At 5.43 pounds, the metallic chassis associated with the Omen 15 feels sturdy and durable. As far as the port arrangement is concerned, you get the blazing Thunderbolt 3 for connecting external 4K displays, Type-C, Type-A, and a host of other legacy display units like Mini DisplayPort, HDMI, and more. The gadget is also Wi-Fi 6 compatible and comes equipped with Bluetooth 5.0 wireless standards.

The existing battery is capable of lasting up to 7 hours on moderate usage, making the Omen 15 one of the best notebooks in the market for running SketchUp or any other modeling and rendering program on.

Pros
  • Brilliant processor with 5.0GHx Turbo Clock frequency
  • Fastest possible GPU with Turing Architecture and Max-Q layout
  • Brilliant aesthetics
  • Upgradeable memory with single panel access
  • VR ready
Cons
  • Middling webcam

3. Best from Dell: New Alienware M15

  •  CPU: 2.6GHz Intel Core i7-10750H
  • RAM: 16GB
  • Storage: 512GB SSD
  • Display: 15.6-inch FHD IPS (1920 x 1080)
  • GPU: 6GB NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060
  • Battery: Up to 7 hours

We understand that as a SketchUp-inclined designer or architect you need to travel extensively and therefore, your preferred gadget should strike the perfect balance between power and portability. This is why we featured the new Alienware M15, the newest version on our list, for lending credibility to your search and our research.

Powering the same is the famed Intel Core i7-9750H SoC that can turbo clock at speeds of up to 4.50GHz. The existing processor is quite a handful for both 3D modeling and high-end rendering and works in tandem with the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 GPU.

The existing GPU supports all the 3D APIs including OpenGL 4.6, Vulkan, and DirectX 12. Besides that, you also get support for ray-tracing and DLSS rendering. All these attributes, clubbed with 6GB VRAM make way for fastest and reliable photorealistic rendering, regardless of gaming designs and architectural 3D models.

Working in cohesion with the processors is the 16GB RAM unit, making room for excellent multitasking performances. When it comes to storage, there is a 512GB SSD unit to work with, allowing the device to load the demanding programs, files, and the Windows 10 OS, in the least possible time.

The display technology featured by the Alienware New M15 is what steals the show, courtesy of the 72 percent color gamut. Besides excellent color reproduction levels, MSI ensures enhanced visual clarity with 1920 x 1080 pixels to work with. The entire 3D modeling, simulation, and rendering experience get a boost with the Tobii ‘Eye Tracking’ technology.

You get the high-end mSeries keyboard, packed with a decent key travel of 1.7mm, anti-ghosting support, and per-key RGB compatibility. Working in tandem is the precision keyboard, premium webcam, powerful speakers with unmatched fidelity, and a service microphone setup. Besides that, the gadget comes with a proprietary creative UI that helps you allocate resources based on requirements.

Alienware comes equipped with class-leading thermals, featuring sleeve bearings, enhanced fan control, and the intuitive Cryo-Tech support. From a structural point-of-view, this gadget flaunts a magnesium-clad chassis, alloyed with steel and copper. Despite the top-of-the-line hardware and design accents, the gadget is still portable at almost 4.8 pounds.

The new version of the M15 comes equipped with a decent lineup of ports i.e. Type-A, Gig Ethernet, HDMI 2.0, Thunderbolt 3, and a host of other functional slots. Apart from that, Intel’s optimized wireless standards ensure faster internet speeds and unmatched connectivity. The battery on this unit validates the portability quotient with extended 7-hour support.

To sum it up, the Alienware M15 is one of the best gadgets on our list, if you are considering 3D modeling, rendering, and simulations, from a professional point of view.

Pros
  • Class-leading processor with 6 cores
  • Powerful GPU with Max-Q layout
  • Ultra-fast storage
  • Backlit keyborard
  • Upgradeable memory
  • Innovative thermals
Cons
  • Pricey

4. Best For Rendering: Razer Blade 15

  • CPU: 2.6GHz Intel Core i7-10750H
  • RAM: 16GB
  • Storage: 512GB SSD
  • Display: 15.6-inch FHD LED (1920 x 1080)
  • GPU: 6GB NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060
  • Battery: Up to 6 hours

The Razer Blade 15 is one of the most budget-appropriate notebooks, especially when 3D designing, rendering, and other tasks are concerned.

The 10th gen Intel Core i7 processor is one of the most sought-after chipsets in the market, featuring Hexa-Core architecture, a turbo clock speed of 5.0GHz, 12MB cache memory, and Hyper-threading support. It packs in the mentioned chipset and therefore, makes it possible for the Blade 15 to handle more demanding modeling and rendering tasks with ease.

The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 GPU and 6GB VRAM work in cohesion and allow you to pair third party programs like VRay Next for enhanced rendering and simulation performances. What stands out is that this graphics processor comes loaded with RT and CUDA cores that significantly accelerate the GPU renders.

You get an upgradeable 16GB module with dual-channel compatibility, Next in line is the 512GB SSD storage module that comes with additional slots for enhancing the overall capacity of the system. Razer ensures the availability of an interactive UI, courtesy of the Windows 10 OS. 

Coming to the display, the Blade 15 from Razer is all about a vibrant screen, thinner bezels, and a display resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. What stands out is the 100 percent sRGB color gamut, boasting of excellent color reproduction levels.

Moreover, you also get a matte panel for better sunlight visibility in addition to a decent refresh rate of 144Hz, especially for individuals who are interested in high-end gaming apart from extensive SketchUp usage.

Razer Blade 15 features a color-customizable backlit keyboard in addition to the responsive touchpad. You also get powerful speakers on this gadget followed by integrated microphones and a standard HD webcam. Besides that, the Blade 15 also boasts of decent thermals and a compact, aluminum-clad chassis.

When it comes to ports and connectivity, you get access to Thunderbolt 3, Gig Ethernet, USB Type-C, Wi-Fi 6, and other functional attributes. The battery on this model is also a capable unit, offering a steady 6-hour backup, on moderate usage.

The Razer Blade 15 Base model is not a pushover by any stretch of the imagination. Instead, it is an extremely capable notebook, when advanced, conceptual 3D modeling and rendering are concerned.

Pros
  • Powerful 10th gen processor
  • Dependable GPU with all the 3D APIs
  • Brilliant and razor-sharp display
  • Upgradeable memory
  • Thunderbolt 3 support
Cons
  • The base model doesn’t support Type-C charging

5. Best 4K Laptop: Gigabyte AERO 15

  • CPU: 2.6GHz Intel Core i7-9750H
  • RAM: 16GB
  • Storage: 512GB SSD
  • Display: 15.6-inch 4K UHD OLED (3840 x 2160)
  • GPU: 6GB NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060
  • Battery: Up to 8 hours

If you are looking for a gadget that scales beyond the others when it comes to the display quality and that too without any performance tradeoffs, the Gigabyte AERO 15 is the perfect option to invest in.

For starters, you get a powerful Intel Core i7-9750H processor that hails from powerful and high-performance, H-lineup of chipsets. When it comes to 3D modeling, simulation, and rendering, this SoC strikes the perfect balance between single-core and multi-core performances.

You also get the powerful GeForce RTX 2060 GPU based on the Turing architecture, bolstered further by 6GB of Video RAM. The existing GPU clubbed with the iGPU accelerates photorealistic and multi-faceted rendering.

AERO 15 also brings forth 16GB of built-in RAM for seamless multitasking followed by a 512GB SSD storage module, with NVMe compatibility. The best thing about this gadget is that the dual-channel RAM and SSD slots make way for preferential upgradeability, based on professional requirements. Besides that, you get Windows 10 OS pre-installed within the laptop.

The 15.6-inch display flaunts exceptional levels of color reproduction and clarity, courtesy of the overall 4K resolution (3840×2160 pixels.) The 4K AMOLED panel also features the VESA-certified DisplayHDR 400 technology, 100 percent DCI-P3 color gamut, and the fastest possible response time of 1ms. These display-centric attributes, clubbed with the Pantone-certified color clarity work in cohesion, thereby allowing 3D modelers and renderers to get the possible viewing experience.

Gigabyte brings forth a backlit keyboard based on the RGB 2.0 technology which also makes way for per-key color customization. You also get a smooth and responsive trackpad followed by Nahimic speakers, integrated fingerprint scanner, premium webcam, and purposeful microphones. What stands out is the ‘Supra Cool 2’ thermal cooling technology, boasting of enhanced efficiency and heat dissipation capabilities.

The device flaunts refined aesthetics and design accents besides weighing 4.4 pounds. Coming to the ports and connectivity, you get three Thunderbolt 3 units, Mini DisplayPort, HDMI, Gig Killer Ethernet support.

Moreover, based on the PCMark 10 scores, the existing battery offers a steady 8-hour backup, thereby further enhancing the credibility and performances of the Gigabyte AERO 15, when professional-grade 3D modeling, video editing, and other tasks are concerned.

Pros
  • Powerful CPU
  • High-end GPU
  • Stellar display
  • Upgradeable memory slots
  • Excellent collection of ports
Cons
  • Misguided positioning of the webcam

6. Best 17-inch Display: Dell G7 17

  • CPU: 2.6GHz Intel Core i7-9750H
  • RAM: 16GB
  • Storage: 512GB SSD
  • Display: 17.3-inch FHD IPS (1920 x 1080)
  • GPU: 6GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti
  • Battery: Up to 8 hours

The concept of using 17-inch notebooks for 3D modeling and conceptual rendering programs like SketchUp isn’t new. Besides offering an expansive screen real-estate to the professionals, 17-inch notebooks like the Dell G7 17 are also packed with several class-leading features, thereby enhancing the productivity quotient, almost remarkably.

Powering the same is the Intel Core i7-9750H processor that is best known for the enhanced turbo clock speed of up to 4.5GHz and Hexa-Core architecture. The potent, HyperThreading chipset is perfectly complemented by the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660Ti GPU. The existing graphics processors boast of Turing Shaders that help you with improved conceptual modeling in 3D besides getting the requisite assistance from 6GB VRAM.

Multitasking requirements are taken care of by the 16GB RAM whereas every storage-centric preference is ably handled by the 512GB SSD unit. The NVMe SSD is ultra-fast and loads the concerned application and the Windows 10 OS with exceptional speeds.

The exceptional 17.3-inch display is worth-mentioning courtesy of an overall display resolution of 1920×1080 pixels. While the brightness levels aren’t class-leading, the slimmer bezels and In-Plane Switching technology make room for sharper visual and enhanced clarity. However, it is the screen size that comes in handy while setting up more expansive modeling and rendering workflows.

The backlit keyboard is a decent addition followed by the responsive touchpad, Nahimic speakers, integrated webcam, and the highly resourceful Alienware ‘Command Center’ for better gadget adaptability.

Despite handling some of the most demanding 3D applications and rendering plugins, the laptop doesn’t heat up a lot, courtesy of the dual-fan design that makes way for excellent thermals.

At 7.28 pounds, this is one of the heftiest gadgets on our list, also featuring innovative and functional ports and connectivity specs. These include Gig Ethernet, Thunderbolt 3, USB Type-A, HDMI 2.0, and a few more attributes. Despite a massive display, the battery associated with the Dell G7 17 is capable of lasting close to 8 hours.

Overall, this is a decent laptop for 3D modeling and rendering, best suitable for students and mid-range professionals who are willing to give ray tracing a miss.

Pros
  • Sizable display
  • Feature-packed processor
  • A decent set of connectivity slots
  • Sizeable RAM
  • Excellent mid-range GPU with Turing Shaders
Cons
  • Extremely heavy

7. Best with GTX 1660 Ti: Acer Predator Helios 300

  • CPU: 2.6GHz Intel Core i7-9750H
  • RAM: 16GB
  • Storage: 512GB SSD
  • Display: 15.6-inch FHD IPS (1920 x 1080)
  • GPU: 6GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti
  • Battery: Up to 6 hours

A discussion that concerns powerful notebooks that are still portable enough to be carried around with ease, is incomplete without mentioning the Predator Helios 300.

The Intel Core i7-9750H reappears even on this device and ensures that both 3D modeling and rendering tasks are handled with ease. As modeling is a frequency-intensive task, the turbo clock speed of up to 4.50GHz comes across as a handy resource.

Demanding tasks like conceptual and photorealistic rendering are taken care of by the 6 processor cores and the innovative GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GPU that comes integrated with 6GB VRAM. Acer ensures that working with multiple workflows, datasets, and 3D models is easier with the 16GB RAM. When it comes to storage, you have the 512GB, upgradeable SSD unit to rely on.

The Predator Helios ensures that 3D modeling and rendering are visually enthralling experiences courtesy of the 15.6-inch Full HD display. The cumulative resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels is worth mentioning followed by the In-Plane Switching technology. What stands out is the widescreen viewing experience that helps you look closely at the interiors and walkthroughs without missing out on the details.

Acer takes productivity to a new level with a WASD-compatible, backlit keyboard and a silky, smooth touchpad. There are powerful speakers integrated with this laptop, featuring the innovative MaxxAudio technology.

Apart from that, you also get an HD webcam and voice purified microphones. Acer also takes device cooling to a whole new level with the next-gen 3D fans that ensure better heat dissipation.

This gadget weighs a mere 5.07 pounds and comes equipped with USB Type-C, USB 3.1 Gen 1, HDMI 2.0, and other functional ports. Connectivity is taken care of by Killer Wi-Fi 6, Gig Ethernet, and exceptional wireless standards. The battery associated with this notebook is capable of lasting up to 6-hours, on a single charge.

Therefore, if you are searching for a powerful, mid-range notebook for running SketchUp on, the Acer Predator Helios 300 is one of the more preferred options in the market.

Pros
  • Powerful processor with manageable TDP
  • One of the best mid-range GPUs
  • Upgradeable memory
  • Brilliant display
  • Dependable keyboard
Cons
  • No Thunderbolt 3 port

8. Best Workstation: Lenovo ThinkPad P53s

  • CPU: 1.8GHz Intel Core i7-8565U
  • RAM: 16GB
  • Storage: 512GB SSD
  • Display: 15.6-inch FHD IPS (1920 x 1080)
  • GPU: 2GB NVIDIA Quadro P520
  • Battery: Up to 6 hours

While some might consider U-series chipsets less powerful as compared to the H, X, and K-series processors, the new and improved ThinkPad P53s from Lenovo helps debunk this assumption. This notebook supports professional-level 3D modeling and makes way for more reliable outputs.

Powering the same is a quad-core Intel Core i7-8565U chipset that can turbo clock at speeds of up to 4.60GHz. The exceptional single-core processing performances ensure that 3D modeling on this gadget feels like a charm.

It comes with the NVIDIA Quadro P520 GPU that boasts of Vulkan API, DirectX 12.1, and other necessary features required for decent rendering performances.

Multitasking isn’t an issue for this gadget with 16GB RAM at the helm. Moreover, there is also a 512GB SSD storage unit in place, capable of storing files, data, while loading application programs and the Windows 10 Pro OS at the fastest possible tick.

The 15.6-inch display associated with the ThinkPad P53s is adequately vibrant and features 1920×1080 pixels, as the equivalent resolution. The existing screen also exhibits anti-glare properties which minimize the strain on your eyes, after hours of professional 3D modeling and rendering.

Additional productivity-centric specs include a backlit keyboard, responsive touchpad, potent speakers, and a serviceable webcam that works in unison with the integrated fingerprint scanner. What stands out is the exceedingly slim chassis followed by the manageable weight of only 3.9 pounds.

Lenovo ensures that there isn’t any shortage of ports and connectivity schemes, courtesy of Thunderbolt 3, Type-C output, dual-band wireless support, Bluetooth 5.0, and other legacy attributes. The 57Wh battery offers 6-hour support on a single charge.

Overall, the ThinkPad P53s from Lenovo is a decent mid-range notebook for SketchUp users who prefer more reliable and accurate rendering outputs, courtesy of the workstation-grade GPU.

Pros
  • Quad-core processor with excellent single core performances
  • Workstation-grade GPU with ECC support
  • An exceptional set of ports
  • Portable design
  • Decent storage space
Cons
  • Middling rendering performances
  • Underwhelming battery backup

9. Best Apple laptop: Apple MacBook Pro

  • CPU: 2.6GHz Intel Core i7-9750H
  • RAM: 16GB
  • Storage: 512GB SSD
  • Display: 16-inch IPS (3072 x 1920)
  • GPU: 4GB AMD Radeon Pro 5300M
  • Battery: Up to 11 hours

For MacBook users, SketchUp comes across as an extremely resourceful platform for 3D modeling, simulation, and rendering.

When it comes to the processing performance on the 16-inch MacBook Pro, the 9th gen Intel Core i7 processor is your greatest ally, courtesy of the turbo clock speed of up to 4.5GHz. The Hexa-Core architecture helps speed up all the rendering processes and even makes sure that all the 3D models are compiled and tested with precision. The existing, HyperThreading chipset works closely with the AMD Radeon Pro 5300M GPU and 4GB VRAM.

The existing graphics processor supports Shader 6.4 and DirectX 12 which are necessary for high-end 3D renders and simulations. Next in line is the 16GB RAM for multitasking and the 512GB SSD module, both of which are upgradeable, if and when required. In terms of OS, the new MacBook Pro 16 comes pre-installed with the macOS Catalina.

The new MacBook Pro packs in a 16-inch screen, exhibiting a cumulative display resolution of 3072 x 1920 pixels. Moreover, the Retina display comes equipped with a P3 color gamut that eventually makes way for exceptional color reproduction levels and sharper viewing angles.

3D modeling, designing, and other professional tasks get a significant boost with the productivity-centric features like the magic keyboard, responsive trackpad, and an intuitive Touch Bar for improved app accessibility.

Apple beefs up the gadget security with Touch ID support and even brings for a six-speaker system for improving the acoustic performance. Apart from that, you also get access to the FaceTime webcam and digital microphones with enhanced voice clarity.

The gadget flaunts a metallic chassis but weighs a mere 4.3 pounds. When it comes to port arrangement, there are four Thunderbolt 3 slots to work with followed by additional legacy output slots! Apple keeps innovating by making high-end wireless standards available, in Bluetooth 5.0 and Dual-band Wi-Fi compatibility.

The new MacBook Pro 16” also offers an 11-hour battery backup for the more productivity-focused designers and architects who are always on the move. Overall, it is one of the best gadgets to run SketchUp on, courtesy of the decent processing conglomerate, stellar display, and a widest possible array of rewarding attributes.

Pros
  • Class-leading processor
  • Powerful Radeon processor that is at par with GTX 1650
  • A higher chunk of RAM
  • Ultra-Fast SSD
  • Four Thunderbolt 3 slots
Cons
  • Expensive

10. Best Thin Laptop: MSI GF63

  • CPU: 2.6GHz Intel Core i7-9750H
  • RAM: 16GB
  • Storage: 512GB SSD
  • Display: 15.6-inch FHD IPS (1920 x 1080)
  • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650
  • Battery: Up to 4 hours

The MSI GF63 Thin is a revolutionary gadget when 3D modeling and basic level rendering are concerned. Most importantly, if you are an architect or interior designer who is always on the move, nothing beats the portability quotient of this SketchUp-supported notebook.

The Intel Core i7-9750H chipset is a class-leading addition, making way for excellent 3D modeling performance. The single-core turbo clock speed of up to 4.5GHz comes in handy followed by the HyperThreading support, best suited towards mid-level renders.

MSI packs in the mid-range GTX 1650 GPU which comes equipped with 4GB VRAM. The graphics conglomerate misses out on ray tracing but accelerates GPU rendering via third-party plugins, courtesy of a larger number of CUDA cores.

The existing GPU flaunts the Max-Q layout, which plays a major role in reducing the GPU heft and TDP levels, thereby minimizing heat generation. When it comes to processing allies, the MSI GF63 Thin comes loaded with 16GB RAM and a 512GB solid-state drive.

The existing storage unit is more than adequate for storing models, projects, AutoCAD imports, and 3D warehouse presets without running out of space. In terms of OS, you get Windows 10 Home edition, preinstalled with the gadget.

The 15.6-inch display is bright, vibrant, and exhibits a cumulative resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. Furthermore, the 45 percent NTSC color gamut and the thinnest possible bezels further enhance the visual clarity and the overall viewing experience.

MSI brings forth a backlit keyboard, integrated touchpad, powerful speakers, and a serviceable webcam-microphone combo. At 4.28 pounds, this is one of the lightest gadgets on our list, featuring all the necessary ports in USB Type-C, USB 3.2 Gen 1, Gig Ethernet slot, and a few additional legacy units. However, the battery is a letdown as MSI only offers a 4-hour backup, upon steady professional indulgence.

To sum it up, the MSI GF63 Thin is a pretty affordable yet adequately powerful gadget to use for SketchUp, provided you are ready to compromise on the battery life.

Pros
  • Powerful Hexa-Core processor
  • Mid-range GPU with 4GB VRAM
  • A decent chunk of system memory
  • Smart accelerator for allocating system resources by analyzing usage
  • 12MB cache memory for fastest possible data access
Cons
  • Underwhelming battery 
  • No Thunderbolt 3 port

11. Best Under Budget: Lenovo IdeaPad L340

  • CPU: 2.6GHz Intel Core i7-9750H
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Storage: 512GB SSD
  • Display: 17.3-inch FHD IPS (1920 x 1080)
  • GPU: 4GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650
  • Battery: Up to 6.5 hours

If you are seeking a powerful notebook for all your architectural models and renders using SketchUp as the go-to application, the Lenovo IdeaPad L340 is the name to consider.

Firstly, it is the Intel Core i7-9750H processor that is associated with a majority of heavy lifting, due to the HyperThreading technology and the turbo clock speed of up to 4.5GHz. The chipset is ably complemented by the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 GPU and 4GB of integrated VRAM. The CPU-GPU association helps you model, render, and simulate complex 3D designs with ease and precision.

The IdeaPad L340 only features 8GB RAM straight out of the box, making this a slightly restrictive device when multitasking is concerned. When it comes to storage, there is a 512GB solid-state drive to rely on that is capable of loading demanding applications and even the Windows 10 OS, faster as compared to an HDD.

The 17.3-inch screen is like a dream come true for students and entry-level SketchUp professionals. Moreover, the Full HD 1080p panel also boasts of excellent display clarity and sharper viewing angles. Lenovo’s proprietary vantage ‘eye care’ mode is yet another class-leading addition, rendering anti-glare support to the existing IPS panel.

When it comes to productivity, Lenovo throws in a backlit and fast actuating keyboard. Other specs include a silky, smooth touchpad, acoustically-empowered stereo speakers with Dolby audio support, standard webcam, and a serviceable microphone array. This gadget also brings in a decent thermal layout besides weighing a sizeable 6.17 pounds.

This notebook also features USB Type-A, Type-C, HDMI 2.0, and other functional ports followed by top-of-the-line wireless standards. The battery on offer lasts up to 6.5-hours, on moderate usage. To sum things up, the IdeaPad L340 is a competent mid-range laptop for SketchUp, if you are only looking to use the same as your workstation.

Pros
  • Powerful H-series chipset from Intel
  • Bigger screen as compared to other gadgets
  • Anti-glare display
  • Dependable GPU
  • Excellent single-core performance
Cons
  • No Thunderbolt 3
  • Heavier than usual

12. Best from Microsoft: Surface Book 3

  • CPU: 1.3GHz Intel Core i7-1065G7
  • RAM: 16GB
  • Storage: 256GB SSD
  • Display: 13.5-inch IPS Touch (3000 x 2000)
  • GPU: 4GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650
  • Battery: Up to 15.5 hours

The last gadget on our list is worthy of a higher position, courtesy of the unmatched balance between power and portability. The new Microsoft Surface Book 3 is all about adopting a detachable style of working with SketchUp, whilst ensuring minimal performance trade-offs.

When it comes to performance, the Intel Core i7-1065G7 chipset comes equipped with four cores, 8MB cache memory, and excellent single core performances. Most importantly, the G7-family of Intel chipsets is optimized for low-power graphics-intensive performances. Besides that, the turbo clock speed of up to 3.90GHz makes it easier for the gadget to handle intricate 3D modeling requirements with added credibility.

When it comes to the more graphics-intensive processes, the integrated Iris Plus processor, and the dedicated NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 GPU work in tandem for exceptional GPU accelerated rendering performances, via V-Ray Next and other third-party renderers. The graphics processing unit boasts of the Max-Q technology which further minimizes the TDP levels and therefore heat generation.

The 16GB RAM helps you with multitasking whereas the memory access speed of up to 3733MHz, associated with the Surface Book 3 is the fastest one on our list. This feature allows the CPU to pick up relevant data sets with ease while making way for faster processes.

The 256GB SSD unit is ultra-fast but slightly restrictive for professional 3D modelers who work with sizable files and workflows. When it comes to the operating platform, the Surface Book 3 features Windows 10, straight out of the box, further optimized for stylus and touch support.

When it comes to the display, you get a 13.5-inch PixelSense panel, boasting of multi-touch support, and enhanced visual clarity. What stands out is the overall display resolution of 3000×2000 pixels followed by a 1600:1 contrast ratio that results in exceptional color reproduction levels. This feature precisely caters to the interior designers who need to make sure that every color, light-based assembly, and shades result in a balanced yet aesthetic look during rendering.

Microsoft amplifies the productivity quotient with the backlit, detachable keyboard. Apart from that, you also get a responsive and smooth touchpad followed by a dual camera setup for the tablet mode, front-firing stereo speakers, and studio-level microphones.

This gadget is one of the better-looking detachable in the market and despite the excellent design accents and promising specs sheet, weighs a mere 3.62 pounds. You also end up with USB Type-C Gen 2, Type-C Gen 1, and even the Surface Connect ports. In terms of connectivity, Microsoft makes way for Bluetooth 5.0 and Wi-Fi 6. What stands out is the powerful battery that offers a 15.5-hour backup and even more if the standby feature is deployed.

Overall, the Surface Book 3 is probably the best detachable in the market for running SketchUp, courtesy of the light-weighted chassis, excellent battery, and competent processing hardware.

Pros
  • Class-leading design
  • Decent processor with excellent single-core performance
  • Dependable graphics processing units
  • Ultra-fast RAM
  • Top-of-the-line battery
Cons
  • No Thunderbolt 3

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do you need a high-end GPU for better SketchUp performances and outputs?

A high-end GPU, preferably the consumer-grade RTX 20-series models are great choices for running SketchUp, courtesy of the decent spread of CUDA, and Ray Tracing cores. Besides that, all the necessary APIs like Vulkan, DirectX, and OpenGL are available, making it easier to achieve desirable levels of performance and good quality renders. Mostly, high-end GPUs are preferred if you are looking to indulge in 3D rendering via third-party plugins.

Which processor to rely on if you are only looking to use SketchUp for modeling?

If your sole purpose is to create 3D designs, you require a powerful processor that comes with a faster Turbo Clocking speed. This signifies faster single-core performances which are the most desirable traits for 3D modeling.

Why should SketchUp be the first choice for architects?

SketchUp, unlike some of other high-end 3D modeling and rendering programs, is way more interactive and the perfect choice for conceptual designs. Therefore, architects and interior designers can envision layouts and put them to practice using the SketchUp program, which is also a great choice for creating 3D home layouts and concept-driven walkthroughs.

What is the best rendering plugin for SketchUp?

If you are looking to render select SketchUp models while importing the same onto third-party plugins, Octane Render and V-Ray Next are the best options to consider. However, this is where you would require a high-end GPU with additional CUDA cores for increasing efficiency. The best-case scenario is for the dedicated GPU to work in tandem with the integrated graphics card.

Why do professional SketchUp artists require higher RAM?

Professionals require at least 16GB or even 32GB RAM for a seamless workstation-like experience. 3D models and renders take up a lot of system memory which can run out easily if you are a seasoned SketchUp professional. However, in most cases, the high-end laptops come with upgradeable RAM slots, allowing you to beef up the system memory, if and when required.

Why is Thunderbolt 3 support necessary for advanced 3D modeling and rendering?

In the case of advanced 3D modeling and rendering, you might end up requiring additional displays for working on 2D and 3D renditions, simultaneously. Besides that, in case the system GPU isn’t enough for high-end modeling, rendering, simulations; the Thunderbolt 3 ports allow you to pair additional GPU rigs for enhancing professional productivity.

The Verdict

SketchUp is one of the most powerful, efficient, and concept-based application programs for 3D modeling and rendering. However, unlike some of the other professionally-intensive apps like Maya and Blender, SketchUp is more humane and works as an extension of your creativity.

This is why you must be very selective while zeroing in on the perfect laptop for running the same.

  • If you are seeking an all-round performer that can run SketchUp (even SketchUp Pro,) AutoCAD, and even the BIM apps like Revit while allowing you to indulge in frequent gaming, the Alienware new M15 is a pretty handy performer.
  • If you are mostly into 3D modeling and advanced rendering, thereby making use of Mental, Ray, or Octane Render, the Omen 15 from HP is the perfect gadget to invest in.
  • If you are still interested in using SketchUp, mostly for modeling the imported 2D designs while rendering them sparingly, the Predator Helios 300 is also a decent bet.
  • If you seek portability with minimal compromises in terms of processing firepower, nothing matches the credibility of the Microsoft Surface Book 3.

Comment below with which model are you going to get? Also, in case you have different requirements, feel free to use our Laptop Finder (Based on specs.)

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