Best Laptop for SketchUp [2021 Reviewed]

Best Laptop for SketchUp

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Introduction

Sketchup is an excellent tool in any architect or designer’s arsenal. With thousands of ready-made models, you’re good to go right from the start. No matter what your needs are, whether it’s complex rendering or drawing up rudimentary blueprintsSketchup is your friend. To properly utilize this tool, you need a portable and powerful laptop.

Most modern laptops can run Sketchup without any hiccups. Other creative software solutions such as AutoCAD, 3DStudios, Revit, Adobe Creative Cloud, and Illustrator require different levels of performance. It pays to research about the latest and greatest software available. Having expertise in them will hand you a competitive edge. But don’t get complacent at the lack of beefy requirements. Having a powerful laptop capable of handling any software solution and rendering models quickly is a massive boon.  

Most artists run into problems meeting deadlines. Some have difficulties communicating with their clients. They have to deal with constant revisions. Sometimes, a design looks stunning but exceeds the client’s budget. Other times, a blueprint is robust but doesn’t seem visually appealing. It can be immensely frustrating as work keeps piling up. On top of that, there is a race to remain competitive or they lose clients. The last thing anyone wants is a run of the mill machine that barely gets the job done.

That’s why you need to eliminate as many roadblocks as possible and optimize your workflow. One way to do it is to have a powerful laptop at your side. You can save a lot of time if your machine can render models fast and run multiple blueprints simultaneously. You can use the saved time on more important things – client management, new design ideas, and budget optimization. Another benefit is scalability. If you’re looking to scale up your operation, a powerful laptop is a must.

For a good machine, we recommend around 16-32 gigabytes of RAM. While graphics cards are not required for Sketchup, they can massively boost rendering performance. This is crucial to remain competitive with professionals who use desktop workstations. The most important component is a fast processor with very high clock speeds. Sketchup utilizes single-thread more than multi-thread, so prioritizing single-threaded performance over more cores is best.

With these tips in mind, we are showing you the best laptops for Sketchup available on the market.

System Requirements for SketchUp

Requirements Note: Please note that these requirements are only for running SketchUp, you will need a much stronger system for rendering purposes

System Requirements Windows 10

Minimum Recommended
Processor1 GHz2 GHz +
RAM4GB RAM8GB RAM +
Storage500 MB700 MB +
Video Card3D class video card with 512 MB of memory or higher and support for hardware acceleration. Please ensure that the video card driver supports OpenGL 3.1 or higher and is up to date.3D class video card with 1 GB of memory or higher and support for hardware acceleration. Please ensure that the video card driver supports OpenGL 3.1 or higher and is up to date.
SoftwareMicrosoft® Internet Explorer 9.0 or higher   SketchUp Pro requires .NET Framework version 4.5.2. For more information about the .NET framework, click here.   SketchUp requires a 64-bit version of Windows.  

System Requirements MacOS

MinimumRecommended
Processor2.1+ GHz Intel™2.1+ GHz
RAM4GB RAM8GB RAM
Storage500 MB700 MB
Video Card3D class video card with 512 MB of memory or higher and support for hardware acceleration. Please ensure that the video card driver supports OpenGL version 3.1 or higher and up to date.3D class video card with 1 GB of memory or higher and support for hardware acceleration. Please ensure that the video card driver supports OpenGL version 3.1 or higher and is up to date.
Mouse3-button, scroll-wheel mouse3-button, scroll-wheel mouse
SoftwareQuickTime 5.0 and web browser for multimedia tutorials.   Safari  

Mac Alert: Please be aware, SketchUp is unable to support case sensitive hard drives with our installation. If you use a case sensitive hard drive, you’ll experience crashes at launch which cannot be resolved.

An internet connection is required to install and authorize SketchUp and to use some of the features.

Boot Camp, VMWare, and Parallels are not supported environments.

Source: SketchUp Hardware and Software Requirements Page

Requirements We Put Forward for SketchUp and Rendering Work

CPUIntel Core i5/i7, the new AMD CPUs are also great, go with the Ryzen 5/7 and you’ll get awesome performance
GPUYou need a dedicated GPU! The NVIDIA RTX 20XX series would be great. GTX 10XX series is a bit older but will get the job done, however, we would recommend the RTX series instead.
RAM16 GB would be borderline, 32GB would absolutely kill it and put you in the safe zone.
SSD Storage512 GB, however 1 TB SSD would be better

Top 3 Laptops for SketchUp [Reviews]

CUK MSI GP65 Leopard Laptop

MSI has been slowly making waves with their powerful laptops. These machines pack some serious hardware that can offer uncompromised performance. If you’re looking for maximum speed and efficiency, you should give the MSI GP65 Leopard a shot.

This machine comes packed with the latest 10th generation Intel Core i7-10750H 6-core 12-thread processor with 12 megabytes of cache memory and clock speeds up to a whopping 5.0 GHz. This processor can deliver mind-blowing performance in single-threaded workloads. Intel has worked hard to optimize their 10th generation of processors to reach higher clock speeds on a mobile platform. They have also drastically improved single-core performance. Compared to the previous generation Intel processors, the performance gains are massive. All of this results in a smooth experience while using SketchUp without any lag. You can enjoy blazing fast speeds on all applications that rely on single-core performance. In your off-time, you can even get some serious gaming done on this machine.

You get 32 gigabytes of fast 2666MHz DDR4 RAM with this machine. The RAM capacity is enough to last you a good number of years. Coupled with the fast speeds on this configuration, your SketchUp models will load up in no time. No matter how large your projects or how numerous your models are, there is more than enough memory to quickly store all the assets and retrieve them. With the RAM, you also get 1TB of lightning-fast NVMe SSD storage. MSI has also included 2TB of HDD storage for extra measure. You don’t have to worry about running out of space as your projects get exponentially bigger. More importantly, the fast SSD storage will ensure your machine runs super smooth, loads applications fast, and keeps the software running without lag no matter how many plugins you install.

This machine also comes with a powerful graphics card. True to its name, the GP65 Leopard features a powerful RTX 2070 graphics card equipped with 2560 CUDA cores and 8 gigabytes of fast 14 GBPs GDDR6 Memory. This is a fantastic graphics card capable of some serious rendering performance. Expect to see your render times significantly boosted by the hardware acceleration enabled by this graphics card. No matter how intricate the model is, the RTX 2070 will handle it like a champ. Even if your workload requires real-time raytracing, the RT cores inside the 2070 is more than enough for the job. It also offers a smooth 60fps experience on all modern games with ultra-graphics settings.   

The device has a beautiful 15.6″ Full HD 144Hz 3ms Thin Bezel Display that can make all your 3D models come to life. Colors are rich and vivid, and viewing angles are excellent. Thin bezels ensure you get maximum screen real estate. On top of the eye candy, the display is incredibly smooth and responsive. It will elevate your overall experience whenever you consume media or drag complex models around. The backlit keyboard has some sweet RGB backlighting that will appeal to some users and allow fast typing at night. The keys are decently tactile. While the touchpad isn’t anything to write home about, it gets the job done. The speakers, however, won’t impress audiophiles. But other customers have found it to be good enough for daily use. Battery life is solid with around 5 hours of screen time with mixed to heavy use.  

On to connectivity and wireless features, the GP65 Leopard features a standard 802.11 AX Wireless connectivity solution with Bluetooth 5. It can sufficiently handle all your conference calls and data streams. The port selection is fairly decent with 1 RJ45 ethernet port, 1 HDMI port, 1 Mini-DisplayPort, 1 Type-C USB3.2 Gen2 ports, 2 Type-A USB3.2 Gen1 ports and 1 Type-A USB3.2 Gen2 port. You can easily hook up your laptop with external hard drives and large monitors if you desire.

The laptop comes with Windows 10 Home pre-installed. The overall design is sleek with a matte black finish that just oozes class. However, the cooling solution is not enough to dissipate all the heat generated by the powerful internal components. While it’s not unbearable, the machine can get hot under heavy load. The GP65 Leopard comes in at 5.14 lbs. with dimensions of 14.08 x 10.57 x 1.08 inches. While it is not the most portable machine out there, it can still be carried without significant hassle.

The MSI GP65 Leopard packs some serious hardware inside its chassis. It’s a great option for any heavy user.

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PROSCONS
Powerful 10th gen i7 processorDevice may overheat with heavy use.
Powerful raytracing enabled RTX 2070 graphics cardNot as portable as other options.
Ample storage 
Beautiful display 

HP Omen 15 Laptop

HP has always been a giant in the laptop market and their Omen lineup combines exemplary craftsmanship with some serious hardware. If you’re looking to go all out, it doesn’t get better than the HP Omen 15.

This device features the same 10th generation Intel Core i7 10750H processor that we praised in the GP65 Leopard. There’s not much to add here in terms of new features. This processor will ensure your SketchUp projects run as optimally as possible without any lag. The strong single-threaded and gaming performance is still here and you really can’t go wrong with this option. As a bonus, some users have reported faster speeds on their Omen devices owing to the improved cooling system that prevents thermal throttling.

Where the Omen 15 shows its dominance is in the graphics card and RAM it uses. The laptop packs 32 gigabytes of blazing fast 2933MHz DDR4 RAM. In terms of memory speeds in laptops go, it doesn’t really get much better than this. Your SketchUp projects will load faster than your competitors and can maintain that performance for longer periods of time. Next to the RAM, you get an RTX 2070 Super with this machine – a beast of a graphics card that offers performance similar to an RTX 2080. With 8 gigabytes of fast GDDR6 memory and even higher clock speeds than the base RTX 2070, you can enjoy even faster rendering and load times whenever you work with 3D models. In terms of gaming and rendering performance at this range, you really can’t get any better.

However, there are things to consider in this device – chiefly the meager 512 gigabytes of NVMe SSD storage. While the SSD is fast and offers quicker load and boot times, the space will inevitably be used up. Luckily, there are two free SSD slots on the laptop. You can easily slot in more storage in the future. There are also two free RAM slots for you to fill out if you need even more memory down the road. In terms of upgradability, the Omen 15 offers a lot of options. This will ensure it ages well as the years go by. You should also note that while the battery is rated to last up to 5 hours with mixed use, a safer bet would be around 4 hours. That time quickly decreases as you perform more heavy work. While the battery life is not impressive, it’s definitely manageable.

The centerpiece on this machine is an absolutely stunning 15.6-inch diagonal Full HD IPS anti-glare micro-edge WLED-backlit display with 300Hz refresh rate and 3 millisecond response time. Color reproduction is excellent, allowing you to do entry to mid-level color critical work. More importantly, the 300Hz refresh rate is unheard of in a laptop. You’ll experience unparalleled smoothness, anti-ghosting and responsive when using this screen. Like the GP65 Leopard, the keyboard is RGB backlit. HP’s keyboards are always excellent and comfortable to type on and this is no exception. The touchpad and speakers are above average as well. While you won’t find a lot of clarity in the sound, there is a decent amount of bass and volume.

The port selection and wireless features on this laptop are excellent. It comes with a Thunderbolt 3 port with SuperSpeed USB Type-C, 1 DisplayPort 1.4, 3 SuperSpeed USB Type-A, 1 RJ-45 ethernet port, 3.5mm Headphone/microphone combo, and AC smart pin, 1 Mini DisplayPort, and 1 HDMI 2.0a. You can easily connect any display you want to this powerful machine while also using it as a hub to charge other devices. With Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5, you can expect great wireless performance with faster data transfer speeds compared to Wi-Fi 5. This is great for long uninterrupted gaming sessions. Or an important meeting that stretches on for a couple of hours.

The Omen 15 comes with the Windows 10 Home version. The machine has an eye-catching design with a unique hinge. The textured matte black finish on the back gives it a sophisticated look. In terms of footprint, the laptop weighs 5.12 lbs. and has dimensions of 14.17 x 10.36 x 0.79 inches. Again, you’re not going to enjoy great portability. But considering the performance on offer, the trade-off is worth it. 

The HP Omen 15 runs everything you throw at it at breakneck speeds. And it looks good while doing so.

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PROSCONS
Powerful 10th generation i7 processorBattery life is subpar.
Best in class RTX 2070 Super graphics card at this range.Storage capacity may not be enough for most users.
An unbelievably responsive display. 
Very fast RAM 

LG Gram Laptop

Breaking from the mold of beefy gaming machines, the LG Gram is a lightweight and portable laptop with touchscreen functionality. LG has baked in some nice features and made sensible decisions to make this a very compelling product.

The LG Gram comes equipped with a 10th Generation Intel Core i7 1065G7 processor with 4 cores, 8 threads, 8 megabytes of cache, and clock speeds up to 3.90 GHz. While the specs may not seem jaw-dropping on paper, the i7 1065G7 packs a punch that is way above its weight class in both gaming and productivity workloads. The massive gains in single-threaded performance make it a compelling choice for SketchUp. Much like the i7 10750H, you’ll get great performance out of this chip. No matter how intensive your project is, this processor can handle it just fine.

Perhaps the biggest departure is in the lack of a discrete graphics card. The LG Gram doesn’t have a fancy RTX graphics card and instead opts for the 10th generation Intel Iris integrated graphics solution. You won’t see performance quite like a dedicated graphics card. But in such a light and small form factor, you’ll be hard pressed to find any better options. In that regard, the Iris graphics is a notable step up from previous generations and offers great performance for SketchUp and even Adobe Premiere. It’s perfect for light rendering work and casual gaming. But if youre workflow requires intensive rendering of detailed 3D models; you won’t get the performance you’re looking for.

But where the LG Gram doesn’t skimp on is in memory and storage. You get 16 gigabytes of 3200MHz DDR4 RAM and 1TB of speedy NVMe SSD storage that’s broken up into two 512MB chunks. The RAM capacity is right at the edge of what we would consider to be acceptable for SketchUp. You won’t have the future proofing of 32 gigabytes but 16 gigabytes work just fine for everyday use. These DDR4 kits are the fastest that you can get at this range. They can absolutely breeze past many intensive SketchUp plugins, projects, and models. Similarly, there are no compromises on the storage. You get 1TB of it right out of the box and are good to go.

The headlining feature of the LG Gram is its gorgeous 15.6” Full HD (1920 x 1080) IPS LCD Touchscreen display. LG uses a high-end panel for the LG Gram and it shows as colors are vivid and viewing angles are splendid. The pixel density is quite good, allowing more detail and clarity to be present on the screen. The touch experience is nothing short of sublime. With a fast response time and touch polling rate, you can expect to whiz across the OS with your finger – much like a fast smartphone. This touchscreen is perfect for professionals who rely on their fingers to do work.  

Despite the small form factor, the battery life on the LG Gram is very impressive. With an 80Wh battery that’s rated to last up to 17 hours, you can comfortably get a day’s use out of this machine. We estimate a screen on time of around 10 to 12 hours with mixed and heavy use. A number that’s superb compared to other ultra-portable and light notebooks. While the keyboard isn’t backlit, typing on it is fine enough. The speakers, however, are lackluster and lack any real oomph. They can get the job done for most people but won’t “wow” anyone. For those who prefer biometric authentication on their devices, the LG Gram comes with a fingerprint sensor for an added layer of security.

The LG Gram has an impressive port selection and wireless features. It comes with 3 USB 3.0 Type-A ports and 1 USB Type-C port which supports Thunderbolt 3 for lightning-fast transfers. You can even charge the device using the USB-C port for added convenience. There is an HDMI port to connect external displays. There is even a micro-SD card reader. Who would have thought? The machine comes equipped with Wi-Fi 6, offering great speeds and stable connections.

You also get Windows 10 Home on this machine. At first glance, the device looks visually stunning with its grey finish, matte black keyboard, and thin design. The whole package gets even better as the LG Gram comes in at just 2.52 lbs. and has dimensions of 14.10 x 8.90 x 0.70 inches. It is easily one of the lightest and most portable laptops on the market right now. This is perfect for professionals who need to work on the go.

The LG Gram combines great performance in a ridiculously portable form factor. It’s a great choice for newcomers into the architecture scene!

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PROSCONS
Gorgeous display with responsive touch screen.No discrete graphics card.
Some of the fastest RAM you’ll see.Speakers are below average.
Extremely lightweight and portable. 
Great performing processor. 

Final Words

All the laptops discussed in this article are perfectly capable of running SketchUp and its myriad of functions. However, just meeting the requirements is not enough for most users. Especially when rendering is brought into the equation. In a profession where time is money, you want to save up on it as much as possible while also leveraging the latest and greatest in software technology.

The most important components for SketchUp are the CPU and the RAM. For complex rendering work, a powerful discrete graphics card is essential. We’ve taken an in-depth look at three laptops and their pros and cons. What you decide to purchase will depend on your specific use case.

If you’re looking for amazing performance with a powerful CPU and graphics card combo, then the MSI GP65 Leopard is the right choice for you. It offers top-notch single-threaded performance with fast RAM and SSD storage to ensure your SketchUp projects never experience any lag. The RTX 2070 is powerful enough to handle any rendering workload you throw at it.

But, if you’re veering more towards cutting edge specs with one or two compromises, then the HP Omen 15 will be your best bet. It has an immensely powerful RTX 2070 Super graphics card that shreds any rendering workload you throw at it. Not only that, the DDR4 RAM used is extremely fast and the 300Hz refresh rate display is buttery smooth. For these luxuries, you have to sacrifice battery life and storage capacity.

If you’re just starting out with SketchUp or want a portable machine that you can work on while commuting, then the LG Gram is your best friend. With an extremely lightweight and portable design, you can easily carry it around anywhere without much fuss. The battery life is also built to last. You can easily get a full day’s use out of this machine with mixed to heavy use. The stunning display and smooth touchscreen will be very appealing for users who love these features. However, you must consider that the LG Gram lacks any discrete graphics card. While the integrated Iris graphics is good enough for light rendering, it won’t be suitable for more intensive work. However, the processor and blistering fast 3200 MHz DDR4 RAM is more than capable of handling any project that doesn’t require rendering.

All things considered; our vote goes out to the MSI GP65 Leopard. It has beastly specs that is only marginally worse than the HP Omen 15.  In exchange for that small drop in performance, you get tons of storage with a 1TB SSD and 2TB HDD. You get a great RAM configuration, a display that is plenty gorgeous and responsive, and a battery life that is respectable at this range. Its performance is still phenomenal, and it’ll be difficult for you to find any complaints. We highly recommend the MSI GP65 Leopard for its top-notch performance without any compromises.