Which graphics cards are recommended for SketchUp?

We recommend any graphics card that fully supports OpenGL 1.5 or higher and has at least 64 MB of video memory. If you're going to create large models, we recommend a graphics card with more than 64 MB of video memory.

OpenGL is a set of instructions for how your computer's graphics components work with the rest of your computer and your software. OpenGL is particularly important for 3D programs like SketchUp, as well as 2D graphics programs. If the graphics card manufacturer supports the standard OpenGL instructions well, then your 3D and 2D programs will work well.

We've seen good results when SketchUp is run with most of the graphics cards recently released by NVIDIA and ATI.

For older graphics cards and cards from other manufacturers, it is important to update to the latest graphics driver for your graphics card. For more information about how to update a graphics driver, click here.

Some graphics cards are designed primarily for games and don't fully support the OpenGL standard. Other graphics cards are designed to support only more simple graphics (this can be the case with the graphics capabilities in some notebooks and budget computers). Cards like these may not support 3D programs like SketchUp very well. If you have updated to the latest graphics driver and you are still having problems using SketchUp, you may need to upgrade your computer's graphics capabilities.

PC Note: One way to test whether your graphics card is supporting OpenGL fully, the way a 3D program like SketchUp requires, is to disable hardware acceleration. This takes the graphics card out of the equation so that graphics are fully handled by the software and the operating system. Normally, you shouldn't do this because it typically causes a slow down in graphics performance, but it can help you troubleshoot an issue. To disable hardware acceleration:

  1. In SketchUp open the "Window" menu.
  2. Click "Preferences."
  3. Click "OpenGL."
  4. Clear the "Use hardware acceleration" option.