Wednesday, October 22, 2008

64-bit Revit Now Available

At the end of September, Autodesk finally announced the long-awaited release of the 64-bit version of Revit. All three flavors of Revit 2009—Revit Architecture, Revit MEP, and Revit Structure—are now available for 64-bit versions of Windows XP and Windows Vista, with one very important caveat:

The 64-bit versions of Revit 2009 are only available to Revit subscription customers.

One would assume that Autodesk will provide both 32-bit and 64-bit versions to all customers once the company releases the next version of Revit, which should be next spring (probably in April 2009). Until then, the 64-bit version will only be available to customers with subscription contracts. Thus the 64-bit versions of Revit join the list of other applications and add-ons currently only offered to Revit subscription customers. That list includes the Worksharing Monitor, Batch Plot Utility, and Globe Link extensions as well extensions for Excel-based modeling, a grid generator, text generator, element positioning, freeze drawings, and model compare.

What are the benefit to running a 64-bit version of Revit? The biggest advantage of running a 64-bit operating system is the ability to access more than 4GB of memory, which is maximum possible with a 32-bit OS. That maximum rises to 128GB for 64-bit versions of Windows, more than most of today's computers can even accomodate. Extra memory means that users can create huge Revit models without having to split them up into multiple linked project files.

Generally, moving to a 64-bit OS does not provide significant speed improvements. In fact, some tests show that performance can actually be a bit slower under a 64-bit OS due to the additional overhead. But according to Autodesk, beta testers reported that the 64-bit versions of Revit provided improved performance when rendering and printing, importing and exporting files, and when converting models to the newer release.

At some point, I hope to get a system configured so that I can quantify the performance difference. Ideally, I'll set up a system that can dual boot to either 32-bit or 64-bit Windows. But since I do not currently have access to the subscription site, that may have to wait until the next release.

An annual Revit subscription currently costs $695 per year while customers who purchased one of the Revit suites pay $725.

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