Autodesk Debuts 64-bit Revit 2009

8 Oct, 2008 By: Kenneth Wong

New Version Expected to Yield Increased Performance

As early as May 2007, Revit users have been inquiring about the debut of 64-bit Revit. On RevitCity, an online community for Revit fans, user Karthur asked, "Is there a version of Revit currently available that is compatible with a 64 [bit] operating system?" Coreed, another user, responded, "I have heard rumors that the 64-bit (Vista Version) Revit is only 2-3 months away. Hopefully there is some merit to those rumors."

Words of 64-bit Revit surfaced at Autodesk University 2006 when Jim Lynch, Autodesk's vice-president of marketing for Building Solutions, informed attendees that the new version was in development ("Event Report: Autodesk University 2006, Part 2," November 30, 2006).

Last week, a little more than three years after Microsoft released 64-bit Windows XP Professional in April 2005, Autodesk premiered Autodesk Revit 2009 64-bit. It is, according to Autodesk, the first native 64-bit building information modeling (BIM) product.

With 64-bit Autodesk Revit 2009, detailed renderings are expected to take less time.

The Details

In its press briefing, Autodesk explained Revit 2009 64-bit is available for Architecture, MEP (for mechanical, electrical, plumbing systems), and Structural products. The software reportedly can achieve the following things:

  • work natively on Windows XP Pro 64-bit and Windows Vista 64-bit versions
  • handle more than 4 GB of RAM;
  • improve performance and stability in memory intensive tasks such as printing, model upgrade, and import/export operations

"With 32-bit, 4 GB is the maximum you can get. The operating system (OS) usually grabs half of that, so all the application is left to play with is 2 GB," said Emile Kfouri, Autodesk's senior platform line manager for AEC. "With BIM, as we start using detailed 3D models, 2 GB ceases to be adequate. With 64-bit, we now effectively have unlimited memory. The theoretical maximum is 16 exabytes of RAM."

Explaining the nature of 64-bit computing in "A brief history of virtual storage and  addressability," IBM wrote, "With  addressing, the potential size of a z/OS address space expands to a size so vast we need new terms to describe it. Each address space, called a 64-bit address space, is 16 exabytes (EB) in size; an exabyte is slightly more than one billion gigabytes."

"Every single test I threw at the Revit 64-bit system, it beat the 32-bit system," said Ken Murphy, BIM manager, corporate services, Thornton Tomasetti. "On average, we observed approximately a 20% performance gain on operations such as saving files and exporting models to other formats for outside consultants. And when it comes to rendering images of large project models, such as an American football stadium with thousands of members, we saw up to a 50% performance improvement over the 32-bit platform."

How to Get It

Autodesk subscription customers can expect to be able to download the 64-bit version at no additional cost through the subscription portal. "64-bit applications are not backward compatible," Kfouri warned. "So you can only run a 64-bit app on a 64-bit OS. But a 32-bit app will run on both a 32-bit OS or a 64-bit OS."

Revit users will be able to install both 32-bit and 64-bit versions side by side on the same machine if they choose to, according to Kfouri. At the present, Revit 2009 64-bit is available only in English.

Autodesk is not prepared to disclose what other products in its portfolio will soon receive the 64-bit treatment.