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Memory Makes A Difference: Performance of ArchiCAD on 64-bit Versus 32-bit Operating Systems

Posted by cadhardware

Mar 14, 2011 10:21:46 PM

When Graphisoft’s ArchiCAD 14 was released last year, a client called us about upgrading. The upgrade was a significant one, as this company was still using ArchiCAD 10. At this point, the company’s drafters were essentially working around problems with their system, which included “Memory Full” errors when updating elevation sheets and other system timeouts.

Yet upgrading had the potential to fix more than just the memory issues. The lure of building information modeling (BIM) and improved 3D renderings made a lot of sense for this client’s business plan. This medium-sized, privately owned business specializes in custom home design and construction. The ability to improve their collaboration efforts, cut their production time while creating sophisticated 3D modeling could impact everything from their engineering department to their marketing and sales team.

64-bit Versus 32-bit Operating Systems

The company had already invested in upgrading its hardware, buying updated Dell Business Workstations. But they had yet to take the leap to a 64-bit operating system. ArchiCAD 14 was designed to use a 64-bit operating system, unlike ArchiCAD 10.

Often clients ask us about the difference between 64-bit and 32-bit operating systems. The terms refer to the computer’s processor (also called a CPU), which controls how the computer handles information. For example, the 64-bit version of Windows handles large amounts of random access memory (RAM) more effectively than a 32-bit system. A 64-bit operating system can make a huge difference in the ability of workstations to work with high-end CAD applications.

Our first step for the upgrade was updating the operating system on the client’s current computers to the 64-bit version of Windows. Before we did the OS upgrade, we ran some timed tests so we could compare how the system worked before the upgrade with how it worked after.

Redraw Type ArchiCAD 10 on
Windows 32-bit OS
ArchiCAD 14 on
Windows 64-bit OS
South 2 min 30 sec 58 sec
West 2 min 18 sec 42 sec
Section #1 1 min 8 sec 3 sec
3D Rendering – All 1 min 45 sec 22 sec
Elevation Sheet Update (Stopped after 5+ min and third “Memory Full” warning) 2 min 20 sec

These tests were on the same Dell computer with the same amount of RAM, just different versions of the Windows operating system and ArchiCAD. As you can see, the processor made all the difference in running the advanced features of CAD application, significantly cutting down the time for redraws even while running the more advanced features of the newer version of ArchiCAD.

Authors: Mark Shaw and James Ecklund

Topics: Dell Business Workstation, ArchiCAD, 32-Bit, Operating Systems, Operating System, 64-Bit, Dell Workstations, Windows

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