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Thread: 64 bit upgrade – cost effective?

  1. #1
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    Default 64 bit upgrade – cost effective?

    Hey guys, I need some ammunition.

    I have a Dell Precision 490 -
    Woodcrest 5150 processer
    Quadro FX 3500 – 256MB
    4 gig ram
    XP 32 bit

    Our IT department says that it is not cost effective to update my computer to 64 bit Windows 7. They say it is too old (2 ½ yrs). I have read that my machine meets the minimum specs for windows 7 64 bit. I know that 64 bit is critical for stability and speed for Revit. My projects run between 35 – 80 meg. So does anyone have some good information I can take to the higher ups so I can give a push to the IT guys?
    Sorry if this is in the wrong forum.
    Thanks

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    AUGI Addict truevis's Avatar
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    Default Re: 64 bit upgrade – cost effective?

    I think that the main reason to change to 64-bit is to increase the amount of memory available to Revit. So, it depends upon how big your models are and if they are all openable with what you have.

    Perhaps others have a better view of this.

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    Early Adopter sbrown's Avatar
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    Default Re: 64 bit upgrade – cost effective?

    You will need a min. of 8 gig ram with 64 bit to see marked improvements. The 64 bit os(at least vista) takes a ton of ram just for the OS. I've seen just having my machine open and a large model open 4 gigs used before I execute a single command. Your project files are much smaller than the typical ones I work with so you might be ok.
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    NavisWorks Moderator david.kingham's Avatar
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    Default Re: 64 bit upgrade – cost effective?

    Have to disagree Scott, we have seen marked stability improvements by moving to 64 bit with just 4g ram. Granted on larger projects more is necessary and ram is cheap, so I'd recommend at least 8; but it dependent on the size of your projects. If they're small you will see no difference and it will be a waste

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    Certifiable AUGI Addict twiceroadsfool's Avatar
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    Default Re: 64 bit upgrade – cost effective?

    I think the OP needs to clarify what "gains" they think theyre going to get by going to 64 bit. Whats the issue? Crashes? Low system memory warnings? Inability to do certain tasks in Revit? Or its just slow and they want it to go faster?

    If its the latter, 64 bit may marginally help, but not all that much. To be honest, in projects 30-80 MB, i doubt itll do a darn thing... UNLESS there is some other instability issue creeping in.

    Ive got projects that are 150 that are just fine in 32 bit 4 gig environments. Working on them here with the 64 bit 8 gig machines is more stable, and a TINY bit faster, but the processors are faster too. Id wager dollar for dollar of 64 bit and memory, its no different.

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    Certified AUGI Addict patricks's Avatar
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    Default Re: 64 bit upgrade – cost effective?

    I have the exact same machine, used to be the same specs as the OP's.

    Back in November I upgraded to Win7 Pro x64 and a whopping 16GB of RAM (8x 2GB sticks). Be sure you get the correct fully-buffered DIMM's if you do this. Regular un-buffered 240-pin DIMM's will not fit, as I so painfully found out and had to return the 16GB I originally bought. If you're looking for memory on some place like newegg.com be sure to search for "server memory" as servers and workstations usually share common hardware (processors, memory, etc).

    I won't say speed is really increased all that much, since the processor and clock speed are still the same, and I'm still using the same Quadro FX550 128MB graphics card, which can't quite keep up with Revit and the Windows Aero graphic-intensive stuff. Also I went from an 80GB 10K RPM hard drive to a 640GB 7200 RPM drive. That probably slowed read/write times a tiny bit, but the new drive has the larger 32MB cache so that helps.

    What has increased is stability. Only 2 crashes since going 64-bit 3 months ago, both probably graphics-related. No sudden crashes where the program just suddenly quits.

    Also with XP and 4 GB RAM and the 3GB switch enabled, I was having problems with my system running low on memory frequently, where things like PDF files would not open, or trying to take a screen shot of my desktop wouldn't work. With Win7 x64 and 16GB RAM, I have none of these problems whatsoever.

    The cost of the memory, OS, and hard drive was over $600. That may or may not be worth it to you, but for our company it was better than $4K on a new workstation. I would love to have newer, faster Xeon or i7 processors, but for right now I think I'll be fine for a year or two longer if I can get something like an FX580 512MB graphics card.
    Last edited by patricks; 2010-01-28 at 02:25 PM.
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    AUGI Addict truevis's Avatar
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    Default Re: 64 bit upgrade – cost effective?

    Good advice here. So, XP or Win7 for a marginally-spec'd machine when going to x64?

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    Revit Forum Manager Steve_Stafford's Avatar
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    Default Re: 64 bit upgrade – cost effective?

    Four out of five Dentists recommend more RAM!!

    64 bit OS consumes a bit more ram so supplying the same ram for 64 bit as 32 bit OS doesn't do any favors for the 64 bit OS. I've heard stories of "worse" performance and David counters with his "better" observation... Depending which EyeTee person you consult the minimum ram for 64 bit OS ought to be 6 GB. More is more...bettererer...

    That said the sizes of the files mentioned earlier don't suggest hitting the project size/ram barrier yet. If hitting that barrier then 64 bit and more ram would be a greater priority perhaps. Otherwise you might choose to wait till you can upgrade all around?

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    Default Re: 64 bit upgrade – cost effective?

    Running anything other than Windows 7 x64 is pure madness, in my opinion. The OS is just buttery smooth compared to 32-bit XP.

    One issue I've seen countless times is that the Quadro drivers are real memory hogs under XP. XP has to cram itself and system drivers into a 2GB virtual address space, which is normally not a problem for the Quadro driver. If you use the /3GB switch to increase the virtual address space for 32-bit apps like Revit or ACA, it shrinks the 2GB for the OS and drivers down to 1GB. Which often makes the Quadro card really cranky and the system rather unstable.

    Under Win7 x64, this all goes away. Any crashes you have are the fault of the program, not the OS (assuming the drivers are solid).

    4GB is the baseline minimum nowadays, and 8GB is very inexpensive using 4x2GB chips. With 64-bit OS and applications becoming more mainstream we will see 4GB chips come down in cost, so 16GB will not be uncommon on Revit workstations.

    Your machine spec isn't that bad. It's old, certainly, but Precisions have lots of RAM slots which enable you to bump up installed RAM more than most desktop machines.

    In the end, I would say that it's NOT cost effective to stick with 32-bit XP anymore. A slow, jerky 32-bit system or a single system crash could cost your company the equivalent of the RAM, OS and installed cost.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: 64 bit upgrade – cost effective?

    I would recommend using the system scanner at www.crucial.com it will tell you exactly the type of ram you need for your PC, what is currently installed and the maximum it will support. My IT dept. has always recommended Kingston RAM, which seems very reliable.

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