Shyamal Roy of GEOMATE Company has years of experience working with advanced 64-bit IBM mainframe computers, and currently writes analysis software for MCAD. He provided WorldCAD Access with his opinion of the benefits of 64-bit computing to CAD:
When developing CAD software solutions, we need to deal with four fundamental objectives: usability, speed, depth, and domain of the solution. Let's look at the 64-bit computing possibilities in this
Usability has noting to do with size of computing, whether 1 bit or 64 bits. Usability does not change significantly if computing speed changes. Faster computing may bring more haptic senses into play some day, if the vendors so desire.
Speed in CAD software consists of three distinct elements: graphical performance, data handling, and computation performance. Graphical performance is more affected by the display-list software design and GPU performance, rather than the performance of CPU (whether 32 bits or 64 bits). Data handling will improve with 64-bit performance. Computational performance will improve when software is modified to take advantage of 64 bits, a non-trivial task.
Depth of solution has been stagnant in most CAD applications for several years and is function of business goals of developers, rather than CPU path size (32 bit or 64 bits).
Domain of solution of CAD applications should increase, because 64-bit computing will introduce much better data handling capabilities.
I had a casual conversation with a fellow software developer in Silicon Valley, currently working on the 64-bit processor development. He commented that the throughput increase with 64-bit computing, without major architectural changes in applications, are expected to be less than 7% overall.
CAD users may be better off not holding their breath on 64-bit computing for at least 5-7 years.