When I was in college, we just started seeing Intel's 80306 line of CPUs hitting the streets, and with them, the 32-bit computing era had begun. This was a very important transition in computing history, as it allowed -- just a few years later -- for SolidWorks to put the power of production-level solid modeling on every engineer's desktop. For ten years, 32-bit Windows computers allowed SolidWorks to grow dramatically in power and performance.
By 2005 we had our first 64-bit Pentium processors AND a 64-bit version of Windows XP to go along with them. Back then, only a subset of Windows users needed to address more than 4GB of RAM, and fewer could afford it. Today, however, even the least expensive laptop has at least 4GB of RAM -- many start with more -- and they all come with 64-bit Windows 7 or 8.
Given the modern computing environment that's evolved around us, we're at the point where it simply doesn't make sense to run 3D engineering software like SolidWorks on 32-bit Windows under the old 4GB limit; indeed, most of our customers have transitioned to 64-bit Windows long ago. But still, SolidWorks Corporation has continued to make and support a 32-bit version of all their software all this time.
While SolidWorks Corporation has always been very good about letting customers know well in advance when there are changes in supported systems -- this change included -- it never hurts to get the word out in other venues. So, I'd like to let you all know (or remind you if you've already seen it elsewhere) that SolidWorks 2014 will be the last version of SolidWorks to run on 32-bit Windows. For most users, this annoucement is just a footnote, but if you have any questions, send us an email or give us a call.