Nvidia will end driver support for 32-bit operating systems

Nvidia announced the end of driver support for certain operating systems and some driver features in three separate support posts yesterday. The big news is the end of driver support for 32-bit OSes after driver version 390 comes around. Smaller notes include the upcoming discontinuation of driver support for the NVS 310 and NVS 315 business graphics cards, and the end of support for quad-buffered stereo features starting with driver version 396.

Nvidia says that drivers after the 390 branch will not install or work on 32-bit Windows, Linux, or FreeBSD operating systems. The notes also say that future feature enhancements and optimizations will not be rolled back into older driver versions. Nvidia says it will provide "low to critical" security fixes for these cards in driver branch 390 until December 2019 and "critical only" support until December 2021. Driver version 390 is apparently coming later this month, which isn't a big surprise given the release of GeForce Game Ready driver 388.71 earlier this week.

The business-focused NVS 310 and NVS 315 cards were built using hacksawed versions of the GF119 Fermi 2.0 graphics chip found in the consumer-targeted GeForce 510. The change in support status could mean that Fermi gaming cards may be reaching the end of driver support in the near future, though those cards aren't up for playing the latest graphically intense titles anyway. Individuals running 32-bit versions of the previously-supported operating systems will need to make a move to 64-bit versions to continue to receive driver support. The NVS 310 and NVS 315 cards were never particularly adept at playing games, but security conscious business users will need to upgrade eventually anyway.

The quad-buffered stereo features are related to professional 3D visualizations. The announcement page has more specific details about the nature of the features and the behavior that new drivers will take when the deprecated APIs are called upon.

Comments closed
    • ronch
    • 2 years ago

    Most of us are probably using 64-bit drivers for a while now anyway, so as long as 32-bit games still run just fine, all is well.

    • tipoo
    • 2 years ago

    This seems entirely fine.

    Man, the switch to full 64 bit Windows has been long winded.

      • mcarson09
      • 2 years ago

      but the “switch” has not been fully completed. They still have 32bit versions of OSes for sale. It’s one thing to offer security patches, but its another to continue to sell the 32bit versions to the consumer. 32bit has everything from compatibility libraries to VMs to use. You don’t need to weigh down the 64bit OSes with the 32bit versions still hanging around. The switch from 16bit to 32bit went much faster than this.

        • Klimax
        • 2 years ago

        There’s still HW without 64-bit drivers and similar stuff like 16-bit SW using 16-bit HW thus VM is not an option…

        Note: Server editions of Windows are 64-bit only since Windows Server 2008 R2.

        • tipoo
        • 2 years ago

        Has been != Was

      • ronch
      • 2 years ago

      Imagine how the switch to 128-bit would be. We’d all be frozen skeletons by then.

        • Krogoth
        • 2 years ago

        We would have switched to a completely different computing paradigm by the time 64-bit binary computers become woefully inadequate.

    • mcarson09
    • 2 years ago

    Where the story about Apple trying to BS their way out of throttling people’s iphones?

    Even iAnandtech.com has a story.

    [url<]https://www.anandtech.com/show/12184/apple-confirms-cpu-limitation-in-ageing-devices[/url<]

    • mcarson09
    • 2 years ago

    Microsoft should have stopped their 32bit OS at xp. Anything that needs a 32bit OS can run in a VM and have access to any ports the host machine has. Every os has a 64bit option now. 32bit needs to die. I have no problem with Nvidia killing 32bit OS as long as they let people download any old 32bit driver they may need.

      • Krogoth
      • 2 years ago

      When Longhorn a.k.a NT 6.x family was under development x86-64 was still in its infancy and it was uncertain at time that would completely overtake IA-64 (HPC only).

      Microsoft played it safe and made Longhorn into several version including 32bit since there was still a large ecology 32-bit systems. x86-64 systems only started to become commonplace roughly around the launch of Windows 7. 32-bit systems only started to become legacy-only around the EOD of Window XP and impending launch of Windows 10.

      • chrcoluk
      • 2 years ago

      agreed, this is all long overdue.

      I really dont get why windows even has x86 32bit versions anymore at all.

    • sleeprae
    • 2 years ago

    The 2021 date appears to only apply to support the NVS cards and is not 32-bit specific. Regular cards only get 32-bit security update support until Dec 2019.

    I have mixed feelings about this. I wish that Vista would have been the last 32-bit version of Windows, but the fact that it’s still an ongoing and supported product all the way to Win10 1709…I’m not sure that I like the idea of vendors deciding to bail, at least for something as essential as graphics cards – even though 32-bit support has been optional for Windows certification for some time.

    That said, it won’t impact me, and if it helps 32-bit die, then I suppose it’s worthwhile.

    • Concupiscence
    • 2 years ago

    I wonder what the numerical breakdown of x86_32 versus x86_64 Windows installs on shipping and working machines in the wild looks like at this point.

      • mcarson09
      • 2 years ago

      A lot of laptop default to 32bit because some companies are charging extra for 64bit.

    • psuedonymous
    • 2 years ago

    Ugh, and we still have a few thousand NVS310s and 315s deployed. Hell, we are still DEPLOYING them in new kit! Though that’s less Nvidia to blame and more terrible penny-pinching purchasing decisions (the flow chart must have a “is it just about to go EoL within the next month? If yes, add to catalogue” box).

      • chuckula
      • 2 years ago

      At least under Linux there is also a “legacy” Nvidia driver that doesn’t get new features but maintains basic functionality for older hardware. Hopefully it will be around long enough for your uses.

        • Concupiscence
        • 2 years ago

        Those tend to get maintained for [i<]very[/i<] long periods of time, too. GeforceFX cards were still supported until late 2013 in Linux, a full decade plus after initial release.

          • Klimax
          • 2 years ago

          They are still supported under Windows 10 too, because there is WDDM 1.0 driver for them..

          Reminder: Just because Nvidia stops releasing new drivers doesn’t mean current drivers cease to work.

    • kuttan
    • 2 years ago

    Could have done this some 5 years ago. Better late than never.

      • chuckula
      • 2 years ago

      I think you are forgetting that Nvidia’s drivers don’t solely exist for the highest-end gaming systems. They also need to provide boot support on lower-end systems that have been around for a long time.

        • JustAnEngineer
        • 2 years ago

        32-bit Microsoft Windows and 32-bit Intel Atom processors could have gone away years ago, too.

          • End User
          • 2 years ago

          I though 32-bit x86 apps were making a glorious comeback.

            • chuckula
            • 2 years ago

            If vinyl can make a comeback, and if Microsoft/Qualcomm can spend a buttload of money to make 2018 ARM chips run 32-bit x86 programs from the early 1990’s, then I don’t see any reason why we can’t go retro with x86-32 here!

            • smilingcrow
            • 2 years ago

            Isn’t that version of Windows 64 bit though so drivers will also be?
            But are Nvidia even offering drivers for that O/S?
            I can’t see that a dGPU makes much sense currently with it anyway.

          • Andrew Lauritzen
          • 2 years ago

          So despite what people think, 32-bit processors are not actually the reason 32-bit windows has stuck around so long. It’s actually devices with low amounts of RAM and storage (remember those 2MB RAM/32GB storage $200 machines?) and the reason the OEMs opt to run the 32-bit version on it is because the 64-bit version of Windows is actually a fair bit larger both on the HDD and in RAM due to having to effectively have two versions of many system libraries (SysWOW64 stuff).

          Of course this is not a relevant reason on any reasonable devices, but as far as I understand it’s one of the major reasons 32-bit consumer OSes survived through Windows 8 and 10 (it was important to have an upgrade path for the 32-bit Win8 stuff of course as well).

          I’d love to have seen it go away years ago too, but it’s worth remembering that we’re all fairly high end as users go.

            • Krogoth
            • 2 years ago

            It is entirely from Atom and older embedded systems that are running 32-bit hardware platforms. They aren’t running dGPUs at all.

            • Andrew Lauritzen
            • 2 years ago

            … I don’t think you read a single thing I wrote?

            • Krogoth
            • 2 years ago

            It is from legacy systems. You are so called systems haven’t been sold in the USA/EU for almost a decade now.

            Embedded systems made these days have more then enough memory and capacity to handle 64-bit OS with ease.

            • LostCat
            • 2 years ago

            I’m using a 30gb drive as the main drive in two of my systems, and I can barely fit anything with the 64 bit OS. Could I upgrade one of them? Sure. Do I need to? Not really.

            • Krogoth
            • 2 years ago

            It most likely isn’t running a modern discrete GPU (predates PCIe) and the CPU predates x86-64 or is first generation units(early K8 and second-gen Prescott). You aren’t going to be running an 64-bit OS on it anyway.

            • Andrew Lauritzen
            • 2 years ago

            Of course, I’m not saying NVIDIA ending support is a problem, I was merely providing expository information related to why there are still 32-bit OSes around at all. Most people – myself included – tend to assume it’s because of 32-bit processors, but that’s not necessarily the dominant factor.

            • derFunkenstein
            • 2 years ago

            based on his reply I think the answer is “no”

            • K-L-Waster
            • 2 years ago

            Presumably the video drivers on those systems are working well enough they don’t need significant driver updates anymore….

        • Krogoth
        • 2 years ago

        32-bit platforms are already obsolete and they are riding hardware that is just as dated. They aren’t going to be running any of the current crop of dGPUs (even simple 3D/2D bargain basement units)

          • Krogoth
          • 2 years ago

          The majority of those old systems are using PCI and AGP-era cards not PCIe.

          PCIe became mainstream when 64-bit CPUs and OS were starting to become commonplace. 32-bit Atom systems out in the field aren’t even running dGPU solutions. They are using iGPU on the platform.

          Windows 7’s official EOL will be the final nail in the 32-bit coffin.

        • kuttan
        • 2 years ago

        Boot support on lower end system ?? Even last iterations of Pentium 4 supports 64 Bit OS that is some 15 years ago lol.

      • NovusBogus
      • 2 years ago

      Two years maybe, but not five. Let us not forget history: back in late 2012 Windows XP aka Best Windows Evar was still large and in charge, not going unsupported until sometime in 2014 and maintaining its presence for at least another year after that. The transition has also been complicated by the large number of crummy laptops that shipped with 32 bit Windows 7 and some longstanding library compatibility issues in the Linux camp.

      In any case, the machines impacted by this are old and weak enough that it shouldn’t be a big deal. It’s not like the 390 drivers will magically stop working, and anyone who claims to not be running ancient hardware with an equally ancient “favorite, verified compatible version” of the driver is probably lying.

    • SkyWarrior
    • 2 years ago

    Hopefully…

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