Nvidia drops support for Fermi GeForces and 32-bit operating systems

We bet that more than a few gerbils still have a Fermi-era Nvidia GeForce graphics card laying around, perhaps in a secondary machine still running 32-bit Windows. All good things must come to an end, and this past Saturday, Nvidia announced that it's officially dropping driver support for GeForce graphics cards with Fermi GPUs on board. The company is also ending support for GeForce cards on 32-bit operating systems. Nvidia Quadro drivers aren't affected by these announcements.
Nvidia has published a full list of graphics cards that will no longer get driver updates. Since the company's desktop graphics-card naming is mostly sequential, it's easier to roughly think of GeForce GTX 500-series cards and earlier. Those worried that their older machines with those chips inside might get hit by a driver-level exploit can rest easy for a little while, as Nvidia says it'll still provide critical security updates through January 2019. From now on, only GeForce chips in the Kepler, Maxwell, and Pascal series will get driver updates.

Fermi graphics cards are certainly long in the tooth, but 32-bit operating systems are even more out of fashion—so much that Nvidia has apparently decided it's not worth devoting driver development resources to them. From here on out, the company will only be publishing new drivers and updates for 64-bit operating systems. Much like the aforementioned announcement, GeForce users on 32-bit systems will see critical security fixes until January 2019. New versions of GeForce Experience will follow the same rules, although Nvidia notes that some existing features like optimal game settings will continue to work on 32-bit operating systems.

The most recent desktop Fermi GeForce was the GTX 590, released all the way back in 2011. It's safe to say that those chips had a good run. Having said that, the relatively small windows for the release security updates is a little concerning. It's a safe bet that there's still a good number of systems with Fermi GeForces in the wild, and perhaps even more PCs with running 32-bit versions of Windows. If performance advances in graphics cards over the intervening seven years or so wasn't enough motivation to upgrade, though, perhaps Nvidia's slash of the sickle will be.

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