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Nvidia Will Kill Off Support For Kepler GPUs With Next R470 Driver

Nvidia Geforce GTX 780 Ti
(Image credit: Nvidia)

As reported by TechPowerUp, Nvidia will stop supporting Kepler graphics cards with the upcoming R470 drivers. Although the driver update roadmap corresponds to Nvidia's data center products, it'll likely translate over to the company's GeForce gaming graphics cards, too.

Nvidia first launched Kepler in 2012, so it has been a good nine-year run for the architecture. For those who have forgotten, Kepler debuted under the GTX 600-series, although Nvidia used the moniker for some previous Fermi models as well. The chipmaker released a Kepler refresh under the GTX 700-series branding, which coincidentally housed some Maxwell models.

Nvidia had already discontinued support for Fermi with the R390 drivers, so it was logical that Kepler would be next in line. Nvidia typically uses a driver revision for a few months. For example, the R460 drivers came out at the end of last year. The current version is 466.47, so it's very plausible that the R470 driver will land before the year is over. The change should affect all GeForce, Quadro, and Tesla products based on the Kepler architecture.

Besides bug fixes and performance improvements, updated drivers also usher in support of new games on the market. Since R470 is the last driver for Kepler, GTX 600-and 700-series graphics cards owners won't have access to subsequent titles that are launched after the release of the R470 driver. The Kepler discontinuation shouldn't have a big impact on the gaming population in general. According to the latest Steam Hardware & Software Survey, the total Kepler participation is less than 5%.

Looking at Nvidia's roadmap, Maxwell (GTX 900-series) and Pascal (GTX 10-series) are the next architectures on the chopping block. It should be a while before Nvidia pulls the plug on those two, though.

  • mikeebb
    Interesting. How will the differentiate between the Maxwell and Kepler cards in the GTX700 series? I have a 750ti, which I think is Maxwell. It's still working fine, even with current Open Rails, and upgrades are mostly unobtainium.
    Reply
  • thisisaname
    The Kepler discontinuation shouldn't have a big impact on the gaming population in general. According to the latest Steam Hardware & Software Survey, the total Kepler participation is less than 5%.

    5% or 1 in 20 is quite a lot of computers.
    Reply
  • spongiemaster
    thisisaname said:
    5% or 1 in 20 is quite a lot of computers.
    Killing off support doesn't mean the cards don't work any more. Kepler GPU's haven't gotten any real updates in ages even if they are supported by current drivers. This won't have any affect.
    Reply
  • thisisaname
    spongiemaster said:
    Killing off support doesn't mean the cards don't work any more. Kepler GPU's haven't gotten any real updates in ages even if they are supported by current drivers. This won't have any affect.
    True but if you believed the article the old cards would no longer work with new titles.

    Besides bug fixes and performance improvements, updated drivers also usher in support of new games on the market. Since R470 is the last driver for Kepler, GTX 600-and 700-series graphics cards owners won't have access to subsequent titles that are launched after the release of the R470 driver.
    Reply
  • voyteck
    thisisaname said:
    True but if you believed the article the old cards would no longer work with new titles.

    I don't think the lack of support does actually mean they won't work. As I see it they might have some glitches or performance issues that won't get fixed.
    Reply
  • digitalgriffin
    Architecture is so old it won't make any difference on modern games. Anyone trying to run a modern game on one of these is open to a rude awakening.

    That said NOS (new old stock) GTX 730s are selling like hotcakes right now because it's the only card you can get your hands on at a reasonable price. People are using them as stop gaps until prices come back down.
    Reply