Nvidia, founding company of the GPU, has announced that on August 31 of 2021, support for Windows 7, 8 and 8.1, as well as for all Kepler GPUs, will be dropped. The majority of these GPUs used to sell as part of the 600 and 700-series with low-end cards of both series, occasionally modeled after previous GPU architectures such as Fermi.
Nvidia has stated that these phaseout plans for its older GPUs and operating systems stemmed from several considerations. First off, all earlier versions of Windows except for 8.1 have already expired, with support for Windows 8.1 ending in January of 2023. Still, the company doesn’t project this change to affect gamers too heavily. Most recently, a Steam Hardware Survey showed that about 92.87 percent of gamers already use Windows 10, followed by only 1.97 percent running Windows 7.
In terms of Kepler, Nvidia recognizes that this GPU family is now more than nine years old. That said, the company still plans to continue critical security updates for Windows 7, 8 and 8.1, as well as Kepler GPUs, on any operating system through September of 2024.
However, even regarding Kepler GPUs, many users appear to have moved on. The same Steam Hardware Survey revealed that cards such as the GTX 650, 660, 760 and GTX 770 seem to comprise only about one percent of the total market.
In fact, the only reason these phaseouts might have any impact at all returns to the rising challenge of obtaining a GPU. Indeed, GPUs that used to sell for $123 on average two years ago are now at $496, an increase of over four times. Moreover, midrange graphics cards are now 3.8 times more expensive, while high-end cards are 2.33 times pricier.
These details notwithstanding, simply because Nvidia will stop releasing updates for these GPUs doesn’t mean that old drivers will stop working. Therefore, users should still be able to depend on the August R470 driver to operate a Kepler GPU. This residual functionality should be enough for existing graphics cards’ marginal utility to run on before going obsolete.