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32-bit NVIDIA drivers will soon be passe

No more 32-bit love from NVIDIA. (Source: Digital Trends)
No more 32-bit love from NVIDIA. (Source: Digital Trends)
The upcoming version 390 of NVIDIA's graphic driver will be the last to officially support 32-bit OSs. Barring a year's more time of security support for 32-bit drivers, all new features and enhancements will take the 64-bit route going forward.

NVIDIA will soon stop supporting 32-bit operating systems after the version 390 WHQL driver update, which is expected to release sometime in January. Henceforth, all new features and enhancements for NVIDIA GPUs will only be supported in the 64-bit drivers. Driver version 390 for 32-bit OSs will continue to get security fixes for up to one year but will not receive any new features backported from later 64-bit driver versions. The affected operating systems include 32-bit versions of Windows 7, Windows 8.x, Windows 10, Linux, and FreeBSD. This also applies to 32-bit OSs installed on 64-bit systems.

It is becoming increasingly rare to find 32-bit OSs in use these days. Many Linux distros have stopped 32-bit ISO releases and the increasing capabilities of both OSs and software require greater memory addressal than what was the norm earlier. Even the latest Steam hardware surveys show that 32-bit OSs comprise less than 2% of Steam PC gamers. 64-bit operating systems can provide much improved security, a more efficient workflow, and support for properly signed drivers. However, enterprises and consumers still running legacy 16-bit apps need a 32-bit OS. Such users will have to eventually migrate to 64-bit and resort to some form of virtualization to run legacy programs.

With Intel to soon drop support for the legacy BIOS in favor of the more feature-rich UEFI, it will become increasingly difficult to run 32-bit operating systems without some form of emulation and everyone will eventually transition to 64-bit computing for good.


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Vaidyanathan Subramaniam, 2017-12-23 (Update: 2017-12-23)