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.