The PC world is taking another step towards laying 32-bit systems to their eternal rest. Nvidia has announced that it will soon be making the switch to only supporting 64-bit operating systems, with the upcoming Version 390 of its graphics card drivers being the last to support 32-bit versions of Windows (7, 8/8.1, and 10), Linux, and FreeBSD. While 64-bit systems have been the norm for some time now, this marks a significant move away from legacy support for 32-bit.
Nvidia notes that it will continue to offer security updates for its 32-bit drivers for another year, but all new features, enhancements, and new hardware support will require a 64-bit OS and drivers. “Later driver release versions will not operate, nor install, on 32-bit operating systems,” Nvidia states. “Driver enhancements, driver optimizations, and operating system features in driver versions after Release 390 will not be incorporated back into Release 390 or earlier versions.”
There are of course plenty of reasons to make the switch to a 64-bit system, including better security, performance, and faster applications, but this change is likely to cause at least a few headaches for businesses and organizations, such as hospitals, that still rely on legacy machines and software. If they also rely on Nvidia drivers, their systems could become much harder to use in the near future.
On the other hand, for many this will probably be the final push they needed before moving up to a 64-bit system. As a major GPU manufacturer, Nvidia’s change could help the PC industry as whole make the transition to 64-bit, with fewer instances of legacy compatibility to hold things back.