April 9, 2018 // 10:13 a.m.
Nvidia has officially sounded the death-knell for gaming on 32-bit operating systems, announcing that only security updates will be provided going forward - and then only through to January 2019.
Following the company's previous announcement that it was working to move way from offering support for 32-bit operating systems, Nvidia has confirmed that it will no longer issue feature, bug-fix, and performance updates for any of its drivers on any 32-bit operating systems from this month onward. While critical security updates will continue to be offered for the time being, these too will cease in January 2019 - after which the only way for gamers to stay secure and up-to-date will be to switch to a 64-bit operating system.
The move isn't restricted to those running Microsoft's Windows family of operating systems, either: Nvidia has confirmed that as well as ceasing official support for 32-bit installations of Windows 7, Windows 8.1, and Windows 10, the company will no longer update its 32-bit drivers for FreeBSD and operating systems using the Linux kernel. The company has also announced that GeForce Experience, its Windows-only gaming utility, will also no longer be updated for 32-bit Windows installations.
With games requiring ever-increasing amounts of memory, a 64-bit operating system - which can address memory above 4GB without relying on clever tricks like physical address extensions (PAE) - has become a near-necessity. All modern mainstream x86 processors are fully 64-bit compatible, though a small number of BIOSes - typically found in entry-level tablet and ultraportable hardware using Intel's Atom processors - require the use of a 32-bit operating system.
At the same time as announcing the retirement of 32-bit support, Nvidia has confirmed that its older Fermi architecture is being put out to pasture with only security updates available from now through to official end of support in January 2019.