Bad news for owners of older Nvidia graphics cards this morning, as the graphics card maker has confirmed they're ending support for all of their desktop Kepler GPUs starting this October. That means no more Game Ready drivers, performance enhancements or bug fixes for people with GTX 600, GTX 700 or GTX Titan cards.
Starting from October 4th 2021, only Nvidia's Maxwell, Pascal, Turing and Ampere families of desktop graphics cards will continue getting Game Ready driver support, leaving Kepler owners out in the cold. Kepler GPUs will still continue to get critical security updates up until September 2024, but their final Game Ready driver will arrive on August 31st 2021.
Here's a full list of the affected Nvidia Kepler GPUs:
- Nvidia GeForce GTX Titan Z
- Nvidia GeForce GTX Titan Black
- Nvidia GeForce GTX Titan
- Nvidia GeForce GTX 780 Ti
- Nvidia GeForce GTX 780
- Nvidia GeForce GTX 770
- Nvidia GeForce GTX 760 Ti
- Nvidia GeForce GTX 760
- Nvidia GeForce GTX 760 (192-bit)
- Nvidia GeForce GTX 760 Ti OEM
- Nvidia GeForce GT 740
- Nvidia GeForce GT 730
- Nvidia GeForce GT 720
- Nvidia GeForce GT 710
- Nvidia GeForce GTX 690
- Nvidia GeForce GTX 680
- Nvidia GeForce GTX 670
- Nvidia GeForce GTX 660 Ti
- Nvidia GeForce GTX 660
- Nvidia GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost
- Nvidia GeForce GTX 650 Ti
- Nvidia GeForce GTX 650
- Nvidia GeForce GTX 645
- Nvidia GeForce GT 640
- Nvidia GeForce GT 635
In a new FAQ page on Nvidia's Support site, the reason they've given for ending Kepler support is as follows:
"Kepler-based desktop GPUs initially launched in March of 2012. Since then, gaming technology has evolved dramatically with technologies like DirectX 12 Ultimate and Nvidia DLSS (Deep Learning Super Sampling). Moving forward, Nvidia's software QA team will be focusing on hardware that supports newer technologies."
Some of the eagle-eyed among you will notice that not all GTX 700 cards are actually present in this list. The GTX 750, GTX 750 Ti and GTX 745 are all absent, and that's because these cards technically belong to Nvidia's Maxwell family, despite sharing the same 700-series name. As such, it's likely these three cards will continue to receive Game Ready drivers for a little bit longer, until Nvidia axes support for their Maxwell GPUs as well, that is.
While it's always a shame when support for old hardware gets discontinued, the move (hopefully) shouldn't affect too many people. According to Steam's latest hardware survey, the first Kepler GPU to appear on their Video Card Description section is the GT 730, which accounts for just 0.47% of all Steam users right now. The next is the GT 710, which stands at just 0.36%, followed by the GTX 760 at 0.30%.
Ordinarily, this might be a sign for existing Kepler owners to upgrade their GPUs, but that's easier said than done right now due to the ongoing graphics card shortage. Buying one of today's best graphics cards is nigh on impossible at the moment, and any GPUs that are fleetingly available almost always cost much more than they should do due to the high demand. Unfortunately, the situation isn't likely to resolve itself until next year either, according to Nvidia and AMD, so it's going to be a while before things return to normal.
That said, there should hopefully be more chances to try and buy some new, more budget-focused cards over the coming months, as we still haven't seen Nvidia's inevitable RTX 3050 and RTX 3050 Ti cards make their way onto desktops yet (they're currently only available in laptops), and AMD haven't announced the lower-end of their new RX 6000 family yet either. Back in January, AMD promised two new GPUs in the first half of 2021, and so far we've only seen one, the 1440p mega card, the RX 6700 XT. There hasn't been anything in this batch of next-gen cards targeting the 1080p end of the gaming scale just yet, so fingers crossed we won't have to wait too long before they finally make an appearance.