32-bit is so Windows 95.
In a no frills, no hoopla, in a very un-Nvidia like fashion, the company announced that after Release 390, Nvidia will no longer release drivers for 32-bit operating systems for any GPU architecture. The company is currently shipping WHQL driver version 388.71 which suggests there will be a few more 32-bit drivers before the cutoff.
Later driver release versions will not operate, nor install, on 32-bit operating systems. 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. This impacts operating systems such as Microsoft Windows 7, Microsoft Windows 8/8.1, Microsoft Windows 10, Linux, and FreeBSD—applicable to operating systems running on x64 and x32 CPU architectures.
You can check what version of Windows you’re running by opening Control Panel, find the System icon, and double-click it. In the detailed list of information about your computer that appears, look for the line “System Type,” which will then show you whether you have a 32-bit or 64-bit OS.
What do we think?
Nvidia isn’t being arbitrary or capricious on this, support of legacy software is the bane of all hardware suppliers, and the cause of more support calls than anything else. With the launch of iOS 11, Apple also required apps to support a 64-bit architecture or risk being left off or lost on the App Store, and such apps simply not work on users’ iOS 11 devices. Intel is also removing BIOS support from its Unified Extensible Firmware Interface by 2020 so 32-bit OS won’t be able to boot on PCs running UEFI class 3/3+.
This is interesting in light of the new Qualcomm/Asus/HP/Lenovo/Microsoft always on, always connected PC coming out in Q1 which will only be 32-bit Windows and apps. Of course, there’s no Nvidia in the deal anywhere, ever. However, it may be possible to use an out-rigger box (like AlienWare’s Amplifier) if Asus/HP/Lenovo provide USB3c or Lightening. But then Nvidia would have to go back to 32-bit drivers (or use an old one which probably works just fine). But even that may be moot as Microsoft is working hard to get AAA FPS (64-bit) games to run on the Windows 10S OS on a Qualcomm SoC (Snapdragon 835 or later).