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NVIDIA Move Mobile Kepler GPU to Legacy Status in April 2019 (& 3D Vision Too)

In a note on their support site published earlier this afternoon, NVIDIA has announced that they are preparing to move their mobile (portable) Kepler GPUs to legacy status, ending the usual graphics driver support for these products. As of April 2019, mobile Kepler products will become older products, which means that they will no longer receive game-compatible driver enhancements, performance optimizations and bug fixes. However, they will continue to receive critical security updates through the end of the hereditary support phase, which will run until April 2020. Since NVIDIA continues to produce new GPU architectures with an approximately two-year cadence, Off to Legacy status has become one relatively regular event for the company. But the latest pension is quite different, as NVIDIA only goes out on its mobile Kepler parts, and not their desktop parts. Previously, senior pensioners involved the entire architecture at once, as this would enable NVIDIA to take care of all driver development in one and the same way. Instead, because NVIDIA's documents even take special care to note, the desk Kepler-parts are not part of this pension and will continue to receive full support at the moment. Past, since NVIDIA tends to be a heavy-duty business, I can only speculate that they think the Kepler laptop ownership / use is low enough at this time that even pensioner only Kepler laptop support would be for the benefit of the company. By releasing ongoing support for their mobile products, this means that NVIDIA does not need regression…

In a note on their support site published earlier this afternoon, NVIDIA has announced that they are preparing to move their mobile (portable) Kepler GPUs to legacy status, ending the usual graphics driver support for these products. As of April 2019, mobile Kepler products will become older products, which means that they will no longer receive game-compatible driver enhancements, performance optimizations and bug fixes. However, they will continue to receive critical security updates through the end of the hereditary support phase, which will run until April 2020.

Since NVIDIA continues to produce new GPU architectures with an approximately two-year cadence, Off to Legacy status has become one relatively regular event for the company. But the latest pension is quite different, as NVIDIA only goes out on its mobile Kepler parts, and not their desktop parts. Previously, senior pensioners involved the entire architecture at once, as this would enable NVIDIA to take care of all driver development in one and the same way. Instead, because NVIDIA’s documents even take special care to note, the desk Kepler-parts are not part of this pension and will continue to receive full support at the moment.

Past, since NVIDIA tends to be a heavy-duty business, I can only speculate that they think the Kepler laptop ownership / use is low enough at this time that even pensioner only Kepler laptop support would be for the benefit of the company. By releasing ongoing support for their mobile products, this means that NVIDIA does not need regression testing new drivers against these parts, even though they continue to develop optimizations and bug fixes for the Kepler architecture itself.

Said, I’m a little surprised how fast this has come. Although it was introduced to Kepler, it was really only with Kepler that NVIDIA’s Optimus switchable graphics technology began, and as a result of seeing an additional NVIDIA GPU at a higher end, thin and light notebook became a more common occurrence that still goes on to this day. As a reference, NVIDIA only moved its former Fermi generation products to older status in April, so this marks a shorter interval for the much more popular mobile Kepler.

In NVIDIA’s current edition, in any case, not what the final driver’s branch will be. So it is not clear whether the current R418 branch is the one – and the branch after that will release mobile Kepler – or if it will be the next branch that is the last. It will be a small but remarkable distinction, as NVIDIA will need to provide additional security updates for that industry for a year.

Meanwhile, you can find a complete list of mobile Kepler products on the NVIDIA website. The list is quite extensive – along with the 600M series, the Kepler parts were also used as part of the 700M, 800M, and even about 900M parts. So some of the products that are set to retire are relatively recent, numerically.

Update: Another NVIDIA support product about older products has occurred, this time for NVIDIA’s 3D Vision products. In addition to mobile Kepler support, NVIDIA will also sunbathe 3D Vision as of next month. Like mobile Kepler, these products will be moved to older status and will receive one year of critical driver support through April 2020.

Unlike NVIDIA’s mobile Kepler note, their 3D Vision note indicates the final driver branch. It looks like the current R418 driver is the one for 3D Vision, mobile Kepler and anything else NVIDIA decides to retire next month. All are a potential sign that the branch after R418 will contain significant driver and feature updates, as NVIDIA will have a clean (ish) break and will not need to roll them out to its oldest products.

With regard to NVIDIA’s 3D Vision products, NVIDIA has not launched a new version of the technology since 3D Vision 2 2011. While NVIDIA has continued to support 3D Vision for over a decade now, The writing was clearly on the wall for these products after the first generation of VR headsets were launched. While ignoring their VR-specific aspects for a moment, the VR headsets also offer a superior 3D stereo experience due to their completely isolated eyes, eliminating ghost images for the other eye. Contrast is also better, as there is no need to block an eye.

Nevertheless, it is the end of an era, as it is (once again) on the 3D stereo slide products on the way out.

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Published by
Faela