It appears Nvidia is going to ditch support for 32-bit systems going forward, which comes as yet another reason for people to switch to 64-bit architectures.
Version 390 of Nvidia's graphics drivers, likely to be rolled out next year in January, will be the last to include support for 32-bit variants of Windows 7 and up, Linux, and FreeBSD. Keep in mind, however, that there will be another year of security updates for 32-bit drivers — but all new features, performance enhancements, and new hardware support will require 64-bit systems and drivers.
Nvidia Killing 32-Bit Architecture Support
This will certainly disappoint holdouts of the 32-bit system. Realistically, though, there are fewer and fewer reasons to remain using this architecture — 64-bit Windows has much better security over 32-bit, and 64-bit apps generally run faster and smoother than their 32-bit counterparts. In fact, some newer versions of popular software don't even support the 32-bit architecture anymore for a number of reasons.
Also, 32-bit wouldn't be very good at running intensive games anyway, especially newer ones. That's why serious gamers using machines with higher-end specs most likely have 64-bit systems already. Windows users, heads up: to check the operating system's architecture, head over to Settings > System > About. Look around for "System type."
NVS 310, 315 Support Ending
Alongside the driver announcement, Nvidia also said it's going to end support for its NVS 310 and NVS 315 graphics cards based on its severely outdated Fermi architecture. For these cards, version 390 will be the released.
This change will certainly surprise a number of people, although it's not surprising that 32-bit usage is dropping with each passing year, as companies abandon it for the newer, much safer 64-bit architecture. PCs have had a long history of backward compatibility and legacy support, but 16-bit and 32-bit software and hardware are going to become a lot harder to use in the coming years, if they're not difficult already.
There are, however, still plenty of benefits 32-bit systems can provide. For instance, on 32-bit versions of Windows, users can run 16-bit programs — they can't on 64-bit. Even still, existing programs allow modern system to emulate or virtually run older systems, such as Windows Virtual PC, VirtualBox, and many more.
Are you still running a 32-bit version of Windows? Will you be directly affected by Nvidia's killing of support for older graphics cards and 32-bit machines? As always, feel free to sound off in the comments section below!