Why it matters: Nvidia is signaling the end of its Kepler architecture that debuted in 2012 with the GTX 600-series parts. Driver development and support will end for the Kepler mobile parts beginning April 2019, but Nvidia will deliver critical security updates through April 2020. For now, Kepler’s desktop parts will continue to receive full support, marking the first time Nvidia has demarcated an architecture retirement. Presumably, dropping game ready support for the aging cards means Nvidia can focus on newer hardware.
It appears the sun is setting on Nvidia’s Kepler architecture, set to begin in April 2019 with the Kepler-based mobile GPUs. First debuting in 2012, the Kepler architecture powered Nvidia’s GTX 600-series of desktop graphics cards, and notebook GPUs ranging from the 600M series, all the way up to the 900M series.
Nvidia recently updated a knowledge base article detailing support plans for mobile Kepler GPUs, and that it would continue to deliver game ready driver updates, including performance enhancements, new features, and bug fixes to only Maxwell, Pascal, and Turing-based notebook GPUs. Effective April 2019, mobile Kepler GPUs will only receive critical security updates, marking the beginning of Kepler’s trot into legacy status.
The critical security updates will see the mobile Kepler parts through April of 2020. After that, we can assume Nvidia will officially abandon the products.
For the time being, desktop parts based on Kepler remain unaffected; however, Nvidia hasn’t stated for how long. This is the first time Nvidia has staggered the retirement of an architecture, whereas previously it preferred to close the doors on driver development and support for an architecture all at once. Kepler has powered a slew of mobile GPUs, as they weren’t limited to the 600M series; this list details all of the notebook parts based on the Kepler architecture.
As an aside, Nvidia will also move 3D Vision products into legacy status beginning April 2019. They too, will receive a year of critical update support, ending in April 2020. According to Nvidia, “Those looking to utilize 3D Vision can remain on a Release 418 driver,” and “software that enables the use of 3D gaming with 3D TVs, 3DTV Play, is now included for free in Release 418. It is no longer available as a standalone download. Our 3D Vision Video Player will continue to be offered as a standalone download, for free, until the end of 2019.”