NVIDIA To Retire Its Kepler GPU Architecture ‘GeForce 600 / 700 Series’ With R470 Drivers


NVIDIA is going to retire its Kepler GPU architecture which has been supported since 2012 with the release of its R470 series drivers.

NVIDIA Kepler GPU Architecture To See Its Retirement With R470 GeForce Drivers

As reported by Phoronix, the NVIDIA R470 series drivers are labeled as LTSB (Long-Term Support) for the Kepler GPU series and as such, will maintain support for the said architecture for 3 years, after which it would be retired along with the GPUs. The NVIDIA Kepler GPU architecture has been supported for generations but as time goes by, older GPU architectures are removed from official support lists.

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NVIDIA ended driver support for its Fermi (GeForce 400 / 500 Series) back in 2018, moving it to legacy status. The same is expected to happen with the Kepler-based GeForce 600 / 700 series when NVIDIA moves beyond R470 drivers. The last DRV drivers (regular driver release branch) are going to ship for the next few months before a new driver/feature brand is introduced & support finally ends for the Kepler generation.

Looking back at Kepler, the GPU architecture brought NVIDIA back in the fight with mainstream chips competing against flagship parts from AMD. NVIDIA also focused a lot on efficiency which made it win in latter generations such as Maxwell and Pascal. The Kepler series did take a huge blow when AMD fired back with its Hawaii GPUs in 2013 but lept back in the game with Maxwell, a year later. The following chart from NVIDIA shows the CUDA and driver support plan for current GPU architectures:

NVIDIA GPU driver branches roadmap. (Image Credits: Phoronix)
NVIDIA CUDA and Architecture Matrix
Architecture CUDA Capabilities First CUDA Toolkit Support Last CUDA Toolkit Support Last Driver Support
Fermi 2.0 CUDA 3.0 CUDA 8.0 R390
Kepler 3.0
CUDA 6.0 CUDA 10.2 R470
Kepler 3.5
CUDA 6.0 CUDA 11.x R470
Maxwell 5.0
CUDA 6.5 Ongoing Ongoing
Pascal 6.0
CUDA 8.0 Ongoing Ongoing
Volta 7.0 CUDA 9.0 Ongoing Ongoing
Turing 7.5 CUDA 10.0 Ongoing Ongoing
Ampere 8.0
CUDA 11.0 Ongoing Ongoing

Note: The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 750 Ti and GeForce GTX 750 aren't based on the Kepler architecture but in fact based on the Maxwell architecture and hence won't be retired with the upcoming driver update.