NVIDIA ends Game Ready drivers support for Windows 7, 8, 8.1, and Kepler-based GPUs

HP Specre 15
HP Specre 15 (Image credit: Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • The latest NVIDIA Game Ready driver cuts support for Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1.
  • NVIDIA also ended support for GPUs built on its Kepler architecture.
  • Kepler-based GPUs will receive security updates until September 2024, but they won't receive Game Ready drivers.

There's bad news for PC gamers running decade-old GPUs or operating systems that are out of support. NVIDIA's latest Game Ready driver drops support for Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1. NVIDIA's Kepler GPUs are also out of support, ending a run that in some cases lasted around 12 years (via PC Gamer).

Kepler GPUs are inside NVIDIA's 600-series GPUS and some 700-series cards. NVIDIA's website has a list of all GPUs based on Kepler architecture.

The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 750 Ti and GTX 750 aren't affected by this move as they are built on NVIDIA's Maxell architecture.

While Kepler cards are no longer supported, they'll continue to work. They'll even get security updates until September 2024. They won't, however, get Game Ready drivers that optimize systems for certain games.

Many of the now unsupported cards would struggle to play the best PC games, but finding replacement cards could be difficult. The best GPUs are rarely in stock, and new graphics cards sell out almost instantly. Even when AMD quietly launched the Radeon RX 6600, the GPU sold out in moments.

NVIDIA cutting support for Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1 likely won't affect that many PC gamers, but there are people running the old operating systems. Around 5% of Steam gamers run Windows 7, according to the latest Steam survey. Less than 1% of gamers on Steam run Windows 8.1.

Sean Endicott
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Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at sean.endicott@futurenet.com (opens in new tab).

  • Another reason to upgrade from my GTX 780, but as you mention, finding anything to upgrade to is impossible right now. Hopefully it holds out long enough for prices to return to normal.
  • You should have upgraded that thing to something like an RX 580/590 when they were dirt cheap in 2020 or so. They perform better, and are significantly more power efficient on top of that. I'm not sure why you kept this GPU that long, unless you aren't a gamer. Not only is the performance and efficiency better, but the VRAM means that you can run higher quality settings at the same (1080p) resolution. That card pulls wattage comparable to RTX 3070/RX 6800, Lol, while being slower than a Polaris GPU and only having 3GB GDDR5 VRAM. A lot of creative software has been dropping support for older GPUs and CUDA versions, anyways. You're kind of f'd now, cause you waited too long. Going to have to pay a ridiculous overcharge to get any decent GPU, these days.
  • If you are still gaming on WIndows 7 OS you may as well admit defeat and just install Linux and be done with it. (then you can complain about all the patches and upgrades your particular Linux Distro has!)
    You can still access and play your Steam games (pretty much) but be ready to tweak Proton to make it all work.
    (Such FUN!)
    Oh, and the Nvidia drivers for Linux must still be gotten from Nvidia.
  • GameReady Drivers are for games taht are new. It's Day One support for them. Many games being released won't even install on Windows 7, so anyone still on that OS is not really in a situation where they care about Nvidia stopping support. All this means is that they have less PC Maintenance, as they're only going to get security updates. Linux is still **** for gaming, frankly, and the PC Maintenance overhead on that OS in comparison to Windows and macOS is much higher - on top of it being severely lacking in other app categories... if you want "AAA" quality software. It's also limiting from a device driver standpoint. I use Razer peripherals, specifically the Tartarus/Orbweaver series since I've been using Nostromos since 1.5 decades (or more ago). If Razer doesn't release Synapse for Linux, it is literally never going to be an option for me; as the devices are unusable without it. And Linux STILL nerfs battery life on Laptops due to differences in driver quality. OEMs often have specially configured driver packages for laptops for this reason. You lose that when you go Linux. If I were still in College, I'd probably use Linux for that reason. However, the only reason I'd use LInux, these days, is as a productivity or developer workstation on old/out of support hardware. If I had a 7th Gen Intel Desktop, I'd proobably explore putting OpenSUSE Leap on it to use as a productivity or developer workstation. I wouldn't do that with the Laptop I have, though. But I think WSL + Visual Studio has largely deleted the need to care about doing even that.
  • All of Windows 7 can Stiller upgrade to Windows 10...