Tuesday, March 29th 2016

AMD Preparing to Drop 32-bit Support for Radeon Drivers?

Is AMD planning to retire driver support for 32-bit Windows? A bulk of the company's Radeon R9 and Fury series GPUs feature 4 GB or more of video memory, and 64-bit Windows users making up the overwhelming majority, the company has begun steering users away from using 32-bit Windows altogether. We got whiff of this when we visited AMD's Drivers + Download Center on the company website, and tried clicking on the "32-bit" links of some of its Windows 10 and Windows 8.1 drivers, which redirected to an ominously-worded AMD knowledge-base article (Article #GPU-622).

This knowledge-base article, intended for people looking for 32-bit drivers, reads:
A system running Microsoft Windows 10 64 Bit can take full advantage of the advanced visual and performance features of these graphics cards. However, AMD also provides 64 Bit drivers for Microsoft Windows 8.1 and Microsoft Windows 7 to accomodate those users who choose to use an older Microsoft Operating System.

The knowledge-base article has no links for the drivers users are looking for. A little URL guessing later, we did manage to find 32-bit versions of Radeon Software 16.3.2, but that's something ordinary users will not be able to make. According to the download page, AMD's recently launched Radeon Pro Duo already completely lacks 32-bit Windows support, and the company is only providing 64-bit drivers. This move could prove useful for AMD as it frees up resources inside the driver team.
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83 Comments on AMD Preparing to Drop 32-bit Support for Radeon Drivers?

#1
the54thvoid
Are 32 bit OS's even relevant? I mean that as a "Why would you stay on 32bit?"

And yeah, when gfx cards are fast approaching norm of 4Gb, why on earth would you stay on a 32bit OS with it's memory limitation.
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#2
Caring1
The only thing I can think of is underpowered Netbooks with up to 2Gb of ram only. Not much point installing a 64 bit O.S.
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#3
Assimilator
Good on AMD. Another small step towards slaying the 32-bit dragon.
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#4
the54thvoid
Caring1 said:
The only thing I can think of is underpowered Netbooks with up to 2Gb of ram only. Not much point installing a 64 bit O.S.
Due to the mentioned under powered nature of said devices, they're not gaming devices so drivers can stay legacy.

Assimilator said:
Good on AMD. Another small step towards slaying the 32-bit dragon.
We shouldn't slay old technology, it should be allowed to float to tech heaven.
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#5
btarunr
Editor & Senior Moderator
the54thvoid said:
We shouldn't slay old technology, it should be allowed to float to tech heaven.
Some old tech must be bludgeoned (eg: PCI slots, Molex power connectors, etc.)
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#6
ZoneDymo
the54thvoid said:
Due to the mentioned under powered nature of said devices, they're not gaming devices so drivers can stay legacy.



We shouldn't slay old technology, it should be allowed to float to tech heaven.
ermm does that not happen after the slaying? it needs to die before it can go to heaven right?
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#7
RejZoR
Haven't used 32bit OS since Vista back in 2006/2007. Only have 32bit OS on a Windows tablet that only has 2GB RAM and came with 32bit Win8.1 (now Win10).
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#8
R-T-B
btarunr said:
Some old tech must be bludgeoned (eg: PCI slots, Molex power connectors, etc.)
PCI slots yes, Molex power connectors support higher amperage than SATA, thus are actually the "superior" of the two techs.

ZoneDymo said:
ermm does that not happen after the slaying? it needs to die before it can go to heaven right?
It can always backfire and become a tech-zombie.
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#9
qubit
Overclocked quantum bit
This had to happen eventually and I'm surprised that 32-bit support has lasted this long. NVIDIA will likely be doing this soon, too.

I'd love to see the absurdity of pairing a PC with 1GB RAM, and an 8GB graphics card running 32-bit XP. :laugh:
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#10
FordGT90Concept
"I go fast!1!11!1!"
I'm perfectly fine with them quarentining 32-bit to legacy support. 32-bit needs to die. I've been running 64-bit for almost 11 years now.
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#11
AsRock
TPU addict
Been running it x64 since XP 64bit was released and never looked back, how ever i think they should reword it though as i bet some people are installing Win10 32bit as it was cheaper or they got tricked in to it.
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#12
john_
Does anyone install a 32bit OS? I can see someone hoping for 32bit Windows XP support, but Vista 32bit? 7 32bit? 8.X 32bit? 10 32bit? Why???
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#14
Prima.Vera
AsRock said:
... i bet some people are installing Win10 32bit as it was cheaper or they got tricked in to it.
Price is the same for both versions...
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#15
alucasa
32bit? That's hundred years ago.

We need 128bit.
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#16
SaltyFish
john_ said:
Does anyone install a 32bit OS? I can see someone hoping for 32bit Windows XP support, but Vista 32bit? 7 32bit? 8.X 32bit? 10 32bit? Why???
True. But might be a little late for XP32. The last XP32 AMD driver is from April 2014. It's useful for a legacy gaming rig and given AMD's underdog status, you'd think they would keep XP32 support especially since both AMD touted in March 2014 that its AM1 APUs would support XP whereas Intel dropped it and Nvidia's most recent XP32 driver is dated 28 March 2016. Though with the ever increasing VRAM nowadays, 1GB VRAM is now the minimum. And that 1GB VRAM is the highest you can go while still remaining sane under 32-bit OS constraints. So even Nvidia will have to drop 32-bit OS (XP or otherwise) support sooner or later unless they deliberately keep a 1GB VRAM GPU available. And that's still questionable since legacy non-gaming systems don't need that kind of power and even the current legacy-friendly offerings are overkill for legacy gaming.
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#17
qubit
Overclocked quantum bit
john_ said:
Does anyone install a 32bit OS? I can see someone hoping for 32bit Windows XP support, but Vista 32bit? 7 32bit? 8.X 32bit? 10 32bit? Why???
You'll be surprised how many old 32-bit only rigs there are out there and they can still be useful, so yeah, a 32-bit OS is still useful for now.
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#18
newtekie1
Semi-Retired Folder
john_ said:
Does anyone install a 32bit OS? I can see someone hoping for 32bit Windows XP support, but Vista 32bit? 7 32bit? 8.X 32bit? 10 32bit? Why???
Businesses still install 32-bit support A LOT. They often have hardware that only works on 32-bit(think old workhorse laser printers as well as a bunch of other things), they also often have software that only works on 32-bit as well.

I also keep a dual-boot of 32-bit Windows just for playing old games that don't run on 64-bit.

Finally, redirecting to a knowledge base article when you click on the 32-bit driver link, with no easy way to find the 32-bit drivers, even the old ones, is 100% stupid. There is no excuse for that other than to screw over your customers. If they are going to stop making new 32-bit drivers, ok fine, but don't make it nearly impossible to find the old ones that already exist.
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#19
john_
SaltyFish said:
But might be a little late for XP32.
It's the only OS I can think of someone keeping it alive in an old system. Compatible with old hardware, compatible with old software, very light in memory compared to newer OSes, the only alternative is Linux. That's why I mentioned it. And yes it is a little late for XP.

qubit said:
You'll be surprised how many old 32-bit only rigs there are out there and they can still be useful, so yeah, a 32-bit OS is still useful for now.
newtekie1 said:
Businesses still install 32-bit support A LOT.
In both cases the legacy drivers will work just great I think. Old systems running 32bit OSes or business PCs, usually can't gain anything from newer drivers, except if there is a case of rare incompatibility.
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#20
yogurt_21
like what newtekie said virtual desktops are often 32-bit as they rarely need much more than that to do general office work (word, excel, etc). However none of those are using dedicated graphics, not even on the host. Plus anyone requiring more than the basics are likely to have a laptop/workstation that does have 64-bit windows installed.

For AMD/Nvidia sunsetting 32-bit might be a good business move.
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#21
newtekie1
Semi-Retired Folder
john_ said:
In both cases the legacy drivers will work just great I think. Old systems running 32bit OSes or business PCs, usually can't gain anything from newer drivers, except if there is a case of rare incompatibility.
That is fine now, but what happens when that business buys a new computer, with one of those shiny new Zen APUs AMD is hoping to sell in huge quantities and the driver doesn't support 32-bit? Legacy drivers aren't an option because they don't support new hardware.

So AMD, who needs to sell their new APUs in large quantities, and the APUs make most sense in the business market, just cut out a good portion of their business market for their new products... Not a smart move.
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#22
cdawall
where the hell are my stars
newtekie1 said:
That is fine now, but what happens when that business buys a new computer, with one of those shiny new Zen APUs AMD is hoping to sell in huge quantities and the driver doesn't support 32-bit? Legacy drivers aren't an option because they don't support new hardware.

So AMD, who needs to sell their new APUs in large quantities, and the APUs make most sense in the business market, just cut out a good portion of their business market for their new products... Not a smart move.
Intel doesn't support XP since the third gen of cores, yet people still buy intel in massive quantities. I guess they will either have to pay for someone to write a 64 bit driver for ancient parts or update to this decade.

Also Zen in theory will support 32 bit so far this story is about GPU drivers not chipset. AMD the king of the rebrand will probably have no issues running legacy drivers for whatever onboard GPU exists. It's not like AMD will make something new.
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#23
efikkan
For normal users there is no good reason to stick to a 32-bit OS if they have support for 64-bit.

Caring1 said:
The only thing I can think of is underpowered Netbooks with up to 2Gb of ram only. Not much point installing a 64 bit O.S.
Using a 64-bit OS generally gives 5-10% increased performance due to faster integer processing and instruction cleanup. That will matter for a slow PC.

qubit said:
This had to happen eventually and I'm surprised that 32-bit support has lasted this long. NVIDIA will likely be doing this soon, too.

I'd love to see the absurdity of pairing a PC with 1GB RAM, and an 8GB graphics card running 32-bit XP. :laugh:
It might seem strange, but it's nothing wrong with having more GPU memory than system memory. I remember back in the XP days many people believed that the dedicated GPU memory was using parts of the 4 GB address space of the system, but that is due to the BIOS reserving the upper address space for IO and has nothing to do with the dedicated GPUs, which have their own separated address space.

Still, I don't see any good reason to run an old XP machine with a recent GPU.

alucasa said:
32bit? That's hundred years ago.
We need 128bit.
Partial 128-bit support has been available since the introduction of SSE, all recent CPUs have partial support for 256-bit, and 512-bit AVX is right around the corner.
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#24
newtekie1
Semi-Retired Folder
cdawall said:
Intel doesn't support XP since the third gen of cores, yet people still buy intel in massive quantities. I guess they will either have to pay for someone to write a 64 bit driver for ancient parts or update to this decade.
Who said anything about XP?

cdawall said:
Also Zen in theory will support 32 bit so far this story is about GPU drivers not chipset. AMD the king of the rebrand will probably have no issues running legacy drivers for whatever onboard GPU exists. It's not like AMD will make something new.
Zen APUs will have a built in GPU, most business machines will use integrated graphics. No GPU driver = No Integrated graphics = No Business Sales.
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#25
Tom_
32-Bit is completely outdated.
Who, except Windows-Users is using such crap?
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