Thursday, February 23rd 2017

AMD Ends Windows 8.1 32-bit Support with Latest Radeon Software Release

With its latest Radeon Software Crimson ReLive 17.2.1 drivers, AMD decided to stop releasing regular WHQL-signed drivers for the 32-bit version of the Windows 8.1 operating system. At first we thought AMD's web-admins accidentally missed publishing the driver (so we could post it on our Downloads section). When we got in touch with AMD, we were told that the company doesn't have new drivers for 32-bit Windows 8.1. We were even told that it's because nobody cares about 32-bit Windows 8.1 anymore, citing extremely low download numbers.

Apparently, AMD is cutting down costs and time for its driver development team by discarding operating systems and architectures that only a few people use. It was first to dump Windows XP support, and support for Windows 8 (in favor of Windows 8.1). While the company does provide 64-bit Windows 8.1 WHQL drivers as regularly as its popular Windows 7 and Windows 10 ones; it is skipping support for 32-bit Windows 8.1 going forward. The company will not release any new Windows 8.1 32-bit drivers anymore. One way out of this is to upgrade to Windows 10 while you still can. Updating to Windows 10 from Windows 8.1 is pretty smooth, and maybe you can consider an upgrade to 64-bit, since most new AAA games are limited to 64-bit only.
AMD attributes the demise of its 32-bit Windows 8.1 support to the success of the Windows 10 free upgrade program, which relegated 32-bit Windows 8.1 to an extremely small install-base. Developer resources within the company were recently reallocated to focus on faster driver updates for popular operating systems, such as Windows 10 and Windows 7. The company is also consolidating its software teams to focus on a smooth Radeon Vega launch. This seems to be working, since the company recently shipped out a game release-synced driver updates faster than NVIDIA (the recent "For Honor" and "Sniper Elite 4" centric update). The company will sustain a fast driver update cadence especially after the launch of its Radeon Vega high-end graphics card line.
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19 Comments on AMD Ends Windows 8.1 32-bit Support with Latest Radeon Software Release

#1
RejZoR
Windows 7 I'd understand, but Windows 8.1 ?This is just ONE version back. That's a bit extreme.
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#2
arbiter
RejZoR, post: 3606489, member: 1515"
Windows 7 I'd understand, but Windows 8.1 ?This is just ONE version back. That's a bit extreme.
I don't see anything wrong with skipping 32bit windows, i mean most games now want least 8gb ram and if your pc can't use a 64bit windows well your machine likely can't run the games to start with.
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#3
RejZoR
Oh, missed that 32bit part. Are people still using 32bit? Even my hybrid netbook with just 2GB RAM came with Windows 10 64bit. Been using 64bit since Vista actually. Never looked back.
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#4
Ubersonic
Hopefully they will not be stopping 64bit Windows 8.1 support anytime soon, or at least not until Microsoft sort out Windows 10...
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#5
Ebo
I think its okay, just make a legacy driver and thats it.
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#6
P4-630
I'm still safe with Nvidia on Windows 8.1 64bit and I hope it stays that way for some more years...It should.
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#7
TheinsanegamerN
Ubersonic, post: 3606496, member: 153458"
Hopefully they will not be stopping 64bit Windows 8.1 support anytime soon, or at least not until Microsoft sort out Windows 10...
Why would they? 32 bit windows has been a dead man walking for years, ever since windows 7 made 64 bit the norm.

AMD isnt getting rid of 8.1 64 bit support anytime soon.
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#8
Ubersonic
TheinsanegamerN, post: 3606620, member: 127292"
Why would they? 32 bit windows has been a dead man walking for years, ever since windows 7 made 64 bit the norm.

AMD isnt getting rid of 8.1 64 bit support anytime soon.
I think you quoted the wrong person lol.
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#9
bug
Meanwhile, Nvidia has 32bit drivers for Win8.1 for their 9 series. And I don't mean GTX9xx, I mean the old 9000 series. Sure, it's not their mainline driver, but it's been updated as recently as last December. Say what you will about Nvidia, but their "unified driver" approach works.
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#10
kruk
bug, post: 3606687, member: 157434"
Meanwhile, Nvidia has 32bit drivers for Win8.1 for their 9 series. And I don't mean GTX9xx, I mean the old 9000 series. Sure, it's not their mainline driver, but it's been updated as recently as last December. Say what you will about Nvidia, but their "unified driver" approach works.
What's to fix for a ~10 year old arch? And also, for me the best nVidia drivers were always those who were released 2-3 years after arch release. Everything newer was always slow and unreliable mess.
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#11
bug
kruk, post: 3606704, member: 168606"
What's to fix for a ~10 year old arch? And also, for me the best nVidia drivers were always those who were released 2-3 years after arch release. Everything newer was always slow and unreliable mess.
Profiles for newer titles wouldn't hurt.
But I hear you, for me every driver looks pretty much the same as any other, barring drivers that actually introduce a feature. And that's a good thing.
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#12
wiak
can you even run 32-bit and use all the total amount of ram in the system?
a 4GB video card + 4GB system memory = 8GB
a 8GB video card + 4GB system memory = 12GB
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#13
wiak
RejZoR, post: 3606495, member: 1515"
Oh, missed that 32bit part. Are people still using 32bit? Even my hybrid netbook with just 2GB RAM came with Windows 10 64bit. Been using 64bit since Vista actually. Never looked back.
i hail from Windows XP Professional x64 Edition, which was based on Windows Server 2003 x64 lol
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#14
kruk
wiak, post: 3606854, member: 804"
can you even run 32-bit and use all the total amount of ram in the system?
a 4GB video card + 4GB system memory = 8GB
a 8GB video card + 4GB system memory = 12GB
Yes and no, have a look at PAE.
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#15
SaltyFish
bug, post: 3606687, member: 157434"
Meanwhile, Nvidia has 32bit drivers for Win8.1 for their 9 series. And I don't mean GTX9xx, I mean the old 9000 series. Sure, it's not their mainline driver, but it's been updated as recently as last December. Say what you will about Nvidia, but their "unified driver" approach works.
Amazingly, Nvidia only stopped XP and Vista drivers last year (July and May respectively... yes, support for XP outlived that of Vista once again) which are compatible for their 9xx line. Yes, the new one from a few years ago.

I wonder why AMD couldn't do a unified Win7/8 driver like Nvidia. I thought that after the massive XP to Vista changes, drivers didn't need major overhauls for successive OS versions (remember that 32-bit Win7 & 10 are still supported). Either way, it just reaffirms that 8 is the new Vista and 7 is the new XP. Wouldn't be surprised if both AMD and Nvidia drop 64-bit Win8 before 64-bit Win7... hell, 32-bit Win7 stands a passable chance of having longer support than 64-bit Win8.
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#16
0x4452
wiak, post: 3606854, member: 804"
can you even run 32-bit and use all the total amount of ram in the system?
a 4GB video card + 4GB system memory = 8GB
a 8GB video card + 4GB system memory = 12GB
GeForce seems to map only 256MB at once to CPU visible memory. See the "Windows System Information" admin tool -> Hardware Resources -> Memory.

I was using 32 bit windows until a couple years ago with PAE enabled (using the PAE patcher). But then games became 64 bit and I gave in :P
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#17
bug
SaltyFish, post: 3607122, member: 106232"
Amazingly, Nvidia only stopped XP and Vista drivers last year (July and May respectively... yes, support for XP outlived that of Vista once again) which are compatible for their 9xx line. Yes, the new one from a few years ago.

I wonder why AMD couldn't do a unified Win7/8 driver like Nvidia. I thought that after the massive XP to Vista changes, drivers didn't need major overhauls for successive OS versions (remember that 32-bit Win7 & 10 are still supported). Either way, it just reaffirms that 8 is the new Vista and 7 is the new XP. Wouldn't be surprised if both AMD and Nvidia drop 64-bit Win8 before 64-bit Win7... hell, 32-bit Win7 stands a passable chance of having longer support than 64-bit Win8.
Afaik, AMD's linux old driver (fglrx) came from an acquisition or something and the drivers stayed separated ever since.
XP to Vista changes aren't that important, Nvidia manages to have the same driver even on Linux or Solaris. Then again, their effort started probably over 10 years ago.
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#18
Ubersonic
SaltyFish, post: 3607122, member: 106232"
I thought that after the massive XP to Vista changes, drivers didn't need major overhauls for successive OS versions
Correct, Vista/7/8/10 are all NT6 based (like 2K/XP were both NT5), as such you will still be able to download the latest 7/8/10 driver, extract it then manually install it in Vista, you just won't be able to use the installer.
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#19
bug
Ubersonic, post: 3607266, member: 153458"
Correct, Vista/7/8/10 are all NT6 based (like 2K/XP were both NT5), as such you will still be able to download the latest 7/8/10 driver, extract it then manually install it in Vista, you just won't be able to use the installer.
What you say has nothing to do with NT. It's about WDDM, see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_Display_Driver_Model#History
WDDM was introduced in Vista and that was the grand disruption. However it was constantly updated and has seen another major release with Win10. So while you can use an older driver on Win10, supporting Win10 right still requires additional work.
However, I believe this has nothing to do with what's going on here. Imho AMD simply decided validating everything for 32bit on a platform with virtually no market share simply isn't worth returning its investment.
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