AMD Puts 32-bit Radeon Driver Support On Ice Starting This Month
In a move that is sure to disrupt the gaming industry and throw the tech community into a state of chaos, it appears AMD is discontinuing 32-bit driver support for its GPUs. Oh no, right? Right!? Kidding aside, this is not going to have a big impact on Radeon users at large, though it's worth noting for anyone who is still clinging to a 32-bit version of Windows. For everyone else? No need to panic, folks.
You may have noticed this already. A visit to AMD's graphics drivers page shows that only 64-bit versions of Windows and a spattering of Linux distributions are supported with the latest release, that being Radeon Software Adrenalin Edition 18.10.1. The end of the road for 32-bit support was Radeon Software Adrenalin Edition 18.9.3, which is still available in 32-bit and 64-bit flavors.
Who will this affect? Only people who are still chugging along with a 32-bit version of Windows, and who are running a supported AMD Radeon graphics card or GPU. AMD obviously felt the number was low enough that it could rip off the Band-Aid, so to speak, with minimal pain.
The move to ditch 32-bit driver releases frees up AMD's driver team to focus its efforts solely on 64-bit versions going forward. We don't expect users will notice any difference though. AMD already does a good job of releasing updated GPU drivers when major new games get released, with performance optimizations specifically for the launch title(s).
AMD is not alone here, either. Rival NVIDIA announced in December of last year that it was dropping GPU driver support for 32-bit operating systems, and then forged ahead with its plan this past April. As Rob Williams noted at the time, 64-bit OSes have been available for well over a decade—Windows XP Professional x64 debuted way back in April 2005.