Ah, so that’s it! AMD has finally dropped support for its GCN GPU architecture, which includes the Radeon HD 7000, RX 200, RX 300 and Fury series graphics cards. This is a bit of a surprise, but not entirely unexpected. The mentioned graphics card families are thus put into the so-called legacy status and no further driver versions are planned for them. This is certainly a bitter pill to swallow for many, as the RX 390 in particular was and still is quite a popular card.
In an official update, AMD has now confirmed that not only has it ended driver support for GCN GPUs, but it has also moved Radeon software support for Windows 7 64-bit to “Legacy”. It looks like AMD has decided to now focus more of their development resources on developing new and improved features for graphics products based on their newer architectures like Polaris, Vega, RDNA 1 and RDNA 2, which makes perfect sense.
Let’s think back. The AMD Radeon HD 7000 series was the first graphics card lineup based on the GCN GPU architecture. It was introduced 10 years ago, back in 2011, and at the time it competed with NVIDIA’s Kepler GPU architecture. The Radeon Fury series was the last iteration to use the GCN architecture. It was introduced in 2015 and competed against NVIDIA’s Maxwell architecture. NVIDIA had indeed recently retired the graphics cards with Kepler GPU architecture (2011-2013) in terms of driver technology, but still supports Maxwell given its wide distribution and popularity.
The list shows what AMD is currently retiring:
|A-Series APUs with Radeon R4, R5, R6, or R7 Graphics||A-Series PRO processors with Radeon Graphics|
|Pro A-Series APUs with Radeon R5 or R7 Graphics||FX-Series APUs with Radeon R7 Graphics|
|Athlon Series APUs with Radeon R3 Graphics||E-Series APUs with Radeon R2 Graphics|
|Sempron Series APUs with R3 Graphics||R7 M400 Series Graphics|
|AMD Radeon R9 Fury Series, R9 Nano Series Graphics||R9 M300 Series Graphics|
|R9 300 Series Graphics||R7 M300 Series Graphics|
|R9 200 Series Graphics||R5 M300 Series Graphics|
|R7 300 Series Graphics||R9 M200 Series Graphics|
|R7 200 Series Graphics||R7 M200 Series Graphics|
|R5 300 Series Graphics||R5 M200 Series Graphics|
|R5 200 Series Graphics||HD 8500M – HD 8900M Series Graphics|
|HD 8500 – HD 8900 Series Graphics||HD 7700M – HD 7900M Series Graphics|
|HD 7700 – HD 7900 Series Graphics|
In contrast to AMD, where the end of driver support came as a surprise, NVIDIA had informed its users about the end of driver support for a longer period of time and will release one last driver version before the Kepler GPUs are finally transferred to legacy status. It may not be pleasant for some of the affected AMD users, as this news came out of nowhere, but in the end GCN did its job and will probably disappear slowly. After all, the cards are being reshuffled at the moment and we are all looking forward to the future with great anticipation.