How long will Cycles support compute capability of 2.0

I am wondering how long I could expect/hope that a graphics card with a compute capability (same as CUDA version support?) of 2.0 would be able to render all the features in Cycles. I am thinking about purchasing a new card as my terrible system right now (Windows XP, Intel Core Duo @ 2.5Ghz, 2 GB RAM) renders super slow. I am not even sure if a newer card would have good drivers for XP or if my CPU/RAM might even be a bottleneck for a (relatively) fast card. I have a nasty feeling that I need to just bite the bullet and get a new system but I figured I’d start with this question. So anyway; around how long will a Card with 2.0 compute be able to handle Cycles?

As long as you’ll use the lastest Blender which supports CUDA version 2.0 :wink:
But I guess that u wanted to know after which version support of it will be ended.

Anyway. From my not too big experience when it comes to gaming such cpu, ram and system might be a bottleneck, but when it comes to rendering it all is done in GPU (if you’re rendering via it). The process of loading all meshes and textures to video memory (VRAM) might take a little more time, but after that everything is done in GPU.
Also keep in mind that when you will be rendering things on GPU your limitation of complixity of scenes will be size of VRAM.
Also from what I’ve heard there’s a limitation of supported number of textures for GPU, but that’s a thing which I can’t say for certain (I never hit that limit, memory runs out faster than that :D).

Keep in mind I’m just causal user. So I might be wrong with some things. :wink:

There are no plans to drop sm_2x anytime soon, but new features might only be enabled for Kepler (sm_3x) and above.

Hmm, so if I get one with a CUDA thingy of 2.x (that is what you mean by sm_2x right?) it will work for a while but might not support new features. Would it be able to do them at slower speeds? Or would I have to use CPU to render those features?
Also its good to know that my system probably wouldn’t be a bottleneck but I think I might upgrade anyway.
If I were to upgrade what where would be the best place to put my money. For example should I:
a) Spend a lot of money on a really good GPU and keep the current system?
b) Get a computer width a super good processor and a bunch of RAM and forget about getting a GPU?
c) Buy a decent processor and a good GPU and minimal RAM?
What would be the optimal for use Blender and Cycles?

Would it be able to do them at slower speeds? Or would I have to use CPU to render those features?

You can use new features on CPU only.
I would not buy sm_20 cards anymore, only cheap used maybe.
Take a look here:

Cheers, mib