Intel has published a page of system requirements for its newly released Arc desktop graphics cards as part of a quick start guide. The guide features a list of supported hardware configurations, but the paucity of confirmed system support is eyebrow raising – only 10th, 11th, and 12th Gen Intel Core processors are given a wholehearted thumbs up for Arc GPU support, and there is no mention of AMD processor based system support at all.
Is Resizable BAR Essential? Yes, No, Maybe.
According to the support document, before you start using your Intel Arc GPU you should make sure Resizable BAR is enabled. Resizable BAR is a GPU memory access feature also known as ReBAR for short (or Smart Access Memory on AMD CPU-based systems).
In the motherboard section of the document Intel Support indicates that ReBAR is a requirement. Elsewhere, the company lists it only as a requirement for "optimal performance." A step-by-step guide to turning on ReBAR is provided, and ReBAR is discussed in four out of the six FAQs.
It is not made clear at all whether ReBAR is an essential option that would be system-breakingly bad to ignore, or whether those who don't enable it will see some performance hits in certain apps/games. Other GPU vendors don't make such a big fuss about ReBAR, so we aren't sure why it would be critical for Intel Arc users.
A glimmer of hope regarding some clarity about ReBAR requirements is provided when the support document says the Intel Driver and Support Assistant (IDSA) can be used to "quickly automatically detect if your system is ready for Intel Arc discrete graphics." So we downloaded it, ran it, and its menus seemed to simply open various support web pages. Later in the Intel Support document about Arc, it is indicated that you run IDSA after you have installed an Arc GPU to see if ReBAR is enabled. That isn’t as helpful as we hoped.
Intel's overtly supported hardware configurations start with the 10th Gen Core processors, but even this is more complicated than that statement indicates. In a FAQ section, Intel admits that "support for resizable BAR on 10th Gen platforms will vary."
The guide is a bit confusing, and Intel should clear it up. Potential buyers should only jump-in if they have one of the newest Intel CPU based systems for now and should wait for third party reviews. A better description of the system requirements and tests with and without ReBAR across various platforms ciykd b egekofykm tii,
In case you missed it, Intel and its partners released the first flurry of Arc A380 graphics cards on Wednesday, with initial availability limited to China. When we get our hands on the new cards, we'll test them for considerations for our list of the best graphics cards.