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Nvidia answers AMD’s Smart Access Memory with its own boost to frame rates

Nvidia is boosting PC gaming frame rates

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Nvidia resizable BAR.
Image: Nvidia

Nvidia is officially launching its own resizable BAR support, which promises increased performance gains in some games if you’ve got the right CPU, motherboard, and graphics card. Resizable BAR has been part of the PCI Express specification for years, but AMD only recently made it an important feature to support with the introduction of Smart Access Memory.

AMD’s Smart Access Memory effectively provides its Ryzen 5000 processors direct access to the GPU memory to bypass I/O bottlenecks. This allows CPUs to access the full graphics frame buffer, instead of being limited to reading 256MB blocks. AMD previously promised up to 10 percent extra performance in certain games — if you pair its new Ryzen 5000 CPUs with its latest Ryzen RX 6000 graphics cards.

But Nvidia says it’s now working with both Intel and AMD, as well as all the major motherboard manufacturers, to bring the feature to “a wide range of motherboards” later this year.

An artist’s interpretation of resizable BAR.
Animation: Nvidia

Nvidia promises it will feature in its new RTX 3000 series laptops with third-gen Max-Q technologies first, but it’ll also be coming to desktops as well, starting with a driver that’ll be released alongside the new $329 RTX 3060 desktop GPU in late February. Nvidia says there’ll be VBIOS updates for your earlier RTX 30-series GPUs in March.

Intel says that 11th Gen H and S series processors and “select 10th generation systems” will support Resizable BAR when paired with the right graphics cards.

AMD’s Smart Access Memory support.
Image: AMD

Resizable BAR support on the AMD side has led to some interesting results. TechSpot tested a variety of games recently using Smart Access Memory and found that performance improvements really depend on games. Some titles saw nearly a 20 percent boost at 1440p and 4K, while others actually dropped in performance.