Intel officially confirms AMD Smart Access Memory (SAM) support is coming to Arc

Intel Arc logo

A few days ago, Intel commenced the launch of its much-anticipated Arc discrete desktop GPUs, starting with the entry level A380 model. For now though, it's a China-only launch with global availability planned in the upcoming months.

And with the launch of the Arc A380, the company also published a system requirement guide since the Arc GPUs are new products that system builders aren't much familiar with it. In its guidelines, Intel clarified that PCIe Resiable BAR (ReBAR) feature must be enabled for "optimal" performance with Arc. Alongside that, support for PCIe ReBAR on Intel platforms was also confirmed. You can view the supported hardware configurations in this article.

In its guide, the company hinted at supporting AMD's implementation of ReBAR, also called Smart Access Memory (SAM). It stated:

Additional platforms/motherboards with Resizable BAR / Smart Access Memory enabled may also support Intel® Arc™ A-Series graphics.

Today, in a statement issued to Neowin, Intel has confirmed that Smart Access Memory (SAM) support is indeed coming to Arc which means AMD Ryzen platforms will be on an equal playing field with their Intel counterparts.

Here is Intel's official statement:

As we described in a blog post last month, the Arc graphics product rollout involves a staggered introduction on targeted platforms to most effectively serve our customer base. We are supporting Intel platforms with resizable BAR and will add support for AMD platforms with Smart Access Memory as Intel Arc graphics cards become available for sale as components.

Of course, just like on Intel, not every AMD platform will support SAM. Generally, you need a Ryzen 3000 series processor (except the 3000 G-series APUs) and pair up with a 500 series chipset AM4 board. Upcoming AM5 motherboards will also very likely support SAM.

Recently, in a comparison using the Arc A380 on an AMD platform, it was found that Arc suffered severe performance impact on the AMD system compared to the Intel machine. This is likely due to the lack of Smart Access Memory support alongside lack of some other optimizations. Though we must remember that Arc is very new to the market and that in the future, such teething issues are expected to be ironed out.

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