Resizable BAR on Nvidia GeForce: we test the performance gain!

Finally the time has come for the green side of the force to have the resizable BAR available in more of its line-up. While new releases, such as the GeForce RTX 3060, have already reached the market with the technology, now it was the turn of the previous models of the RTX 30 series to also receive the update that makes the feature feasible.

Resizable bar article on Nvidia’s website

The resizable BAR is the technology that first arrived on AMD hardware as the name Smart Access Memory (SAM). Despite AMD’s own nomenclature, this is a technology within the PCI Express protocol, so it does not depend on specific brands to be implemented. Until now, the processor’s access to the video card’s memories was limited to smaller blocks at a time, due to bandwidth limitations.

With new PCIe technologies, and increasing communication widths, this has become irrelevant. Then the resizable BAR gives full access to the entire VRAM at once to the CPU, creating new opportunities for performance gains. At their best, Radeon plates jumped a respectable 15%.

According to Nvidia, not all games benefit from this feature. While there are games with earnings close to 10%, there are franchises that can have their performance worsened by enabling the resizable BAR. The company’s solution, in order not to be forcing the user to test and disable the feature on their own, was to perform tests and make this adjustment via driver. The company identified a total of 13 titles with improvements, which will have the technology enabled because of this:

– Assassin’s Creed Valhalla
– Battlefield V
– Borderlands 3
– Control
– Cyberpunk 2077
– Death Stranding
– DIRT 5
– F1 2020
– Forza Horizon 4
– Gears 5
– Godfall
– Hitman 2 e Hitman 3
– Horizon Zero Dawn
– Metro Exodus
– Red Dead Redemption 2
– Watch Dogs Legion

We repeated the tests we did with AMD, when we tested SAM, which is interesting because it has two scenarios: games that are supported, as well as games that are not receiving the resizable BAR. It also has some synthetic and professional tests, just to investigate. Here it is important to highlight a detathe: these tests are not used to compare Radeon vs GeForce, because they were done in different balls. The point here is to compare the performance variation that both present with and without the resizable BAR.

AMD Radeon Bench:

– AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT reference
– AMD Ryzen 9 5900X
– 2x 8GB DDR4 @3200MHz CL14
– Aorus X570 Master
– Fonte CoolerMaster V850 (850W)

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Nvidia GeForce bench:

– AORUS GeForce RTX 3080 Master
– Intel Core i9-9900K (OC @4.7GHz)
– 2x8GB DDR4 @3200MHz CL14
– Fonte Cougar CMX1000 (1000W)

Starting with some synthetic tests, just to “comply with the protocol”, we have the expected boredom: it did not impact performance.

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Despite the modest gain in many situations, additional performance is always welcome. We found performance gains close to those indicated by Nvidia, in the best cases reaching around 7%. It’s not much, but it’s a typical gain from a basic overclock, without the costs of heating and consumption, so it’s definitely a positive addition.

It is visible that the resizable BAR is more relevant for Radeon than for Nvidia. In addition to the more discreet gains, the existence of scenarios in which performance worsens and will have to be disabled shows that the lack of haste to implement the feature, considering the low impact on performance on its hardware.

It’s not much, but any extra performance (and free of charge) is welcome

If you have an RTX 30 series card, time to update the BIOS to take advantage of this feature and not miss the opportunity to have more performance on your machine. Here in the official Nvidia article there is a list of links, separated by manufacturer, indicating the way to update your model. In addition to the video card, you need a mainboard and a processor with the feature. Compatible hardware is listed below:

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