There's been plenty of speculation around Intel's entry into the consumer GPU market. The first lot of Arc A380 GPUs have only just gone on sale in China, though potentially for much more than the MSRP we were hoping for. So there are still many questions yet to be answered about the real world performance of the Arc line.
A lot of the big questions are around what other technologies will be supported by these cards. As Neowin explains, Intel had released a system requirement guide for the cards, given they're brand new products, which contained some hints. At the time, it stated that technologies like AMD's Smart Access Memory (SAM) may be supported by the Arc series of cards alongside resizable BAR on its own platforms.
Now Neowin has managed to get confirmation from Intel about the future support of SAM on these new GPUs. Intel explained that the introduction of technologies and platforms is staggered based on the needs of the customer base. It will be supporting Intel platforms with resizable BAR up front, as the cards will be shipped built into all-Intel systems, and will be adding support for AMD's SAM as cards are brought onto the DIY market.
"As we described in a blog post last month," reads Intel's statement to Neowin, "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."
Intel has also stated that some form of Resizable Bar is required for the best performance on these Arc cards. These kind of features can speed up the rate data is sent from the CPU to the GPU, which can make for smoother gaming performance. Having this enabled could potentially help with some of the mixed bag benchmarks the Arc GPUs are getting.
To make full use of these platforms the rest of the computer also has to support them. At the moment if you pulled a A380 out of an Intel system and plumbed it into an AMD 500-series motherboard (the minimum requirement for SAM) then it won't do anything special. Post launch, Intel says, it will be updated (presumably in drivers or firmware) to be recognised by the AMD chipset as a SAM-capable GPU.
AMD's minimum spec for SmartAccess Memory only states Radeon RX 6000-series graphics cards as being supported, which means this will mark the first time an outside hardware maker will support AMD's tech.
So far we've seen the start of Arc sales in China as well as a real ife GPU on display at the IEM 2022 tournament. We've already seen Arc powered laptops, but also delays to deal with when it comes to desktop GPUs. Hopefully we'll be testing out these GPUs for ourselves to see what they do support soon.