MSI to add Resizable BAR support to Intel Coffee Lake motherboards

MSI Resizable BAR
(Image credit: MSI)

MSI has announced that it's bringing Resizable BAR (aka Re-Size BAR) support to a load of its motherboards, including to its range of Z300-series mobos. This is good news, as it means that the technology should get a healthy boost in numbers in time for Nvidia's VBIOS to add support to the full range of GeForce RTX 30-series GPUs.

The brief news post about the BIOS updates (needed to support the feature) lists 10 Intel motherboard chipsets and 6 AMD chipsets, which is basically a good chunk of all of MSI's recent offerings. 

After a BIOS update, you should find the option for turning on Re-Size BAR in your BIOS setup screens. It's not the sort of thing you'll want to turn on and off often, so find it, make sure it's on, job done.

So, what is Re-Size BAR, and why should you care? The basics are that it's an optional technology supported by PCI Express that enables the CPU to access the GPU's framebuffer to efficiently improve transfers as you move around the game world. Importantly such loads can be handled concurrently instead of being queued up one after another. 

Resizable BAR improves performance, basically. By as much as 17 percent in some games. In practice, such performance boosts aren't always so widespread, and in some titles, the performance can actually decrease. 

Nvidia Resizable BAR

(Image credit: Nvidia)

This is why Nvidia is being cautious with the rollout of support for the feature. In fact, at the time of writing, Nvidia only supports Resizable BAR on the RTX 3060 on desktop, although the full RTX 30-series is supported on laptops (although this can depend on the laptop manufacturers). Support for the other desktop GPUs will follow later this month apparently.

Not only will you need an RTX 3060 graphics card and a supporting motherboard to try out Resizable BAR, but it's also limited to just eight games at the time of writing as well: 

  • Assassin's Creed Valhalla
  • Battlefield V
  • Borderlands 3
  • Forza Horizon 4
  • Gears 5
  • Metro Exodus
  • Read Dead Redemption 2
  • Watch Dogs: Legion

Apparently, more games will be added to this list when Nvidia supports Resizable BAR on the rest of the 30-series GPUs.

AMD was actually first out of the door with support for the technology with its Smart Access Memory, which originally worked only with the latest AMD CPUs and GPUs. When we looked at AMD's SAM implementation back in November, we saw some decent improvements with the tech, although Wolfenstein Youngblood saw a 31% drop in performance at 1080p, so more work may be needed by all involved.

It's good news that Intel and Nvidia are getting on board as, anomalies aside, there could be some decent performance boosts to be had. Kudos to MSI for not just committing itself to update its latest motherboards as well. 

Alan Dexter

Alan has been writing about PC tech since before 3D graphics cards existed, and still vividly recalls having to fight with MS-DOS just to get games to load. He fondly remembers the killer combo of a Matrox Millenium and 3dfx Voodoo, and seeing Lara Croft in 3D for the first time. He's very glad hardware has advanced as much as it has though, and is particularly happy when putting the latest M.2 NVMe SSDs, AMD processors, and laptops through their paces. He has a long-lasting Magic: The Gathering obsession but limits this to MTG Arena these days.