December 5, 2022

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Intel details an annoying fix to sort out idle power consumption in Arc GPUs

Intel details an annoying fix to sort out idle power consumption in Arc GPUs

Zoom / Arc is Intel’s attempt to change the GPU market.

Intel Corporation

Intel Arc A750 and A770 GPUs It was finally released earlier this month after years of teasing, ads, and DelayThe end result is a pair of GPUs that generally offer respectable performance for the price. But Intel’s first gaming-focused dedicated GPU architecture also saw a lot of first-generation jitters, including garbled drivers and performance issues in games that don’t use DirectX 12 or Vulkan graphics APIs.

Another early issue could be idle power consumption – how much power these GPUs consume when they’re not actively being used or when you’re just viewing your desktop. Intel Corporation I published a troubleshooting article late last week Which acknowledged that Arc desktop GPUs can suffer from “high idle power consumption”, along with steps to address the issue.

Users will need to go into their computer’s BIOS and configure a pair of advanced PCI Express power management settings – the “Native ASPM” (or Active State Power Management) setting must be enabled, and the “PCI Express ASPM Root Port” setting must be enabled and set to L1 Substates. You will also need to set the PCI Express Link State Power Management setting to “Maximum power savings” in the Windows Advanced Power Options settings.

Intel acknowledges that settings will be found in different places in different BIOS systems and that they may be named for different things.

Testing from Tom’s Hardware It shows that with the settings enabled, the Arc A750’s idle power consumption dropped from 37.3W to 15.5W, which is a significant reduction. The same settings don’t seem to have an effect on the Arc A770 card, though it’s unclear if this is a motherboard bug, GPU hardware, firmware or driver issue, or something else.

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Intel may be able to address the problem in the long run with driver or firmware updates for Arc A-series GPUs, but our troubleshooting article doesn’t make it seem likely. Intel says the company will “consider making improvements in future generations,” which makes it look like we’ll need new hardware to decisively address the problem.

This isn’t the first BIOS-related change that Intel has asked Arc users to make. Cards performance is also significantly affected when a feature called Resizable BAR (or ReBAR, Smart Access Memory, or SAM) is disabled in your BIOS. Nvidia and AMD cards can also benefit when the Resizable BAR is enabled – it allows your processor to address your GPU’s memory all at once instead of a 256MB chunk – but the performance impact is somehow much smaller.

The common denominator between fixing idle power consumption and scaling bar issues is that not all BIOSes provide access to these settings, especially if you’re using an old PC or a pre-computer desktop PC rather than a modern, self-contained one. An all-in-one gaming PC with a motherboard for enthusiasts. It’s hardly a deal-breaker for Arc buyers, but it’s another warning for the GPU group that already has a lot of them.