Resizable BAR hit the headlines when AMD first introduced it as ‘Smart Access Memory’ as a free performance boost for certain hardware configurations. Now Nvidia has brought the technology to their recently released RTX 3060 graphics card, and we have some benchmarks to see if it really does improve FPS performance all that much.
What is Resize BAR?
Back when AMD first announced it, Smart Access Memory (also known as Resize BAR for other platforms) was only available to PC configurations of the RX 6000 GPUs plus a Ryzen 5000 CPU and a 500 series motherboard. Since then, other manufacturers have been working to get it on other hardware including Nvidia’s GPUs and Intel processors.
Essentially what the technology does is it allows the CPU to access all the memory available on the GPU, rather than just 256 Megabytes chunks at a time when the feature is not enabled.
The feature is now supported on many more platforms other than just AMD hardware, and is actually supported on even older hardware for Intel CPUs and chipsets. Here’s the full list of supported processors and motherboards:
In addition to the hardware listed above, Nvidia is also working with motherboard manufacturers in order help support the Resize BAR feature on select models. As of February 25th 2021, there are only a handful of manufacturers who currently offer an SBIOS update that will enable the Resize BAR feature on some motherboards paired with an RTX 30 series desktop graphics card:
Resize BAR benchmarks
Resize BAR support has now debuted on the RTX 3060 as well as the RTX 30 series mobile graphics cards through the most recent driver. This also means that Nvidia is rolling out support for the technology on a per game basis, most likely due to some games not benefitting from the technology at all, so Nvidia only wants to support the ones with a noticeable performance improvement.
The current list of Resize BAR supported games include:
- ¬¬g_id:35863[Assassins Creed: Valhalla]¬¬
- ¬¬g_id:35520[Battlefield 5]¬¬
- ¬¬g_id:5413[Borderlands 3]¬¬
- ¬¬g_id:35599[Forza Horizon 4]¬¬
- ¬¬g_id:35640[Gears 5]¬¬
- ¬¬g_id:24306[Metro Exodus]¬¬
- ¬¬g_id:9339[Red Dead Redemption 2]¬¬
- ¬¬g_id:33549[Watch Dogs Legion]¬¬
The following benchmarks include all but 1 of those games listed above and were done at 1440p resolution using an ¬¬gc_id:5015[RTX 3060]¬¬ graphics card, a ¬¬p_id:2783[Ryzen 9 5900X]¬¬ processor, 32GB of DDR4-3600 memory, as well as the latest Windows and driver versions.
¬¬gc_id:5015[RTX 3060]¬¬ Resize BAR disabled Resize BAR enabled % increase Average FPS 86 95 10.5% 1% Low FPS 77 82 6.5%
¬¬gc_id:5015[RTX 3060]¬¬ Resize BAR disabled Resize BAR enabled % increase Average FPS 98 103 5.1% 1% Low FPS 84 88 4.8%
Forza Horizon 4
¬¬gc_id:5015[RTX 3060]¬¬ Resize BAR disabled Resize BAR enabled % increase Average FPS 119 127 6.7% 1% Low FPS 103 109 5.8%
¬¬gc_id:5015[RTX 3060]¬¬ Resize BAR disabled Resize BAR enabled % increase Average FPS 62 66 6.5% 1% Low FPS 48 52 8.3%
¬¬gc_id:5015[RTX 3060]¬¬ Resize BAR disabled Resize BAR enabled % increase Average FPS 92 102 10.9% 1% Low FPS 70 80 14.3%
Red Dead Redemption 2
¬¬gc_id:5015[RTX 3060]¬¬ Resize BAR disabled Resize BAR enabled % increase Average FPS 79 82 3.8% 1% Low FPS 66 70 6.1%
Watch Dogs Legion
¬¬gc_id:5015[RTX 3060]¬¬ Resize BAR disabled Resize BAR enabled % increase Average FPS 60 64 6.7% 1% Low FPS 49 51 4.1%
Looking at all the results above, we can see that overall the Resize BAR support actually does increase FPS performance quite noticeably, ranging anywhere from a 4%-11% performance improvement depending on the title. This is equivalent to a decent overclock and sometimes even better, all by technically flicking a switch in your BIOS.
Both Battlefield 5 and Metro Exodus seem to benefit the most from Resize BAR in terms of average FPS improvement with a 10.5% and 10.9% FPS increase respectively. However, Metro: Exodus has much better 1% Low improvement, going from 70fps to 80fps for a 14.3% FPS boost.
At a minimum though we are looking at around a 4% performance increase for both average and 1% Low FPS. That's not much, but when the average FPS increase is a little higher than that you may as well activate the feature on your motherboard if it is supported.
By limiting the supported games via drivers, Nvidia is ensuring that only games that actually benefit from this feature will actually be supported, and makes sure that some of your games won’t accidentally lose performance due to the feature being enabled.
In this (as of now, theoretical) price point, Resize BAR is a very attractive feature for squeezing out just a few more frames, and it’s a completely free performance boost that only requires supported games and a simple update in your BIOS. This feature coupled with DLSS, mesh shaders, and even Variable Rate Shading, will allow for just a few extra frames in some of our favorite games, something that will definitely not be ignored in official benchmarks if the support rolls out to higher-end graphics cards like the rest of the RTX 30 series.
With that said, Resize BAR is absolutely worth enabling on an RTX 3060 if you have the other supported hardware for it. I mean it’s a free improvement to FPS and will only get better as more games and hardware get supported.
For low-end and mid-range hardware this will certainly help squeeze out a few extra frames in some games where you might just be slightly missing your own preferred target FPS, and for high-end hardware it's always fun to get some extra FPS, especially when playing competitive games (if the support ever rolls out for them) where getting a few extra frames in your minimum/1% Low FPS can give you a slight advantage.
What do you think? Is Resize BAR worth enabling on certain hardware? What do you think of the performance improvements listed above? Are they good? Or not as good as you were expecting? Let us know!