Intel says that both Intel and AMD CPUs can update Arc GPU firmware [Updated]

Both Intel and AMD CPUs can update Arc GPU firmware [Updated]: Intel confirmed to Ars Technica at 7:35 p.m. EST that Arc GPU firmware upgrades are feasible on both Intel and AMD-based systems, and that Intel’s Management Engine is not required.

“Intel Arc devices do not need the host CSME to update Arc firmware,” an Intel representative said to Ars. “Firmware upgrades may be beneficial for AMD and Intel systems alike. Arc devices conduct the firmware update procedure using existing Intel technologies such as the HECI interface protocol and their own Graphics Security Control.”

Intel says that both Intel and AMD CPUs can update Arc GPU firmware [Updated]

When an Arc GPU is installed, a “HECI-using GSC device appears in Windows,” according to developer Richard Hughes. This implies that x86 computers should be able to get updates. As evidence, we examined the device manager of a Windows PC equipped with an Arc GPU and discovered an entry for Intel’s GSC firmware interface, which should function similarly on Intel and AMD systems since it is embedded into the GPU. (We cannot guarantee that it will function in x86 Linux or how it will operate.)

Unfortunately, non-x86 computers with Arm CPUs or IBM’s Power architecture may still be unable to upgrade the firmware on their Arc GPUs. However, since most consumer-focus gaming GPUs will not be install in these systems, most users will not be affect by this firmware upgrade issue.

First Edition: We were pleasantly impress by the value of Intel’s Arc GPUs, particularly given that they were a first-generation device. However, there are a few issues that buyers should be aware of. These include driver issues, unpredictable performance, and a few peculiar issues that must be resolve by altering the BIOS settings on your computer.

While working on Arc support, Linux programmers seem to have discovered something else odd about the cards. According to developer Richard Hughes, the Intel Management Engine, a small microcontroller available exclusively in PCs with Intel CPUs, seems to be in charge of upgrading the firmware on Arc GPUs. Hughes first encountered this issue when working with IBM’s POWER CPU architecture. It seems to make firmware updates on platforms other than Intel difficult. This covers systems powered by AMD or Arm CPUs.

Fortunately, GPU firmware doesn’t change very frequently. And when it does, it’s generally to remedy a particular problem or add a minor function. So using an old GPU with outdated software isn’t the end of the world. However, since the initial generation of Arc cards are Intel’s first publicly accessible dedicate GPUs. And they have already shown to be extremely rough around the edges in other areas. It is possible that substantial firmware changes will be require at some time in the future.

We’ve contacted Intel whether it intends to modify the way Arc firmware changes are install. And if so, this page will be update accordingly.

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