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

Zoom / Intel Arc GPU.

Intel Corporation

Update, 7:35 PM ET: Intel told Ars Technica that it was possible for both Intel and AMD-based platforms to update Arc GPU firmware, and that the Intel Management Engine was not actually required for firmware updates.

“Intel Arc products do not require the host CSME to update the Arc firmware,” an Intel spokesperson told Ars. “Firmware updates will work on both AMD and Intel platforms. Arc products have their own graphics security control for firmware updates and take advantage of existing Intel technology such as the HECI interface protocol to implement the firmware update flow.”

Follow up from Richard HughesThe developer who originally discovered the limitation, said another user had told him that “a GSC device that uses HECI appears in Windows” when installing an Arc GPU, which should allow updates on x86 machines. We confirmed this ourselves on a Windows PC with Arc GPU installed and saw Intel’s GSC firmware interface listed in the device manager, which should work the same on both Intel and AMD platforms as it’s part of the same GPU. (How and whether it will work in x86 Linux is something we can’t confirm at this point.)

The GSC interface that Intel points to will allow firmware updates, at least on Windows x86 computers.
Zoom / The GSC interface that Intel points to will allow firmware updates, at least on Windows x86 computers.

Non-x86 platforms, including those based on IBM’s Arm and Power Architecture CPUs, may still not be able to update the Arc GPU firmware. But the vast majority of consumer-oriented GPUs won’t end up in these systems, making this firmware update something that almost no one will be affected by.

original story: In our review of Intel’s Arc GPUs, we were generally impressed with their performance for the price, especially as a first-generation product. But buyers have a lot of potential caveats to consider, including unstable drivers, inconsistent performance, and a couple of weird problems that you need to look for in your computer’s BIOS settings to solve.

Linux developers working on Arc support seem to have discovered another weirdness about cards. according to Developer Richard Hughes (As reported by Phoronix), it appears that the firmware update on Arc GPUs is handled by the Intel Management Engine, a microcontroller that is only included in computers with Intel processors. Hughes encountered the problem specifically in the context of IBM’s POWER CPU architecture, but it seems to make firmware updates impossible on any non-Intel platform, including those based on AMD or Arm CPUs.

Fortunately, these types of GPU firmware updates don’t happen often, and when they do an act This usually happens to fix a certain obscure issue or add minor features – using a GPU with old firmware isn’t the end of the world. On the other hand, if the GPU is going to do that need to Important firmware updates Somewhere down the line, this will be the first generation of Arc cards, which are Intel’s first widely released dedicated GPUs that have already proven exceptionally tough around the edges in a host of other ways.

We’ve contacted Intel to ask if they plan to change how they install Arc firmware updates, and will update this article if we receive a response.

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