Above 4G Decoding is your BIOS's dark horse. What is it and should it be enabled?

Rinocrosserв 16:25 (08/02/21)
Above 4G Decoding is your BIOS's dark horse. What is it and should it be enabled?

In modern motherboards BIOS, you can find the Above 4G Decoding checkbox, and now the Resizable Bar has appeared next to it. And the Resizable Bar was already well explained by AMD – the processor can directly communicate with the card through a couple of big steps, instead of a million tiny ones.

But what then is Above 4G Decoding and is it equal to Resizable Bar? No article on the internet explains the term precisely, but I will try to make the best explanation possible.

What can this switch do and why does a video card need so much memory?

You may have noticed that according to a number of signs, a video card is obtained by a separate computer inside a computer. The cards have their own BIOS, a separate set of memory, their own power circuits and, of course, their own processor, albeit a graphic one. It is easy to guess that they have similar and different features with the central processor, but they need to communicate: it is the central processor that commands the video card.

Therefore, for interaction, the processor often places copies or data cache in RAM for working with a video card. Plus, it is from the RAM that it transfers such information to the card via the PCI bus.

And since modern software, operating systems and processors began to work with 64-bits, then it is already necessary to manage much more space. Those. when moving from 32-bit, where there was a limit of only 4 gigabytes of data, now hardware and software can handle much larger values ​​at once (in theory, up to 16 exabytes, in existing hardware implementations there are only 256 terabytes).

Should I enable Above 4G Decoding?

Judging by the reviews, it is not worth fixing what is not broken: some users have problems when this option is enabled. However, owners of cards with more than 4GB of memory, or with more than 16GB of RAM in the system, can try this function for better performance of computing tasks. Before that, many recommend updating the drivers and BIOS.

For example, scientific computing on Tesla cards, rendering large scenes for 3D artists, or mining modern cryptocurrencies will require more than 4 gigabytes of data at a time to be used effectively.

Above 4G Decoding is your BIOS's dark horse. What is it and should it be enabled?

Previously, the task was solved by multiple intermediate stages in the drivers and the system, but this reduces performance, and for some tasks it is completely unacceptable (owners of Tesla cards or several video capture cards have faced problems for a long time). For example, to work with a RGB24 signal, the Avermedia website explicitly states that the signal does not fit into the standard 32 bits.

Crypto-miners were advised to enable the checkbox from the moment it appears in the BIOS for adequate scaling between 2 or more cards.

It is worth considering that the consumption of RAM may increase at some moments, so it is rather dangerous to carry out this trick on computers with 8-12GB in modern realities.

Is Above 4G Decoding Needed For Gaming?

The Above 4G Decoding checkbox is definitely needed in order for the Resizable Bar to work for Radeon 6000 users. Moreover, both functions can now be enabled even on NVIDIA video cards. I managed to notice an increase in the frame rate in Warzone (from 120-140 to stable 150-170), drawdowns in Cyberpunk 2077 disappeared even at night with RTX. And that's all on the RTX 3060 Ti, which does not yet support the Resizable Bar. Is it a coincidence?

Some articles on this topic even assure that the process only affects the amount of RAM allocated at a time for the processor to work with video memory. And this explains a slight increase in the consumption of RAM.

I am not yet ready to judge and have just begun my research. I was pushed to the sinful land of BIOS tuning by an investigation into the activities of miners. Well, at least some benefit from them!

What hardware currently supports Above 4G Decoding?

Above 4G Decoding can be currently enabled on motherboards with support for AMD Ryzen 5000 processors (for example, AMD B550, X570 chipsets), and on other platforms, this feature is determined by the manufacturer.

If you do not find such a function, then you may need to update the BIOS (if support is declared in the description of the updates or from the manufacturer).

For Intel users, the feature is widely available on the Z490 chipsets, but it is also optionally found on the Z390 and even some server solutions, including relatively old ones, because the option itself was incorporated into the PCI-E standard more than 10 years ago.