Intel® GPA Troubleshooting Tip: Check Video Memory Setting

Short Description/Solution:

If you experience trouble capturing or playing back frames on supported systems, you may need to adjust the amount of memory available for DVMT (Dynamic Video Memory Technology) through your system’s BIOS; ensure that DVMT is set to a minimum of 512MB for proper operation with Intel® Graphics Performance Analyzers (Intel® GPA).

One other hint for users: when possible, run the Intel GPA tools using a 64-bit version of the OS (such as Microsoft Windows 7* in 64-bit mode) with at least 4GB of physical memory.

Detailed Discussion:

When creating a capture file with Intel® GPA System Analyzer, in some cases the user may encounter an error during the creation of this file. In other cases, the capture file may appear to be created successfully, but you may encounter an error when trying to read the file within Intel® GPA Frame Analyzer. Furthermore, the error message displayed by these applications will be cryptic at best, leaving you wondering what's going on.

It ends up that the minimum system requirements for Intel® GPA is 512MB of video memory (though larger would be preferred if available). The reason for this is that GPA needs to save portions of the DX state in video memory when creating capture files. The larger and more complex the frame, the more video memory is required.

For most supported systems this is not a problem, as typically systems that use the supported graphics chipsets by default set video memory to 512MB or more. However, in some cases we've seen systems with the default video memory configurations set to only 128MB, which is below the minimum required by Intel GPA.

Unfortunately, there is no universal solution to this problem, as each system vendor provides different ways of determining and/or setting the video memory allocated to the graphics device. On some systems you may be able to inquire the amount of video memory for the graphics device through the control panel for that device; on others you may only be able to see this value when you reboot and examine the setting in the BIOS. Other system configurations may not let you change the video memory settings at all.

Therefore, for Intel graphics devices the “information” button for Intel GPA System Analyzer will display the video memory setting for the target graphics device. Though Intel GPA can’t set the value to a minimum of 512MB, you will at least be able to see whether your configuration meets the required system settings required by Intel GPA. [NOTE: unfortunately non-Intel graphics devices do not provide VRAM information in a standard way, so Intel GPA is not able to inquire/display this info for this class of devices.]

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