In case you didn’t know, AMD recently introduced three new RDNA 2 GPU features: RAGE Mode, Smart Access Memory and Infinity Cache. The SAM or Smart Access Memory is a new tech feature that allows AMD CPUs to access all the VRAM in any Radeon RX 6000-series GPU.
AMD’s solution was initially supposed to work with its latest Ryzen 5000-series CPU and RX 6000-series GPU lineup, with compatible B550/X570 500-series motherboards. There was no mention of the 400-series Motherboard chipset support.
According to a recent report coming via ComputerBase, there are some reports that AMD’s Smart Access Memory technology might also work on the 400-series AM4 motherboard chipsets, alongside the new Ryzen 5000-series Zen 3 CPU lineup.
With the latest BIOS updates and AGESA v2 126.96.36.199 firmware, it is possible to activate the Smart Access Memory feature on the X470 and B450 chipsets, as some AIB Motherboard vendors like ASRock have provided firmware/BIOS updates to enable this new tech.
Users can expect the following Zen 3 CPUs to also work, the Ryzen 9 5950X, 5900X, Ryzen 7 5800X and Ryzen 5 5600X, respectively. Though, it should be noted that AMD has not yet officially given any update on this compatibility issue.
But since some of the board partners/vendors have been offering support (e.g. ASRock), so technically speaking, SAM feature can be easily enabled on the 400-series chipsets as well. Other AIB vendors may also follow suit.
Apparently, ASRock has recently launched new firmware updates for its B450 motherboard lineup to offer support for the latest Ryzen 5000-series processors. One German Youtuber @RawiioliExtras has discovered that the ASRock manufacturer has given the option to enable this Smart Access Memory feature on the B450 chipset.
Enabling Smart Access Memory was pretty straightforward and easy on this board. You just have to enable the “Above 4G Decoding” and “Re-size BAR Support” settings inside the BIOS. As you can see from the screenshot posted below, both of these options are present and can be enabled on the ASRock B450 Steel Legend Motherboard.
For the ASRock B450 Steel Legend motherboard, the latest firmware carries the version 3.70, dated November 19. The BIOS description reads, “Optimize system compatibility”. Other ASRock B450 motherboards also share the same description and date. So it might be possible that the entire ASRock B450 motherboard stack supports Smart Access Memory, and so this is not a coincidence.
It shouldn’t be long until the X470 high-end motherboards also receive their corresponding firmware/BIOS updates, unlike these budget B450 chipset series.
Though we don’t know for sure whether ASRock has intentionally enabled support for SAM, or it is a mistake from the vendor side, but the latter seems unlikely.
According to ComputerBase, MSI has already distributed the first beta version to testers, which unlocks Smart Access Memory on X470 and B450, and has rolled out the AGESA v2 188.8.131.52 firmware update to offer support for the new AMD Curve Optimizer feature.
AMD also plans to bring its Smart Access Memory (SAM) tech to Nvidia GPUs, thus ensuring compatibility on both Intel/Nvidia platforms. In an interview with PCWorld AMD has stated that its Radeon group is working with INTEL to get this feature to work with RX 6000-series GPUs, and also on Intel’s latest compatible CPUs and motherboards.
It was also mentioned that AMD’s Ryzen group is working with Nvidia to get the new Smart Access Memory/SAM feature to work with NVIDIA GeForce GPUs. Thus, we can expect SAM to work on Nvidia GPUs as well.
Recently, Nvidia also confirmed that the company is working with Intel to get a similar feature to work on their own GeForce GPUs. NVIDIA stated that they are also working on their own SAM or Smart Access Memory feature similar to what AMD has enabled on their RDNA 2 GPU lineup.
Nvidia said this SAM feature will be enabled on all the GeForce RTX 30-series Ampere GPUs via future software and driver updates, and it will be compatible with both AMD and Intel processors.
As per Nvidia, this feature is easy to implement since the “resizable BAR” is actually a part of the PCI-Express specifications, and NVIDIA’s existing hardware fully supports this functionality.
AMD says that with SAM they can access all of the GPU memory, thus removing any bottlenecks. This will also allow for faster performance. In conventional Windows-based PC systems, processors can only access a fraction of graphics memory (VRAM) at once, limiting system performance.
With AMD Smart Access Memory, the data channel gets expanded to harness the full potential of GPU memory, utilizing the bandwidth of PCI Express to remove the bottlenecks and increase performance.
To explain this feature in more detail, AMD’s new Smart Access Memory feature will boost the overall gaming performance by optimizing the data transfer between the CPU and the GPU.
What this basically means is that the Radeon RX 6000 GPUs can now work and operate in tandem with AMD’s Ryzen 5000-series processors, provided you use a 500-series compatible motherboard, through this new Smart Access Memory feature.
Smart Access Memory aims at optimizing both the GPU and CPU to offer the best possible performance when they operate in tandem.
According to the concept, once you enable the Smart Memory Access feature in the RX 6000 card’s VBIOS and the motherboard BIOS, both the CPU and GPU will gain full access to each other’s memory. Doing this will maximize data transfer and performance between the CPU and the GPU’s VRAM.
Smart Access Memory helps boost performance by enabling faster data transfer speeds between the CPU and GPU.
And by pairing this efficient data transfer smart access feature with the new AMD 128MB Infinity Cache feature might help boost the throughput between the CPU and the GPU as well.
Stay tuned for more!