Intel has confirmed that Arc Alchemist discrete graphics cards will eventually receive support for Smart Access Memory, which opens up the AMD Ryzen CPU to the entire RAM stack of the graphics card.Thanks to this, performance in some games can significantly increase.Image source: IntelIntel previously reported system requirements for Arc Alchemist graphics cards, which indicated the need for support for Resizable BAR (ReBAR) technology in the computer.The feature must be active for \"optimal\" performance of Intel discrete graphics cards.The counterpart of Resizable BAR is Smart Access Memory (SAM) technology.It is used on AMD platforms.Talking to Neowin, Intel representatives confirmed that Arc will also support SAM: \"As we noted in our blog post, the deployment of Arc series graphics products involves a phased and gradual rollout to target platforms to better serve our customers.Our platforms support Resizable BAR technology and in the future, when Arc graphics cards become available at retail, we will add support for AMD platforms with their Smart Access Memory,\" Intel commented.As with Intel platforms, of which not all support or fully support Resizable BAR, not all AMD platforms support SAM.This feature requires a Ryzen 3000-series processor no older than Ryzen 3000 (Ryzen 3000G models are not supported) and a motherboard with an AMD 500-series chipset.The future Socket AM5 platform for Ryzen 7000 processors is also likely to get SAM support.According to Neowin, the first gaming tests show that the Intel Arc A380 desktop graphics card on a PC with AMD processor perform worse than on a PC with Intel.It is very likely just because the latter lack support for Smart Access Memory technology.
AMD adds Smart Access Memory support to Ryzen 3000-series CPUs
Along with the announcement of Radeon RX 6900, Radeon RX 6800 XT and Radeon RX 6800 graphics cards late last year, AMD introduced Smart Access Memory technology. It allows the CPU to engage the entire video memory array of a video card at once instead of accessing only its part with up to 256 MB. This allows some games to get up to a 16% performance boost.
At the time of announcement, the technology required the user to have the latest Ryzen 5000 series processor, Radeon RX 6000 series graphics card and AMD 500 series motherboard. Today the company introduced the Radeon RX 6700 XT graphics card, and at the same time announced that it is extending Smart Access Memory support to Ryzen 3000 series processors. Users still need to have a motherboard with AMD B550 or X570 chipset, so owners of boards on older AMD B450 and X470 chipsets are out of luck. Also, Smart Access Memory support does not apply to Ryzen 5 3400G and Ryzen 3 3200G hybrid processors. Unlike AMD's latest line of Zen 3 processors, the Ryzen 3000 models on the Zen 2 architecture can easily be found on sale and often at a significant discount. The single-core performance of these processors is not as great as the new chips, but Smart Access Memory technology will close the gap between the two. To use Smart Access Memory in addition to the Ryzen 3000-series processor and AMD 500-series chipset motherboard, you also need to have a Radeon RX 6000-series graphics card. Unfortunately, the last component in the current realities is very difficult to find on sale at an adequate price.
MSI announces Resizable BAR support for a host of its AMD and Intel processor motherboards
Following the announcement of Resizable BAR support on NVIDIA GeForce RTX 30-series graphics cards, MSI has rushed to announce the support across a range of its AMD and Intel processor-based motherboards. Surely the same boards will also support AMD Radeon RX 6000 series graphics cards.
The technology is implemented on most MSI motherboards with Intel Z590, B560, H510, Z490, B460, H410, Z390, H370, B360 and H310 chipsets and also on AMD motherboards with TRX40, X570, B550, A520, X470, B450 chipset. The company warns that on AMD motherboards the technology does not work with all processors for AM4 pads (at least on all Ryzen 5000). Of course, it is recommended to upgrade your motherboard to the latest firmware version and activate the appropriate items in the BIOS settings: Re-Size BAR and Above 4G Memory/Crypto Currency mining. MSI says that according to its tests the technology works great on all compatible platforms.
Resizable BAR technology is a part of PCI Express interface specification since v2.0 but AMD drew public attention to it only last autumn by introducing it as Smart Access Memory in its Radeon RX 6000 series graphics cards. With Resizable BAR, the CPU accesses the entire video memory array, while Windows PCs without this feature can access a maximum of 256 MB at a time. This eliminates I/O channel bottlenecks and, according to AMD, delivers up to a 10–15% performance gain in some games.
ASUS and MSI showed AMD Smart Access Memory on old AMD processors with Zen and Zen 2
At the announcement of Radeon RX 6000-series graphics cards, AMD noted the Smart Access Memory (SAM) technology, which provides an increase in performance when the gas pedal works with Ryzen 5000 (Zen 3) processors. Previously, it was reported that Ryzen 3000 and older AMD chips, unlike Intel processors, do not support SAM technology, due to lack of the necessary hardware and PDEP instructions support. But it turns out that not everything is that simple.
To begin with, SAM is based on the Resizable BAR (Base Address Registers) technology which is part of the PCI Express interface specifications since v2.0 and is not exclusive to AMD. Whereas a regular Windows based PC can only directly access up to 256MB of graphics memory, the Resizable BAR technology allows you to expand the data channel allowing the processor to access the entire video memory array at once. This eliminates potential bottlenecks and provides performance boost in some games (up to 15 % according to AMD estimates). This is especially true nowadays when the amount of video memory used in games often exceeds even 10 GB. Resizable BAR quite works on a bunch of Radeon RX 6000 and Intel processors on ASUS and ASRock boards. Since it is part of the PCI Express specifications, NVIDIA also plans to add support for this technology to some of its graphics gas pedals.
Rumors regarding the lack of SAM support in Ryzen 1000, 2000 and 3000 chips were first refuted by Ian Curtress of Anandtech, who got an explanation from AMD itself. It turns out that SAM does not rely on the PDEP instruction and will work regardless of how well the instruction is supported by the processor.
Now MSI and ASUS have demonstrated how SAM works on various AMD Ryzen processor series that do not have the Zen 3 architecture. According to the published screenshots, AMD Ryzen 4000G and Ryzen 3000 series processors with Zen 2 architecture will also support SAM on AMD 500 series chipset motherboards. ASUS, on the other hand, has shown the possibility of using Re-Size BAR with the Ryzen 7 1700 processor based on Zen. Earlier this week Igors’LAB published a story that NVIDIA is also working on an alternative to AMD SAM technology. It is claimed that there are discussions within the company as to whether the GeForce RTX 30xx series should support this technology. It's unclear if any final decisions have been made on this, but given that NVIDIA has said it's considering adding Resizeble BAR support, it would be too late to back out.
Meanwhile, AMD hasn't made any public statements regarding potential SAM support on older Radeon graphics gas pedals.
AMD has promised up to 15% performance improvement with Smart Access Memory
Yesterday AMD released its flagship Radeon RX 6900 XT graphics card based on RDNA 2 architecture. One of the advertised features of this and other Radeon RX 6000 series cards is AMD Smart Access Memory (SAM) technology. More and more motherboards of 400 and 500 series (for example, recently reported by Biostar) support this technology, and AMD decided to present a commercial about this technology.
AMD introduced the SAM technology during the announcement of the Radeon RX 6000 graphics cards and initially announced it only for the Ryzen 5000 processor. While conventional Windows-based PCs can only access up to 256MB of graphics memory at the same time, this technology allows the processor to extend the data channel, allowing the entire video memory array to be accessed at once, eliminating potential bottlenecks and achieving improved performance in some games. This is especially true now, when the amount of video memory used often exceeds 10 GB.
In this video, the company promises a noticeable performance increase in some games when activated SAM. For example, Forza Horizon 4 and Assassin's Creed Valhalla get a 1440p resolution gain on AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT up to 15 %, while Ashes of Singularity: Escalation in 4K shows a 13 % gain. The company still recommends using the technology on AMD 500 series motherboards with AMD Ryzen 5000 processors and AMD Radeon RX 6000 graphics cards. This requires the AMD Radeon Software Driver 20.11.2 or later, a motherboard with fresh firmware based on AMD AGESA 18.104.22.168 and activation of Above 4G Decoding and Re-Size BAR Support in the BIOS:
Recall: SAM is based on Resizable BAR (Base Address Registers) sizing technology, which is part of the PCI Express interface specifications since version 2.0 and is not an exclusive of AMD. SAM works quite well on Radeon RX 6000 and Intel processors on ASUS and ASRock boards, but AMD Ryzen 3000 and older processors do not support it hardware. Since this is part of the PCI Express specifications, NVIDIA also plans to add SAM support to some of its graphics gas pedals.
Biostar boards on the AMD B550 and X570 have received Smart Access Memory support. Models on the AMD B450 and X470 are as follows
Biostar reported that its AMD 500 series motherboards have received support for Smart Access Memory (SAM) technology. The technology allows the Ryzen series CPU to access the full amount of video memory in discrete Radeon graphics gas pedals at once. Thanks to this in some games it is possible to get an additional increase in performance.
To get support for Smart Access Memory (SAM) technology, the manufacturer offers to download and install a new version of the BIOS for their motherboards:
Biostar Racing X570GT8; Biostar Racing X570GTA; Biostar Racing X570GT; Biostar Racing B550GTA; Biostar Racing B550GTQ; Biostar B550MH; Biostar A520MH; Biostar B550M-SILVER.
In addition, Biostar explained how to activate SAM in motherboard firmware. To do this, it is necessary:
Log in to BIOS; Go to the laquo tab; Advanced settings» (Advanced); Select the laquo option; PCI Subsystem Settings»; Enable «Above 4G Decoding» and «Re-size BAR Support» Press F10 on the keyboard to save settings and reboot.
The company also promised to release new versions of BIOS with Smart Access Memory (SAM) support for AMD 400-series chipset-based motherboards this month. The latest models from the manufacturer include: Racing X470GT8, Racing X470GTA, Racing X470GTQ, Racing X470GTN, X470MH, X470NH, Racing B450GT3, Racing B450GT, B450MX, B450MHC, B450MH and B450NH.
ASRock implemented AMD Smart Access Memory technology in Z490 Taichi LGA 1200 board
ASRock has released a beta BIOS for the Z490 Taichi motherboard with support for technology that allows the CPU to access the full amount of discrete graphics gas pedals' video memory at once. ASRock technology is called Clever Access Memory. In essence, it is the same technology that AMD introduced for motherboards on the 500 series chipset & ; Smart Access Memory (SAM).
AMD's SAM technology can currently only work with Radeon RX 6000 graphics gas pedals, as only they can take advantage of the Resizable BAR (Base Address Registers) feature, which is part of the PCI Express interface specifications. Future support for Resizable BARs for GeForce graphics cards will also be added by NVIDIA. According to Wccftech, enabling Resizable BAR in beta BIOS for ASRock Z490 Taichi board really does improve performance in games. The source tested in the Shadow of the Tomb Raider and Assassin’s Creed Valhalla.
Image Source: Wccftech
The test game system used an Intel Core i7-10700K processor, two DDR4-266 memory modules and a Radeon RX 6800 XT graphics card. With the active function in the first game, performance increased by 3.3%, in the second & ; by 11.5%.
Shadow of the Tomb Rider with Clever Access Memory active.
Result with Clever Access Memory off
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla with active Clever Access Memory
Result with Clever Access Memory off
The source also provided screenshots demonstrating how to activate Clever Access Memory in beta BIOS of ASRock Z490 Taichi motherboard.
Ryzen 3000 and older AMD processors do not support AMD Smart Access Memory, but Intel does.
The situation with Resizable BAR (Base Address Registers) technology, which is part of the PCI Express interface specifications since version 2.0 and is the basis for AMD Smart Access Memory (SAM), continues to clarify. Recently we have written that SAM has worked on a bunch of Radeon RX 6000 and Intel processors, and now the details of older AMD processors are known.
Recall: AMD introduced SAM technology during the announcement of Radeon RX 6000 graphics cards and initially announced it only for Ryzen 5000 processors. While in conventional Windows-based PCs, processors can only access up to 256MB of graphics memory at the same time, this technology can expand the data channel, allowing the processor to use the entire video memory array at once and remove potential bottlenecks, achieving improved performance in some games.
It seems that it is no coincidence that AMD started talking about SAM support only with the launch of Zen 3 architecture; the fact is that AMD Ryzen 3000 processors of Matisse family based on Zen 2, as well as older solutions based on Zen+ and Zen do not support this feature. It turned out that PCI-Express bus of Ryzen 5000 Vermeer processors includes PCIe physical layer functionality called full-rate _pdep_u32/64, which is required for Resizable BAR.
Official data on performance boost from SAM on AMD Ryzen 5000 and Radeon 6000 platforms
More interesting is that Intel processors have been supporting this functionality since the 4th generation of Haswell's Core, which added a 20-band PCI-Express Gen 3.0 bus. This means that every Intel processor released since 2014 is technically capable of supporting Resizable BAR, and the question is only for motherboard manufacturers that release UEFI firmware updates for their products (i.e. Intel 8th and later series chipsets).
AMD is widely marketing SAM as a means to increase performance by 1–2 % for Radeon RX 6800 series graphics cards. Since this is part of the PCI Express specifications, NVIDIA also plans to add support for it to some of its GPUs.
Tests have confirmed that AMD Smart Access Memory technology has worked on the Intel platform
Resizable BAR (Base Address Registers) technology is part of the PCI Express interface specifications since version 2.0 & ; it is the basis of AMD Smart Access Memory (SAM), but is no longer exclusive to owners of new Ryzen chips. Recently ASUS released firmware for motherboards with Intel Z490 chipset, which adds Resizable BAR support.
When this functionality is enabled in the BIOS of Intel Z490-based motherboards, ASUS AMD Radeon RX 6000 series graphics cards should automatically take advantage of this technology. AMD never said that SAM would be exclusive to Radeon RX 6000 and Ryzen 5000 processors. Only these products are listed as supported by AMD because AMD has conducted tests with them and is confident that they will work. Another reason is obviously marketing and a desire to increase sales of their own devices.
Japanese site ASCII decided to test the SAM in practice in the Intel platform. The site staff used a Core i9-10900K processor and a reference Radeon RX 6800 XT with and without active Resizable BAR function. As we already know, activation of SAM does not always give a noticeable performance gain even on a bunch of Ryzen 5000 and Radeon 6000 & ; everything depends on the specific game. That's why only those projects that have already proven SAM gains were included in the test: Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, Forza Horizon 4, Red Dead Redemption 2 and Rainbow Six Siege.
Official data on performance gain from SAM on AMD Ryzen 5000 and Radeon 6000 platforms.
So, on the Intel Z490 platform in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla at 1920 × 1080 and the highest quality, the activation of Resizable BAR gives both minimum and average frame rates increase: In Forza Horizon 4, at 2560 × 1440 and maximum quality settings, you'll feel the same gain (note that the graphics incorrectly specify resolution; 1920 × 1080): In Red Dead Redemption 2 at 1920 × 1080, the Resizable BAR increases the minimum frame rate multiple times to provide a smoother gaming experience: Finally, in Rainbow Six Siege at 1920 × 1080 at high quality settings and 100 %-scale rendering, the game shows an improvement in minimum frame rate and minimal increase in average performance: Recall: AMD introduced SAM technology during the announcement of Radeon RX 6000 graphics cards. While conventional Windows-based PCs can only access a portion of the graphics memory (VRAM) at the same time, this technology allows the processor to extend the data channel, allowing the entire video memory array to be used at once and eliminate potential bottlenecks, achieving improved performance in some games.
AMD once again promised an open alternative to DLSS that will run on Intel and NVIDIA PCs, consoles, GPUs
AMD has already talked about working on an open cross-platform alternative to NVIDIA's DLSS intelligent scaling technology, which will work on PCs and consoles. AMD corporate vice president Scott Herkelman noted that the company is working on this issue in partnership with Intel and NVIDIA: the new technology will work on PCs and consoles, as opposed to closed DLSS.
He also said that the performance of the ray tracing technology of current Radeon RX 6000 graphics cards will improve over time. And AMD's leading gaming architect, Frank Azor, added that the company will consider enabling intelligent memory access for non-Series 500-series chipset as well. AMD's new Radeon RX 6800 and RX 6800 XT proved to be quite competitive with their NVIDIA counterparts in most games using traditional screening techniques. And while Navi 21 ray tracing is also good for the first time, AMD has nothing yet to answer to NVIDIA DLSS, which is very useful for ultra heavy modes, especially when using ray tracing actively. DLSS allows the graphics card to visualize the picture at a relatively low resolution, and then « restore » it uses machine learning algorithms.
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Speaking to Dave Altavilla and Marco Chiappetta of HotHardware, Frank Azor said that RDNA 2 is primarily focused on games. For non-game workloads, AMD has a separate CDNA architecture used in gas pedals like Instinct MI100. According to Azor, although RDNA2 cards are sometimes good at general-purpose computing, their priority is precisely gaming.
With regard to intelligent zoom (around 30:01 in the video), Scott Herkelman said AMD's goal is the opposite of NVIDIA's when it comes to implementation. Without going into particular detail, he only said that AMD's PC and console game development partners are begging the company not to create an API for any particular platform, manufacturer or game in order to minimize the complexity of cross-platform project development. AMD is committed to working with Intel and NVIDIA to create an open, intelligent scaling method that works in both PC and console games without additional effort. However, it will take time to develop it, so AMD does not go into detail at this time, noting only that it invests a lot of resources in it, and that in the near future the technology will definitely appear on the latest Radeon cards and possibly even other platforms. In the meantime, NVIDIA is still ahead of in this regard; for example, Cyberpunk 2077 will not initially have « rays» AMD cards; perhaps due to the lack of the notorious alternative to DLSS. Herckelmann also believes that the ray tracing performance of RX 6000 laquo cards; is quite good» and while the vast majority of games currently available still do not use this feature, he has confirmed that the performance of ray tracing will improve over time; as more new generation cross-platform games are released. By the way, AMD introduced Smart Access Memory (SAM) technology during the announcement of Radeon RX 6000 graphics cards. If usually PC processors can only access part of the graphics memory (VRAM) at the same time, then with this technology it is possible to expand the data channel, which will allow the processor to use the entire video memory array at once and eliminate potential bottlenecks. This will lead to increased performance. For now the technology works only on RDNA 2 graphics cards in conjunction with Ryzen 5000 processors and X570 chipsets. NVIDIA has promised to implement an analog that runs on Ampere graphics cards with AMD and Intel processors, even when using PCIe 3.0 bus. AMD then confirmed that the technology is open, and support is only temporarily limited to the flagship platforms. Frank Azor in a conversation with HotHardware confirmed that so far the technology is certified to work only with motherboards based on 500-series chipsets and Ryzen 5000 processors. In the future, SAM can work with other chipsets.
AMD confirmed that Smart Access Memory is an open technology, but so far only works with the Ryzen 5000.
AMD stated that its Smart Access Memory (SAM) technology is not closed and is not only designed for use in bundles of its own Ryzen 5000 series processors and Radeon RX 6000 family graphics gas pedals. The company has simply not yet worked with other manufacturers to enable its support, although it welcomes the opportunity to do so.
To remind: AMD introduced SAM during the announcement of the Radeon RX 6000 graphics cards. While in conventional Windows-based PCs, processors can only access part of the graphics memory (VRAM) at the same time, this technology can expand the data channel, allowing the processor to immediately use the entire video memory array and eliminate potential bottlenecks, achieving improved performance.
Recently, NVIDIA revealed exactly what SAM is built on in the new AMD Radeon RX 6000 graphics cards. The GeForce manufacturer also explained that the technology is not limited to PCIe 4.0 bus or AMD processors only. Moreover, NVIDIA said that in its labs, the SAM already runs on Ampere graphics cards with Intel and PCIe 3.0 processors.
Prior to this, there was a rather strange situation: AMD has traditionally advocated open technologies, and with the announcement of RDNA 2 said that Smart Access Memory will only work with its latest Ryzen 5000 processors. As a result, NVIDIA, which is usually condemned for being closed, became a bulwark of open standards and promised to introduce a similar feature for its graphics cards that works with any processor.
It turned out that AMD is simply going to limit itself to supporting and running SAM on a bunch of Ryzen 5000 processors and Radeon RX 6000 graphics cards. And the technology actually uses BAR resizing, a standard PCIe feature - so it can work on other hardware.
NVIDIA will present its AMD Smart Access Memory analog, which will accelerate Ampere operation on any platform
AMD presented Smart Access Memory technology during the announcement of Radeon RX 6000 graphics cards. The point is that while in conventional Windows-based PCs processors can only access part of the graphics memory (VRAM) at the same time, it can be used to expand the data channel, allowing the processor to immediately use the entire video memory array and eliminate potential bottlenecks, achieving improved performance.
AMD has published tests of Radeon RX 6000, in which it demonstrated the performance gain by using Smart Access Memory in conjunction with the latest Ryzen 5000 series processors. But NVIDIA already has something to answer that advantage. According to the company's announcement for Gamer's Nexus website, it will present a similar feature that improves the efficiency of data transfer between the graphics gas pedal and processor. In fact, in the NVIDIA lab, this functionality already works on Ampere graphics cards. In addition, NVIDIA claims that its technology will be versatile and will be able to work equally well with Intel and AMD processors, including through the PCIe 3.0 bus, while AMD's solution requires the AMD Ryzen Series 5000 CPU, X570 chipset motherboard and Radeon RX 6000 graphics gas pedal. The description says that Smart Access Memory allows the CPU and GPU to exchange information over a wider PCIe channel. Technical details are unknown, and AMD simply says that the CPU and GPU are usually limited to «aperture » 256 MB of data transfer, which binds the hands of game developers, and also requires frequent switching between CPU and main memory if the amount of data exceeds this limit. The result is lower efficiency and lower performance. Smart Access Memory, according to AMD, removes this barrier. This description is similar to the BAR size changes in PCIe & ; the standard feature described in the PCIe specifications is considered by NVIDIA. And if the graphics processor supports it, the performance can be improved by simply setting the appropriate parameter in the BIOS of the graphics card and motherboard. NVIDIA said its GPUs support this feature, although it does require activation. As for processors, any Intel or AMD chip working with PCIe bus should be able to enable this technology. AMD may in the future reduce CPU and motherboard requirements if NVIDIA does in fact introduce similar functionality on all platforms. NVIDIA currently claims that its early testing shows similar performance improvements to AMD's Smart Access Memory and that similar functionality will be included in future firmware upgrades. However, the company has not announced the release date of this update.
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