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 184.108.40.206 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.
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