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AMD Smart Access Memory: This is how the technology works


With the CPUs of the Ryzen 5000 series and the GPUs of the Radeon RX 6000 model series, AMD introduced another technology called “Smart Access Memory” (SAM) at the end of 2020: The combination of the two hardware components in one system is intended to increase performance to lead. In this article we will clarify what is behind this and whether it also works with components from other manufacturers.

Thanks to SAM, a performance increase of up to eleven percent should be possible. Because the technology allows the Ryzen CPU to access the entire video memory (VRAM) of the graphics card and thus to use the full bandwidth of the PCI Express lines. This is new, because up until now it was common for only a certain part (around 256 MB) to be available for processors. In doing so, SAM eliminates a bottleneck and enables potentially higher performance in games. At the moment, a mainboard with an AMD chipset from the 500 series, a Ryzen 5000 processor and a Radeon RX 6000 is required. You also need an up-to-date BIOS based on AMD Agesa 1.1.0.0 and Radeon software version 20.11.2 or higher. In order to activate SAM, the options “Above 4G Decoding” and “Re-Size BAR Support” (names may vary slightly depending on the manufacturer) must be activated in the BIOS. In the PC-WELT test, the increase in performance through SAM actually proved to be true, even if both resolution and the respective game play a role.

Thanks to the

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Thanks to the “Resizable BAR Support” within the PCI Express specifications, a new Ryzen processor can access the entire video memory.

© AMD

In principle, however, AMD uses a technology called “Resizable BAR Support”, which is already available from PCI Express version 3.0 and can therefore also be used for hardware from Intel and Nvidia. In fact, AMD has already expressed itself and emphasized that it would be happy to work with other manufacturers on the implementation for other hardware. Even a support of the technology for older Ryzen and Radeon components is not excluded, since it is primarily a software-based solution that has to be integrated in the BIOS and the Windows driver. So the future remains exciting.

AMD Smart Access Memory allows Ryzen CPUs unrestricted access to the VRAM of Radeon GPUs for more performance.

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AMD Smart Access Memory allows Ryzen CPUs unrestricted access to the VRAM of Radeon GPUs for more performance.

© Pexels.com/Miguel Á. Padriñán

Tip: Graphics card duel of the year: AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT versus Nvidia RTX 3090

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