Does AMD Smart Access Memory work with Ryzen 3000 processors?
How does AMD Smart Access Memory work?
AMD Smart Access Memory is a new feature that helps the AMD Ryzen 5000 series CPUs take advantage of the full VRAM present on accompanying Radeon RX 6000 graphics cards, rather than sticking to the 256 MB limit that is typically present. Smart Access Memory is a fully open data channel between the CPU and GPU and leverages the latest AMD hardware's power to give you a nice little performance boost in gaming.
Smart Access Memory isn't a new invention at all, but just AMD's rebranding of the "resizable Base Address Register (BAR) support" feature was first introduced with PCIe 3.0. However, this implementation is exclusive to the new AMD hardware. To use it, you need a Ryzen 5000 series CPU paired with a Radeon RX 6000 GPU, installed on an AMD 500 series chipset motherboard. There is no support for even the older AMD hardware like the Ryzen 3000 series CPUs.
AMD claims that Smart Access Memory can give you up to a 16% boost in games. In our AMD Smart Access Memory testing, we did see some boost in multiple games, with some games like Gears 5 actually seeing a drop in performance. If you're planning on a new setup, then it's something you could consider, especially if you're leaning towards an all-AMD setup.
Getting AMD Smart Access Memory to work
AMD Smart Access Memory only works with specific hardware and software, which is pretty much the latest of all things AMD on a Windows system. Here's what you will need:
- An AMD 500 series motherboard
- An AMD Ryzen 5000 series CPU
- An AMD Radeon RX 6000 series GPU
- AMD Radeon Software Driver 20.11.2 or newer
- Latest AMD AGESA 126.96.36.199 Motherboard BIOS
To enable AMD Smart Access Memory, go to your system BIOS by pressing the Delete or F12 key when your system is booting up. In the BIOS, select Advanced Settings or Advanced menu, and enable "Above 4G Decoding" and "Re-Size BAR Support." Smart Access Memory is now enabled!
If you have an AMD Ryzen 3000 series CPU, then there is no way to get Smart Access Memory to work. You will need to upgrade your CPU to a 5000 series Ryzen chip for that and match the remaining requirements listed above. The performance boost itself isn't really a reason to upgrade, however, and you should consider all aspects of the upgrade before making a purchase. That being said, an all-AMD system with the latest hardware is a great way to go with your build, and Smart Access Memory is a nice perk to have.
Absolute best CPU for your money
AMD Ryzen 9 5950X
Current Ryzen flagship
The Ryzen 9 5950X is the best consumer CPU AMD is currently offering, and it beats pretty much everything else in the market right now and supports Smart Access Memory. If you've been looking for an upgrade or even a new build towards the high end, then this should absolutely be the CPU you pick.
The best budget Ryzen CPU
AMD Ryzen 5 5600X
Best Ryzen entry point
If you're looking at a CPU upgrade considering Smart Memory Access support, the AMD Ryzen 5 5600X is a solid bang-for-buck offering. This chip's single-core performance matches the best CPUs available right now, and it's the best CPU upgrade candidate for most people.
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