Smart Access Memory on Radeon's RX 5000 Series Tested - A Free Performance Boost!

Conclusion - A welcome upgrade for Radeon RX 5000 owners

Smart Memory Access reveals the All-AMD Advantage on Gaming Desktops

Conclusion - A welcome upgrade for Radeon RX 5000 owners

When graphics cards aren't readily available, it's great to see AMD giving some love to its last-generation GPU lineup. Most PC gamers currently upgrade their graphics cards, forcing them to rely on their existing hardware for a little while longer. Whether you are priced out of the market or simply unable to find a graphics card on store shelves, there are many reasons why PC gamers can't upgrade right now. 

Smart Access Memory (SAM) support is a free feature upgrade for AMD's RX 5000 series GPU owners. This upgrade applies to all RDNA graphics cards and only requires a driver update to enable. Unlike Nvidia's RTX 30 series, you will not need to upgrade your GPU's BIOS to enable Resizable BAR support. AMD made this upgrade easy. Just install AMD's latest Radeon drivers. Simple. 

If you have Resizable BAR enabled within your system's BIOS, Smart Access Memory will work. It's as free as a free upgrade can be. If you can enter your BIOS and install drivers, you are set. 

As our testing shows, Smart Access Memory will have a different performance impact on a game-by-game basis. Some games will benefit from higher framerates, while others will not present any noticeable performance differences. At best, SMart Access Memory support is a free performance upgrade, and at worst, it does nothing. 
 

AMD delivers Smart Access Memory to its RX 5000 series GPUs with their 21.9.1 drivers


Games like Forza Horizon 4 and Assassin's Creed Valhalla benefitted most from Smart Access Memory support. All of the games that received performance from SAM saw their most significant framerate increases at 1080p and 1440p resolutions. Smaller performance benefits were seen at 4K. That said, none of AMD's RX 5000 series target 4K resolutions, making SAM's lessened gains at 4K a minor inconvenience. 

AMD's addition of Smart Access Memory to their RX 5000 series GPUs is great for older Radeon owners. That said, with AMD's original RDNA graphics cards lacking support for Microsoft's DirectX 12 Ultimate features, this upgrade won't extend the lifespan of the RX 5000 series. Even so, a free upgrade is a free upgrade, and more performance is always welcome. 

You can join the discussion on AMD adding Smart Access Memory to its RX 5000 graphics cards on the OC3D Forums

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Most Recent Comments

22-09-2021, 20:15:32

ET3D
For some reason the conclusion page is titled "Watch Dogs Legion - Resizable Bar On VS Off with AMD's RX 5700 XT".


Nice to see that SAM no longer seems to hurt performance. I wonder if it still does on some games, or if AMD fixed it such that if it doesn't help then at least it doesn't hurt.Quote

23-09-2021, 09:42:13

Warchild
Quote:
Originally Posted by ET3D View Post
For some reason the conclusion page is titled "Watch Dogs Legion - Resizable Bar On VS Off with AMD's RX 5700 XT".


Nice to see that SAM no longer seems to hurt performance. I wonder if it still does on some games, or if AMD fixed it such that if it doesn't help then at least it doesn't hurt.
Might be the conclusion page was missing entirely. Looks correct now.Quote

23-09-2021, 10:45:06

WYP
I corrected it last night, but it was late and I forgot to reply here to confirm that it was now fixed.

Thanks for the spot ET3D. Quote

03-10-2021, 06:22:02

ET3D
I only thought of it now, because Hardware Unboxed discussed SAM (and not using it) in the recent Q&A, but any chance you could test Apex Legends or Serious Sam 4 (Vulkan)? Both games lost quite a bit of performance with SAM enabled when tested by HUB in January. I wonder if AMD fixed the performance regressions since then or if they're still there. That would affect if SAM is worth turning on by default (and using it in reviews).Quote
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