Smart Access Memory on Radeon's RX 5000 Series Tested - A Free Performance Boost!
Published: 21st September 2021 | Source: AMD Radeon Technologies Group | Price: |
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.
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.
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