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Ryzen 3000 series won't support Smart Access Memory, but Intel 4th Gen and newer is compatible
By Neil Soutter on December 7th, 2020 at 02:30pm - original article from game-debate

The new Smart Access Memory feature that AMD has now popularized since their launch of the Radeon RX 6000 series and Ryzen 5000 series has started to spread like wildfire, promising a slight performance boost just by enabling an option on your motherboard. But whilst both Intel and Nvidia try to get on this craze, it looks like Ryzen 3000 processors and older will not be able to support the new SAM tech, whereas Intel 4th Gen CPUs and newer are apparently compatible.

Smart Access Memory essentially allows the CPU to access all the memory available on the GPU, rather than just 256 Megabytes without the feature enabled. This can certainly increase performance in games slightly, but is right now only compatible with certain hardware and is limited to support from hardware manufacturers to supply the necessary BIOS update.

Essentially, any AMD CPU based on the Zen 2 architecture or older lack the appropriate support for Smart Access Memory. It is possible to emulate though, however it will apparently be extremely slow. On the other hand, Intel’s 4th Gen Haswell processors and newer all have the functionality to support the SAM tech already.

This is because Smart Access Memory is actually just a fancy term for Resizable BAR (Base Address Register) which is a feature that has been around for a while now, but AMD was the first to properly use it and now popularize it among the industry.

However, a physical layer feature known as full-rate _pdep_u32/64 is required to support Resizable BAR, which previous-gen Ryzen processor architectures apparently do not have thus resulting in a hardware limitation for these CPUs. Intel introduced this feature in their 4th Gen Haswell processors, hence why their CPUs since then will be able to support Smart Access Memory/Resizable BAR.

What do you think? Have you used Smart Access Memory/Resizable BAR yet? Have you noticed any performance improvements? Would this feature entice you to buy a Zen 3 CPU in order to support it? Let us know your thoughts!