EXPLAINED: What is 'AMD Smart Access Memory'?

In the lead-up to AMD's new line of Radeon graphics cards arriving late last year, there was a constant rumour of something called 'Infinite Cache'.

It was supposedly meant to allow the 'virtual memory' to be expanded for both the AMD CPU and AMD GPU when required for high-intensive games.

While it wasn't what we quite got when the Radeon 6000 series was announced back in November, we did receive something else, which is just as useful for PC gamers regardless.

With that, here's what 'Smart Access Memory' is from AMD, and how it could benefit a large number of games.

What is 'Smart Access Memory'?

For years now, components on a motherboard communicate with one another by 'bus lanes'. These allow data to be transferred across the motherboard, through exclusive lanes so that the required instructions are sent, in order for the task to be completed.

This can range to decoding video, compiling applications, and rendering games. This extends to the CPU accessing a graphics card.

It used to be established that the CPU would access the GPU memory, or VRAM, at one time, and up to a certain amount of memory. While this would lessen the load on the CPU, it would also allow this and other components to render the game world in unison.

However, as games become more advanced and more dependant on the PC components, the limits of this VRAM suddenly began to make an impact on games, albeit not noticeable to a gamer, but in time, it would.

This is where AMD's 'Smart Memory Access' comes in; where it uses the bandwidth of the 'PCI-Express' port, which allows GPU's to be slotted into a motherboard, to use as much memory it needs at one time.

READ MORE: What is NVIDIA's 'Resizable BAR' feature?

Which AMD Radeon GPU's is it Available For?

This is a feature that's only compatible with the latest AMD Ryzen 5000 processors and AMD Radeon 6000 GPU products; anything earlier, such as a Radeon 5700XT for example, do not have this feature.

As stated on their website, the feature can result in a 10-13% increase in performance, in games such as 'Resident Evil 3' and 'Assassin's Creed Valhalla'.

While there aren't any benchmarks for VR games as yet, it will be interesting to see how that's reflected in games such as 'Half Life: Alyx' and 'Hitman 3'.

However, if you do have both products from AMD, it's a simple matter of enabling it through the BIOS at the 'Resize BAR Support' option in 'Advanced Settings'.

READ MORE: Revealed; AMD Radeon 6700. Specs, Release Date, Price and more.

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