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AMD Smart Access Memory : How To Enable It?

AMD Smart Access Memory (Resizable BAR) Guide

Find out what AMD Smart Access Memory is all about, and how to turn it on for a FREE BOOST in performance!

 

Smart Access Memory : PCIe Resizable BAR for AMD!

Smart Access Memory is AMD’s marketing term for their implementation of the PCI Express Resizable BAR (Base Address Registers) capability.

What does that mean exactly?

CPUs are traditionally limited to a 256 MB I/O memory address region for the GPU frame buffer. This of it as an “data dump” for stuff like textures, shaders and geometry.

Since this “data dump” is limited to 256 MB, the CPU can only send texture, shader and geometry data as and when the GPU requires them.

This introduces some latency – delay from when the GPU requires the data, and the CPU send them.

Turning on Resizable BAR or Smart Access Memory greatly expands the size of that data dump, letting the CPU directly access the GPU’s entire frame buffer memory.

Instead of transferring data when requested by the GPU, the CPU processes and stores the data directly in the graphics memory.

Graphics assets can be transferred to graphics memory in full, instead of in pieces. In addition, multiple transfers can occur simultaneously, instead of being queued up.

While this AMD graphic above suggests that Smart Access Memory will widen the memory path (and thus memory bandwidth) between the CPU and GPU, that is not true.

Smart Access Memory / Resizable BAR will not increase memory bandwidth.

What it does is let the CPU directly access the entire GPU frame buffer memory, instead of using the usual 256 MB “dump”. That reduces latency because the graphics assets are now accessible by the GPU at all times.

 

AMD Smart Access Memory : Performance Gains

According to AMD, enabling Smart Access Memory will give you a small but free boost of 5% to 11% in gaming performance.

Here is a summary of the test results from our article, RX 6800 XT Smart Access Memory Performance Comparison!

You can expect up to 16% better performance in some games, but no effect in certain games. But overall, you get a free boost in performance. There is simply no reason not to enable Smart Access Memory.

1080p Resolution (1920 x 1080)

1440p Resolution (2560 x 1440)

2160p Resolution (3840 x 2160)

 

AMD Smart Access Memory : Requirements

Since Smart Access Memory is just an AMD implementation of PCI Express Resizable BAR. Therefore, it can be be implemented for all PCI Express 3.0 and PCI Express 4.0 graphics cards and motherboards.

However, AMD is currently limiting it to a small subset of components, having validated it only for their new Ryzen 5000 series CPUs, select Ryzen 3000 Series Processors and Radeon RX 6000 series graphics cards.

So this is what you currently require to enable AMD Smart Access Memory :

Hardware

Software

  • AMD Radeon Software Driver 20.11.2 or newer
  • Latest Motherboard BIOS (AMD AGESA 1.1.0.0 or newer)

AMD currently recommends these X570 motherboards, because they have updated BIOS available :

 

AMD Smart Access Memory : How To Enable It?

If you have all of those supported components above, and updated your motherboard BIOS, you need to manually enable Smart Access Memory.

Now, the method will vary from motherboard to motherboard, and it probably won’t even be called Smart Access Memory.

Instead, look for variations of Above 4G Decoding, or Resizing BAR, or Resizable BAR, or Re-Size BAR Support.

AMD Generic Method

AMD has provided these generic steps to enable Smart Access Memory :

  1. Enter the System BIOS by press <DEL> or <F12> during the system startup.
  2. Navigate to the Advanced Settings or Advanced menu.
  3. Enable “Above 4G Decoding” and “Re-Size BAR Support“.
  4. Save the changes and restart the computer.

Step-by-Step Method For ASUS Crosshair VIII Hero

In our guide, we are using the ASUS CROSSHAIR VIII Hero (AMD X570) motherboard, as an example :

  1. First you will need to turn off CSM (Compatibility Support Module), or make sure it’s disabled.Go to the Boot menu and look for a CSM / Compatibility Support Module option.

  1. Set CSM (Compatibility Support Module) to Disabled.

  1. Go to the Advanced menu and look for the PCI Subsystem. In other motherboards, look for PCIe / PCI Express configuration options.

  1. Enable Above 4G Decoding.

  1. This will give you access to the Re-Size BAR Support option. Set it to Auto.

  1. Now go to the Exit menu, and select Save Changes & Reset.

  1. It will ask you to confirm the changes. Just verify both, and click OK.

After the motherboard reboots, AMD Smart Access Memory (PCIe Resizable BAR) will be enabled for your Ryzen 5000 series CPU and Radeon RX 6000 series graphics card!

 

CSM Warning For GIGABYTE AORUS X570 Master

AMD currently recommends these X570 motherboards, because they have updated BIOS available :

CSM is disabled by default for the ASUS, ASRock and MSI motherboards. However, it is enabled by default in the GIGABYTE AORUS X570 Master.

If you installed Windows without first turning CSM off, it will be configured as non-UEFI. It will NOT boot if you enable Resizable BAR Support (Smart Access Memory).

You will need to reinstall Windows with CSM support disabled.

 

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NVIDIA To Introduce Resizable BAR In February 2021!

NVIDIA just announced that they will introduce Resizable BAR support at the end of February 2021!

Find out what Resizable BAR is all about, and why it matters!

 

Resizable BAR : What Is It?

Resizable BAR is an optional PCI Express feature, that can deliver a small but free boost in performance for the graphics card.

CPUs are traditionally limited to a 256 MB I/O memory address region for the GPU frame buffer. The CPU can only transfer data like textures, shaders and geometry to the GPU through that small 256 MB “window”.

Turning on Resizable BAR expands that small access window, letting the CPU directly access the GPU’s entire frame buffer memory.

Those graphics assets can thus be sent in full, instead of in pieces. In addition, multiple transfers can occur simultaneously, instead of being queued up.

 

NVIDIA To Introduce Resizable BAR In February 2021!

AMD was first out the door with Resizable BAR in November 2020, launching it as Smart Access Memory.

It gave their Radeon RX 6800 XT graphics card a free performance boost of up to 16% in some games, but no effect in other games.

You can check out the performance difference in our article, RX 6800 XT Smart Access Memory Performance Comparison!

On 12 January 2021, NVIDIA announced that they will be able to introduce Resizable BAR support in GeForce drivers from Late February 2021 onwards.

It will be limited to their GeForce RTX 30 series graphics cards and laptops, but will work with both Intel and AMD CPUs.

The newly announced GeForce RTX 3060 will ship with support for Resizable BAR. However, older GeForce RTX 30 series cards will need to have their VBIOS updated from March 2021 onwards.

The motherboard must also be updated with Resizable BAR support. According to Intel, this will be limited to 11th Gen platforms, and select 10th Gen platforms.

So ironically, Resizable BAR will first work on GeForce RTX 30 series graphics cards paired with AMD Ryzen 5000 processors and AMD 500-series motherboards!

 

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Precision Boost Overdrive 2 : Adaptive Undervolting Comes To Ryzen!

AMD just introduced Precision Boost Overdrive 2 (PBO2), which introduces adaptive undervolting for Ryzen processors, amongst other improvements.

Find out what Precision Boost Overdrive 2 offers, and what effect it has on performance of AMD Ryzen 5000 series processors!

 

Precision Boost Overdrive 2 : Improved Overclocking + Adaptive Undervolting!

Precision Boost Overdrive is the dynamic overclocking capability built into AMD Ryzen processors, with these features :

  • raises socket power limit
  • raises motherboard VRM limit
  • can override max boost frequency
  • primarily designed to improve multi-thread performance

Precision Boost Overdrive 2 (PBO2) comes with all of the original PBO features, as well as these new features :.

  • improved single-thread performance
  • adds adaptive undervolting capability
  • adds standalone undervolting capability for AMD Ryzen 5000 Series processors
  • improved performance per watt.
  • can lower operating temperatures.
  • ability to customise voltages and frequencies to a specific processor.

 

Precision Boost Overdrive 2 : Curve Optimizer

The new adaptive undervolting capability in Precision Boost Overdrive 2 (PBO2) is achieved through the Curve Optimizer.

The new Curve Optimizer tells the firmware what window of undervolting is desired, and adapts to both light and heavy workloads.

Undervolting, however, will not be done with raw millivolts. Instead, it will be applied with “counts“.

  • 1 Count is approximately 3 mV ~ 5 mV. This range means less undervolting during high loads, and more undervolting when the load is lower.
  • You can adjust the voltage by +/- 30 Counts. 30 Counts would be a range of 90~150 mV.
  • The adjustments can be applied per core, or on all cores.

The Curve Optimizer algorithm is adaptive – so it will automatically underplot when the circumstances are suitable, and restore voltage when it needs to.

 

Precision Boost Overdrive 2 : Performance Boost

According to AMD, PBO2 offers better single-threaded performance than the original PBO.

Enabling it will let the Ryzen 7 5800X deliver 2.6% better 1T performance in CINEBENCH R20, while the Ryzen 9 5900X delivers 2% better 1T performance.

Hardly earth-shattering performance, but hey, it’s free!

Multi-threaded performance also gets a small but nice boost from PBO2.

AMD says the Ryzen 7 5800X should get a 2.2% boost, while the Ryzen 9 5900X gets a very nice 10% boost in multi-threaded performance!

 

Precision Boost Overdrive 2 : System Requirements

Here are the system requirements for Precision Boost Overdrive 2 to work :

  • AMD Ryzen 5000 Series desktop processor
  • AMD 500 or 400 Series motherboard
  • Motherboard BIOS based on AMD AGESA 1.1.8.0 or later

The PBO2 update is available for all AMD Ryzen 5000 Series desktop processors through a motherboard BIOS upgrade available in December 2020.

 

AMD Ryzen 5000 Series Processors : Where To Buy?

AMD Ryzen 9 5950X

AMD Ryzen 9 5900X

AMD Ryzen 7 5800X

AMD Ryzen 5 5600X

 

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AMD Zen 3 Tech Report : What’s New, What’s Unchanged?

Take a look at what’s new in the AMD Zen 3 microarchitecture, and what they borrowed from the last-gen Zen 2 microarchitecture!

 

AMD Zen 3 Architecture

Codename Vermeer, Zen 3 is the next evolution of the AMD Zen architecture.

While it obviously borrowed considerably from the existing Zen 2 architecture, AMD says it is a ground-up redesign that with major performance and functionality improvements in every area of the core.

These architectural changes allow Zen 3-based processors, like the Ryzen 5000 series, to deliver a 19% improvement in instructions per clock (IPC).

Front-End Enhancements

  • Faster fetching, especially for branchy and large-footprint code
  • L1 branch target buffer doubled in size to 1024 entries for better prediction latency
  • Improved branch predictor bandwidth
  • Faster recovery from misprediction
  • “No bubble” prediction capabilities to make back-to-back predictions more quickly and better handle branchy code
  • Faster sequencing of op-cache fetches
  • Finer granularity in switching of op-cache pipes

Execution Engines

  • Reduce latency and enlarge structures to extract higher instruction-level parallelism (ILP)
  • New dedicated branch and st-data pickers for integer, now at 10 issues per cycle (+3 vs. Zen 2)
  • Larger integer window at +32 vs. Zen 2
  • Reduced latency for select float and int operations
  • Floating point has increased bandwidth by +2 for a total of 6-wide dispatch and issue
  • Floating point FMAC is now 1 cycle faster

Load Store

  • Larger structures and better prefetching to support the enhanced execution engine bandwidth
  • Overall higher bandwidth to feed the appetite of the larger/faster execution resources
  • Higher load bandwidth vs. Zen 2 by +1
  • Higher store bandwidth vs. Zen 2 by +1
  • More flexibility in load/store operations
  • Improved memory dependence detection
  • +4 table walkers in the TLB

SOC Architecture

  • Reduce dependency on main memory accesses, reduce core-to-core latency, reduce core-to-cache latency.
  • Unify all cores in a CCD into a single unified complex consisting of 4, 6, or 8 contiguous cores
  • Unify all L3 cache in a CCD into a single contiguous element of up to 32 MB
  • Rearchitect core/cache communication into a ring system

 

AMD Zen 3 SoC Design

In addition to micro architectural improvements, Zen 3 (Vermeer) also features SoC design changes.

In Zen 2, each CCD (Compute Die) is made up of two CCX (core complexes), each with a 16 MB L3 cache.

Zen 3 uses a unified complex, in which each CCD now contains a single CCX with a unified 32 MB L3 cache.

This unified CCD design completely eliminates CCX-to-CCX communication, greatly improving core-to-core latency.

On the other hand, AMD reused the chiplet design, with one or two CCDs (fabricated on 7 nm) paired with a 12 nm IOD (I/O Die).

Reads from CCD to IO are still 2X write, to conserve die area and transistor budget. And it uses the same IOD from Matisse (Zen 2).

 

AMD Zen 3 Transistor Count + Die Size

The new Zen 3 CCD has 4.15 billion transistors, with a die size of 80.7 mm². That’s up from the 3.8 billion transistors and a die size of 74 mm² for the Zen 2 CCD.

The Matisse-era IOD remains the same – 2.09 billion transistors, with a die size of 125 mm².

They will both be manufactured using the same 7 nm TSMC process for CCD, and 12 nm Global Foundries process for IOD.

Core Die Zen 3 Zen 2
Process 7 nm TSMC
Transistors 4.15 billion 3.8 billion
Die Size 80.7 mm² 74 mm²
I/O Die Zen 3 Zen 2
Process 12 nm GoFlo
Transistors 2.09 billion
Die Size 125 mm²

 

AMD Zen 3 Precision Boost : No Change

Precision Boost 2 in Zen 3 remains the same as that of Zen 2, just with higher frequencies to “play with”.

It is an opportunistic boost algorithm that drives the loaded cores to the highest possible frequency, until it hits any one of these limits :

  • socket power
  • VRM thermal limit
  • VRM current limit
  • maximum clock speed

Precision Boost 2 will dynamically analyse and boost or dither the core clock speeds every 1 ms using the Infinity Fabric command and control functions.

In this example of the new Ryzen 9 5900X with a base clock of 3.7 GHz and a boost clock of 4.8 GHz, Precision Boost 2 will typically result in frequencies of 4.4 GHz to 4.6 GHz, even with 24 threads running at the same time.

 

AMD Zen 3 Voltage Range : No Change

Despite the changes in the microarchitecture and SoC design, Zen 3 processors will continue to be engineered with the same voltage range as Zen- and Zen 2-based processors.

The typical voltage range will vary according to usage, but basically, Zen 3 processors, like the Ryzen 5000 series, will support 0.2 V to 1.5 V.

 

AMD Zen 3 Temperature Range : No Change

AMD Zen 3-based processors will also have the same temperature ranges as Zen- and Zen 2-based processors.

Note : The temperature range below assumes an enclosed chassis, and an air-conditioned room.

 

AMD Zen 3 Memory Overclocking : No Change

Only the Zen 3 core chiplet die (CCD) is new in the Ryzen 5000 series processors. They continue to use the same IO die (IOD) as the 3rd Gen Ryzen processors.

Therefore, the relationship between Infinity Fabric Clock (fclk), Memory Controller Clock (uclk) and Memory Clock (mclk) remains the same.

For optimal performance, they are synchronous – in a 1:1:1 ratio. But users can choose a 1:1:2 ratio if they have trouble overclocking memory.

 

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AMD Ryzen 5000 CPUs : Malaysia Price List + FREE Game!

The AMD Ryzen 5000 series of desktop processors will soon be here in Malaysia, bringing us the power of the Zen 3 architecture!

Find out how much the AMD Ryzen 9 5950X, Ryzen 9 5900X, Ryzen 7 5800X and Ryzen 5 5600X will cost here in Malaysia!

 

AMD Ryzen 5000 Series CPUs : Coming To Malaysia!

The AMD Ryzen 5000 series CPUs are designed using the new AMD Zen 3 architecture, and fabricated on the 7 nm process.

The Zen 3 architecture delivers 19% more instructions per cycle (IPC) over the last generation, thanks to these new features :

  • improved load / store performance and flexibility
  • double the size of directly-accessible L3 cache per core
  • a unified 8-core complex (CCX) with direct access to the 32 MB L3 cache
  • wider issue in floating point and integer engines
  • Zero Bubble branch prediction

The new architecture also reduces memory latency through improved core and cache communication, and offer a higher maximum boost clock.

This allows the Ryzen 5000 series desktop processors to deliver up to 2.8X more performance-per-watt versus the competition.

The Ryzen 5000 series desktop processors can be installed unto existing AMD 500 series motherboards, after a simple BIOS update.

 

AMD Ryzen 5000 Series : Processors Coming To Malaysia

AMD will bring all four AMD Ryzen 5000 series desktop processors to Malaysia :

  • Ryzen 9 5950X : 16C/32T | 105W | 3.4 GHz to 4.9 GHz | 72MB cache
  • Ryzen 9 5900X : 12C/24T | 105W | 3.7 GHz to 4.8 GHz | 70MB cache
  • Ryzen 7 5800X : 8C/16T | 105W | 3.8 GHz to 4.7 GHz | 36MB cache
  • Ryzen 5 5600X : 6C/12T | 65W | 3.7 GHz to 4.6 GHz | 35MB cache

For easier comparison, here is a table comparing their key specifications :

Specifications Ryzen 9
5950X
Ryzen 9
5900X
Ryzen 7
5800X
Ryzen 5
5600X
Architecture Zen 3
Fab Process 7 nm (CCD) + 12 nm (IOD)
Cores / Threads 16 / 32 12 / 24 8 / 16 6 / 12
Base Clock 3.4 GHz 3.7 GHz 3.8 GHz 3.7 GHz
Boost Clock 4.9 GHz 4.8 GHz 4.7 GHz 4.6 GHz
L1 Cache 1 MB 768 KB 512 KB 384 KB
L2 Cache 8 MB 6 MB 4 MB 3 MB
L3 Cache 64 MB 32 MB
TDP 105 W 65 W
Cooler None Wraith
Stealth

 

AMD Ryzen 5000 Series : Price + Availability In Malaysia

All four Ryzen 5000 processor models will be available for sale starting 5 November 2020, at these RRP inclusive of tax, in Malaysia :

  • Ryzen 9 5950X : RM 3,699 (~US$889)
  • Ryzen 9 5900X : RM 2,499 (~US$601)
  • Ryzen 7 5800X : RM 2,049 (~US$493)
  • Ryzen 5 5600X : RM 1,349 (~US$324)

Every purchase of the Ryzen 9 5950X, Ryzen 9 5900X and Ryzen 7 5800X between 5 November 2020 and 31 December 2020 will come with a free copy of Far Cry 6 Standard Edition for PC.

The same offer also applies to the Ryzen 9 3950X, Ryzen 9 3900XT and Ryzen 7 3800XT between 20 October 2020 and 31 December 2020.

 

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AMD Ryzen 5000 Series : What You Need To Know!

AMD just announced the Ryzen 5000 series of desktop processors, featuring the new Zen 3 architecture!

Here is a quick round up of what AMD revealed about the Ryzen 5000 desktop processors!

 

AMD Ryzen 5000 Series : Official Launch Briefing

The AMD Ryzen 5000 series is designed using the new AMD Zen 3 architecture, and fabricated on the 7 nm process.

The Zen 3 architecture delivers 19% more instructions per cycle (IPC) over the last generation, thanks to these new features :

  • improved load / store performance and flexibility
  • double the size of directly-accessible L3 cache per core
  • a unified 8-core complex (CCX) with direct access to the 32 MB L3 cache
  • wider issue in floating point and integer engines
  • Zero Bubble branch prediction

The new architecture also reduces memory latency through improved core and cache communication, and offer a higher maximum boost clock.

This allows the Ryzen 5000 series desktop processors to deliver up to 2.8X more performance-per-watt versus the competition.

The Ryzen 5000 series desktop processors can be installed unto existing AMD 500 series motherboards, after a simple BIOS update.

 

AMD Ryzen 5000 Series : Models + Specifications

AMD is introducing four AMD Ryzen 5000 series desktop processors :

  • Ryzen 9 5950X : 16C/32T | 105W | 3.4 GHz to 4.9 GHz | 72MB cache
  • Ryzen 9 5900X : 12C/24T | 105W | 3.7 GHz to 4.8 GHz | 70MB cache
  • Ryzen 7 5800X : 8C/16T | 105W | 3.8 GHz to 4.7 GHz | 36MB cache
  • Ryzen 5 5600X : 6C/12T | 65W | 3.7 GHz to 4.6 GHz | 35MB cache

For easier comparison, here is a table comparing their key specifications :

Specifications Ryzen 9
5950X
Ryzen 9
5900X
Ryzen 7
5800X
Ryzen 5
5600X
Architecture Zen 3
Fab Process 7 nm (CCD) + 12 nm (IOD)
Cores / Threads 16 / 32 12 / 24 8 / 16 6 / 12
Base Clock 3.4 GHz 3.7 GHz 3.8 GHz 3.7 GHz
Boost Clock 4.9 GHz 4.8 GHz 4.7 GHz 4.6 GHz
L1 Cache 1 MB 768 KB 512 KB 384 KB
L2 Cache 8 MB 6 MB 4 MB 3 MB
L3 Cache 64 MB 32 MB
TDP 105 W 65 W
Cooler None Wraith
Stealth

 

AMD Ryzen 5000 Series : Performance

First up, Robert Hallock shared that the Ryzen 9 5900X delivers 28% better gaming performance (at 1080p) in Shadow of the Tomb Raider, compared to the Ryzen 9 3900XT.

On average, the Ryzen 9 5900X offers 26% faster gaming, compared to the Ryzen 9 3900XT.

The AMD Ryzen 9 5900X is the first desktop processor to break 600 points in CINEBENCH single-thread performance.

The AMD Ryzen 9 5950X is even better, with a single-thread score of 640, according to Dr. Lisa Su.

Compared to the Intel Core i9-10900K, the Ryzen 9 5900X offers up to 21% better gaming performance at 1080p.

 

AMD Ryzen 5000 Series : Price + Availability

All four Ryzen 5000 processor models will be available for sale starting 5 November 2020, at these RRP :

  • Ryzen 9 5950X : US$799
  • Ryzen 9 5900X : US$549
  • Ryzen 7 5800X : US$449
  • Ryzen 5 5600X : US$299 (with Wraith Stealth cooler)

 

AMD Ryzen 5000 Series : Equipped To Win Game Bundle

Every purchase of the Ryzen 9 5950X, Ryzen 9 5900X and Ryzen 7 5800X between 5 November 2020 and 31 December 2020 will come with a free copy of Far Cry 6 Standard Edition for PC.

The same offer also applies to the Ryzen 9 3950X, Ryzen 9 3900XT and Ryzen 7 3800XT between 20 October 2020 and 31 December 2020.

 

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