AMD have announced that their nifty Smart Access Memory tech that lets all-AMD PCs get free extra performance is now available on almost all Ryzen 3000 CPUs in addition to their latest Ryzen 5000 chips. AMD say that older Ryzen 3000 CPU owners can now get up to 16% more performance from their PC when paired with one of their new Radeon RX 6000 Big Navi graphics cards - including the newly announced RX 6700 XT - which is definitely a turn up for the books for older CPU owners.
The only Ryzen 3000 chips that are excluded from Smart Access Memory support are AMD's Ryzen 5 3400G and Ryzen 3 3200G APUs. The rest, from the great value Ryzen 5 3600 right up to the premium Ryzen 9 3900X are all getting support. You will, however, still need one of AMD's 500 series motherboards (either an X570 or B550 chipset) in order to take advantage of it, as well as one of AMD's new RX 6000 GPUs, which we all know are pretty much impossible to get hold of right now due to ongoing stock shortages.
In theory, though, Smart Access Memory is pretty exciting, and exactly the kind of benefit you'd want and hope for if you had an all-AMD PC. In short, Smart Access Memory lets your CPU access the full extent of your graphics card's GDDR6 memory banks, allowing for increased performance and higher frame rates. It's pretty much the same thing as the Resizable BAR tech Nvidia's been bigging up lately, although Resizable BAR is currently only available on the newly released RTX 3060 and certain RTX 30 series laptops in a handful of select games.
Smart Access Memory, on the other hand, should boost everything across the board, as it runs in the background automatically once it's enabled in your motherboard's BIOS menu. When I tried it out for myself back when the RX 6800 XT launched at the end of November, I saw gains of up to 11% in my benchmark figures when I paired it with a Ryzen 5 5600X. Then again, I also saw gains of precisely nothing in others. Still, I remain cautiously optimistic about the potential of Smart Access Memory, and I'll be doing some further testing closer to the RX 6700 XT's launch to see if anything's changed in the intervening months.
In any case, with Ryzen 5000 CPUs almost equally difficult to get hold of as a new graphics card these days, the more next-gen features AMD can bring to older hardware in the meantime definitely gets a big thumbs up from me.