New drivers add performance-boosting memory-access feature to older AMD GPUs

Enlarge / The Radeon RX 5700 XT.

GPU driver releases usually aren’t very newsworthy; they normally repair bugs, enhance efficiency in some video games, and add assist for brand new GPUs. However house owners of last-generation AMD Radeon RX 5000-series graphics playing cards ought to be aware of at this time’s Adrenalin 21.9.1 release. This replace provides assist for AMD’s “Smart Access Memory” (SAM) characteristic for older GPUs. AMD says the characteristic can enhance sport efficiency by as much as 15 % in some video games.

SAM assist was beforehand restricted to the Radeon RX 6800 sequence (and Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 3000 sequence, which assist a largely equivalent characteristic that Nvidia calls Resizable BAR). Along with the precise GPU and the precise drivers, you will additionally have to be working a supported processor on a supported chipset: both a Tenth- or Eleventh-generation Intel Core CPU in a 400- or 500-series motherboard or a Ryzen 3000 or 5000-series CPU in a 400- or 500-series motherboard.

Whether or not you are speaking about SAM or Resizable BAR, the totally different names all discuss with the identical PCI Categorical performance. Usually, your laptop’s processor can solely immediately entry 256MB of your GPU’s video reminiscence at a time, and the reminiscence requires bigger property to be damaged up into smaller chunks for switch. Resizable BAR removes that restrict and noticeably improves efficiency in some video games. A TechSpot test of 36 games utilizing an RX 6800 GPU and Ryzen 5950X processor noticed an enchancment of as much as 20 % relying on the sport and the settings. For many video games, although, efficiency improved by a a lot smaller quantity or did not enhance in any respect. A number of video games even confirmed efficiency decreases with SAM enabled, although by no means by sufficient to make any video games unplayable.

Even with the brand new drivers and supported {hardware}, customers of current PCs might want to bounce by way of a number of hoops to make sure they’re making the most of Good Entry Reminiscence. Begin by putting in your motherboard’s newest BIOS replace (motherboard makers began including assist for Resizable BAR and SAM in late 2020 and early 2021). Then enter your BIOS settings and allow the characteristic; relying in your motherboard, it could be referred to as “Resizable BAR” or “Good Entry Reminiscence.” Or your motherboard producer may name it one thing bizarre and GPU-agnostic like ASRock’s “Intelligent Entry Reminiscence.” You may additionally have to allow a separate however associated characteristic referred to as “Above 4G Decoding.”

AMD says that the Adrenalin 21.9.1 driver launch is also its first to officially support Windows 11 and that it provides assist for auto-overclocking Ryzen 5000-series CPUs once they’re paired with an RX 6000-series GPU. Overclocking Ryzen processors inside Home windows usually requires the separate “Ryzen Master” utility, which helps a wider vary of processors and would not care what GPU you are utilizing.

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