AMD’s clever memory-sharing technology SAM (Smart Access Memory) is now available to more gamers with X470 and B450 motherboards. So, yay. Even if you probably do now need to buy the requisite AMD 6000-series GPU.
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You’ll need a motherboard BIOS update to get it too—specifically one that adds AGESA v2 18.104.22.168.
Handily, this is also the update that adds support for Zen 3 chips on these 2018-era chipsets, meaning owners with Zen 2 chips can step up to a 5000-series CPU for an instant performance boost and, if rocking that high-end AMD GPU too, get another one from SAM. Owners of newer chipsets should definitely check for a BIOS update too, in case they’re not getting this small but significant speed boost while gaming.
Of course, while the chipset drivers are already available (for Windows 10 only - sorry Windows 7 holdouts, you’re stuck with Zen 2) from AMD, you’re dependent on your motherboard manufacturer to release a BIOS update.
Initially it appears as though ASRock (when is it not ASRock) is the first out of the gate with a compatible BIOS that enables SAM on B450 and X470 motherboards (via Computer Base). MSI also has a beta BIOS update available for 400-series motherboards, that is expected to similarly distribute SAM down the range.
We’ve been talking a lot about Smart Memory Access recently, and that’s because it’s a free performance boost that will, hopefully, one day come to systems with Nvidia cards as well. It’s nice to be able to recommend an all-AMD build at the moment, after years of watching Intel/Nvidia combos get all the best benchmarks, and also good to see AMD rolling it out to older boards. So there we go. Everything is nice. Ahhhhh.