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AMD is bringing Smart Access Memory’s frame rate boosts to Ryzen 3000 processors

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Not just for brand-new CPUs anymore

The bar has just been lowered (in a good way!) for Resizable BAR, the PCI-Express graphics feature that lets CPUs directly access a GPU’s onboard memory to improve gaming frame rates. That’s because AMD just announced it’s bringing the tech to its last-gen Ryzen 3000 series processors, not just the new Ryzen 5000 chips that initially launched with the feature.

AMD originally debuted the feature as “AMD Smart Access Memory,” and you specifically needed an AMD Ryzen 5000 CPU and an AMD Radeon RX 6000 graphics card to make it work. That wasn’t a particularly easy sell, considering both have been incredibly hard to find at retail since they first debuted.

But it was an easy sell for Nvidia and Intel, which announced in January that they’d be adopting Resizable BAR with initial support for Nvidia’s RTX 3000-series laptop GPUs, and later rolling out to RTX 3000-series desktops when paired with both AMD and a selection of both 11th Gen and 10th Gen Intel CPUs. Nvidia just launched support for the new RTX 3060 desktop graphics card last week, with its other new GPUs coming in late March (though you’ll need a motherboard update, too).

AMD’s motherboard updates should be rolling out now: the company tells The Verge that “support for Ryzen 3000 Series desktop processors is available on motherboard BIOS based on AGESA 1.2.0.1 (or newer)” and that AMD partners are already deploying those updates. You’ll want to check your motherboard manufacturer’s website.

With Ryzen 3000, AMD’s actually promising up to 16 percent more performance, compared to the 10 percent both AMD and Nvidia previously offered, though it will really depend on the game. TechSpot discovered that some games could see a 20 percent boost on the AMD CPU+AMD GPU side of things, while other games actually had reduced performance.

Because of the possible downsides, Nvidia decided to only turn it on for certain games where there’s a benefit, with the first wave including Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, Battlefield V, Borderlands 3, Forza Horizon 4, Gears 5, Metro Exodus, Red Dead Redemption 2, and Watch Dogs: Legion.

Update, 5:47PM ET: Added that BIOS updates to enable Ryzen 3000 support for Resizable BAR should already be rolling out.