How to turn on AMD Smart Access Memory for faster gaming performance

AMD’s Smart Access Memory allows you to combine a Radeon RX 6000 GPU with a Ryzen processor to unlock even more gaming performance — dramatically, in some cases.
Before we show you how to enable Smart Access, we will discuss the hardware requirements. Next, we will guide you on how to configure your BIOS to activate SAM. Finally, we’ll show you how to make sure it works. Let’s be smart! (And be sure to check out our explainer on how Smart Access Memory and Nvidia’s equivalent Resizable BAR work).

Smart Access Memory hardware requirements

  • AMD 500 series motherboard (X570, B550, etc.)
  • AMD Ryzen 5000 series processors (5600x, 5800x, etc.)
  • Select AMD Ryzen 3000 CPUs (excluding 3200G and 3400G)
  • AMD Radeon RX 6000 GPUs (6800, 6800XT, etc.)
  • AMD Radeon Software (20.11.2 or later)
  • AMD latest BIOS (AGESA or later)

As per the recommended hardware above, the best results will come from the RX 6000 series GPUs and the Ryzen 5000 series CPUs. AMD has added 3000 series CPUs to the mix, but you will still need the 500 series motherboard. If you have an Nvidia GPU or Intel CPU, Nvidia has its own version of Resizable BAR support. We will update this article to reflect any future hardware compatibility guidelines.

Note: I tested on an AMD 5700XT, an earlier generation Radeon GPU. Smart Access appeared as “enabled” in the Radeon software settings, but no result has been reached regarding any performance gains so far. Your mileage may vary.

How to enable Smart Access Memory in BIOS

If you have all the right hardware, flipping on Smart Access Memory only takes a couple of minutes, although it does require delving into your motherboard’s BIOS. Here’s how to do it:

Thiago Trevisan/IDG
  1. Enter the motherboard’s BIOS, usually with the Del or F2 key (see Control Panel documentation for details)
  2. Enter your advanced settings menu
  3. If possible, for example on Asus motherboards, enter the PCIE subsystem settings
  4. Enable “Above 4G Decoding”
  5. Enable “Re-Size BAR Support” (setting can work on Auto also)
  6. Enter the boot menu, disable CSM (Compatibility Support Module)
  7. Save, exit BIOS, and reboot into Windows

If you follow the simple steps above, Smart Access Memory will be activated. The most important steps are to enable “Above 4G Decoding” and “Re-Size BAR support”. You will also need to make sure that CSM is disabled, which is generally the default.

How to make sure that Smart Access Memory is turned on

6900xt Confirmation Thiago Trevisan/IDG

Using the latest version of AMD Radeon Software, we can now confirm that Smart Access Memory is activated. Browse to the Performance tab and open the Settings panel. On this page, you will find “Smart Access Memory”. Here you can enable or disable the setting. This will give you confirmation that your trip to BIOS was indeed successful. Enjoy playing with added gaming performance!

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