A quick recap of several AMD news items. First up, some good news concerning the company's Smart Access Memory Technology.
Resizable BAR support for AMD Ryzen 3000 series -- but only for 500-series chipsets
AMD deserves credit for being the first to market Resizable BAR. This is an optional part of the PCI Express specification, AMD decided to call it Smart Access Memory technology. It was presented to the general public alongside the first Radeon RX 6000 series video cards.
Since then, Intel and NVIDIA have added support for Resizable BAR. Late last week, NVIDIA said the Resizable BAR
BIOS update should be available by late March. The green team's GeForce RTX 30 series support the feature in combination with a wide variety of AMD and Intel platforms.
AMD's Smart Access Memory support was limited to the Radeon RX 6000 series in combination with a newer Ryzen 5000 series CPU, but this changes today thanks to the addition of Ryzen 3000 series support. AMD says AGESA 22.214.171.124 enables Smart Access Memory technology on Zen 2-based Ryzen 3000 processors, only the Ryzen 5 3400G and Ryzen 3 3200G are excluded. The only caveat is that you still need a 500-series motherboard, older AMD chipsets like the 400-series are not supported.
According to AMD, Smart Access Memory technology provides a performance boost of up to 16 percent across select video game titles. In layman's terms, the technique allows data to flow more freely between the CPU and the video card's memory. With Smart Access Memory, the data channel gets expanded, which removes a potential bottleneck.
Do note that Smart Access Memory does not always increase performance. In some video games, the technique results in performance regression. The benefit can be quite fickly, in some titles you can see gains at 1080p and lower performance at 4K -- or vice versa. This is why NVIDIA is using game profiles for Resizable BAR - to only enable it when there's an expected performance increase.
AMD: Zen 4 almost ready, Zen 5 in concept phase
AMD CTO Mark Papermaster provided some comments
about the firm's future CPUs and GPUs at the digital Morgan Stanley Technology, Media and Telecom Conference. Papermaster confirmed the Zen 4 design is almost complete and that Zen 5 is in concept phase.
And as you said, Zen 3 is incredibly exciting because it's taking the performance crown not only in multi-threaded where we already had a leadership position with our second-gen EPYC and our Zen 2-based products, but also in single thread. So, it's a very exciting time and we don't stop. There's -- Zen 4 is in completion phase and 5 is in concept design. And so it's really all about staying focused on road map, being there for our customers, listening to them, folding that in. And that's why we have hundreds of millions of Zen cores in the market today and growing demand for our products. - Mark Papermaster
Zen 4 will be made on the 5nm node and Papermaster talked about 6nm too, which is basically an enhanced version of TSMC's 7nm node. This seems to confirm rumors about a 6nm Zen 3-based refresh. It's rumored that the next AMD Ryzen desktop processors will be Zen 3-based "Warhol" chips and that the "Cezanne" laptop APUs will be succeeded by Rembrandt. It's still speculative, but perhaps both products will use the TSMC 6nm node. At least officially, AMD has yet to confirm a Zen 3 refresh.
NVIDIA DLSS rival from AMD will be for consoles too
NVIDIA's Turing GPUs delivered two major new features: real-time tracing and Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS). With the arrival of its RDNA2-based Radeon RX 6000 series GPUs, AMD delivered initial support for ray tracing. AMD's ray tracing is still not as performant as the RTX of NVIDIA's Ampere generation -- but the gap will likely close with the next generation of GPUs.
But DLSS is something AMD still lacks in its GPU technology portfolio. NVIDIA's DLSS basically uses machine learning to provide higher performance. The first generation of DLSS wasn't that great, but DLSS 2.0 is definitely worth it. In fact, some games wouldn't even be playable at max settings without DLSS 2.0.
Yesterday's Radeon RX 6700 XT presentation contained no update about AMD's FidelityFX Super Resolutionl but there's a bit more information courtesy of Linus Tech Tips. Citing a new YouTube video, VideoCardz
reports AMD will launch the technology "when it's ready." Linus Tech Tips also notes that AMD wants its DLSS rival to be truly cross-platform, it should work on the PC, Xbox, and PS5.
Not a lot of official information is available about FidelityFX Super Resolution. It's believed that AMD's FidelityFX Super Resolution will be based on the Microsoft DirectML API, which could complicate matters if the firm wants to roll it out for the PS5.
Apparently, rather than rushing [FidelityFX Super Resolution] out the door on only one new top-end card, they want it to be cross-platform in every sense of the word. So they actually want it running on all of their GPUs, including the ones inside consoles, before they pull the trigger.
It would’ve been nice to have it ready by the time the cards launched, but as we saw with Nvidia’s DLSS 1.0 versus DLSS 2.0, it could be for the best.
— Linus Sebastian, Linus Tech Tips
Either way, it seems we'll have to wait longer for the AMD version of DLSS. Last month there was a rumor the technology would be part of a big AMD Radeon Software driver update scheduled for this Spring -- but perhaps this isn't realistic anymore.