‘AMD Advantage’ mobile gaming platform will include ‘smart’ technologies
AMD announced a slew of new products and platforms at Computex this week. Along with discussing his plans for the AM5 desktop platform, he also spent a lot of time discussing his plans for laptops. Along with brandishing products for enterprise and consumer users, it also leaked a new platform for mobile gamers: AMD Advantage. This program is a set of features required for all laptops to receive the AMD Advantage brand. They’re all designed to optimize gaming performance and include a host of new “smart” technologies.
AMD says its goal with AMD Advantage is to “raise the bar” for what people expect from a gaming laptop. The program includes three must-have features: fast screens with 100Hz+ refresh rates, 100fps gaming and a cloudy “designed for gaming” look. The latter seems to be a reference to the company’s new Smart technologies, of which there are five. Let’s discuss one at a time.
Smart Access Storage
It is a new edition of the company’s suite of Smart technologies. AMD uses Microsoft’s DirectStorage API and calls it SmartAccess Storage. The goal is to provide significantly improved game load times and texture streaming. Prior to this advancement, the CPU had to decompress game assets and send them to the GPU. This introduced latency and reduced performance. SmartAccess Storage bypasses the CPU and relegates this task to the SSD and GPU instead. AMD says it uses “Radeon GPU Asset Decompression” with its platform technologies. As we wrote before, this technology requires an NVME SSD as opposed to a SATA drive.
It’s not yet clear if AMD’s release contains some secret sauce, or if it’s just a rebranding of Microsoft’s technology. Both AMD and Nvidia would need to reach some baseline level of capability to meet specs, but from time to time one company or the other has offered unique capabilities that may depend on a more advanced DirectX one-time update. (think DX10.1 versus 10.0). It will probably be another year or two before we see many titles on the market that support DirectStorage / SmartAccess Storage, so AMD has plenty of time to detail the specifics of the feature.
Smart Access Memory
This is not a new technology, as AMD offered it on its Zen 3 CPUs and 6000 series GPUs. When an AMD CPU and GPU are paired, the CPU can access all of the GPU’s memory to improve system performance. Without it, there is only a 256MB opening window for data transfer to and from VRAM. This opens that channel to allow the full bandwidth of the PCI Express connection to be used. Although this was launched as an AMD-exclusive technology, it was eventually revealed that AMD CPUs and motherboards would also enable the feature when paired with Nvidia and possibly Intel hardware. Intel and Nvidia hardware. In this world it is known as resizable bar. AMD has even extended its support to older GPUs, so it seems like it’s just a feature of the PCI Express standard. However, AMD deserves credit for doing the initial work to launch it.
This allows the system to dynamically transfer power to the CPU and GPU based on their needs. This is in contrast to how power is typically allocated, with both components receiving a static TDP amount. This theoretically allows a mobile environment to enjoy the best of both worlds, with extra power dedicated to the GPU when gaming and less power when not needed. AMD claims it can boost performance by up to 14% in some games. It was previously called SmartShift, but AMD added the word “Max” to the title. This improved version has been optimized for more games, according to AMD.
This technology allows the GPU to send data directly to the screen instead of routing it through the APU first. AMD claims this provides a 15% increase in gaming performance “on average” with “select titles”. Take its benefits with a grain of salt.
It is actually a new version of SmartShift. It differs from the previously mentioned Max version in that it is designed to provide improved gaming performance when unplugged. AMD claims to deliver double game time on battery with select AMD GPUs. It accomplishes this by automatically switching between discrete graphics and integrated graphics.
AMD also touted several upcoming “Advantage” gaming laptops from the usual suspects. Alienware, HP, and surprisingly Corsair, which enters the laptop market for the first time. You can watch AMD’s Computex presentation on YouTube, along with the AMD Advantage part start here.