Random Access Memory (RAM) is one of the most important parts of devices like smartphones, PCs, laptops as it is directly related to the speed of the device. DDR4 memory has been used for the past 4 years and now DDR5 has been introduced during CES 2022. Most of the new laptops showcased will use DDR5 RAM.

DDR5 is a major jump over DDR4 as it brings improvements in speeds and more. Let us have a look at how it is different from DDR4?

What is DDR5?

DDR5 SDRAM is also being called Double Data Rate 5 Synchronous Dynamic Random Access Memory. It is asynchronous dynamic RAM that reduced power consumption and doubles bandwidth.

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It comes with a new Decision Feedback Equalization feature which enables I/O speed scalability for higher bandwidth and performance improvement. The latency is almost the same as DDR4.

It increases the dual in-line memory module capacity from 64GB to 256GB and also gives higher frequencies as compared to DDR4.

DDR5 Vs DDR4

The main areas of difference between DDR4 and DDR5 include performance, capacity, and cost.

Performance capabilities have improved a lot. The base DDR5 bandwidth (4800 MT/s) performs 50% better as compared to DDR4 (3200 MT/s). The peak performance though will be visible at 8400 MT/s for DDR5 in the future and these increased speeds will help the devices support much higher clock speeds.

If we talk about latency, DDR5 modules have marginally higher latency rates as compared to DDR4 which means that the RAM DIMMs will be slower on paper. Higher clock speeds will cover for it though.

Capacity is also seeing an improvement with a max capacity of one DDR4 DIMM being 64GB and the DDR5 DIMM being 128GB. The base DIMM is getting a capacity bump.

The only factor that will stand in the way of going for DDR5 is its price. Prices of DDR5 will be much higher, though they might come down after a few years.

The DDR5 includes a new power architecture, which can now handle voltage regulation on the stick itself. It is also expected to improve heat generation on the DIMM and this will be taken care of with the help of cooling solutions. DDR5 is rated 1.1V, which is 0.1V lower as compared to DDR4, making it power efficient.

DDR5 comes with an on-die Error Correction Control feature which covers data on the module itself. The standard has been upgraded to feature serial presence detect which means more RGB.

Rambus has been working on DDR5 RAM since 2017, while SK Hynix announced the completion of its chip by 2018 but it could not be launched.

JEDEC standard LPDDR5 RAM made for laptops and smartphones was released in 2019 giving mobiles a start and in 2021, Samsung revealed a 512GB 7200MHz RAM DIMM which broke the 256GB limit, but it is yet to be launched.

Should you upgrade to DDR5 immediately?

DDR5 is currently in its infant stage and will mature over the years in its lifecycle, improving performance and lowering costs. Upgrading to DDR5 will mean changing the entire CPU and motherboard.

Going for DDR5 right now is not a good option because currently only Intel 12th gen chips and Z690 motherboard support this technology. AMD is expected to release support for it in 2022 with the next-gen Zen 4 Ryzen CPUs.

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One might also need to change his/her power supply and the UPS as the new CPU and motherboard will take the higher voltage. Also, right now only select manufacturers and selling DDR5 sticks that too in limited quantities due to which prices are very high.

We would suggest you wait till at least 2024-2025 to get the best results of the DDR5 at an affordable price. This will also allow you to have the option of getting RGB lighting, implementations, overclocked modules, and more.

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