RAM is an essential component of any PC. So if you’re looking to build a PC, choosing the right RAM modules can make a substantial difference in performance, speed, and responsiveness. With the announcement of the fifth generation of DDR RAM, it may be essential to look at the characteristic properties that differentiate it from the last era and whether to wait to get on board or buy what is currently available. Here, we take an in-depth look at the DDR4 vs. DDR5 RAM debate.
DDR4 vs DDR5 RAM… What is RAM?
RAM or Random Access Memory is a high-speed, low-latency volatile memory that functions as the short-term memory space of computers. In other words, when the computer is in use, this memory space stores the most important data that is needed during use. And this can include running programs, prefetching files, cached data, and more. Fast speeds greatly help performance during use.
Also, RAM does not retain its data after the system is powered off. For permanent storage, slower, higher-capacity memory, such as that found in hard drives and SSDs, is the preferred storage.
So depending on the use case and the programs and games you want to run on your PC and the other hardware you have chosen, you will need to select the right type and capacity of RAM for the perfect user experience.
For example, too little RAM can cause your usage to slow down considerably. Similarly, too much can put a dent in your budget. So this is an area where you need to decide wisely.
DDR4 vs DDR5 RAM
DDR or Double Data Rate RAM has been the de facto standard for consumer computers for a long time. To date, four iterations of the measure have come into force. The latest hardware available on the market uses the DDR4 standard. However, the DDR5 standard has already been finalized and is on its way to market.
DDR4 RAM: What is DDR4?
The fourth generation of DDR memory made its appearance in the market with the line of Intel Haswell chips and the line of AMD Ryzen processors. These are available in capacities up to 16GB for consumer use and 64GB for server or workstation use. ddr4 RAM comes in 288-pin DIMMs for full-size desktops, while laptops would use the 260-pin SO-DIMMs.
Typically, DDR4 RAM runs at the base speed of 2133 MHz, with most modules quickly ramping up to 3000 MHz using built-in XMP profiles. However, the market also has faster kits that can be supercharged up to 4000 MHz and beyond. The RAM works with a standard voltage of 1.2V and can reach a maximum data speed of 3.2 GB/s.
The memory channel architecture specifies a single 72-bit channel for each RAM memory.
DDR5 RAM: What is DDR5?
The relevant agencies have already finalized the next generation of DDR RAM, which will soon be released on the market. Like all upgrades from previous generations, this new RAM standard will feature numerous incremental upgrades in the areas of speed, performance, power and bandwidth management and consumption. The standards specify that the RAM memory will work with a voltage of 1.1V and will have a total capacity of 6.4 GB/s.
A change in memory channel architecture in this new standard implements two 40-bit data channels for each RAM memory.
DDR4 vs DDR5 RAM-DDR5 – A detailed look
DDR4 vs DDR5 RAM… Important Advantages
DDR5 RAM has several advantages over the previous generation. Most of these improvements are in the areas of speed, performance, latency, and power management.
1. Memory Bandwidth and Data Rate
The first significant advantage is in the area of ??bandwidth. Many might see this as a non-performance marketing gimmick. However, it can be a meaningful metric when choosing which RAM to buy next.
It is important to remember that both speed and memory size play a role in the bandwidth decision. While a speed boost may benefit you in some applications, others may require you to have more memory on your system instead of faster memory.
Therefore, use cases that deserve high bandwidth can benefit from an eventual move to DDR5. The current generation of DDR4 memory has a maximum of 3.2 GB/s, working at a clock speed of 1600 MHz of DDR5 RAM; however, it is planned to reach a maximum speed of 4.8 GB/s, which would ultimately improve to 6.4 GB/s. This is double the top speed of the current generation and makes a compelling case for adoption.
DDR5 also means the application of new features like DFE or decision feedback equalization to help achieve these higher speeds.
2. Memory voltage
Another important consideration is the reduction of the operating voltage. While DDR4 has an operating voltage of 1.2V, DDR5 RAM would run at 1.1V. That comes with another change: It would locate the power management IC in DDR5 memory in the laptop memory itself, unlike the previous generation where the IC would reside as part of the motherboard circuitry. Controlled power on the DIMM can achieve better granularity of power delivery for more reliable and consistent operation.
3. Memory channel architecture
A significant advantage of DDR5 will be the upgrade of the channel architecture. In DDR4 memory, a single DIMM would have a 72-bit memory bus with 64 bits dedicated to data width. However, DDR5 RAM incorporates a dual-channel per DIMM architecture with two 40-bit memory buses. While the total data width remains 64 bits, memory access can be done faster and more efficiently with two independent memory channels. Instead of two output clocks per side in DDR4, DDR5 memory will have four output clocks. As a result, there is better signal integrity.
4. Burst length or Prefetch
Burst length is an essential factor when it comes to speed and performance consistency. DDR5 will double the burst length of the previous generation, incorporating a cutoff burst length of 8 and a total burst length of 16. This allows a single burst of data to access the perfect equivalent of the usual memory cache size. the CPU line. This can be helpful for overall memory efficiency. The larger prefetch buffer would allow the RAM to operate in better synchronization with the CPU.
5. Density of the die
RAM density limits determine how much RAM can fit on a single module. DDR5 will have higher memory densities of 64GB on a given available memory die. Compared to the maximum of 16 GB per die with DDR4, this represents the opportunity for manufacturers to pack more memory per die for consumer use. In essence, users who need higher memory capacities can benefit from adopting DDR5 RAM in the future.
DDR4 vs DDR5 RAM… When is DDR5 scheduled for release?
The DDR5 development timeline indicates that JEDEC was preparing for the publication of the standard in 2018. However, with delays in the development of the medium and the market having been caught up in a battle of the brands between AMD and Intel, development was slow. The standard was finally released in its complete form in July 2020.
While companies like SK Hynix and Rambus have already made progress in developing DDR5, there are a few things to consider regarding the release of DDR5. SK Hynix has already prototyped DDR5 RAM chips that run at various speeds. However, the market launch of DDR5 RAM depends on many factors.
The use of DDR5 RAM chips to create DDR5 DIMMs occurs at the sole discretion of the companies that sell RAM as a product. The demand for a particular generation of RAM in the market is directly dependent on the currently available platforms that support it. For example, DDR4 is the current standard on both AMD and Intel platforms in consumer, workstation, and server workloads. There is currently no platform on the market that supports DDR5.
However, consumer-grade DDR5 RAM can be estimated to start making its appearance in the market in late 2021 or early 2022. This is in line with Intel’s plans to support the DDR5 standard in its upcoming Sapphire microarchitecture. Rapids and AMD plans to include DDR5 support in the upcoming Zen 4 line of CPUs.
DDR4 vs DDR5 RAM–DDR5 Availability and Pricing Details
With each new generation of DDR RAM, a particular trend is always observed. When a new generation of RAM enters the market, its price is very high. Over time, with adoption and the number of supported products and platforms increasing, prices tend to come down. However, RAM costs tend to stay relatively constant once they break even, and there are always premium options that are still expensive.
DDR4 memory can still cost a lot if you go for a quality kit that can hit high speeds and has added gems like powerful heat spreaders, cool designs, and RGB integration. With a sizeable performance improvement looking likely with the DDR5 standard, initial product offerings probably won’t come cheap.
As both Intel and AMD begin to adopt this standard in their new processors and motherboard chipsets, availability is likely to increase and prices to fall reasonably.
However, shortages of RAM chips in the past have been known to cause price increases. With a new standard and manufacturers rushing to come out with their twists on it, a shortage of RAM chips might be something to look forward to.
A significant factor in this estimate is the renewed rise in global popularity of AMD processors that began with its first-generation Ryzen lineup. Since then, AMD has steadily moved towards a dominant position in the CPU market and has regained a lot of market share from former market leader Intel. Ryzen CPUs implement an “Infinity Fabric” architecture that has been shown to benefit from faster RAM. With AMD processors constantly growing in terms of performance and number of cores, the demand for faster DDR5 RAM could increase rapidly in the future if they continue on their path to market dominance.
DDR4 vs. DDR5 RAM — Which generation of DDR should
Performance shouldn’t be the only metric to consider when shopping for RAM. Current price and availability can also play a role in your decision making. In the case of DDR3 and DDR4, early adoption was often hampered by the limited performance gains that would come with the switch. However, with successive new generations of hardware platforms rolling out with support for DDR4, adoption slowly increased until it became the default standard in the market.
However, this might not be the case when switching from DDR4 to DDR5 RAM. After the release of consumer DDR5 modules, it could take some time to catch up as CPU and motherboard manufacturers develop enough model options to appeal to the consumer base. However, the significant performance boost can be an essential consideration for customers, especially those who can benefit from higher speeds and bandwidth.
If you’re looking to buy RAM right now, the only viable option is DDR4. While premium DDR4 kits can be expensive, they are currently the best way to achieve higher performance. On modern PC platforms, DDR4 is also the only option, unless you want to look at older hardware and explore the used market. So, with a recent DDR3 or newer DDR4 platform, you may want to consider deferring an upgrade at this time. It makes sense to do so you can directly reap the benefits of the new and improved DDR5 standard.
DDR4 vs. DDR5 RAM.
In conclusion, it is easy to discuss the pros and cons of a product that has already hit the market. However, in the case of DDR5, we are still quite a way from the actual product on the shelf.
Although it promises to be an exciting change for future platforms, it’s wise to reserve judgment until the actual products hit the market. And there are independent reviews and benchmarks available for analysis.
For now, it is an outstanding idea to be alert and attentive to new developments. If you want to be an early adopter, here is the best strategy that can help you get your foot in the door right after its launch.