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Is it worth upgrading from DDR4 to DDR5? DDR5 comes with greater benefits such it provides more bandwidth and lower power consumption. DDR5 also provides 4x times the capacity of RAM compared to DDR4

Blog | DDR5 Memory is here, what’s new?

May 13th 2022
 
 

Should you upgrade to DDR5?

Ivan Trendafilovski - System Engineer - DiGiCOR

As DDR5 approaches the market, you may have some questions you want to be answered. Such as, is it worth upgrading from DDR4 to DDR5? The truth is that the answer is not as straightforward as it may seem. Although DDR5 comes with greater benefits, you also have to consider that it’s also much more expensive than DDR4. Keep in mind that the price of DDR5 will gradually decrease over time, and the RAM will also be larger and faster. However, the decision to upgrade all depends on personal preference and the return on investment, meaning that you might actually benefit more from upgrading to DDR5 once it’s released rather than later. 

What is DDR5?

Generations of DDR memory are tied to generations of CPUs, the DDR5 is the successor of the widely used DDR4. DDR5 has been developed with the intent to offer improvements and deliver increased density and bandwidth of RAM while lowering its power consumption. This targets the issue where the sector’s current memory bandwidth is unable to keep up with new processor models that have increasing core counts, such as the new Intel Alder Lake Platforms. 

With every new technology that’s released, there is a curve of adoption both in hardware compatibility and real-world applications as businesses utilize these new technologies. This explains why early benchmarks for DDR5 show minimal gains between the new and old gen. However, these will inevitably change with time as DDR5 becomes more mainstream, thus the default memory of choice and all tools and applications are optimized to utilize bandwidth improvements that DDR5 brings over DDR4.

 What is the hardware difference between DDR5 compared to DDR4? 

DDR5 is the 5th generation double data rate (DDR) SDRAM, combined with the feature enhancements from DDR4, DDR5 is the greatest yet. While previous generations such as DDR4 focused on reducing power consumption and were driven by applications such as mobile and data centers, DDR5’s primary driver has been the push for more bandwidth as well as the addition to lower the power draw. 

At first glance, both the DDR4 and DDR5 look similar, however, there are some differences as is the case with every new DDR iteration. The physical difference is mainly the module notch that requires a new motherboard that specifically has the DDR5 slot support. This means that DDRR5 won’t fit in DDR4 motherboards and vice versa. The initial wave of motherboard will have 2 SKUs, one for DDR4 and another for DDR5 supported slots. 

Another point of difference is that DDR5 includes its own Power Management IC and Voltage regulation modules (VRM) on the module itself. This brings more effective system load management that was previously located on the motherboard. 

DDR5 also increases the maximum data rate at 4800MT/s compared to 32000MT/s for DDR4. In addition, the operating voltage For DDR4 is 1.2v, whereas DDR5 lowers this to 1.1v. This brings the change we mentioned earlier with the PMIC module now being on the module itself. It also creates the benefit of achieving far better granularity of power delivery for a more consistent, smooth, and reliable operation for the modules. This will also help with enthusiasts wanting to overclock the modules even further.

How much RAM can DDR5 provide? 

For DDR4, the maximum consumer module is 32GB, However, DDR5 delivers more than four times that capacity. Furthermore, a cutting-edge system created around four DDR5 DIMM slots can read 512GB, which is significantly more than DDR4, which would max out at 128GB. 

Summary

If you’re intending to build a new system from scratch, then upgrading straight to DDR5 might be the ideal decision, as this saves you from having to buy a brand new motherboard, RAM, and CPU if you need to upgrade to DDR5 in the future. Although a DDR4 setup is cheaper than DDR5, it might not be economical to buy new elements. The feature upgrades also make DDR5 a better option than DDR4, such as it provides more bandwidth and lower power consumption. DDR5 also provides 4x times the capacity of RAM compared to DDR4. With all these factors taken into consideration, you may get more return on your investment upgrading to DDR5 depending on your use case. If you’d like to implement DDR5 into your systems, you can contact DiGiCOR today and we can help you with your upgrade. 

 

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