Explained: Want to make your PC superfast? All you need to know about DDR5 and how it is better than DDR4

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RAM is one of the most essential parts of modern day devices like PCs, laptops and mobiles which contributes to the speed of the device. DDR4 memory has been the standard for the past seven years now DDR5 is here. CES 2022 is currently being hosted in Las Vegas, and most of the new laptops on display at the tech conference use the latest standard RAM modules.

Considering that DDR5 is the new standard, it is a huge leap forward over DDR4 memory, bringing many improvements in terms of speed and more. Here we’ll detail everything you need to know about the new DDR5 standard and how it differs from the previous generation.

What is DDR5?

Before we start explaining the benefits of DDR5 and how it differs from DDR4, let’s take a look at what DDR5 is. DDR5 SDRAM is also known as Double Data Rate 5 Synchronous Dynamic Random Access Memory. It is a synchronous dynamic RAM, which was released in 2020 with the aim of reducing power consumption and doubling the bandwidth.

With DDR5 we get to see the introduction of the new Decision Feedback Equalization (DFE) feature. DFE enables higher bandwidth and I/O speed scalability for improved performance, thus helping to achieve greater bandwidth than its predecessor, while achieving nearly identical latency.

The DDR5 Dual In-Line Memory Module (DIMM) expands the capacity from 64GB of DDR4 to 256GB. It also offers higher frequencies than DDR4.

(image credits: Corsair)

How is DDR5 better than DDR4?

DDR5 is the latest standard in RAM technology and brings many improvements over the previous generation. The key areas of difference between DDR4 and DDR5 include performance, capacity, and cost.

The main difference that people see between the DDR5 and DDR4 standards is the vastly improved performance capability. Base DDR5 bandwidth (4,800 MT/s) outperforms DDR4 (3,200 MT/s) by more than 50 percent. While the base kit beats DDR4 by a margin, it would be nice to see the long-term potential when manufacturers release DDR5 DIMMs at their peak performance of 8,400 MT/s. These increased speeds will help devices support much higher clock speeds.

With DDR4 very high in its life cycle, you will be able to find DIMMs with peak speeds of 5,333 MT/s. Note, however, that those DIMMs are usually overclocked beyond the typical limit.

As for latency, that being said, DDR5 modules have a slightly higher latency rate than DDR4. This means that on paper RAM DIMMs will be slightly slower. However, the higher clock speed would cover for that and the difference in latency would not be apparent to normal users.

As of yet, you won’t get a huge performance boost with an overclocked DDR4 DIMM. However, as DDR5 technology improves and matures, the performance gap will continue to widen.

Capacity is another area where we see a big improvement, with a maximum capacity of 64GB for a DDR4 DIMM and 128GB for a DDR5 DIMM. While the manufacturers will continue to make lower-capacity variants, the base DIMMs will certainly see a jump in capacity.

While everything about DDR5 will make you want to upgrade, the one major factor that will stand in the way is the price. With DDR5 still in its infancy, prices are currently very high. Once the technology takes some time to develop, it will certainly come down in price.

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(image credits: Corsair)

Any other features that make DDR5 better?

The DDR5 standard includes a new power architecture, which now handles voltage regulation on the stick itself. Earlier, voltage regulation was handled by the motherboard. While this new power architecture will improve system power distribution, it is also being said to increase heat generation on the DIMM. This will probably be taken care of with the help of cooling solutions. Plus, DDR5 is rated for 1.1V, which is 0.1V less than DDR4, making it more power-efficient.

DDR5 comes with On-Die Error Correction Control (ECC) feature, which covers the data on the module itself. The standard has also been upgraded to feature serial presence detection (SPD), which means more RGB!

DDR5 History

Memory module companies have been working hard to develop the DDR5 standard for a long time, with Rambus starting work on DDR5 DIMMs in 2017. A year later, SK Hynix announced the completion of its first DDR5 chip, then announced it the following year. An improved version, which it wanted to launch by the end of the year. However, the launch was pushed to the end of 2020.

Interestingly, the JEDEC standard LPDDR5 RAM meant for laptops and smartphones was released in early 2019, giving mobiles a fresh start.

In 2021, Samsung revealed the 512GB 7200MHz RAM DIMMs, which broke the 256GB cap. However, the RAM module is yet to be launched.

Should you upgrade?

As mentioned above, DDR5 is currently in its infancy and will mature over the next few years in its lifecycle with better performance and lower cost. Plus upgrading to DDR5 will not only mean replacing the RAM stick, but you’ll also need to get a new CPU and a new motherboard.

Currently, only Intel 12th generation chips and Z690 motherboards support the new technology. AMD is expected to release support with the next-generation Zen 4 Ryzen CPUs in 2022.

Also, you may need to replace your power supply and UPS, given the higher voltage the new CPU and motherboard will take. Currently, only select manufacturers are selling DDR5 sticks, that too in limited quantities, which is why the prices are high.

If you still want to upgrade, we recommend that you wait a bit from 2024 to 2025 to get the best DDR5 performance stick at a very low price. Plus wait will give you the option to get better RGB lighting implementations, overclock modules and more.

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Post Explained: Want to make your PC superfast? All you need to know about DDR5 and how it is better than DDR4 First appeared on BGR India.

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