Everything We Currently Know About DDR5 RAM

DDR5 Release Date

You guessed it, that time of year has rolled around again where the news of another DDR has been announced and naturally sparks huge amounts of interest from both enthusiasts and professionals alike. It's at this time where we usually see tech forums erupt with numerous posts querying the needs and specifications of the latest RAM offerings. It's for this reason, we've decided to share everything we currently know about DDR5 and what it has to offer from a consumer point of view.

In the following article, we answer some of the major questions that currently surround the latest memory arrival. When will DDR5 be released? Is it worth purchasing DDR5 RAM? How will DDR5 compare with DDR4 RAM? These are just some of the areas which will be covered below. So, let's not waste any more time and jump right into what we should expect from DDR5.

DDR5 Performance

We've been hearing whispers of DDR5 that stretch back to early 2018, however, not much has been announced regarding performance until earlier this year.

DDR4 Vs DDR5

Developers are promising some impressive figures for DDR5 and have been quoted saying the latest RAM modules will have twice the performance of today's DDR4-3200 RAM. All sounds mighty impressive, but what exactly does twice the performance mean?

Well, in a nutshell, the DDR5 design promises to hit shelves with double the density and double the speed of 1st gen DDR4-3200 modules. That basically means, where DDR4 maxes out at 16GB per stick, DDR5 will be able to accommodate 32GB in the same space.

Furthermore, we believe that DDR5 will be able to reach at least 6400Mhz in consumer options. However, if DDR4 is anything to go off, we will likely see much higher speeds thanks to aftermarket overclocking. This will naturally be a perfect fit for AMD APU's & CPU's as they thrive on higher speed memory.

The table below outlines some of the finer details that we can expect from the latest module.

FeatureDDR4DDR5DDR5 Advantage
Data rates3200Mhz4800-6400mhzIncreased performance and bandwidth
VDD/VDDQ/VPP1.21.1Lower power
Device densities16GB Max64GBLarger monolithic devices
Prefetch8n16nKeeps the internal core clock low
CRCWriteRead/WriteStrengthens system RAS by protecting read data
Burst lengthBL8BL16, BL32Allows 64B cache line fetch w/only 1 DIMM subchannel.

As you can clearly see, DDR5 offers much higher data rates, lower overall power consumption, much higher density per stick and a BL16 burst length which when all paired together shows the true potential this hardware brings to the table.

The data rate, which for us is one of the better improvements we've seen over DDR4, actually allows for an increase of 1.36X effective bandwidth when comparing DDR4 vs DDR5 at 3200Mhz. If you do the same math against a higher speed DDR5 (4800Mhz) then the results produce almost double what DDR4 has to offer. See the chart below:

DDR4 vs DDR5 bandwidth

There are other benefits to DDR5 which include two independent 40-bit channels per mode, an improved command bus efficiency, increase bank group and refresh schemes as well.

DDR5 Release Date

Back in March of 2017 JEDEC announced that DDR5 was being worked on and should be released in 2018. Jumping forward to November 2018, SK Hynix finally announced the first ever DDR5 compliant RAM module, which they in turn said would be available to consumers come 2020.

Since that date, SK Hynix has actually come out with some good news stating that DDR5 will be officially released by the end of 2019, whether that actually happens though is another story completely. However, with the latest APU's and CPU's from AMD being released in July, DDR5 will be a welcome addition when it does finally arrive due to increasing demand for higher memory bandwidth.

Because new CPU's now have more cores than ever, improvements in the RAM industry have had to be made to keep up with the GB/s per core bandwidth demands. Thanks to the increased data rates, DDR5 clearly takes a huge step forward in the right direction, seen in the chart below.

GBs bandwidth vs memory speed

DDR5 Price & Availability

There is always speculation surrounding new hardware prices and DDR5 is no different. We currently don't have a price for how much the superfast memory will cost but what we do know, based on historical evidence, is it's going to be more than DDR4. Who Knew?!

It's no real surprise, but worth mentioning as DDR4 still has the ability to give you a nasty shock in the pocket. Higher end DDR4 RAM can go for upwards of $200 and DDR5 promises to be TWICE as good... How that computes into a monetary value has yet to be announced.

Availability is a similar story, unfortunately. We will likely see the arrival of DDR5 in the mobile community first via Samsung and Micron in the LPDDR5 variety. It'll be a good benchmark for what we can expect for desktop PC variations though.

A solid indicator of when DDR5 is going to become fully mainstream has been displayed in a chart designed by SK Hynix. They've tried to estimate how the sales market will be split in the coming years. Below is the chart.

Market sales DDR4 vs DDR5

SK Hynix has estimated that 25% of all memory market sales will be represented by DDR5 in 2020 and by 2021 they expect over 40% respectively. This gives us a good indication of how much the RAM is going to cost as they believe DDR4 is still going to have a major part to play in the memory game.

Is DDR5 Worth buying?

Well, that's the big question. It all comes down to how much these modules are going to cost once they're released.

As most will already know, for years, upgrading your RAM was probably the least effective way of achieving performance gains in your system. However, since the release of AMD's new CPU & APU hierarchy, that's no longer the case.

AMD CPU's literally thrive when paired with speedier RAM which means the arrival of DDR5 6400Mhz will be a welcome one, especially now we have the new Ryzen 3000 chips on their way as well. This being said, we aren't fully aware of what hardware is going to be fully compatible with the new modules either, so we'll have to play the waiting game for now.

Closing Thoughts

There you have it, everything we currently know about DDR5 memory. It's going to be fascinating to see what sort of real-world improvements actually come from implementing this new rapid memory into your rig. Is it going to make a huge difference or not much at all?

Well, rest assured, as soon as desktop PC DDR5 hits the shelves we at WEPC will be doing a full breakdown of how effective this new hardware really is. We will be updating this page on a regular basis so that you guys are right up-to-date with the latest news and announcement.

Any questions regarding DDR5, feel free to leave us a message below and we'll answer it the best we can!

2 Comments

  1. RichF says:

    We will have to wait for Ryzen to be improved before those higher speeds will be worthwhile. Right now, Zen 3 can’t even take advantage of the fastest DDR4 speeds because of Infinity Fabric. It has to resort to using a slower divider about 3600 speed.

    1. RichF says:

      Typo: I meant to write “above” not “about”.

Leave a Reply