The next-generation of high-performance memory isn’t here just yet. However, we certainly hoped it would be. The jump from DDR3 to DDR4 brought higher speeds, improved efficiency, and helped keep the pace with modern PC gaming and workflow demands. Of course, we expect DDR5 to do the same, but it won’t happen overnight.
Unfortunately, memory clock speeds are unknown at this time. However, we do know that there will be some pretty significant changes to DDR5 memory design and performance. However, this is still all based on information from RAMBUS from 2017 and subject to change. Their early test kits were reported to run around 4600 MHz, but I would expect that to increase as they develop the hardware further.
6.4 Gbits/second data rates, with a 51.2 GBytes/s max transfer speed. That’s a big difference to the 3.2 Gbits and 25.6 GBytes/s we currently get from DDR4. The burst length will also double to 16 bit vs the current 8 bits.
The new DDR5 standard will push voltages down to just 1.1V. Furthermore, the voltage regulators will be on the DIMMs themselves, rather than the motherboard.
It’s unlikely this will be the case, especially with the difference in required voltages, voltage regulation, speeds and other aspects. There’s not even any guarantee they’ll use the same length PCB to current DDR4 modules.
When it is released, it will likely require new motherboards to meet the new standards and designs. At the time of writing, there are no known motherboards. No doubt the likes of SuperMicro, Gigabyte, and other server manufacturers will be the first ones to market. Then the usual high-end gaming brands like ASUS, MSI, etc will follow for consumers.
Furthermore, it’s likely we’ll see CPU manufacturers offer a new configuration of lanes for the memory to suit their higher specifications. It’s also likely we’ll see different configurations on the number of DIMMs supported on each motherboard.
Unfortunately, it’s currently not on the market. What we can be sure of though, is that it’ll be on server motherboards first before we see anything for consumer boards, so there will be plenty of warning for when it is coming.
It’s likely to have a premium right out of the gate. However, as with the DDR4 launch, prices will no doubt be targeted to similar price ranges when we get down to the consumer models.
RAMBUS was aiming for a 2019 production run based on information from 2017. Given the lack of further information, we would expect 2020 at the earliest for enterprise and 2021 for consumers. Of course, this is purely speculation at this time.
Technically everyone and no one right now. The standard is still being finalised by JEDEC so until we have the fixed rules of what really defines DDR5, everything developed so far isn’t officially DDR5. Expect all the big players to be working on it though, such as RAMBUS, SK Hynix, etc.
Upgrade now, that’s my motto. When it comes to PC hardware, there’s always going to be something better on the horizon. If you play the waiting game for each bit of hardware you want, you’ll never buy anything. Plus, it’s often best to let a market and technology develop unless you’re very eager to be an early adopter and pay the big money to do so.
Want to find out what else we know so far? Check out our other features like this here!
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