DDR5 memory is coming

In the hardware world, we’ve gone through generations of GPUs and processors, but we’re still rocking the same DDR4 RAM that’s been mainstream in PCs for almost seven years. But now it seems that DDR5 is finally coming: DDR5 modules are just around the corner, as production is in full swing and manufacturers are teasing the future standard.

Double Data Rate 5 Synchronous Dynamic Random-Access Memory (DDR5 SDRAM) is a type of synchronous dynamic random-access memory. Compared to its predecessor DDR4 SDRAM, DDR5 is planned to reduce power consumption, while doubling bandwidth. The standard was released on 14 July 2020, although earliest pre-standard DDR5 chips were already made in 2017-2018 and officially launched by SK Hynix on October 6th, 2020.

DDR5 supports more bandwidth than its predecessor, DDR4. Decision Feedback Equalization (DFE) enables IO speed scalability for higher bandwidth and performance improvement. Compared to DDR4, DDR5 further reduces memory voltage to 1.1 V, thus reducing power consumption. Memory modules use the MIPI Alliance I3C Basic specification for system management bus.

DDR5 can supports a speed of 51.2 GB/s per module and 2 memory channels per module. DDR5 will have about the same latency as DDR4. The first mass market DDR5 memories are expected to run at DDR5-4800, 50% faster than the maximum DDR4-3200 of the official DDR4 standard.

There is a general expectation that most use-cases that currently use DDR4 will eventually migrate to DDR5. To be usable in desktops and servers, the integrated memory controllers of e.g. Intel’s and AMD’s CPUs will have to support it.

Intel’s 11th-gen Rocket Lake CPUs and AMD’s Ryzen 5000-series CPUs both still use DDR4 RAM. A leaked internal AMD roadmap is reported to show DDR5 support for 2022 Zen 4 CPUs and Zen 3+ APUs. A leaked slide shows planned DDR5 support on Intel’s 2021 Sapphire Rapids microarchitecture and Alder Lake microarchitecture. Intel ‘Alder Lake’ CPUs to Support PCIe 5.0, DDR5 RAM article says that leaked slides from an Intel presentation offer a glimpse of what we can expect from the Alder Lake family, which will encompass both laptop and desktop CPUs.

The separate JEDEC standard LP-DDR5 (Low Power Double Data Rate 5), intended for laptops and smartphones, was released in February 2019. Laptops will presumably use LPDDR5 instead of DDR5.

When the chip support is ready, it is expected that the transition to DDR5 will be swift: DDR5 Expected to Overtake DDR4 by 2023. Widespread DDR5 adoption should occur in 2022, starting with the server markets and enterprise world, according to a report by industry beancounter Yolle Developpement. Then in 2023, we will finally see widespread DDR5 adoption in the mainstream market, with phones, laptops, and PCs fully utilizing the technology. In fact, we should see more DDR5 ship in 2023 than DDR4, marking a fast transition between the two technologies.

10 Comments

  1. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Alder Lake is not here yet, but you will be able to buy DDR5 RAM this month
    By Paul Lilly 3 days ago
    Team Group is not waiting for Intel’s next-gen CPUs to begin selling DDR5 memory modules.
    https://www.pcgamer.com/alder-lake-is-not-here-yet-but-you-will-be-able-to-buy-ddr5-ram-this-month/?utm_campaign=socialflow

    It is a 32GB DDR5-4800 memory kit consisting of a pair of 16GB modules, with timings set at 40-40-40-77 at 1.1V. Faster DDR5 memory kits will eventually emerge, but for the initial launch, TeamGroup is sticking with the finalized specifications laid out by JEDEC, the industry body that sets memory speeds, timings, and so forth.

    For reference, the highest JEDEC specification for DDR4 memory is 3,200MT/s. Even so, memory makers have developed faster memory kits, which have been embraced by AMD and Intel, as well as motherboard makers. At the very upper end—extreme overclocking territory—there are even a handful of DDR4 memory kits rated to run at 5,333MT/s.

    Reply
  2. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Beyond the raw bandwidth gains DDR5 will deliver, another interesting aspect is on-die ECC (Error Correcting Code). Up to this point, ECC has mostly been the domain of data centers and workstations where mission critical workloads exists. DDR5 will bring the same benefit to consumer platforms at large.
    https://www.pcgamer.com/alder-lake-is-not-here-yet-but-you-will-be-able-to-buy-ddr5-ram-this-month/?utm_campaign=socialflow

    Reply
  3. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Amazon lists the first set of DDR5 RAM with no motherboard to plug it into
    https://www.pcgamesn.com/ddr5-ram-amazon-listing

    Reply
  4. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Samsung Develops a Very Fast 512GB DDR5 Memory Module
    This new stick of RAM can cope with ‘the most extreme compute-hungry, high-bandwidth workloads.’
    https://uk.pcmag.com/components/132436/samsung-develops-a-very-fast-512gb-ddr5-memory-module

    Reply
  5. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Samsung’s new DDR5 RAM chips could give single-stick capacities of up to 768GB
    https://www.pcgamesn.com/samsung/728gb-ddr5-ram

    DDR5 RAM will find its way into gaming PC builds later this year when Intel Alder Lake arrives, although most people will be sticking with similar capacities to the current sets of best gaming RAM. We heard earlier this year that Samsung was working on a mammoth 512GB DDR5 stick, but it looks like even larger capacities could be on the way, after it announced that it’s developing a new 24GB module that’ll be able to fit up to 768GB onto a single stick (via Tom’s Hardware).

    Samsung Developing 24Gb DDR5 ICs: 768GB DDR5 Modules Possible
    https://www.tomshardware.com/news/samsung-develops-24gb-ddr5-drams-768gb-modules-enroute

    Reply
  6. Tomi Engdahl says:

    DDR5-muistit tulevat ensi vuonna teollisuuden palvelimiin
    https://etn.fi/index.php/13-news/12494-ddr5-muistit-tulevat-ensi-vuonna-teollisuuden-palvelimiin

    DDR5 lienee se tekniikka, jota DRAM-muisteihin odotetaan nyt suurimmalla mielenkiinnolla. Moduulien valmistajista Apacer ilmoittaa, että se ryhtyy toimittamaan DDR5-muisteja teollisuuden palvelimiin ensi vuoden toisella neljänneksellä.

    Apacer muistuttaa, että DDR5 RDIMM -moduuli on hyvin monimutkainen tuote. Se sisältää neljä uutta komponenttia: DDR5 -rekisteröintikellon ohjaimen, virranhallintapiirin, lämpötila-anturit ja SPD-keskittimen (Serial Presence Detect). Siinä on myös uusi kanava-arkkitehtuuri, joka perustuu kahteen itsenäiseen 40-bittiseen alikanavaan. Nämä parantavat datansiirron tehokkuutta ja luotettavuutta.

    Tällä hetkellä korkean suorituskyvyn tietojenkäsittelyn kysyntään tekoäly- ja reunasovelluksissa on lähes ylivoimaista vastata.

    Reply

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