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The Next Step in Memory Technology - DDR5 Coming to Desktop!

10 Jan 2022

With the launch of Intel’s 12th Gen Alder Lake processors comes the next generation of high-performance desktop system memory - DDR5 RAM!

As we begin to reach the limits of high-performance and high-capacity DDR4 memory kits, it is again time to make the switch to a new standard for desktop RAM. As many of you know, the 12th Gen Alder Lake processors from Intel and the Z690, B660 or H610 platform are the first to support DDR5 memory with the next generation of Ryzen processors and their platforms expected to follow suit soon.

The main benefit of shifting to DDR5 memory will be the increased capacity and bandwidth which will allow for higher memory density and better performance on desktop systems. On a typical standard ATX size motherboard these days that has 4 memory slots we can expect the maximum memory capacity to quadruple from 128GB to 512GB as the maximum capacity for consumer modules will increase from 32GB to 128GB on a single module. This can be incredibly useful in many scenarios, for example in a mini-ITX small-form-factor workstation with only 2 memory slots a quadrupling of memory capacity means that now you can have up to 256GB of system memory to work with.

Current DDR5 kits typically run at speeds from the base 4800MHz range up to roughly 6000MHz for the higher end kits. You may notice that this is much higher than the usual 3600MHz or even 4000MHz DDR4 kits but as usual, frequency isn’t the only thing that determines performance. Memory timings are also an important factor in determining memory performance, provided as a CL or ‘cas latency’ specification with lower being better. The bleeding edge DDR4 kits with high-quality Samsung B-Die memory chips can run as low as CL14, compared to DDR5 kits available on the market now which sit at roughly CL38 timings.

These performance metrics tend to offset each other so the overall performance gains that you will see for the early DDR5 kits will be small in comparison to using good kits of DDR4. As the platform matures we can expect to see lower latencies, higher frequencies and price reductions as more systems adopt the new standard and it becomes the new normal and that is where the benefits of DDR5 will start to become more noticeable when upgrading from a DDR4 based system in terms of memory performance.

Some other small changes that DDR5 brings to the table compared to DDR4 are:

  • Runs at a slightly lower voltage, 1.1V compared to 1.2V on DDR4 internal voltage which may translate into very slightly better efficiency.
  • On-module voltage regulation instead of having voltage regulation built into the motherboard - this should give memory manufacturers more control over the voltages being supplied to the memory.

As you have probably noticed, there aren’t too many DDR5 kits available to purchase at the moment, with only the major brands such as Corsair, G.Skill and Kingston having launched a few models in limited capacities and speeds. The current product lines of DDR5 that we have available are:

We do expect that supply for DDR5 will increase throughout 2022 with more models launching in higher capacity, speed and lower latency variants so keep an eye out for new DDR5 kits coming soon!

If you are looking for a DDR5 kit to pair with your new CPU and motherboard check out some of the models we have below, or have a chat to one of our team in-store or online for more information!


Memory RAM


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