DDR5 SDRAM: Double Data Rate 5 Synchronous Dynamic Random-Access Memory is a synchronous dynamic random-access memory. DDR5 SDRAM was designed to consume less power than its predecessor DDR4 SDRAM while doubling bandwidth. The standard was originally scheduled to be released in 2018 but was delayed until July 14, 2020.
DDR5 SDRAM Operations
DDR5 memory transfer rates range from 4800 to 7200 million per second (PC5-38400 to PC5-57600). As with earlier versions, higher speeds may be introduced later.
The minimum burst length was doubled to 16, with the option of “burst chop” after eight transfers, compared to DDR4 SDRAM. The addressing range has also been slightly widened:
- Chip ID bits remain at three, allowing for up to eight stacked chips.
- A third bank group bit (BG2) was added, bringing the total number of bank groups to eight.
- The maximum number of banks allowed in a bank group is still four.
- For a maximum of 128K rows, the number of row address bits remains at 17.
- A new column address bit (C10) has been added, allowing up to 8192 columns (1 KB pages) to be stored in four chips.
- All reads and writes must start at a column address that is a multiple of eight after the least-significant three column address bits (C0, C1, C2) are deleted.
- A fourth chip ID bit (CID3) or an additional row address bit is designated for addressing expansion (R17).
DDR5 SDRAM Support
- Although Intel’s 12th generation Alder Lake CPUs support both DDR5 and DDR4, most motherboards only have DIMM sockets for one of the two. There are mainboards with Intel’s H610 chipset that support both DDR4 and DDR5 at the same time, but not at the same time. DDR5 support is planned for Intel’s Sapphire Rapids processors in 2022, according to a leaked slide.
- AMD’s Ryzen 6000 series mobile APUs, which are based on the Zen 3+ architecture, enable DDR5 and LPDDR5. According to a leaked internal AMD roadmap, DDR5 support for Zen 4 CPUs will be available in 2022.
DDR5 SDRAM Features
Decision Feedback Equalization (DFE), a new feature, allows I/O speed scalability for increased bandwidth and improved performance. DDR5 has a higher bandwidth than its predecessor, DDR4, with a maximum of 4.8 gigabits per second, however, it will not be available at launch.
DDR5 will have a latency that is similar to DDR4 and DDR3. DDR5 doubles the maximum DIMM capacity, increasing it from 64 to 512 GB. DDR5 will be faster than DDR4 in terms of frequency.
DDR5 SDRAM For Gaming
- A number of factors influence memory technology transitions. The first is the chipset designers’ commitment to adopt the new memory technology, requiring it to be used with their processors.
- The second factor is supply and demand, or how fast and affordably DRAM and related DDR5 semiconductor providers can meet market demand. Transitions often occur 2-3 years following the introduction of new memory technology, or after 30% of the market has embraced the new technology.
- Price parity and the availability of legacy memory will also be important considerations. With fewer DRAM manufacturers on the market now than 10 years ago, the ability to sustain old memory technology is dwindling. When old memory becomes unavailable, consumers may be forced to use modern memory technology, regardless of the higher cost.
DDR5 SDRAM Price
We can expect a premium for the new memory, as with every memory technology release. DDR4 was about 30–40% more expensive than DDR3 when it first came out. DDR5 is being released at a time when the semiconductor industry is experiencing a global chip scarcity that has impacted all sectors of the business.
In addition, the technology necessitates additional components per module, which raises expenses. As a result, the price differential between DDR5 and DDR4 modules at launch will be larger than in past generations of memory launches.
Early in November, after Intel announced its 12th Generation Core ‘Alder Lake’ CPUs for enthusiasts, it rapidly became clear that DDR5 memory modules were in short supply, leading prices to rise. With the advent of the mainstream 12th-Gen Intel processors, such shortages were expected to grow, but supply is already increasing and costs are reducing.
Prices of dual-channel 32GB DDR5 memory kits reached as high as $1,300 late last year due to a shortage of power management ICs (PMICs) and voltage regulation modules (VRMs) for DDR5 memory sticks. 32GB DDR5 kits are now more affordable, which is wonderful news for enthusiasts.
- We examined numerous 32GB dual-channel DDR5-4800, DDR5-5200, DDR5-5600, and DDR5-6000 kits to look at DDR5 pricing trends.
When you look at the table and graphs, one thing that stands out is that the modules are sold by Amazon third-party vendors. This is a solid indicator that DDR5 memory kits are still scarce, which is why companies like Corsair sell DDR5 SDRAM memory sticks directly and through some wholesalers (who then ship the products to various resellers). Nonetheless, as availability improves, even dealers have been obliged to decrease their prices.
While Amazon sells at prices that are near to what the manufacturer recommends, dealer prices change based on supply and demand. This is why, in late December, several of these retailers charged exorbitant prices for uncommon high-performance modules. Now that the availability of DRAM has improved, costs have fallen anywhere from 26% to 80% per kit in just a few weeks.
Since Intel began shipping standard 12th Generation Core CPUs with DDR5 capability, memory manufacturers like Micron, Samsung, and SK Hynix will certainly ramp up volume production of their DDR5 ICs, lowering prices. What remains to be seen is whether manufacturers of PMIC and VRM components can keep up with demand, as these chips are required by every DDR5 module.
Companies like Renesas should be tempted to boost their IC shipments because demand for these components is pretty predictable.
The supply of DDR5 memory modules is improving in general, but we’re still not out of the woods. It’s unclear when DDR5 will be priced similarly to DDR4, although a 32GB kit is no longer $1000.