You’ve heard about it for a few years, and now it’s here. The next generation of computer memory has arrived. With its promises of better performance and better energy efficiency, DDR5 RAM could be a part of your PC’s upgrade plan. Here’s an overview of what it is, and factors you need to consider before committing to DDR5.
What is DDR5?
DDR5 is the new standard for computer random access memory (RAM), the memory used to run all of your PCs programs. It increases the amount of memory possible in each single RAM chip, decreases the electricity used by each chip, and increases the amount of data transfer from RAM to CPU.
DD5 VS DD4 comparison
Your new DDR5 RAM module can be as large as 128GB, 4 times larger than the DDR4s maximum of 32GB.
Your DDR5 memory will transfer about 19% more data to the CPU than a comparable DDR4 setup.
DDR5 uses 1.1 volts, compared to DDR4s 1.2 volts. It may seem like a small improvement, but in terms of components, it’s a meaningful decrease that will help your PC energy efficiency.
The drawback of DDR5 integrating power management into the module itself is that may generate more heat than DDR4 modules. Some DDR5 modules will have heat dispersion capabilities, but you’ll want to improve your heat and airflow management regardless.
Your new DDR5 will currently cost roughly twice what a comparable DDR4 module would cost. Premium technology has a premium price.
You’re going to have a hard time finding DDR5 modules on demand right now. All PC components have had their supply issues recently, but new tech will be especially constrained.
The DDR5 upgrade challenge- new motherboard and CPU
Your new DDR5 RAM will require a compatible motherboard and CPU. So unless you’ve already upgraded to a DDR5-compatible motherboard and CPU, you’ll need to make a significant investment to make the jump to DDR5.
On the other hand, you’ll eventually need to upgrade those components anyway if you want to keep your PC current. It comes down to a question of timing.
Future-proofing your new PC build
The question of future-proofing always comes up when talking about building your next PC. You want your new PC to stay up to date so you can upgrade components as necessary. In a way, making the jump to DDR5 is future-proofing because eventually all CPUs will only support DDR5, but that may take a year or more. You need to know what your future upgrade path and budget looks like. For some more helpful advice about buying components, check out the PC components buying guide.
Are you an early adopter or patient shopper?
You may be the type of person who wants the newest improvements in PC components as soon as they are available. There’s real rush to being cutting edge. But that thrill comes at a cost: brand new technology has a high price. Patient shoppers can wait for the price to potentially come down.
Should you upgrade your PC to DDR5 RAM?
Ultimately, this is a question of timing more than anything else. Eventually, all PCs will have DDR5. And if you already own a DDR5-compatible CPU and motherboard, the choice to upgrade to DDR5 is easier to make. But the current cost and scarcity of DDR5 modules should make you take your time to fully evaluate if the improvements in performance are currently worth it.
image from rambus.com