So what is it?
If you are the sort of computer user who thinks four legs, horns and a woolly coat when you mention RAM, just know that RAM stands for random access memory, is a very important part of what makes your computer go and then you are probably going to want to skip the rest of article.
For anyone else still reading, DDR5 stands for Double Data Rate 5 Synchronous Dynamic Random-Access Memory, but I bet you already knew that.
RAM is your computer's short term memory, it’s temporary storage that allows applications and your operating system to run. The faster your memory, the faster your computer will run and the more memory a computer has, the more information and software it can run.
CPU technology has experienced something of a renaissance in recent years, which RAM needs to emulate. That’s where DDR5 comes in.
So what’s so good about DDR5?
DDR5 is the next generation of double data rate memory offering improved data transfer rates, clock speeds, efficiency, and lower power consumption.
Whilst at a glance DDR4 and DRR5 appear almost identical, DDR5's new design and architecture means DDR5 modules can hold up to four times the amount of memory per stick than DDR4, so we can expect to see DDR5 Sticks of up to an astonishing 128GB in the near future.
Since most motherboards have a maximum of four slots for RAM, the best a DDR4 set-up could achieve is 128GB (4 x 32GB). Whereas with DDR5, a single DDR5 slot can handle the same amount.
For small form factor cases which are often limited to just two slots and therefore limited to 64GB using DDR4, DDR5 will allow them to leap up to 256GB.
DDR5 also uses less power than DDR4. The power for DDR4 memory is controlled by the motherboard and just distributed throughout the slot, however, DDR5 uses built-in power management circuitry to efficiently control the allocation of power as and when required.
The voltage requirements of DDR5 have also dropped marginally from 1.2V to 1.1V, which whilst this may seem insignificant, this combined with the improved power management will undoubtedly increase the battery life for smartphones and laptops, and this, in turn, should increase the uptake of DDR5 among device manufacturers.
When can I get some?
AS DDR5 is comparatively new technology support for it is steadily increasing, but you’ll need to make sure that you have taken account of the following before you part with your hard-earned cash:
1. You will require a motherboard that explicitly says it supports DDR5, DDR5 is not backwards compatible.
2. You will need a DDR5 compatible CPU, most DDR5 compatible CPUs will have additional pins
What does DDR5 stand for?
DDR5 stands for Double Data Rate 5 Synchronous Dynamic Random-Access Memory.
Can DDR5 fit into a DDR4 slot?
Although DDR5 has the same number of pins as DDR4 (288), the cut out in the pins is in a different place on DDR 5 compared to DDR4.
How many pins does DDR5 RAM have?
DDR5 has 288 Pins the same as DDR4, but the Pin layout is different, so DDR5 won’t fit into a slot designed for earlier memory versions.
Is my CPU compatible?
In order to accommodate all that additional memory capacity, the CPU’s compatible with DDR5 will have additional pins not found on the DDR4 compatible CPU’s. This means your DDR4 memory should work with your DDR5 capable CPU, but not the other way around.
Is DDR5 good for gaming?
DDR5 is perfect for gaming. A DDR5 module can hold four times the amount of memory per stick than DDR4 and it uses less power whilst clocking at higher frequencies. Lookout for memory sticks with aluminium heat-spreaders like those used on our G-SKILL