In the most likely scenario, the motherboard you currently have in your PC does not yet support DDR5 RAM.
DDR5 is a brand-new standard of RAM that has come into being very recently. Motherboard manufacturers are currently in the process of getting out the first batch of motherboards that support DDR5 RAM. DDR5 support is currently only available in a selected few upcoming motherboards sporting the latest Z690 chipset from Intel.
If you are wondering about DDR5 RAM support, it’s a judicious idea to learn about the DDR5 standard, what it entails, the hardware selections it will involve, and its eventual journey into the mainstream.
Let us take a look at the DDR5 standard and when you can expect to find motherboards that support this standard in the market.
All About DDR5 RAM
The DDR5 standard was announced by JEDEC on the 14th of July, earlier this year. This new generation brings to the table several important improvements, structural and design changes, and architectural challenges.
The significant design changes mean that manufacturers of RAM modules, CPUs and platforms, and motherboards will take time to declare support and come out with supported products.
DDR5 memory is supposed to support a data rate of up to 8.4Gbps memory bandwidth, in contrast with a maximum 3.2Gbps for DDR4. Along with higher bandwidth comes higher clock speeds as DDR5 memory can be clocked up to a whopping 4.8GHz.
The operating voltage gets scaled down from 1.2v to 1.1V and the memory burst length is doubled from DDR4.
A major change in the DDR5 standard is the fact that the power consumption management system will now be housed as part of the DIMM instead of the motherboard.
A typical DDR5 memory stick will actually feature a 12V power management integrated circuit which is supposed to improve signal integrity, reduce signal noise, and provide more granular power management options to users via the BIOS.
Another significant change is that every DDR5 DIMM will have two channels, each with a 40-bit width. The data width remains the same as DDR4. However, this channel architecture with two independent channels certainly affords more efficient memory access.
Support and Roadmap
It might take a while until you can lay your hands on a motherboard that supports DDR5. Manufacturers are assessing the new standard and coming up with products. Expect these products to hit the shelves in the coming few months.
Intel has already pledged DDR5 support for its upcoming Alder Lake line of CPUs, due for release later this year. AMD has its Zen 3+ platform due for release, but you would have to wait until the launch of its new Zen 4 line in 2022 to get DDR5 support. By that time, DDR5 DIMMs will also have made their way into the market.
As for motherboards, you can currently find listings for motherboards using the new Intel Z690 platform from major manufacturers like Asus and MSI. These motherboards are due to hit the market soon, followed by offerings from other manufacturers.
While your current motherboard certainly does not support DDR5, you can buy into platforms that support DDR5 in the near future as products hit the shelves and DDR5 memory becomes readily available.