Computer Hardware

DDR5 - What Is the Difference?

July 12, 2022 • 6 min read


DDR5 is the next generation of DDR5 memory superseding DDR4. What change?

What is RAM

RAM (Random Access Memory) is a key component in a system responsible for the short-term memory bank that the system can draw quickly. Not enough RAM can result in a sluggish and unresponsive system, and nobody wants that. More RAM is always beneficial but too much can result in diminishing returns. It is always better to run 2 RAM modules in dual-channel versus a single stick of RAM of the same capacity. We've listed the general amounts of RAM needed for running different applications

  • 8GBs: Browsing Internet, Emails, Streaming Movies
  • 16GBs: Spreadsheets, Light Gaming, Multitasking Programs
  • 32GBs: HD Gaming, Content Creation, Basic Video Editing, Graphic Design
  • 64GBs: 3D Modeling, 4K/8K Video Editing, Simulation, Game Dev.
  • 128GB and More: Deep Learning, Database Server, HPC applications

What is the difference between DDR4 and DDR5?

DDR4 was first introduced to us back in 2014 and brought unprecedented changes to DDR3 and is still going strong. But that was almost eight years ago. A new generation of memory addresses the higher computational demands and complexity of newer CPUs, GPUs, storage, and protocols. DDR5 has been out for about a year and has only recently landed in consumers' hands. Since next-generation Intel Alder Lake and AMD Zen 4 (both supporting DDR5) release later this year, we want to provide as much information about DDR5 and its differences from the last generation.

Pins and Installation

DDR5 is the same length and contains the same number of pins as DDR4 models (288 pins). DDR5 will have a thinner PCB and decreased height. However, DDR5 cannot be used interchangeably with DDR4 since the keying notch is in slightly different locations. Not to mention, each pin on the module sticks holds different functions, so please do not go cutting grooves in your DDR5 in hopes to install them onto your DDR4 motherboard. To accompany the new DDR5 memory, you will need to purchase a new DDR5 motherboard.

Bit Channel

DDR5 changes how data transfers through the bit-bus. DDR4 sports a single 64-bit channel whereas DDR5 utilizes dual 32-bit channels. This allows more precise data transfers instead of waiting for an entire 64-bit transfer over the bit-bus. Also, DDR5 has 32 banks doubling the 16 banks in DDR4. Every time data transfers from the memory bank there is a cooldown period before it can fire again. Therefore, more banks will allow cooldowns to occur more frequently, resulting in fewer bottlenecks. When installing 2 RAM modules for dual-channel configurations, DDR5 will use a 4 x 32-bit configuration as opposed to the traditional 2x 64-bit configuration on DDR4.


DDR5 will offer larger sizes per stick of RAM! Currently, consumer DDR4 supports up to a die size of 16Gbs, and the maximum a module can hold is 32GBs. For DDR5, the die sizes quadruple to 64Gbs meaning that a single RAM module could have upwards of 128GBs per DIMM. Current DDR5 single stick modules cap at 64GB; as DDR5 becomes more adopted, we expect larger single DIMM capacities.


Not only has the density increased but also the speed. DDR4 peak speeds are 3200 mega transfers per second (usually denoted after RAM capacity). DDR5 starts at 4800 and can reach upwards of 6400 mega transfers per second and more as DDR5 develops. These higher data rates mean an increase in memory bandwidth for higher speeds. Keep in mind, that a double in data rates does not equate to double the performance.


Addition of a Power Management Integrated Circuit (PMIC)

The larger capacity DDR5 will need to distribute power more efficiently. In previous DDR generations, the motherboard directly provided voltage to RAM slots limiting motherboards to certain RAM speeds and voltages. DDR5 incorporated a PMIC that takes a single 5V from the motherboard and then distributes it among the RAM dies in a more controlled and efficient way. The addition of a PMIC allows for better voltage regulation and overclocking, as well as reduces wasted wattage and electrical noise. DDR5 lowered the default voltage from 1.2 to 1.1, a small change but has an impact on decreasing power consumption and a healthy advancement for preserving battery life in laptops and handhelds.

Error Correction Code Now Standard

Error correction code (ECC) memory is a type of RAM mainly found in workstations and servers but not in consumer-level modules. ECC automatically detects and corrects memory errors to prevent data corruption and is valued by professionals and businesses with critical data. Non-ECC RAM suffers a 0.6% failure rate; ECC-equipped RAM has a tiny 0.09% failure rate, almost six times the stability. DRR5 now incorporates ECC as standard in all modules, both in workstations and servers, as well as consumer-grade DDR5.


DDR5 is still relatively new to the consumer market for implementation in our systems. Keep in mind that upgrading to DDR5 does not offer drastic increases in performance since components currently are still optimized for DDR4. However, DDR5 will soon be the standard; more and more applications will benefit from the advantages of DDR5.

If you are looking for an upgrade in just your memory, we believe DDR5 would not be the best choice since it requires the purchase of a new motherboard as well. If you plan to purchase or build a new system with next-generation Intel and AMD CPUs coming later in 2022, DDR5 is a great investment to future-proof your new system and take advantage of DDR5 speeds and capabilities.

SabrePC stocks the DDR5 RAM you need for your next build! Be sure to pair it with a DDR5 compatible motherboard! If you are unsure of what you need, contact SabrePC today!






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