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DDR5 vs DDR4 RAM: Everything You Need To Know

DDR5 vs DDR4
After the processor and the graphics card, RAM memory is another hardware component you should take into account before buying a computer since its capacity will determine whether you'll be able to run demanding workflows fluidly or not.

Over the last few years, DDR4 RAM memory has been the standard in desktops, laptops, and even smartphones, as there's a variant -known as LPDDR4- that was developed independently of DDR standards with better power efficiency in mind.

However, the arrival of the newest DDR5 standard promises to take multitasking performance to a whole new level thanks to its higher level bandwidth, denser memory sticks, and lower energy consumption, as well as many other interesting features we're going to cover in this post.

Table of contents

Random-access memory, best known by the acronym "RAM", is one of the key components of a computer system since it's the place where temporary data that the processor is running is stored so it can finish processing tasks faster, allowing you to save more time when working on your everyday tasks, whether they are light or demanding ones.

In just a few words – if your computer didn’t have RAM memory, then none of your applications and even video games would work properly. Amongst these programs, we can mention the web browser, chatting apps, photo/video editing programs, virtual machines, streaming services, etc.

The data of these applications is stored as long as your devices are turned on because when you turn them off the data is erased, and the RAM is emptied. On the other hand, the more capacity your RAM has, the faster performance you'll get when running these apps. 

What's more, the more RAM you have, the more tasks you can handle at any given time, which is why one of the first tips you'll get when looking to improve your laptop's performance is to upgrade the RAM.

What is the most popular RAM standard?

Currently, most devices are equipped with the SDRAM (Synchronous dynamic random-access memory) standard. It’s synchronous because it syncs with the motherboard's data bus to improve performance, and at the same time, it's dynamic since the processor can allocate different amounts of memory to apps or loads as needed.

Nowadays, the most used RAM memory type is the Double Data Rate (DDR-RAM) standard, and it’s best known for being able to carry out two operations in each clock cycle, unlike the SDR (Single Data Rate) standard, which can only execute only one read or write operation at once.

DDR-RAM modules come in various designations – DDR2, DDR3, DDR4, and the newest DDR5 iteration. As of now, the DDR4 is the most popular type on desktop computers and laptops as it boasts lower voltage consumption, less cooling requirements, and higher data rate transfer speeds compared to the DDR3 module.

What is DDR5 RAM memory?

DDR5 is the latest SDRAM standard whose release on the market took place in mid-2020 with the promise of improving power efficiency while doubling bandwidth as well as octuplicate the DIMM capacity from the current 64 GB to a maximum of 512 GB and offering a higher frequency rate than DDR4.

Module Density

As seen in the previous iteration, DDR5 modules keep the same number of pins (288), while doubling the data burst size from 8 to 16. Also, there are two independent 40-bit channels per memory DIMM, whereas DDR4 only has one 72-bit channel.

Furthermore, DDR5 memory has managed to multiply the number of memory chips per DIMM module by four, which means that in the coming years, the RAM standard will go up from the current 8 GB to 16 GB of capacity, making it easier to upgrade it to 32 GB or even 64 GB if needed.


Unlike the 3200 MT/s speed reached by the DDR4 memory, the DDR5 standard can reach up to 4800 MT/s which means that it’s 1.87 times faster than its predecessor, making a big difference in terms of performance as it increases the speed with which memory transfers information to other components.

Main Features of DDR5 RAM

Among its best attributes, we’d like to point up the following:

  • Up to 30% greater power efficiency.
  • Up to 7200 Mbps of data transfer speed.
  • Up to 512 GB of capacity per DIMM module.
  • Up to 4800 Mbps of bandwidth
  • Up to 1 TB for Quad-Channel configurations
  • Voltage has been reduced from 1.2 V to 1.1 V
  • It packs two independent 32-bit memory channels
  • The maximum number of banks per bank group remains at four

DDR5 vs DDR4: Main Differences

Release date 2014 2020
Generation 4th generation 5th generation
Clock rate 800 - 1600 MHz 2400 - 3600 MHz
Voltage1.2 V 1.1 V
Transfer rate 3200 Mbps 4800 - 7200 Mbps
Pin count 288 288
Maximum capacity per DIMM module 64 GB 512 GB
Channels per DIMM module 1 memory channel 2 memory channels
Peak transfer rate 25.6 Gbps 51.2 Gbps
ECC built-in No No

Intel XMP 3.0

To improve your computer's performance, the DDR5 standard comes with the latest version of Intel’s eXtreme Memory Profile technology (3.0), allowing you to customize your own XMP profiles, adding two new personalized ones for a total of 5 XMP profiles that also can rewrite it and even name them too as long as your motherboard supports it.

On paper, XMP profiles are tables of settings, including clock speeds and timings that can be overclocked above the rated speeds of the PC industry so you can squeeze out the best performance when working on heavy workflows and playing demanding games.

Dynamic Memory Boost

Thanks to Intel's Dynamic Memory Boost technology, you'll be able to overclock the DDR5 RAM memory from the Windows user interface instead of doing so through the BIOS of your system. 

And for better performance, this technology can automatically increase the RAM's clock rate according to your computer’s load and workflow.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much RAM do I need with DDR5 memory?

When buying a new computer and depending on your needs, you can choose between several RAM options:

  • 4 GB: Sufficient enough for light tasks such as web browsing, text editing, local video playback, etc.
  • 8 GB: Good for multitasking, non-demanding gaming, and 4K streaming.
  • 16 GB: Recommended for video editing, average gaming, and coding.
  • 32 GB or more RAM: Ideal for professional 3D design and programming, professional video editing, 8K streaming, and hardcore gaming.

It's important to mention that with the newest DDR5 standard, the base capacity starts at 16 GB, which means that you can do most of your day-to-day tasks without your laptop so much as breaking a sweat.

Is there any difference when gaming?

After performing several performance tests, it is clear that there are no major differences when playing popular Triple-A titles, whether your PC has DDR4 RAM or DDR5 RAM memory, especially if you play them at 1080p, as most gamers usually do.

However, in some cases, you can get up to 10% better performance when playing certain games (War Thunder, DOOM Eternal, The Riftbreaker, Far Cry 6, and Assassin’s Creed Valhalla), while other titles perform poorly with the newest RAM standard, including Valorant, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and The Division 2.

In short, you should wait to pick up DDR5 for gaming as you won't see significant differences for now.

What processors support it?

As for the support of the DDR5 standard, it is known that Intel’s 12th-generation Alder Lake already supports it, while the upcoming Sapphire Rapids and 13th-Gen Raptor Lake CPUs will do it when they’re on the market.

Moreover, it’s official that AMD’s Epyc Genoa and Bergamo processors will also support it, while AMD’s Ryzen 6000 series already supports DDR5 and the LPDDR5 standard – an independent variant of DDR5 RAM intended for low-consumption mobile devices - .

Last but not least, Apple’s M1 Pro, M1 Max, and M1 Ultra chipsets also support LPDDR5 RAM.

Can I install DDR5 on a DDR4 motherboard?

As of now, only Intel 600 series motherboards, including the H610, B660, and H610 chipsets, support DDR5 RAM modules. And due to its incompatibility, you can’t install a DDR5 module on a DDR4 motherboard.

So, in order to get the benefits of this new standard, you’ll need to buy a DDR5 RAM motherboard which is already available in many forms factors, and they’re manufactured by famous brands such as ASUS, MSI, and Gigabyte, among others.

Do they get hotter than DDR4 memories?

Although its bandwidth, clock rate, and transfer rate are higher, DDR5 does not necessarily have to be hotter than the past iteration since it comes with lower voltage while featuring a technology that dynamically reduces both the working voltage and clock rate, according to the CPU's loads to prevent damage on the hardware components.

How much does it cost?

The DDR5 RAM price may vary according to their maximum capacity, so the 16 GB kit is around $150, while the 32 GB kit costs around $250.

The most expensive one, the 64 GB kit, can be found at over $450, mostly due to the current shortage of chipsets around the world, which led to scalper-level pricing on the market.

In any case, it's expected that the price of DDR5 RAM will lower as it becomes more mainstream over the following years. 

Where to buy a DDR5 RAM?

After making sure your motherboard supports it, you can buy DDR5 RAM on the most popular e-commerce, including Amazon, BestBuy, Newegg, B&H, and AliExpress.