After much wait, the JEDEC Solid State Technology Association has finally released the specification of DDR5 SDRAM, successor to DDR4; it will work as a blueprint for upcoming CPU platform designs and will aim to take memory density and frequency to new heights.
Here you will find complete information about the newly released DDR5 SDRAM.
What is DDR5 SDRAM?
DDR5 SDRAM is an abbreviation for “Double Data Rate 5 Synchronous Dynamic Random-Access Memory” and it’s the newest memory standard, which will begin to replace DDR4 RAM.
The JEDEC Solid State Technology Association published the JESD79-5 DDR5 SDRAM standard in July 2020. DDR5 was supposed to be released back in 2018, but there have been multiple delays.
Like previous DDR generations – adoption is predicted to be slow.
Initially, servers are expected to drive the early adoption of DDR5, but expect mainstream adoption to begin in late 2021. Demand for DDR5 is expected to grow quickly in the next two years.
According to the International Data Corporation (IDC), DDR5 is estimated to account for 22% of the DRAM market in 2021 and then increase to 43% of total DRAM sales in 2022.
DDR5 Release Date
SK Hynix has released some data earlier in 2020 on DDR5 memory they’re planning to mass produce by the end of the year and into 2021. The data was impressive to say the least.
What Can You Expect From DDR5 RAM?
The three major benefits of DDR5 are increased performance, bandwidth and lower power.
Here’s what we know:
- Memory Frequency
DDR5 will increase performance and bandwidth out of the gate. When DDR4 was initially released it started out at 1600MHz and officially grew to 3200MHz. However, some memory manufacturers are offering overclocked DDR4 memory up to 5000MHz, albeit at a prohibitive cost.
On release, DDR5 memory frequency will range between 3200MHz to 8400MHz.
It has been reported that memory manufacturers expect all DDR5 to run at 4800MHz or faster.
Those are huge increases when compared to DDR4 and it’s why everyone is excited. Once launched DDR5 will have at minimum 50% more bandwidth (4800 MHz vs. 3200MHZ) than DDR4.
- Memory Density
DDR5 will be able to support up to 64GB memory capacity – up from 16GB for DDR4. A single DIMM can support 64GB DDR5 memory, so when using double-capacity, the maximum capacity is 128GB.
The different densities for a DDR4 single chip are 2GB, 4GB, 8GB or 16GB. With DDR5, there are going to be five different single chip densities – those are 8GB, 16GB, 24GB, 32GB or 64GB.
SK Hynix is expected to mass produce DDR5 memory with 8400MHz and 64GB density this year.
- Lower Power Consumption
DDR5 will have lower power consumption. The overall power consumption has been reduced by 20% and that will also help with limiting heat generation at higher frequencies.
The VDD/VDDQ will drop to 1.1V with DDR5, down from 1.2V with DDR4. The VPP has seen a significant drop from 2.5V (DDR4) to 1.8V (DDR5). The lower power consumption is ideal for mobile devices.
Smartphones and tablets rely on RAM that’s energy efficient to lengthen battery life.
- Burst Length
When DDR4 was released the burst length (BL) stayed the same as it was with DDR3 (8 bits), but with DDR5, the burst length has been increased to 16 bits, which will be a welcome improvement.
- Bank Structure
There will be a new 32-bank structure (8 bank groups), which will improve performance. With DDR4, there was a 16-bank structure (4 bank groups), so the number of banks has now doubled.
Another new function is the “Same Bank Refresh”, which essentially means that each memory bank will be able to refresh independently. With DDR4 this wasn’t possible and banks needed to refresh simultaneously. This new feature allows for performance improvements when dealing with larger memory capacities, which was starting to become a problem with DDR4.
- ECC Error Correction
DDR4 memory needs an additional chip to perform ECC error correction, but that’s no longer the case with DDR5, as the function has now been implemented into each DRAM.
As you can see, there have been a lot of performance upgrades for DDR5.
DDR5 Vs DDR4- What’s the Difference?
|Device Densities||8Gb – 64Gb||2Gb – 16Gb|
|Max UDIMM Size||128 GB||32 GB|
|Data Rates||3,200 – 6,400 MTps||1,600 – 3,200 MTps|
|Burst Length||BL16, BL32 (and BC8 OTF, BL32 OTF)||BL8 (and BL4)|
|Bank Groups (BG) / Banks||8 BG x 2 banks (8Gb x4/x8), 4 BG x 2 banks (8Gb x16), 8 BG x 4 banks (16-64Gb x4/x8), 4 BG x 4 banks (16-64Gb x16)||4 BG x 4 banks (x4/x8), 2 BG x 4 banks (x16)|
|REFRESH Commands ||All bank and same bank||All bank|
|VDD / VDDQ / VPP ||1.1 / 1.1 / 1.8||1.2 / 1.2 / 2.5|
When Can I Buy DDR5?
DDR5 will initially be geared towards high-end systems with a lot of CPU cores.
The initial price will likely be high as well like in previous generations of DDR SDRAM. With that being said, we do have some clues as to when consumers may be able to utilize DDR5.
Some top-end DDR4 RAM still costs upwards of $200 and with the huge improvements for DDR5, we may see the initial price well above $200, but like most technology products, the price will begin to drop rather quickly once availability/demand starts picking up among consumers.
Should You Buy DDR5?
We recommend not rushing into purchasing DDR5, as DDR4 is comparable and unless you deal with artificial intelligence (AI), data analytics or you’re a huge PC gamer, benefits may not be noticeable.
The price is also going to restrict early adoption of DDR5 SDRAM. Another factor that’ll determine when consumers should buy DDR5 is software/hardware compatibility.
Intel isn’t expected to support DDR5 on servers until next year. While I expect to see some consumer DDR5 options come into the market in 2021, prices won’t become reasonable until 2022 at the very earliest, so consumers still have lots of time to research the all-new powerful memory standard.
If you’re in the market right now for upgraded RAM – DDR4 is still the best option.
To wrap things up, we now know the capabilities of DDR5. There are going to be huge improvements, including twice the bandwidth (memory frequency) and huge upgrades to memory density.
DDR5 will also use less power and includes multiple new functions.
We also know DDR5 will first be implemented on servers, then high-end gaming PCs and then finally to consumer PCs/laptops. It could still be awhile before most consumers adopt DDR5.
Now that JEDEC has published the JESD79-5 DDR5 SDRAM standard, I expect more news to start filtering out from the big memory manufacturers and what their roadmap is for DDR5.
We’ll keep you up-to-date on all of the latest DDR5 news and as soon as we’re able to test out DDR5, you’ll all be the first to know. It’s definitely time to start getting excited about DDR5.