With every passing year, the world of hardware seems to be accelerating at an even faster pace. With that said, DDR4 has remained the de-facto standard for a few years when it came to both gaming and professional use. However, with the swift introduction of DDR5 memory, is it finally time to upgrade?
Before delving into the specifics, it is important to note that DDR5 memory is still in its early stages of adaption. Therefore, while you might not be able to reap all the benefits that the faster memory offers right now, you’ll be able to see the difference as more games and applications start utilizing the faster memory.
What Is DDR5?
DDR5’s primary aim is simple, to improve memory bandwidth, increase storage capacity and reduce latency. Therefore, with a DDR5 module, you can expect a higher amount of memory to be fitted on a single DIMM slot, greater frequencies, and snappier response times.
In essence, it improves on the previous DDR4 standard in every manner.
Advantages and Disadvantages of DDR5
With every new generational change, be it memory or a connection standard (USB-A to USB-C), there are a few caveats that one should take into regard.
- Storage Capacity: If you aren’t in the mood for just 128 GBs of RAM, or your workflow demands more, DDR5 can fit up to 512 GBs with the same amount of memory sticks on a typical ATX motherboard.
- Memory Bandwith: Newer CPUs (especially Ryzens) work better with greater memory speeds. DDR5 can exceed speeds of more than 6,000 MHz. Therefore, you’ll be able to utilize your CPU to the max!
- Lower Power Consumption DDR4 has a rated VPP of 1.2 V while DDR5 is slightly more efficient at 1.2 V. While this isn’t a major difference, it can lead to lower thermal emissions.
- Pricing: Currently, DDR5 is extremely expensive due to the technology’s age. Therefore, you are expected to pay a premium just for being an early adapter.
- Compatibility: Not every motherboard is compatible with DDR5. In fact, only motherboards produced from late 2020 have a chance of supporting the newer standard.
Is DDR5 Worth It?
For all intents and purposes, DDR5 is better than DDR4 in every way and is, therefore, worth it. However, this begs the question, is it a worthwhile investment at its current stage?
To answer that, you’ll need to take a deep dive into your current use case and what your upgrade path looks like. For example, if your average workload revolves around word processing and watching YouTube videos, DDR5 isn’t going to make any significant difference.
However, if you are into gaming, then that’s a whole different story. While modern AAA titles aren’t really taking advantage of the increased speeds yet, players who are on the newer architecture are already seeing increases in their FPS due to the virtue of the memory just being plain faster.
Making A Choice
But, your purchase decision should not just revolve around raw data. But, instead, a few factors need to be taken into regard. Firstly, do you have a pre-existing DDR4 system? If you do, upgrading might not be the smartest choice. Why’s that? Because you’ll need to upgrade your motherboard alongside purchasing an expensive set of memory. Ultimately, you won’t be getting as much performance compared to the amount you’ll be paying.
On the other hand, if you are building a completely new rig and have the luxury of purchasing all your parts at once, then DDR5 makes a lot more sense. While you will, indeed be paying a hefty premium for the newer memory module, you won’t need to spend extra money later on upgrading from DDR4 to DDR5.
Does DDR5 Improve FPS in Games?
Yes, even in the initial current stages, DDR5 boosts your games’ FPS by a decent margin. The extent of which though can only be determined by factoring in what actual bottleneck your system has. If you have an extremely beefy setup, then there’s a high chance your DDR4 RAM might’ve been a bottleneck to your FPS.
However, for the average Joe, you’ll only be seeing a 10-15% performance when you jump ship from DDR4 to DDR5. The primary advantage though is the overall responsiveness you’ll be seeing in your system from opening windows to switching from one tab to the other in Chrome.
Is There A Difference Between Each DDR5 RAM?
Yes! Just like the previous generation, there’s a huge difference between DDR5 memory modules. You’ll be able to find all sorts of different specifications. Your purchase decision though is ultimately dependent on your needs in this case too.
However, here are some factors that differentiate a DDR5 RAM stick from the other:
This one’s quite obvious, the higher the capacity, the greater amount of memory you have to work around with. Generally, we recommend staying in the 32 GB / stick space for most consumers / gamers.
Bonus Tip: If you are planning to purchase 32 GBs of RAM for instance, purchase them in pairs! Placing your RAMs in dual channel substantially increases overall performance.
Even DDR5 RAMs are further bifurcated due to their memory speeds and overall timings. You don’t need to go for extremely fast DDR5 RAM if all you need is a few extra frames when playing games. However, the speedier you go, the more costly your RAM will get.
This brings us to an impasse, what DDR5 RAM should you end up getting? Well, the best DDR5 RAMS for you tend to have a mixture of reliability, speed, capacity, and aesthetics. Plus, don’t forget after-sales support.
Since DDR5 is an emerging technology, we’ll be seeing tons of new products hitting the shelves alongside prices ultimately going down as the months continue. However, for now, picking up a DDR5 stick still is a worthy investment given that your general workflow can take advantage of the added speed.