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Should I Upgrade to DDR5 Memory?

DDR5 is nearly upon us. Starting late 2021, and into 2022, the question of whether to upgrade to DDR5 or not is going to become very common.

There are a lot of factors to consider before ditching your DDR4-based build. The following article will go over a few of those to help you make the best decision.

It’s New Tech.

There’s no getting around it. DDR5 is new technology and with that comes certain risks to early adopters. While the launches of DDR4 and DDR3 before it went smoothly, there is nothing to say that DDR5 will be the same. Memory compatibility with motherboards is always a concern, even now with DDR4, so adding new technology to the mix means that if you are considering a new DDR5 based build, you should pay extra special attention to the motherboard manufacturers QVL list. This helps to ensure you are buying a DDR5 kit that will work, straight out of the box with your chosen motherboard.

It’s Pricey.

It’s pretty much a sure thing that DDR5 is going to expensive when it first comes out. This is in line with previous launches of new memory technology. Not only that, 2021 saw a steady rise in DDR4 memory prices along with many other forms of computer technology, due to COVID and other factors.

Not only is the cost of the memory upgrade itself going to be high, both of the upcoming socket refreshes, AMD’s AM5 and Intel’s Alder Lake, will necessitate a completely new motherboard and CPU. Moving to DDR5 means you need to buy three new and expensive components.

Your DDR5 will not work in your current AM4 or LGA1200 motherboard.

It’s Performance.

When DDR4 first arrived on the scene, a lot of users were already running DDR3 memory, with high speeds, and tight timings. The newer DDR4 was offering the same performance when compared to high-performance DDR3 kits. It’s safe to assume that the entry level DDR5 kits are going to perform around the same level as high end DDR4. That makes the upgrade to DDR5 memory a bit of a tougher decision as that high end DDR4 likely cost you a good sum of cash. Coupled with the fact you need to also upgrade your motherboard and CPU, it becomes expensive for perhaps a marginal gain.

Once the DDR5 performance numbers come out, we are going to be in a great position to compare the performance of DDR5 vs high-end DDR4.

So, Do I Upgrade?

It depends. If you are itching for an upgrade and are on an older CPU such as an Intel 7700k, you could very likely justify a full upgrade to incorporate DDR5. This is going to be a large outlay, but with a solid motherboard, you are going to be able to support DDR5 for some time.

On the other hand, if you are running a late model setup, such as an AM4 5800X, or Intel 10700k with high end DDR4, you are unlikely to see large performance gains based on the memory upgrade to DDR5. We don’t yet know what the newer CPU’s are going to to provide on performance, but based on memory alone, the difference will be negligible.

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