- DDR5 was recently launched for the average consumer, and so far, it is a hot topic for everyone as to which RAM type is the better choice, DDR4 vs. DDR5. With DDR4 being the norm for the last few years, DDR5 has performance improvements in every aspect.
- DDR5 RAM is much more technologically advanced; it is better in terms of performance, speed, latency, efficiency, and even power management, but still not the best when it comes to price-performance ratio – at least, that is the opinion so far.
- In this battle between DDR4 and DDR5, we’ll discuss which is the better choice, what things you need to know before buying RAM, and, most importantly, which is the best RAM kit for DDR4 and DDR5.
Since the introduction of DDR5 memory kits to the consumer market, there is one thing that everyone is talking about – which memory type between DDR4 and DDR5 is the best. While both RAM types have their pros and cons, we must remember that DDR5 has just entered the market, and DDR4 has been mainstream for over half a decade.
If we look at the technology of DDR4 and DDR5, DDR5 is better in almost every way: DDR5 has better performance, speed, bandwidth, and much more. But there is one point where DDR5 can’t even come close to matching DDR4, and that is in terms of value for the average consumer. DDR4 RAM is cheap and available everywhere in 2023. But cheap does not mean better in every respect.
If you are someone looking to upgrade to DDR5 RAM or if you are in the process of building your first PC, this blog is for you. In this guide, we will focus on which type of RAM is better in 2023 and what important factors you should consider before spending your hard-earned money on DDR4 or DDR5.
Table of Contents
DDR4 vs. DDR5: Tech specs
DDR5 has just been released and is not quite mature yet if we compare it to DDR4, but the technical specs DDR4 vs. DDR5, The latest RAM type (DDR5 ) wins in almost every single category, whether it’s speed, power management, bandwidth, etc. Let’s take a look at how DDR5 has improved compared to DDR4.
When it comes to DDR4 vs. DDR5, DDR5 has increased memory speeds from RAM at an incredible pace, while DDR4 speeds start at 1600 MHz and go up to 3200 MHz without overclocking, while minimum speeds for DDR5 RAM start at 4800 MHz and go up to 6400 MHz, which seems insane compared to DDR4, but that’s not even the tip of the iceberg, as companies like Kingston, Corsair and Samsung promise speeds of up to 10000 MHz, which is unimaginable, and some companies like XPG even state that speeds will go up to 12400 MHz in the future.
Latency of the Memory
This could be the only point where DDR4 has a slight advantage over DDR5: Memory latency plays a decisive role in the overall memory performance. The latency speeds of DDR4 compared to DDR5 are significantly lower, as most DDR5 modules so far only have a CAS latency of CL36 or CL40, while most DDR4 modules have a CAS latency of CL16 or CL15. That is significantly lower compared to DDR5.
However, in this technical rivalry between DDR4 and DDR5, this could also work in DDR5’s favor, as companies like G.SKILL recently announced their DDR5 modules RAM with a CAS latency of CL28, which shows that DDR5 memory is slowly catching up with DDR4 memory.
When it comes to DDR4 vs. DDR5, bandwidth plays an important role as DDR5 has greatly improved bandwidth efficiency and overall system bandwidth, while DDR4 RAM operates on the 64-bit bus with 8 bits for ECC and runs on 1 channel per dim, which is not very efficient in terms of data transfer to the CPU.
DDR5 memory operates at a 32-bit bus with 8 bits for ECC at 2 channels per dimm, making it much more efficient compared to DDR4.
In the technical comparison between DDR4 and DDR5, DDR5 is not only ahead in bandwidth efficiency but also in total bandwidth, offering 50% more bandwidth than DDR4.
Increase in Density
For DDR4 vs. DDR5, this is one of the best features of DDR5 memory compared to DDR4. While with DDR4 memory, each module can hold a maximum memory size of 64 GB; we can only hold either 2 gigabytes or 16 gigabits per die. With DDR5 memory, each individual chip can hold up to 8 gigabytes or 64 gigabits, which means that a single DDR5 die ( RAM ) can hold up to 128 gigabytes, which is amazing for people who work with servers or even for people who want to take their production workflows to the next level.
DDR5 RAM also offers an advantage for servers, as a single DDR5 module can hold up to 2 terabytes using a technology known as die stacking, which, of course, applies to memory in servers.
ECC in DDR5 modules
DDR5 memory supports on-die ECC, and that’s a big deal because ECC stands for Error Correction Code, helps correct any single-bit errors in read data, and also protects you from bit-flip errors. The best part is that all of these errors are corrected in real-time. Previously, any DDR4 RAM didn’t include ECC modules on the die, and you’d have to get new RAM sticks that support ECC by default, which is more expensive than regular DDR4 modules.
ECC not only helps you solve small errors in real-time but can also help you with memory problems and errors in Windows, which in some cases can even damage your hardware.
When it comes to DDR4 vs. DDR5, we can say that DDR5 is a new technology and, therefore, better than DDR4 in almost all specifications. So, are there any significant performance improvements between DDR4 and DDR5?
Performance improvements with DDR5
If we look at the technical data of DDR4 vs. DDR5 RAM, we can see that DDR5 RAM is basically an improvement in all areas. While this statement is true, the performance improvements that should be expected from DDR5 memory are nowhere to be found. To clarify, let’s take a look at what kind of performance improvements we see here.
Gaming Performance in DDR4 vs. DDR5
While most games could take advantage of the fast DDR4 memory, many popular titles are simply not optimized for DDR5 yet.
Let’s take an example of 3 popular games.
- Cyberpunk 2077: In Cyberpunk, we can see a 1 to 3% performance increase when comparing DDR4 to DDR5. However, we need to mention that DDR4 RAM, which is shown in the graph, is a 3200MHz CL14 kit, while DDR5 is a 6000MHz CL40.
- Red Dead Redemption 2: There are only very minor improvements in the comparison between DDR4 and DDR5. These are almost negligible, and the most important thing is that the DDR4 shown in the graph RAM is a 3200MHz CL14 kit compared to DDR5, which is 5200MHz CL40.
- Rainbow Six Siege: There is also only a 2% difference between DDR4 and DDR5 in Rainbow Six, and no difference between DDR5 5200 MHz and DDR5 6000 MHz.
Productivity performance in DDR4 vs. DDR5
Again, if you’re looking for higher multi-threaded performance or something like 3D modeling and 2D or 3D animation, DDR4 is the way to go because in most benchmarks like Cinebench or Blender, low-latency DDR4 memory performs much better than high-latency DDR5. You can take a look at the benchmarks yourself.
Looking at the performance results, it’s safe to assume that RAM latency plays a bigger role than RAM speed, but that will be fixed in the next few years with DDR5 RAM as more applications are optimized for it, but for now, DDR4 seems better than DDR5.
Cost to upgrade in DDR4 vs. DDR5
At this point, you will find the answer to your question: upgrading from a DDR4-based system to another DDR4 system is as simple as replacing the RAM sticks; you don’t have to factor in the additional cost of a motherboard and a new CPU. DDR5 is different: upgrading from a DDR4-based system to a DDR5-based system will cost you much more, as we have to factor in the additional cost of the DDR5 RAM modules, as most modules cost at least $30 to $50 more than DDR4.
Next, we need to take a look at the CPUs because all systems that support DDR4 will not work with DDR5 memory. You’ll need to invest in a new generation of Intel and AMD CPUs to use your new DDR5 memory. While the latest generation of Intel CPUs (12th and 13th generation) work with both DDR4 and DDR5 memory RAM, AMD’s latest and greatest offering only works with DDR5 memory, which in turn costs you more money.
If you go for an entry-level Intel motherboard like the H610, B660, or B760, chances are you’ll find a decent motherboard that supports DDR4 RAM, but if you go for a high-end board with Z690 or Z 790 chipset, you’ll have to use DDR5 in most cases RAM. With AMD, the situation is quite different: If you want to invest in AMD’s latest and greatest Ryzen 7000 series, you’ll have to spend money on DDR5 memory since AMD 7000 series CPUs don’t work with DDR4 RAM.
Whether you choose an entry-level motherboard (A-620) or a high-end motherboard (X-670).
Which one should you pick: DDR4 vs. DDR5?
From all this, one very clear thing emerges: DDR4 may be the cheaper or more sensible option at the moment, but DDR5 is the future. When it comes to performance between DDR4 and DDR5, DDR4 is neck and neck with DDR5 RAM, and the upgrade cost of DDR4 is also cheaper compared to DDR5, which makes sense since DDR5 is a new technology and DDR4 is almost half a decade old, which is why it’s cheaper right now, but that won’t be the case for too much longer.
Even though DDR5 is still expensive at the moment, the price has come down significantly since its introduction. And most importantly, upcoming CPUs will only support DDR 5 RAM, which will bring the cost down even further. We think that DDR4 is the best option if you have a limited budget, but if you want to future-proof your system, DDR5 is the best choice. Over time, support for DDR5 memory will continue to grow, making it the top choice in 2023 and beyond.
Best DDR4 and DDR5 memory modules
Suppose you followed the article thoroughly and finally decided on a memory type; congratulations on your decision. Here are some of the best memory modules you can get right now.
Best DDR 5 RAM kits
Best DDR4 RAM kits
FAQs about DDR5 vs DDR4
1. Which is the best memory to get right now: DDR4 or DDR5?
If you have no budget constraints and value the latest and greatest, DDR5 memory is the way to go because DDR4 will become obsolete over time, and there is no upgrade path.
2. Will DDR5 memory improve my gaming performance?
Even though most games are not currently optimized for DDR5 RAM, you can be sure that many games will soon support DDR5 RAM, and you will get better performance than with DDR4 memory.
3. Which is the best memory to go for if you are on a budget in DDR4 vs. DDR5?
If you have a limited budget, you can assume that you won’t spend much on all the components. In this case, DDR4 memory makes more sense since most applications don’t currently benefit from the higher speeds that DDR5 memory offers. However, that could change in the future.
4. Will DDR5 memory support overclocking?
Yes, DDR5 memory can be overclocked, but you will need a motherboard that can overclock the RAM. Most DDR5 kits can reach up to 6000 MHz when overclocked.
5. How to find the latency of a DDR5 memory?
To find out the Cas latency of DDR5 memory, you should visit the website of the manufacturer that built the stick RAM and look for CL timings in the specifications. To find out the memory latency, you should always try to get RAM with the lowest latency possible.