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ASRock Z790 and H770 Motherboards Will Support Both DDR4 and DDR5

ASRock Z690 Taichi
(Image credit: ASRock)

Intel's upcoming Raptor Lake architecture will support both DDR4 and DDR5 memory standards, according to a leaked list of in-development ASRock Z790 and H770 motherboards obtained by Videocardz. The list, which is not exhaustive, names 12 Z790 and H770 models, including four DDR4 variants, that are allegedly in active development. By supporting both DDR4 and DDR5, Intel one-ups AMD — whose new AM5 platform and Ryzen 7000 processors will only support DDR5.

Intel's upcoming Raptor Lake will be an enhancement of Intel's current 12th Gen Alder Lake architecture, featuring higher core frequencies and twice the number of E-cores on each model. We don't know all the details about Raptor Lake at this time, but reports suggest we could be looking at 5.8 GHz boost clocks as the norm on the new lineup.

According to the leaked information, ASRock is working on 12 new 700 series boards. The list shows nine Z790 boards, including a Taichi model, as well as Pro RS, PG Lightning, PG Riptide, and C models. There are also three H770 boards listed, including two PG Lightning variants and a Steel Legend model.

What's most exciting is that four of the 12 listed motherboards are DDR4-specific variants, including the Z790-C, Z790 PG Lightning, Z790M PG Lighting (micro-ATX), and the H770 PG Lighting. This will give Raptor Lake customers the option to choose DDR5 or DDR4 — the latter of which is still much cheaper.

Supporting DDR4 on Raptor Lake makes a lot of sense from Intel's perspective. Both Raptor Lake and Alder Lake were originally confirmed to share the exact same socket and will be both forward- and backward-compatible with 600-series and 700-series chipsets. This alone almost necessitates DDR4 support on Raptor Lake, since Alder Lake also supports both memory standards.

But this will play out even better in the competition with AMD: AMD has confirmed that its new AM5 platform will only support DDR5. If DDR5 remains much pricier than DDR4, Raptor Lake might end up being a much cheaper platform to adopt for both upgrades and new system builds. 

Only time will tell, however. DDR5 prices are falling and AMD believes they'll only get better as DDR5 adoption rises with its Ryzen 7000 processors. We don't have official launch dates for Raptor Lake yet, but Videocardz believes it could drop in Q3 or Q4, which, if true, would put Raptor Lake right in line with the Ryzen 7000's fall launch window.

Aaron Klotz
Aaron Klotz

Aaron Klotz is a freelance writer for Tom’s Hardware US, covering news topics related to computer hardware such as CPUs, and graphics cards.

  • -Fran-
    While I think it's great that Intel will keep DDR4 support with the new chipset and Raptor Lake (well, they kind of have to since, theoretically you can drop it in the current 600-series), it's kind of a doubled edged sword. Why? Well, Zen4/Ry7K will use DDR5 exclusively and we all know Alder Lake does lose a bit of performance when using DDR4 instead of DDR5, specially in games. So this will be an interesting conundrum for Intel. I mean, most consumers will benefit from this and I like that as I said, but I still find interesting the potential problem Raptor Lake will face. How ironic that now Intel's backward support may be used against it in fighting for the top. Well, I'm guessing most reviewers will just use DDR5 only for RL/13K and Zen4/Ry7K, then compare to DDR4. Man, they'll have a fun time testing Intel systems twice, lol.

    Regards.
    Reply
  • King_V
    -Fran- said:
    and we all know Alder Lake does lose a bit of performance when using DDR4 instead of DDR5

    You have this backwards. Well, unless you're talking DDR5-6000, and, other than people with more money than sense, nobody is going to pay that much extra for high-end DDR5 to get maybe 1-2 fps gain over DDR4-3200 / DDR4-3600.

    That's probably why they're doing it. Once AMD moves to DDR5 exclusively, Intel may be able to use DDR4 to undercut them on total system price. Unless DDR5 is more widely available at that time, and/or AMD reaps better benefits from DDR5 than Intel did (that last bit's a little speculation on my part, though)
    Reply
  • DRagor
    It makes upgrade cheaper for anyone who has decent ddr4 in current build - you need just mobo and CPU. True, you lose some performance, but especially at budget builds that's acceptable tradeoff.
    Reply
  • -Fran-
    King_V said:
    You have this backwards. Well, unless you're talking DDR5-6000, and, other than people with more money than sense, nobody is going to pay that much extra for high-end DDR5 to get maybe 1-2 fps gain over DDR4-3200 / DDR4-3600.

    That's probably why they're doing it. Once AMD moves to DDR5 exclusively, Intel may be able to use DDR4 to undercut them on total system price. Unless DDR5 is more widely available at that time, and/or AMD reaps better benefits from DDR5 than Intel did (that last bit's a little speculation on my part, though)
    Keep in mind the margin will widen a lot in less than a year when new DDR5 speeds come out. Buildzoid and der8auer have been constantly OC'ing DDR5 memory modules with stupid good results in Alder Lake, so I'm taking it from that perspective. I don't want to sound dismissive, but when they're gunning for "top dog", then every percentage matters to both camps, so "value" becomes irrelevant.

    Regards.
    Reply
  • InvalidError
    The problem with in-between motherboards that do dual RAM standards is that they rarely do either one particularly well. "Jack of all trades, master of none."
    Reply
  • Why_Me
    -Fran- said:
    While I think it's great that Intel will keep DDR4 support with the new chipset and Raptor Lake (well, they kind of have to since, theoretically you can drop it in the current 600-series), it's kind of a doubled edged sword. Why? Well, Zen4/Ry7K will use DDR5 exclusively and we all know Alder Lake does lose a bit of performance when using DDR4 instead of DDR5, specially in games. So this will be an interesting conundrum for Intel. I mean, most consumers will benefit from this and I like that as I said, but I still find interesting the potential problem Raptor Lake will face. How ironic that now Intel's backward support may be used against it in fighting for the top. Well, I'm guessing most reviewers will just use DDR5 only for RL/13K and Zen4/Ry7K, then compare to DDR4. Man, they'll have a fun time testing Intel systems twice, lol.

    Regards.
    Unlike AMD, Intel will offer consumers choices ... which is a good thing.
    Reply
  • Co BIY
    I was hoping ASrock figured out how to have both types supported on a single board.

    Seems possible.
    Reply
  • Alvar "Miles" Udell
    Kind of ironic when AMD had dual DDR3/2 RAM support with Phenom II...
    Reply
  • King_V
    -Fran- said:
    Keep in mind the margin will widen a lot in less than a year when new DDR5 speeds come out. Buildzoid and der8auer have been constantly OC'ing DDR5 memory modules with stupid good results in Alder Lake, so I'm taking it from that perspective. I don't want to sound dismissive, but when they're gunning for "top dog", then every percentage matters to both camps, so "value" becomes irrelevant.

    Regards.
    While that's true, that's a tiny percentage of the market. I don't believe that super-fast speeds of DDR5 (say 6600MHz? Higher?) will be a commonplace thing in the next year or so. Could be wrong, though.
    Reply
  • InvalidError
    King_V said:
    While that's true, that's a tiny percentage of the market. I don't believe that super-fast speeds of DDR5 (say 6600MHz? Higher?) will be a commonplace thing in the next year or so. Could be wrong, though.
    6400MT/s on DDR5 will likely be market life equivalent to DDR4-3200: it'll take about three years to hit the performance-per-dollar sweet spot.
    Reply