More is always better, and it seems that more is very much what we’re getting when DDR5 hits the mainstream later this year. The new supercharged RAM modules offer more capacity, more speed, more bandwidth, and more latency. But that last one’s not a bad thing according to Corsair’s blog, which has been expanding upon the growth of its RAM lines to include the new standard.
Intel’s Alder Lake chips, due later this year, and AMD’s Zen 4 coming next year, are expected to support DDR5, though will likely be compatible with DDR4 as well, allowing motherboard manufacturers to choose which slots they solder onto their boards. As with all new technologies, DDR5 is likely to be expensive at first, but with capacities of up to 128GB per stick and bandwidth of 51 GBps (at 6400 MHz - available at launch) it might be worth the premium.
The baseline speed looks like being 4800MHz, but DDR5 includes some improvements over DDR4 that should mitigate the effects of the extra CAS latency this will bring: "With DDR5, individual modules are split into two separate channels by design, allowing for shorter traces that contribute to less latency and higher speeds when it comes to communicating with individual memory ICs on a memory module," Corsair explains in its PDF.
"This also allows for what's referred to as command / address mirroring since the signal from the CPU has to travel a shorter overall path to access specific banks of memory, whereas in DDR4, a command/address signal had to travel through all banks of memory in a longer chain. Overall single access latency with DDR5 is relatively unchanged, while CAS Latency has increased, the overall latency of a top-tier DDR5 kit will be similar to previous generations of DRAM clocking in at 14-15ns."
When we will actually get our hands on such modules is hard to say, though Corsair insists they’re coming ‘soon’. It’s very likely to launch with the high-end Alder Lake motherboards, so we’ll have a better idea once we know when Intel’s 12th generation will arrive.