While it is extremely hard to find regular DDR5 DIMM memory modules to install into Intel Alder Lake/Z690-based desktops, you can actually buy DDR5 SO-DIMMs for next-generation notebooks and small form-factor designs today. You just have to buy them in Japan and have them shipped your way. And you'll have to find something to plug them into, as there aren't any systems on the market yet that support DDR5 SO-DIMMs.
Ark, a well-known electronics store in Japan, currently offers dual-channel 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB DDR5-4800 SO-DIMM kits with Micron or SK Hynix memory (via @momomo_us). Since the memory sticks follow JEDEC standards, they come without heat spreaders. The modules themselves are probably made by Micron and SK Hynix themselves (or a contract maker), but they are sold under the Ark Selection Memory brand. They come with CL40-39-39 timings.
Numerous manufacturers, including Apacer, Crucial, and TeamGroup, formally announced their SO-DIMM modules for upcoming laptop and small form-factor platforms quarters ago (SanMax even demonstrated them). Still, none of them have hit retail outlets so far. That means that Ark is the first retailer to have DDR5 So-DIMMs on shelves.
DDR5 SO-DIMM Pricing at Ark Store in Japan
|Price in Yen (with tax)||Price in USD (without tax)|
|Micron 16GB (2x8GB)||17,980||$146|
|Micron 32GB (2x16GB)||36,080||$294|
|Micron 64GB (2x32GB)||73,980||$603|
|SK Hynix 16GB (2x8GB)||17,578||$143|
|SK Hynix 32GB (2x16GB)||33,980||$277|
|SK Hynix 64GB (2x32GB)||72,800||$593|
There is one caveat with the kits, though: At present, there are no machines to install them in. Laptops based on Intel's 12th Gen Core 'Alder Lake' processors are due early next year, and so are compact desktops based on mainstream Alder Lake CPUs. Additionally, DIY platforms that use DDR5 SO-DIMMs are probably months away.
Yet, considering the scarce availability of regular DDR5 DIMMs for desktops, some people might buy DDR5 SO-DIMMs well ahead of the launch of the appropriate platforms. Furthermore, keeping in mind that ongoing shortages of DDR5 DIMMs are caused by the short supply of power management ICs (PMICs), once notebooks with DDR5 hit the market, those shortages will worsen.
However, the good news is that makers of PMICs might ramp up production of these chips in time for the ramp of mainstream DDR5-supporting platforms, which will improve the availability of all DDR5 modules.
DDR5 SO-DIMM pricing is quite high for now, especially because we're talking about mainstream JEDEC-standard DDR5-4800 memory modules. But prices in Japan are generally high. Furthermore, Ark is selling rather exclusive products, so it wants a premium.