Bleeding-edge technology is never cheap, and memory isn't any different. Therefore, it would be naive to think that initial DDR5 offerings would rival the best RAM and be accessible to mainstream consumers. In its latest blog entry (opens in new tab), MSI (via Overclock3D (opens in new tab)) has shared its thoughts on DDR5 pricing.
The first DDR5 memory kits will debut alongside Intel´s 12th Generation Alder Lake processors, which are rumored to launch on November 4. However, retailers had jumped the gun and briefly listed a couple of DDR5 memory kits, giving some consumers took the opportunity to purchase them before Alder Lake's launch.
"Historically, newer memory technology has always commanded close to a 30-40% premium over the previous generation. However, this time, DDR5 includes additional components that have driven the costs up further. As a result, we expect a 50-60% price premium compared to DDR4 at launch. It typically takes around 2 years to reach price parity with previous generations, and we expect trends to remain similar with DDR5 modules as well," wrote the MSI rep in the blog.
TeamGroup's and GeIL's DDR4-4800 C40 32GB (2x16GB) memory kits previously went up for purchase at $310 and $350, respectively. We can't really compare the DDR5-4800 memory kit to a DDR4 equivalent yet since we haven't tested the former yet. For comparison, a DDR4-3600 C14 32GB (2x16GB) memory kit, which is a common option in the market, retails for $269.99 (opens in new tab). If we compare that to GeIL's RGB-lit DDR5 memory kit, we're looking at a 30% premium, a bit far from MSI's estimate.
It's plausible that the DDR5-4800 memory kits that were on sale carried preliminary pricing or were placeholders. We wouldn't be surprised if the final pricing is more expensive than what they sold for. Memory vendors, including G.Skill, Galax and TeamGroup have lifted the curtains on their DDR5 memory products. However, not one brand revealed the pricing for the products, adding more uncertainty to the market.
Given the situation of the global semiconductor shortage, we don't espect DDR5 memory kits to be widely available, and if they were, they'll probably cost an arm and a leg so MSI's prediction may end up being a reality for Alder Lake adopters. Luckily, Alder Lake also supports DDR4 so there's hope that the upgrade path to the new hybrid desktop platform won't force consumers to break their piggy banks.