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DDR5 Will Probably Cost 50% to 60% More Than DDR4

Trident Z5
Trident Z5 (Image credit: G.Skill)

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, MSI (via Overclock3D) 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. 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.

  • Alvar "Miles" Udell
    There was a steep early adopter penalty for DDR4 as well, especially if you went with Socket AM4 which had a litany of compatibility issues and required higher priced memory modules to guarantee compatibility.

    $188 for 16GB DDR4-3200...
    Reply
  • korekan
    no need to rush unless you are a streamer to showoff this or reviewer or too much money i dont know what to spend anymore
    Reply
  • Pytheus
    I'll have to see the benchmarks first before I can judge if it's worth the upgrade. DDR4 is still fairly new and most people buy the 3200 or 3600 speeds though faster speeds are available. Not sure how much faster one can go before you have diminishing returns on your investment.
    Reply
  • InvalidError
    Comparing DDR5-4800-40-40-40 to DDR4-3600-14-xx-xx isn't exactly fair since 4800-40 is a baseline JEDEC grade while 3600-14 is a very premium grade. 3600-18 still has significantly lower first-word latency than 4800-40 (equivalent to 4800-24) and is only slightly more expensive than now-bog-standard 3200-16.
    Reply
  • jkflipflop98
    Is this really news? New RAM tech is always more expensive than older tech. That's how it works.

    DDR was more expensive than DRAM when it first arrived
    DDR2 was more expensive than DDR when it first hit the scene.
    Same with DDR3. And DDR4. And now DDR5.
    Reply
  • Udyr
    jkflipflop98 said:
    Is this really news? New RAM tech is always more expensive than older tech. That's how it works.

    DDR was more expensive than DRAM when it first arrived
    DDR2 was more expensive than DDR when it first hit the scene.
    Same with DDR3. And DDR4. And now DDR5.
    Writer's gotta eat.
    Reply
  • helper800
    jkflipflop98 said:
    Is this really news? New RAM tech is always more expensive than older tech. That's how it works.

    DDR was more expensive than DRAM when it first arrived
    DDR2 was more expensive than DDR when it first hit the scene.
    Same with DDR3. And DDR4. And now DDR5.
    It definitely new when its reported to be this much more while also being much slower.
    Reply
  • InvalidError
    jkflipflop98 said:
    Is this really news? New RAM tech is always more expensive than older tech. That's how it works.
    Except this time around, you have the on-DIMM VRM, data and control buffer chips adding a significant chunk of cost that didn't exist on previous mainstream memory tech, which are going to greatly increase the baseline costs that cannot be optimized out of the design and mean DDR5 will remain at a relative premium until DDR4 prices rise from getting phased out of production.

    Things will be different in the high-memory server space where buffer chips were already the norm and the incremental cost of on-DIMM VRM is spread across a much larger typical memory size per DIMM.
    Reply
  • Eximo
    I recall dropping $300 on DDR3 1600 3x4GB kit. Not doing that again, especially to only have it slowly kill the motherboard.
    Reply
  • lazyabum
    The of computing today is really pathetic. So basically they're forcing us to pay for our own supercomputer at more than supercomputer prices in order to have a descent computer. Nothing is getting better, just absolutely worse.
    Reply