DDR5 will boost bandwidth and lower power consumption

Memory standards tend to stick around for a long time. The DDR3 RAM still supported by the memory controllers inside Intel's Kaby Lake CPUs first hit the scene all the way back in 2007, though the speeds have increased and the operating voltage and power consumption went down in the intervening years. A brisk three years after DDR4 hit the market, JEDEC has announced that it's working on a specification for DDR5 memory, and expects to publish the design standards sometime in 2018.

The organization says that DDR5 memory will offer double the bandwidth and density of DDR4 along with increased power efficiency. Given the trend of increasing  core counts and the difficulty and expense of adding additional memory channels to motherboards, DIMM bandwidth seems set to become more important in the future.

The standards body is also working on a specification for NVDIMM-P, the next-generation of the NVDIMM standard for memory modules that retain their contents after power loss. The NVDIMM standard could face competition from Intel's datacenter Optane products. Optane offers much lower latencies than even the fastest NVMe storage, along with the same non-volatile operation.

For perspective, JEDEC first started talking about DDR3 in May 2005 and products started hitting the market in 2007. The pattern was similar for DDR4, whose final spec arrived in September 2012 and was supported by CPUs released in the second half of 2014. We would expect a lead time at least that long for the first DDR5 products. JEDEC says more information should be available at its Server Forum event in June.

Comments closed
    • Blytz
    • 3 years ago

    I’d like to see more parallelism in the chips if we can’t have more ram channels, how about multiple channels on each module, maybe to counter rising latency

    • I.S.T.
    • 3 years ago

    How much power does DDR4 burn compared to DDR1, anyway?

    They keep lowering the voltage, but that doesn’t necessarily mean anything.

    • ronch
    • 3 years ago

    [quote<]DDR5 will boost bandwidth and lower power consumption[/quote<] Ho hum. We get that every time there's a new iteration of DDR! How about we get higher power consumption and lower bandwidth for a change?? /ducks

      • I.S.T.
      • 3 years ago

      Why are you beign downvoted this is funny

    • blahsaysblah
    • 3 years ago

    So just another minor evolution? Not the big jump to interface like PCI to PCI-E?

      • hansmuff
      • 3 years ago

      Just an iteration, correct. Now that you mention it, PCI-E rarely gets credit. We’ve been able to keep expansion cards going for so many years now, it’s kind of crazy. If you had a nice network card 10 years ago, why just keep it. PCI-E has proven to be really just awesome.

    • freebird
    • 3 years ago

    I see MRAM being a better solution than Optane, but it will come down to speed, scaling (how many GBs) and cost for who wins…

    • unclesharkey
    • 3 years ago

    “DDR5 will boost bandwidth and lower power consumption” But will require a new motherboard and CPU and will put a bigger dent in your wallet.

      • ClickClick5
      • 3 years ago

      How about that $199 for an 8GB stick?

    • cmrcmk
    • 3 years ago

    Would Optane compete with NVDIMM or utilize it? I admit I don’t know much about NVDIMM but I assume it’s just an interface protocol that Optane would use just like any other SSD.

    • hansmuff
    • 3 years ago

    It’s the exact same thing we’ve seen from DDR2 to 3 and then 4.

    What’s in it for us?
    The higher capacities will let get you a lot of RAM on just 2 DIMMs. DDR4 right now lets you get 32GB on 2 DIMMs easily with good timings, DDR5 will probably double it.

    Improved performance. [url<]http://www.corsair.com/en-us/blog/2015/november/ddr3-vs-ddr4[/url<] I understand this is a Corsair link and perhaps a little biased but I don't think they fudged numbers. It's pretty self-explanatory. Lower voltages are nice for laptops. But just like DDR4 before it, it'll take time for fast DDR5 in high capacities to be cheap. We'll be on DDR4 for a while yet.

      • yuhong
      • 3 years ago

      16Gbit DDR4 is already part of the JEDEC DDR4 spec.

    • chuckula
    • 3 years ago

    What did we tell you about the early April Fool’s stories!

    • southrncomfortjm
    • 3 years ago

    Will this matter at all for gamers? From what I’ve seen, going from the “slowest” to fastest DDR4 yields minimal additional gains in performance.

      • Waco
      • 3 years ago

      Ryzen benefits pretty nicely from faster DRAM.

        • southrncomfortjm
        • 3 years ago

        Fair point. Will be interesting to see if faster RAM and some optimizations help Ryzen top Intel for gamers.

        I’ll refine my question then – will it make a difference to Intel CPU owners?

          • Waco
          • 3 years ago

          Depends on the game. Arma seems to scale pretty nicely with memory bandwidth and latency, but it’s an oddball.

          • nico1982
          • 3 years ago

          [quote<]I'll refine my question then - will it make a difference to Intel CPU owners?[/quote<] I still don't get your question. Current Intel CPUs owners obviously don't care, since their CPU MMC don't support the memory. Future iterations of the current arch will likely remain on DDR4. Next-gen 2020+ Intel architectures might end up being a totally different game, let alone the software running on it.

            • southrncomfortjm
            • 3 years ago

            Maybe I don’t know enough to ask a great question. I just look at some test someone ran, forgot which site, and those tests basically showed minimal gains in gaming benchmarks when they went from DDR3 to DDR4, and then from slow to fast DDR4.

            So yeah, case-by-case stuff will be different, but overall, it doesn’t seem like most games care about faster RAM when using an Intel processor. Broad generalization, but it seems to be true based on what I read.

            I’m possibly looking to upgrade to a 7700k sometime this year, maybe Black Friday. At that point DDR5 may only be a year away. I’m not dying for a CPU upgrade, but one will be needed in the next 18 months probably. So, everything else being equal, should I care about DDR5 being faster when all I really care about are games?

            • RAGEPRO
            • 3 years ago

            It really depends on the game. The Witcher 3, GTA V, ARMA, most MMORPGs — large-scale open-world games tend to like memory bandwidth.

            • nico1982
            • 3 years ago

            [quote<]I'm possibly looking to upgrade to a 7700k sometime this year, maybe Black Friday. At that point DDR5 may only be a year away. I'm not dying for a CPU upgrade, but one will be needed in the next 18 months probably.[/quote<] You will be able to read the draft in the next 18 months, maybe. We are looking at 2020+ timeframe for DDR5 to be on the market 🙂 I don't think you can extrapolate much from current gen Intel CPU running current gen games. Maybe 2020 games will require far more bandwidth. Maybe future Intel archs will scale better with lower latency. On top of that, what is your threshold for caring? Is 5% lower frame times across the board enough? Basically you are askin if an unknown product will meet your unknown requirements 🙂

            • southrncomfortjm
            • 3 years ago

            Yeah, I know. It’s a forum on a tech website. I’m not expecting a solid answer, just a conversation about an interesting topic. Half the fun of tech is talking about where it is going and what that may mean. I know the ultimate answer is “it depends.” The interesting part is “it depends on what.”

            My threshold for caring is rather low, especially at the moment since my 3750K and RX 480 handle everything I play perfectly fine at 1080p (per game optimizations notwithstanding… I’m looking at you Mass Effect).

          • tacitust
          • 3 years ago

          Intel i3-6100 owner here, and there are videos on YouTube from Digital Foundry showing CPU-bound titles getting a substantial boost from faster memory — often enough to make a real difference in the gaming experience (i.e. reducing the number of sub-60fps drops).

        • Welch
        • 3 years ago

        Yeah, damnit. I have a feeling that means Ryzen 2 will be the actual kick ass chip we have been waiting for.

        • blahsaysblah
        • 3 years ago

        Isnt that also a big negative that you have to buy expensive high speed RAM?

          • Waco
          • 3 years ago

          Eh, a bit, yes. But if you get 8 cores and 16 threads for cheap, “fast” RAM isn’t too much of an upsell.

        • HERETIC
        • 3 years ago

        Are the benefits only because of the ram?
        Remember Infinity fabric speed is tied to ram clock speed.
        Half the benefit could be faster infinity fabric speed.
        Not saying it is-just a possibility……………………………

          • Waco
          • 3 years ago

          Sure, but since they’re tied together, faster DRAM does result in better performance. 😛

      • Ninjitsu
      • 3 years ago

      Don’t know why you’re being down-voted, it’s a perfectly valid question.

      Answer is, from what I’ve seen, “mostly no”. Some exceptional games exist, like Arma.

        • southrncomfortjm
        • 3 years ago

        No idea. But I do know that downvotes are a terrible way to start my weekend. Whatever shall I do?

          • christos_thski
          • 3 years ago

          I was just coming in to say that downvoting a question seems in awfully bad taste.

      • synthtel2
      • 3 years ago

      I think it’s safe enough to say it will. The pattern I’ve been noticing lately is that games spending most of their CPU effort on graphics don’t care, but those doing big-world multiplayer stuff (Arma, Battlefield, Planetside) do. That isn’t out of as big a sample size as I’d like, and I’ll always welcome more datapoints.

      • Airmantharp
      • 3 years ago

      Be careful when you approach the topic of ‘performance’. At least here at TR, there’s a deep understanding that average framerate benchmarks offer only a small window into the actual gaming experience, and that detailed frametime analysis is needed to expose performance differences that one might actually ‘feel’.

      For example, faster RAM may not move the average framerate needle much, but it might limit slower frames in a way that makes a real difference.

      • evilpaul
      • 3 years ago

      Check Digital Foundry’s YouTube channel out. They’ve run tests of recent titles on Intel platforms with various speeds of RAM and it can make a noticable difference.

    • Waco
    • 3 years ago

    Finally!

      • chuckula
      • 3 years ago

      …. he said in 2020 when systems with DDR5 launch (barring potential further delay, see PCIe 4.0 still not officially ratified yet as an example).

        • Waco
        • 3 years ago

        Yep. Progress always feels slow. I’m surprised it took them this long to announce DDR5 though. HBM / MCDRAM are going to be a lot more prevalent by then…

          • chuckula
          • 3 years ago

          For a long time the theory was that there wasn’t going to be a DDR5 at all because… we’d all be using HBM or HMC or something along those lines by the time DDR4 was past its prime.

          So in some ways, DDR5 even existing at all is a sign that the other fancier memory technologies are also taking longer to filter down from the very high end.

            • southrncomfortjm
            • 3 years ago

            Wouldn’t using HBM as system RAM mean we’d have to buy all-in-ones? CPU+RAM+MOBO since the RAM would have to be stuck to the processor?

            • Klimax
            • 3 years ago

            CPU+RAM. I don’t think it would have to be soldered down to MB. Anyway, take Intel’s segmentation and add RAM sizes…

    • SuperSpy
    • 3 years ago

    “DDR[n] will boost bandwidth and lower power consumption”

    Pretty sure this headline has been true for every iteration of DDR…

      • Welch
      • 3 years ago

      Reporting the facts, otherwise fake news.

      • ClickClick5
      • 3 years ago

      Hehe, my first thought: “Well yeah.”

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