AMD Declares the Death of DDR4 RAM

This Monday (30), the OMG announced its line of processors Ryzen 7000, with the first models aimed at desktops, where they will compete for the market with rival Intel’s Alder Lake line. To that end, the company has embraced future-ready designs by prioritizing the latest standards.

Although the first models of compatible motherboards support PCIe 4.0, the idea is, over time, to abandon it in favor of 5.0; already with the RAM memory, AMD was not good: the Ryzen 7000 line does not support DDR4only DDR5unlike Alder Lake, who works with both.

AM5 socket for AMD Ryzen 7000 line processors (Credit: Disclosure/AMD)

AM5 socket for AMD Ryzen 7000 line processors (Credit: Disclosure/AMD)

AMD was very clear when giving their reasons, DDR4 has already given what it had to give, it is an old and outdated standard. It’s time to put an end to it, as much as the public doesn’t like it, and there’s reason to.

For AMD, DDR4 has reached the limit

AMD’s presentation revolved around the theme “advancing technology in PCs”, in which it presented solutions and components that enable the assembly and maintenance of kits future proof. The idea, repeated throughout the broadcast, is “what you ride today, will remain usable tomorrow (long term)”.

In a succinct and direct presentation, CEO Dr. Lisa Su detailed the roadmap for the next few years, in which TSMC’s 5 nanometer architecture, used today with Ryzen 7000 chips, which use the AM5 socket, will gradually evolve to 4 nm, and arrive in 2024 at 3 nm, with the Zen 5c line. But let’s focus on the now.

Mark Papermaster, AMD’s CTO and Executive VP, was in charge of providing details on the new processors. Eventually, he explained that the PCI Express 4.0 standard, which started to hit the market in 2019, will gradually be replaced by PCIe 5.0, so future models and processors will drive support for the second standard, gradually.

The same cannot be said of RAM memory, in which the migration process will be more traumatic, so to speak. David McAfee, Corporate VP and manager of the desktop division, explained that unlike what Intel did with Alder Lake, AMD has completely abandoned DDR4. Anyone who wants to build a PC with the company’s new processors will be forced to rely on DDR5.

David McAfee explains why DDR4 no longer works for AMD (Credit: Reproduction/AMD)

David McAfee explains why DDR4 no longer works for AMD (Credit: Reproduction/AMD)

McAfee explained that the AM5 is designed to take full advantage of the latest components, in which AMD is obviously aiming for Ryzen 7000 processors, its latest Radeon GPUs, and in the case of RAM, just DDR5.

The company’s argument makes sense, DDR4 was officially introduced in 2013, and has been the industry standard for desktops, laptops, video game consoles and mobile devices since 2014. Today, the company considers that we are on the cusp of a new technological leap, and there is a need for more powerful and faster components to handle new solutions, such as 5G, for example.

The DDR4 standard works with normal frequencies between 1600 and 3200 MHz, although it supports a speed limit of 4800 MHz, this being the starting point of DDR5. That’s right, the fastest frequency of the current leading RAM format is the slowest that its successor, which according to specs can reach 9,600 MHz, can deliver.

DDR4 vs DDR5: The Differences

DDR5 incorporates several improvements over DDR4. Speaking of the highest frequency, the standard for the market should be 6,400 MHz, which will offer greater speed in accessing information.

Maximum SDRAM density increased 4 times, supporting up to 64Gb per chip; thus, a single stick can be from 32 GB to up to 128 GB, while the burst length has doubled, from 8 to 16 bits; the memory channels have also changed, becoming two 32-bit, instead of one 64-bit as in DDR4.

Energy efficiency has also been improved, where the standard voltage of 1.2V has been reduced to 1.1V, and the maximum voltage has been reduced from 2.5V to 1.8V. It seems little, but a lower voltage offers an improvement. in architecture and organization for motherboard manufacturers, who will be able to optimize and simplify their designs, especially because DDR5 will have a voltage regulator integrated into the comb, eliminating its inclusion on the motherboard.

The DDR5 standard has several advantages over DDR4 (Credit: Disclosure/Kingston)

The DDR5 standard has several advantages over DDR4 (Credit: Disclosure/Kingston)

This is designed to benefit manufacturers and OEMs, who will be free to offer simpler and cheaper products; on the other hand, the inclusion of the direct regulator in the comb weighed for the final consumer, the price of a DDR5 comb is much higher than a DDR4.

AMD Will Force Death of DDR4

It is clear that AMD is looking to the future, and wants to offer more powerful products than Intel, which, by maintaining compatibility with DDR4, is forced to level its chips from the bottom. The big problem is that DDR5 sticks are still very expensive and hard to find, and manufacturers prefer to stick with the old standard, as it is cheaper.

However, Dr. Lisa Su is simple: by adopting more recent designs, the Ryzen 7000 line promises to deliver more performance than the Alder Lake, which will favor its solutions among consumers who value power first, such as the Glorious PC Gamer Master Race. Su was emphatic in stating that her platform, today (Ryzen 7000 + Radeon GPUs + PCIe 5.0 + DDR5), is the best for PC gaming with maximum graphics quality.

If Intel feels uncomfortable in a possible future scenario, with AMD increasing its presence among the public and hurting its sales, it could review Alder Lake and launch new chips that work only with DDR5, in which the entire parallel industry, from consoles to the mobile market, would follow. And a gradual migration from DDR4 to DDR5 means that, given time, modern sticks will become cheaper and more affordable.

In a way, it was about time we migrated to the next generation of RAM; someone needed to take the first step, even though AMD’s strategy is painful (expensive) at first. But as they say, you can’t make an omelet without breaking some eggs.

Source: DigitalTrends

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