AMD Ryzen 5000 CPUs may run best with faster DDR4-4000 memory

(Image credit: AMD)

A leak slide purported to be from AMD hints at faster memory support with AMD Ryzen 5000 processors. It details a new standard for the so-called sweet spot of memory performance, DDR4-4000, which will see AMD Ryzen gaming PCs thirst for even faster memory with the coming generation.

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AMD Ryzen CPUs tend to be very responsive to faster memory, much more so than Intel's comparable processors, although there's a limit to how much performance you'll gain by creeping up memory speeds before system latency knocks it down a peg or two. Let me explain: Ryzen 3000 processors have a 'sweet spot', when the Infinity Fabric clock (fclk), memory controller clock (uclk), and memory clock (mclk) are at a 1:1:1 ratio. The best speed to ensure this on existing Ryzen chips is 3,600MHz DDR4, although you'll occasionally see recommendations up to 3,733MHz.

You can see the effect of memory speed on latency over in Chris Szewczyk's recent deep-dive into whether RAM speed matters for gaming. But essentially if you crank up memory speed significantly beyond 3,600MHz on an AMD Ryzen 3000 chip, expect latency to increase with it. 

The leaked slides from Technopat (via WCCFTech) suggests that AMD Ryzen 5000 chips will be able to run DDR4-4000 memory while remaining in the sweet spot for high-speed, low-latency performance. It's not a massive bump for compatibility, but with memory manufacturers cranking out kits above 5,000MHz, it's cheaper than ever to get a high speed dual-channel kit.

And faster memory makes for a happier gaming PC, especially with AMD Ryzen. 

Other slides from Technopat, and allegedly from AMD, show further evidence of a performance lead for AMD Ryzen 5000 over Intel's Comet Lake in gaming and that support for AMD 400-series boards will arrive in January, 2021 in the form of a BIOS update.

This all remains unconfirmed for now, but we shouldn't have to wait long to find out more. AMD Ryzen 5000 processors launch November 5, starting with the Ryzen 9 5950X, Ryzen 9 5900X, Ryzen 7 5800X, and Ryzen 5 5600X.

Jacob Ridley
Senior Hardware Editor

Jacob earned his first byline writing for his own tech blog. From there, he graduated to professionally breaking things as hardware writer at PCGamesN, and would go on to run the team as hardware editor. Since then he's joined PC Gamer's top staff as senior hardware editor, where he spends his days reporting on the latest developments in the technology and gaming industries and testing the newest PC components.