In many cases, the cost of a DDR4 memory kit is twice what it was a year ago, but if it comes as any consolation, at least the market isn't standing pat. Rambus, a company that is known equally well for developing memory technologies as it is for suing other firms over the use of its IP, announced that it has a functional DDR5 DIMM (dual in-line memory module) prototype.
"This is the very first silicon-proven memory buffer chip prototype capable of achieving the speeds required for the upcoming DDR5 standard. Data-intensive applications like big data analytics and machine learning will be key drivers for the adoption of DDR5, with enterprise close behind," said Luc Seraphin, senior vice president and general manager of Rambus.
The Joint Electronic Devices Engineering Council (JEDEC) has not yet finalized an industry standard for DDR5 memory, but is working on it. DDR5 is expected to double the data rates of DDR4 memory from up to 3.2 gigabits per second to 6.4 Gb/s, resulting in twice the bandwidth at up to 51.2 gigabytes per second, up from 25.6 GB/s.
JEDEC also previously indicated that DDR5's base frequency will be in the neighborhood of 4800MHz (DDR5-4800). That's a tick higher than recently announced DDR4-4600 memory kits from Corsair and G.Skill.
It will probably be 2019 before we see industry standard DDR5 memory kits emerge, the first of which are likely to target servers. Eventually there will be DDR5 memory for consumer desktops.
We doubt the impact on gaming will be significant. Nevertheless, it's inevitable that DDR5 will replace DDR4 as the standard, just as DDR4 replaced DDR3. The bigger question is how this will affect pricing. The average selling price (ASP) of DRAM has more than doubled in the past 12 months and is expected to keep rising.