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G.Skill's fast DDR4-5000 RAM will probably cost more than your GPU

(Image credit: G.Skill)

You have to admire G.Skill's continued passion for high-speed memory in an era when CPUs and GPUs command the lion's share of attention. They always have, to an extent, though there was a time when premium RAM kits were at least regarded as high profile band mates to the CPU and GPU rockstars of the day. While RAM's celebrity status may have waned a bit, G.Skill is still shining a spotlight on PC memory, this time with new high-frequency kits up to DDR4-5000 for Intel's Z490 platform.

The announcement coincides with the retail launch of Intel's 10th generation Comet Lake processors. G.Skill used the opportunity to "demonstrate that DDR4 memory is capable of reaching a higher tier of extreme speed than ever before." Specifically, it is in the process of finalizing 8GB and 16GB modules that can run at up to DDR4-5000, and 32GB modules that can run at DDR4-4400.

What it boils down to is a decision between extreme speed or extreme capacity. Bear in mind those ratings are for individual modules, and will be packaged in larger kits. In regards to breaching DDR4-5000, G.Skill achieved the feat on both a 16GB (2x8GB) kit and a 32GB (2x16GB) kit, both paired with a 10-core/20-thread Core i9-10900K. It also hit DDR4-4400 with a 64GB (2x32GB) kit.

"DDR4-5000 is a major memory frequency milestone," G.Skill says, "and on the latest Intel Z490 chipset platform, G.Skill has successfully reached this DDR4-5000 CL19 landmark achievement... on motherboards from multiple vendors, including the Asus ROG Maximus XII Apex, ASRock Z490 Aqua, and MSI MEG Z490 Godlike."

Those are all very expensive motherboards for the record. The ASRock Z490 Aqua alone is over $1,000.

Granted, this is all overkill. It's true that RAM speed and capacity matter for gaming, though as with most things, there is a point of diminishing returns. Generally speaking, you reach that point at 16GB, regardless of whether you're running an AMD or Intel setup. And when looking at the speed rating, AMD Ryzen setups benefit more from raw speed and tight timings than Intel PCs.

For the most part, faster frequency kits command higher prices, and in some cases, much higher. While G.Skill has not announced pricing or availability for any of its new kits, there is one other DDR4-5000 kit on Newegg. It's Corsair's Vengeance LPX 16GB (2x8GB) DDR4-5000, priced at $939.99. For perspective, Corsair's 16GB (2x8GB) version sells for $74.99 (sans the bundled cooling fan).

Paul has been playing PC games and raking his knuckles on computer hardware since the Commodore 64. He does not have any tattoos, but thinks it would be cool to get one that reads LOAD"*",8,1. In his off time, he rides motorcycles and wrestles alligators (only one of those is true).