DDR4 PRICES TREND UPWARDS

Now that the RAM sector is transitioning to DDR5, the supply of DDR4 is starting to fall slightly. This has resulted in some price increases for taped RAM chips. More RAM should be available in volume as the transition proceeds.

The 4x8GB DDR4 DIMMs in the gaming box are made from 4 gigabit chips on both sides to make up the capacity. At present 4 gigabit memory chips are now becoming mainstream. Lower capacity DDR4 DIMMs 4x4GB are made from 2 gigabit chips, The 2 gigabit memory chip is mass produced for the mainstream market segment.

Prices for 8 gigabit are higher due to the larger piece of silicon needed. 4x16GB is now in the enthusiast market range which is likely to be the launch density for DDR5 in Q4.

jedec-ddr4-v-ddr5-pinout

Most likely 16 gigabit will come to the consumer market in volume by 2022 or 2023. Once more foundries enter the market the manufacture of 16 gigabit will accelerate to migrate the PC market towards higher RAM capacity. 4x32GB provides the maximum RAM for X570 which is excessive at present. DDR5 also specifies 32 gigabit memory chips are likely to be needed by servers rather than by the gaming community.

Realistically 32GB of DDR4-3200 is adequate to handle even remastered games fine. DDR5-4800 will launch at the entry level with DDR5-6400 representing the enthusiast market. Its questionable to see if there is any material improvement in SDRAM performance as the differences from DDR2 and DDR3 at the same timings are negligible. The GB/s rating is what matters the most for RAM in a gaming box.

SK Hynix had previously been working on its DDR5-6400 RAM, which has 16 gigabit which is formed of 32 banks, with 8 bank groups, with double the available bandwidth and access potential when compared with DDR4-3200 memory. For reference, DDR4 uses 16 banks with 4 bank groups.

If SK Hynix has enough DDR5-6400 RAM in the market this could relegate DDR5-4800 to the low end of the market rapidly. Samsung is also ramping up DDR5 memory but so far they have not commented as much as SK Hynix in recent months. AMD is known to stick to the JEDEC standard as their infinity fabric is designed for the standard speeds.

Recent leaks from Gigabyte suggest AM5 motherboards may not support PCIe 5.0 speeds. Servers need PCIe 5.0 badly but consumer M.2 SSD speeds are rising as well. The Samsung 980 PRO 2TB pretty much saturates the PCIe 4.0 slot speeds and there is evidently even more bandwidth available.

Samsung has developed the 3D stack for RAM which suggests lower costs for higher capacity memory for servers. Taking what is learned from NAND to RAM will result in possibly. Samsung says its Aquabolt-XL HBM2 chips are available for purchase and integration today, with its other products are already working their way through the developmental pipeline.

Laptop machines are likely to see DDR5 SO-DIMM in them in Q4 and/or into 2022 as inventories roll over. Leading into fall of 2022 there should be a wide range of new generation laptops available.

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