AMD’s AM5 platform will not support DDR4 at launch

There are many rumors that AMD’s AM5 platform, due for release this year, will not support affordable DDR4 at launch. Instead, Zen 4 Ryzen 7000 chips will exclusively support the more expensive DDR5 memory standard. Potentially good news from a performance standpoint, but bad news for your wallet.

our brother site Tom’s Hardware has been talking to motherboard manufacturers who claim that Ryzen 7000 chips will be supported by X670 and B650 motherboards at launch and that these motherboards will be exclusively DDR5 models. These manufacturers have also confirmed that AMD is moving to a chiplet design for the motherboards, with the high-end X670 motherboards using a dual-chipset design to increase throughput.

While the move to focus exclusively on DDR5 makes sense from a technology perspective – it may allow AMD to optimize its Zen 4 core for DDR5, something it appears to be doing with its EXPO technology— there is a very real financial cost to such a move. This is because DDR5 is considerably more expensive than DDR4, often more than double the more mature memory standard. Part of the reason for this price difference is due to the scarcity of chips, but also due to the fact that DDR5 has built-in power management and voltage regulation, so DIMMs are simply more expensive to produce.

The real-world benefit of DDR5 isn’t particularly proven either, at least not when it comes to gaming. You’re seeing a difference of a few frames per second between a high-end DDR5 kit and a decent and much more affordable DDR4 kit. This will make this move to the new platform a difficult decision for many players. Particularly, rumor has it that the follow-up to Alder Lake, called Raptor Lake, will continue to support both DDR4 and DDR5.

One thing in AMD’s favor here is that the Zen 4 isn’t expected to arrive just yet, and the price of DDR5 has dropped considerably since the start of the year. While we don’t expect to see a big price drop for DDR5, time should help a little.

There is a chance that more affordable motherboards built around the A620 chipset could support DDR4, assuming the memory controller in Zen 4 still actively supports it. These affordable chipsets tend to forgo key features, with the current A520 chipset not supporting PCIe 4.0, for example.

We’ll have to wait until AMD launches its Ryzen 7000 chips, which should be released later this year. The Ryzen 5000 dropped in the November period, so we may have to wait a little longer. Still, early adopters should probably start saving now.

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