DDR5 is finally relevant for PC gaming

Memory maker G.Skill has just announced the first DDR5 memory sticks with sub-30 CAS latency. The new DDR5 memory will appear in the Trident Z5 RGB, Trident Z5 and Ripjaws S5 brands and will be available in 32GB (2x 16GB) and 64GB (2x 32GB) kits. You’ll also be able to choose between DDR5-5600 and DDR5-5200 frequencies, with both frequencies offering a CAS latency of 28.

As latencies drop, the real-world CAS latency of these kits really challenges the responsiveness of decent CL16 DDR4 kits, and that means we should start to see a benefit in-game. We’ve seen a push to higher frequencies recently, but we need those latencies to go down as well.

This G.Skill release is great news for DDR5 as we are now getting to the point where there is a real benefit to moving to DDR5 outside of a few select synthetic benchmarks and specific high memory use cases. Hopefully other manufacturers will follow suit soon.

To play a little math on things, real-world CAS latency is measured as (CAS Latency x 2000)/Memory Speed, which in the case of the DDR5-5600 CL28 kit comes to 10ns. For reference it is the same as DDR4-3200 with CAS latency of 16.

At this point, and with faster overall frequencies, games also start to benefit. While this may only translate to a few frames per second, it helps make DDR5 a more attractive platform for gamers.

Intel’s 12th Generation Alder Lake Processors already supports the latest memory standard (as well as DDR4), while AMD’s Zen 4 is rumored to only support DDR5. More support should, in theory, boost demand, which in turn should drive prices down. Eventually.

There is no pricing information available for these kits just yet, although you can expect the G.Skill to command a prize for this ‘enthusiastic’ memory. Standard DDR5 usually costs more than twice as much as DDR4, so expect them to be expensive.

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