With Intel’s release date for Alder Lake CPUs coming close on November 4, the first desktop computers that support DDR5 memory kits will be available for consumers. Despite high early-adopter prices, most memory kits have already sold out.
Intel’s 12th generation of CPUs can work with both DDR4 and DDR5 modules; therefore, choosing which module to use will largely depend on the motherboard you are using.
If you opt for DDR5 modules, you will access Intel’s XMP 3.0 but at a significantly higher cost compared to the older DDR4 standard. Prices of these memory modules start from $115 for 16 GB of Crucial’s DDR5 4800, which is currently the most affordable model available. These DDR5 modules go up to $369 for GeIL’s Polaris RGB DDR5 5200, while buying a Corsair DDR5 module will cost you between $289 and $359.
Obviously, many PC enthusiasts are determined not to miss out on the latest PC upgrade, leading to Amazon currently being out of stock for all of the above-mentioned models.
There are some changes with the new RAM architecture worth mentioning, too. The maximum size of DDR5 modules will go up to 128 GB per unit instead of 32 GB DDR4 sizes. The highest data rate will be doubled from the previous generation to 6.4 Gbps.
New memory sticks will have two 32-bit channels, unlike DDR4, which had a single 64-bit one. Voltage for these new memories will drop to 1.1 V from 1.2 V for the last-gen modules. Voltage regulation is now included on the memory module and not on the motherboard as before. This will likely lead to slightly cheaper motherboards but more expensive RAM kits.
It will take quite some time for DDR5 to become widely available and affordable. It’s best to sit comfortably in your gaming chair and wait for the prices to normalize a bit.