Samsung has formally announced that its much faster DDR5 system memory will accelerate into mass production in 2021. As for when you will be able to upgrade your PC to the new type of RAM, well, that could still be a bit further beyond the year. Coming.
Samsung’s reveal came as the company announced that a million modules of its initial EUV-based DDR4 RAM, called D1x, have already been shipped, with DDR5 ready to take advantage of the company’s advancements in terms of cutting-edge EUV manufacturing.
EUV stands for “extreme ultraviolet” and enables a more agile and faster production process with better yields. It has multiple advantages over traditional chip production, and as Samsung puts it: “EUV technology reduces repetitive steps in multiple patterns and improves pattern precision, allowing for improved performance and higher yields, as well as shorter development time.”
The problems lie in refining EUV technology to be viable and feasible for volume production, a complicated challenge and an effort that has been ongoing for a long time (by Samsung and others). But this is precisely what Samsung has accomplished with the million milestones with D1x.
If you’re wondering about DDR5 performance, it’s a considerable boost, leading to a doubling of memory bandwidth.
With DDR5 RAM volume production next year, it may not be long before we see memory in more smartphones (it is already in some, like Samsung’s Galaxy S20), as well as servers and indeed, on high-end PCs. However, exactly when DDR5 will be available for PCs is a bone of some controversy.
For desktop PCs, even if Samsung has DDR5 RAM production lines on the go, Intel or AMD must support it with their motherboards for the memory to be of any use in the computing arena.
When that support can come, exactly, we can’t be sure, but the rumour believes it could be a fifth-generation Ryzen on the AMD side. With Intel, Rocket Lake, which will follow the next-generation Comet Lake, which has yet to arrive but is due to land soon, apparently it won’t support DDR5 either, but that’s all for leaks and speculation.
On desktop platforms, there is likely still something to go, and even when DDR5 is available for PC enthusiasts to grab and use, it will be a niche proposition to start with (certainly in terms of pricing, as always. With state-of-the-art technology, and this initial form can indeed be an excellent marketing victory, like anything else, until performance is better perfected.
Even at that point, the “simple” DDR4 system RAM won’t become outdated overnight, so don’t worry if you have just bought a new system with that type of memory. It will still be useful to keep going with contemporary CPUs for a long time, in all honesty.
And along the same lines, upgraders, at least outside of the most ardent enthusiasts, will likely be waiting a while just before DDR5 is worth planning the switch with their PC before the price/performance ratio of that update make reasonable sense.