January 27, 2022

DDR4 vs. DDR5: The Greatest Reminiscence for PC Gaming

A couple of weeks in the past we reviewed Intel’s new Alder Lake structure for the primary time and with it we additionally acquired our first probability to mess around with DDR5 reminiscence. In our Core i9-12900K overview, we examined each DDR4 and DDR5 reminiscence in a variety of functions and video games, to seek out that the quicker, dearer reminiscence supplied little further efficiency for probably the most half, and this was significantly true for avid gamers.

A couple of titles did present good efficiency beneficial properties, however total efficiency was a lot the identical, leaving us to advocate potential Twelfth-gen house owners to disregard DDR5 for now and persist with tried-and-true DDR4. After we revealed that overview, which was previous to Alder Lake’s launch we had but to see what DDR5 pricing and availability regarded like, and had been compelled to remark primarily based on suggestions we had obtained from retailers and producers.

All of them instructed us DDR5 availability could be poor, and pricing could be excessive, they usually had been proper…

As of writing, most PC retailers haven’t any DDR5 reminiscence in inventory. Essentially the most inexpensive 32GB equipment we will discover is the Kingston Fury Beats DDR5-5200 CL40 reminiscence for $560, which is fairly strange reminiscence for that worth. Over at Newegg, for instance, they’ve inventory of ADATA DDR5-4800 16GB CL40 sticks at $330 per module. In the meantime, the most cost effective reminiscence listed is a Corsair Vengeance DDR5-4800 CL40 32GB equipment for $310. The DDR5-6000 CL36 reminiscence that we used for testing in our 12900K overview (and can be utilizing once more right now) prices $470 for a 32GB equipment.

Primarily based on pricing alone (and the truth that availability is close to non-existent), DDR5 makes little sense for many.

However DDR5 provide is anticipated to enhance subsequent 12 months, and so will pricing, so we needed to take a extra in-depth have a look at what DDR5 has to supply avid gamers when utilizing an Alder Lake CPU, and this may assist us decide at which level it’s best to hassle with the brand new reminiscence expertise.

So as to do that, we’ve benchmarked 41 video games at 1080p, 1440p and 4K utilizing the Radeon RX 6900 XT. For testing DDR4 reminiscence we’re utilizing a G.Ability Trident Z Neo 3600 CL14 equipment and for DDR5 reminiscence the Trident Z5 RGB 6000 CL36 equipment. The DDR4 reminiscence was examined on the MSI Z690 Tomahawk Wi-Fi DDR4 and the DDR5 reminiscence on the MSI Z690 Unify.

We’ve examined an enormous quantity of video games, however we received’t go over each title individually. We’ve picked round a dozen video games after which we’ll try an entire breakdown that appears at margins in all titles examined.


Beginning with Murderer’s Creed Valhalla, we see a 13% to fifteen% efficiency enchancment with newer DDR5 reminiscence, taking the typical body charge from 121 fps at 1080p, to 137 fps. However extra spectacular than that was the 17% efficiency increase seen at 1440p when trying on the 1% lows with a 12% increase to the typical body charge.

As anticipated, the margins shut up at 4K the place the GPU turns into the important thing limiting issue, besides I used to be stunned to see a 9% increase to the 1% low and a 13% uplift for the typical body charge. So DDR5 is providing a transparent efficiency benefit in Murderer’s Creed Valhalla.

A sport that doesn’t profit from the usage of DDR5 reminiscence is Battlefield 2042. Though this knowledge relies on our simpler to execute bot match, the 128 participant modes don’t see any enchancment with the upper bandwidth DDR5 reminiscence both. So this one is a bust for the extremely costly DDR5 reminiscence.

Name of Responsibility Vanguard is one other sport the place we discover a negligible distinction between the 2 reminiscence sorts, even at 1080p. So it could appear this sport isn’t restricted by reminiscence bandwidth.

Counter Strike International Offensive is a closely CPU restricted sport, and right here we see feeding the processor extra bandwidth doesn’t assist enhance efficiency at 1080p and 1440p, although we’re solely speaking a couple of minor single-digit distinction. Nevertheless it seems as if decrease latency reminiscence is extra vital for this title.

Apparently, Far Cry 6 advantages massively from greater reminiscence bandwidth and that’s not as a result of the VRAM buffer has been exceeded as we’re utilizing a 16GB card. Fairly, this sport dips into the system reminiscence fairly closely and consequently we’re seeing as much as 22% better efficiency at 1440p when trying on the 1% lows.

Even the typical body charge was boosted by 10% and 13% at 1080p. The margins are neutralized on the GPU-limited 4K decision, however nonetheless some spectacular beneficial properties at 1080p and 1440p on this title.

Fortnite additionally noticed some profit to utilizing DDR5 reminiscence, although for probably the most half the margins had been much less spectacular. We did see a 12% increase to the 1% lows at 1080p, with a 6% enchancment for the typical body charge and this was lowered to five% at 1440p after which nothing at 4K.

Subsequent we’ve Halo Infinite and I performed a bit additional into this one and sadly I can’t get again to our demanding take a look at included in our Halo Infinite GPU benchmark, so it appears to be like like I’ll have to start out over and play for a couple of hours to get again to that scene.

For now, we’ve this much less demanding a part of the sport and right here DDR5 gives little or no over DDR4, although I believe this may also be true for extra demanding scenes as effectively.

Efficiency in Hitman 3 beneficial properties subsequent to nothing when utilizing DDR5, we see solely a really minor improve at 1080p, with mainly nothing at 1440p and 4K.

For testing Microsoft Flight Simulator I’m utilizing the newest DirectX 12 model and right here we’re solely seeing delicate beneficial properties within the vary of low single-digit percentages, so nothing to get enthusiastic about.

Testing PUGB reveals a small enchancment to the 1% lows with DDR5, about 5 – 7% so nothing to jot down residence about. In the meantime, the typical body charge remained a lot the identical, so both reminiscence expertise will let you squeeze probably the most out of an Alder Lake CPU on this sport.

The Riftbreaker is a base-building, survival sport with Motion-RPG components, and what makes it significantly helpful for our testing is that it closely makes use of the CPU. Riftbreaker makes use of core-heavy processors effectively and with hundreds of items in-game it’s a really heavy workload.

Right here we see that the upper bandwidth DDR5 reminiscence has boosted efficiency at 1080p by 15% and the identical can be seen at 1440p when trying on the 1% lows. Even at 4K we’re seeing a small 6% increase to 1% lows with the newer reminiscence.

StarCraft II is one other CPU intensive sport, however for all of the unsuitable causes. This outdated title solely makes use of a single core closely, however we see there may be some profit to feeding that core extra bandwidth as efficiency was boosted by 7%, virtually throughout the board.

Lastly, we check out Warfare Thunder and right here we’re seeing fairly spectacular efficiency beneficial properties at 1080p, although how helpful a 24% efficiency increase is whenever you’re already over 200 fps is tough to argue about. Nonetheless, even at 4K we’re as much as a 9% efficiency increase.

Taking the Common

In complete we spent a couple of weeks testing 41 video games and we’ll check out the side-by-side comparability throughout all these video games in a second. But when we have a look at a median graph, calculated utilizing the geomean, we see that on common DDR5 reminiscence supplied only a 3% increase at 1080p, 2% at 1440p after which one % at 4K.

Primarily based on these figures, DDR5 does little or no to assist the Core i9-12900K throughout a variety of right now’s video games.

41 Recreation Breakdown

Now right here’s a have a look at the person outcomes for all 41 video games, specializing in the 1% lows.

As we simply noticed, DDR5 gives a 3% efficiency increase total, however right here we will see that beneficial properties had been as massive as 20% in video games resembling Far Cry 6 and Vibrant Reminiscence. Different video games to point out sturdy beneficial properties embrace Watch Canine Legion, Murderer’s Creed Valhalla, The Riftbreaker, and Fortnite, to call a couple of.

There have been additionally video games that ran slower with DDR5, by a 5% margin or better, resembling Age of Empires, Hitman 2, The Division 2, Valorant and Dying Stranding.

Furthermore, of the 41 video games examined, 26 of them noticed 4% or much less variation in efficiency, which is mainly nothing and gameplay is an identical. So for over 60% of the video games examined efficiency was a match. It’s additionally value noting that for 75% of the video games examined, DDR5-6000 reminiscence failed to supply over a 5% enchancment.

For these of you eager to see the typical fps knowledge, right here’s a have a look at that…

The information does transfer round a bit. For instance, Warfare Thunder is now exhibiting the most effective outcomes for DDR5, together with Doom Everlasting. However total we’re very related efficiency traits.

Backside Line

Relying on the video games you play, DDR5 reminiscence can supply little to no efficiency achieve, and this can be true for many titles. One of the best performing examples present as much as a 20% increase which is critical, and right here we’re evaluating premium DDR4-3600 reminiscence to premium DDR5-6000, with the DDR5 equipment coming in at a ~70% worth premium.

Clearly DDR5 is not value it proper now, however we already knew that. Pricing apart, DDR5 has little to supply over DDR4 in right now’s video games with an Alder Lake processor for probably the most half. That being the case, price range aware consumers ought to solely take into account DDR5 at a ten%, or perhaps a 20% worth premium at most, when going for a flagship half just like the Core i9-12900K.

The worth equation is significantly worse for DDR5 when evaluating candy spot reminiscence like DDR4-3600 CL16, for instance. The G.Ability Ripjaws V Sequence 32GB might be had for simply $135 and that’s for the 32GB capability equipment. In the meantime, the most cost effective DDR5 32GB equipment listed on Newegg proper now could be Corsair’s Vengeance for $310 and it’s out of inventory. That’s a 130% worth premium when evaluating with candy spot DDR4 reminiscence, yikes.

It must also be famous that for the overwhelming majority of video games you’ll be able to nonetheless simply get away with 16GB of RAM, particularly should you’re a great lobster and preserve your OS clear. It’s very straightforward to snap up a DDR4-3600 CL16 16GB equipment for effectively underneath $100, the Ripjaws V, for instance is simply $80.

It must also be famous that for the overwhelming majority of video games you’ll be able to nonetheless simply get away with 16GB of RAM.

We are able to additionally deal with the “future-proofing” argument, which got here up quite a bit on our preliminary Alder Lake opinions. The essential argument is that this: put money into DDR5 now, so that you don’t have to vary your motherboard later if you wish to improve to Thirteenth-gen Core (codenamed Raptor Lake).

However wait… Raptor Lake will help DDR4 reminiscence, and whereas it’s attainable DDR5 can be of extra profit in a 12 months, it’s nonetheless not going to be large and avid gamers will virtually at all times find yourself GPU restricted in video games, fairly than CPU restricted. The massive difficulty with this future-proof argument is identical as earlier than, they hinge on the funding paying off in the long term with only a few short-term benefits.

Within the case of this argument, let’s take a fairly costly mid-range motherboard such because the Gigabyte Aorus Elite AX. It is $270 for the DDR4 model or $290 for the DDR5 model, so already you’re paying a 7% premium for the DDR5 motherboard. As seen earlier, a wise 32GB DDR4-3600 CL16 equipment will value you $135, in order that’s $270 for the motherboard, $135 for the reminiscence, and let’s go loopy with the Core i9-12900K for $620 = a $1,025 combo.

Now, if we went with the most cost effective DDR5 reminiscence we will discover at Newegg, the Corsair Vengeance DDR5-4800 CL40 32GB equipment for $310, add the $290 Aorus Elite AX DDR5 with the Core i9-12900K, and you’ve got a bundle value of $1,240, roughly a 20% premium total.

The issue is, I anticipate DDR5-4800 CL40 reminiscence to be slower than DDR4-3600 CL16, so what’s the purpose of paying a 20% premium for slower reminiscence?

If we recalculate utilizing the reminiscence examined right here, the Trident Z RGB, DDR4-3600 CL14 and DDR5-6000 CL36 we discover a related margin utilizing the Core i9-12900K and Aorus Elite AX, mainly DDR5 finally ends up costing 20% extra.

DDR5 out there proper now could be going to be horrible when in comparison with DDR5 reminiscence in a 12 months or two…

You might argue {that a} 20% premium is value it given we’re already seeing examples of 20% beneficial properties in video games. However you’re higher off saving the cash for a future improve as a result of the DDR5 out there proper now could be going to be horrible when in comparison with DDR5 reminiscence in a 12 months or two. We noticed the identical factor occur with DDR4, and DDR3 earlier than it.

As we defined in our first Alder Lake overview, you can also make an affordable case for DDR5 with the Core i9-12900K, given it’s such an costly CPU. However our recommendation for avid gamers is to go along with the significantly better worth Core i7-12700KF for simply $395 — and at that time the DDR5 bundle is 25% dearer — after which virtually 30% extra with the 12600K.

For budget-conscious avid gamers seeking to leap on Alder Lake with a Core i5 or i7, my recommendation is to snap up an entry-level Z690 motherboard such because the Gigabyte Z690 UD DDR4 for $200 or the MSI Z690-A Professional DDR4 for $220 and pair that with an inexpensive DDR4 equipment such because the Ripjaws V for $135.

If Raptor Lake does find yourself being a giant step ahead and price upgrading to, you’d be finest off simply shopping for a brand new Z790 motherboard with DDR5 reminiscence and promoting the DDR4 gear second hand as it’ll retain its worth effectively, Intel motherboards at all times do on account of heavy product segmentation. At that time try to be getting a greater motherboard anyway and far greater high quality DDR5 reminiscence at a considerably higher worth.

Additionally, likelihood is Twelfth-gen Core sequence house owners received’t really feel the necessity to improve till 14th-gen hits on the absolute earliest, and at that time you’d want a brand new motherboard anyway.

Now that we’ve in contrast DDR4 and DDR5 reminiscence throughout an enormous vary of video games, the subsequent step is to offer an in depth reminiscence scaling video for Alder Lake and that’s already within the works. The plan is to check a variety of DDR4 and DDR5 reminiscence to seek out the candy spot for Intel Twelfth-gen sequence, in each video games and functions. Keep tuned for that.

Purchasing Shortcuts

  • G.Ability Trident Z Neo DDR4-3600 CL14 on Amazon
  • G.Ability Trident Z5 RGB DDR5-5600 CL36 on Amazon
  • Corsair Vengeance RGB Professional DDR4-3200 CL16 on Amazon
  • Corsair Vengeance DDR5-4800 on Amazon
  • Kingston Fury Renegade DDR4 CL18 on Amazon
  • MSI Z690-A Professional WiFi DDR4 on Amazon
  • Gigabyte Z690 Aorus Elite AX DDR4 on Amazon
  • MSI Z690 Tomahawk WiFi DDR4 on Amazon
  • Asus TUF Gaming Z690-Plus WiFi D4 on Amazon
  • Intel Core i5-12600K on Amazon
  • Intel Core i7-12700K on Amazon
  • Intel Core i9-12900K on Amazon

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