January 26, 2022

ASUS Demonstrates DDR5 to DDR4 Converter Card

One of many key points with buying a contemporary Alder Lake system at present is the price of the reminiscence, particularly when an fanatic needs to make use of DDR5. Resulting from part shortages, notably the facility administration controllers that every DDR5 module wants, prices of DDR5 are rapidly rising, with some scalpers in search of $1000+ for primary reminiscence kits. The answer to this has been to advocate that customers look to pair Alder Lake with DDR4 reminiscence, which though it isn’t the newest, is the more economical situation. The draw back to this resolution is that the person has a DDR4-only motherboard, and never the subsequent era DDR5. That may change into a solved situation quickly sufficient, nonetheless.

In a preview video on YouTube posted at present by Bing, who I consider is an ASUS ROG worker, the corporate has been engaged on an answer to permit customers that purchase ASUS Z690 motherboards constructed on DDR5, to run DDR4 in them. As a result of Intel restricted the platform to both DDR5 or DDR4 per motherboard, there’s no approach to run each, till now. Within the video, Bing describes the brand new add-in card they’ve been prototyping.

The use case is pretty easy – have a DDR5 board just like the ROG Apex, put the service card in a reminiscence slot, and place the certified DDR4 within the high.

Clearly, the state of affairs right here is extra complicated than merely utilizing this service card. DDR5 and DDR4 are greater than merely a notch distinction between them – DDR4 is a single 64-bit reminiscence channel per module, whereas DDR5 is twin 32-bit channel per module. The important thing situation is that DDR5 does energy administration per module, the place DDR4 depends on energy administration on the motherboard, in order that must be considered. Additionally, including in a service card extends reminiscence traces, which may degrade the standard of the sign.

What ASUS does right here is use a particular BIOS revision to permit the ROG Apex DDR5 to run in DDR4 mode. Which means that the traces to the reminiscence slots, though laid out for DDR5 operation, are switched into DDR4 mode. Then, on the service card, this takes the 5V energy sign and runs it by the equal of motherboard energy administration, and controls the information strains to keep up integrity for sign, latency, energy, and so forth.

Bing explains within the video that that is nonetheless very a lot a prototype. It seems to be like they’re focusing to get it to work on one motherboard with one reminiscence equipment first, earlier than optimizing it. Bing states that the service card could be very tall, and there’s room for optimization to make it smaller sooner or later earlier than ASUS would possibly supply it as a retail product. Additionally a wider vary of validation is probably going wanted as nicely.

The video goes to indicate with a single DDR4 module within the service card the system working at DDR4-4400 with a Core i5-12600K. To verify DDR5 nonetheless works, the system is proven working twin modules of DDR5-4400, at the least to the BIOS display. If these modules come to market, they’re nonetheless in early prototypes, and ASUS will seemingly decide feasibility and demand for them for pricing.

Supply: YouTube (in Mandarin)

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