ddr4 vs ddr5 for intel 12th gen

ddr4 vs ddr5 for intel 12th gen

ddr4 vs ddr5 for intel 12th gen

View best DDR4 on Amazon

View best DDR5 on Amazon

Our goal in this article is to give you a closer look at how memory scaling performs in conjunction with Intel Alder Lake CPUs. Ddr4 vs ddr5 for intel 12th gen has been in debate for quite sometimes now. The main reason being speed and latencies. In particular, the results should apply to the entire 12th-generation Core range, especially when CPU resources are limited, but in general these results should apply across the entire 12th-generation Core range.

ddr4 vs ddr5 for intel 12th gen
ddr4 vs ddr5 for intel 12th gen


The newer and more expensive DDR5 memory is on average 4% faster than the older and cheaper DDR4 memory, but on a few select titles it can be up to 20% faster. We of course want to compare memory kits covering a broad price range, all supplied by Corsair, since both DDR4 and DDR5 memory used in that test were very expensive.




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DDR4 vs DDR5: Performance

My first testing was done with the Intel Core i5-12600K and the Intel Core i9-12900K with 16GB of DDR5 RAM, and both of these chips were quite impressive. As far as I am concerned, I still believe that the Core i5-12600K in particular is the best CPU to buy if you wish to build a mid-range or premium PC. With the Asus ROG Strix Z690-A Gaming WiFi D4 (£310 / $350) DDR4-based motherboard finally in my possession, it’s time to take a look at how the i5 performs in games with the older memory, now that I’ve managed to get hold of a DDR4-based motherboard as well.

In summary, the results below were recorded at 1080p using an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti and an Intel Core i5-12600K Desktop Processor. As for the DDR4 test with the ROG Strix Z690-A Gaming WiFi D4, I used 16GB of Corsair Ballistix Elite memory running at 4000MHz in my initial DDR5 testing, while I was using 16GB of Geil Polaris RGB RAM (at The ROG Maximus Z690 Hero processor is clocked at 4800MHz on an Asus motherboard with an Asus motherboard.

Speed of gaming

The speed of gaming is not as affected by RAM as it is by CPUs and graphics cards. However, the latest generational leap does not seem to result in any significant advantage. As it turns out, DDR4 is the one that offers a slight performance advantage in Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, and Metro Exodus, with an additional 7 frames per second. There was no significant difference in DDR4 and DDR5 in any of the other tests.

During Cinebench R20, DDR5 only managed to claim a significant lead. The single-core test result of my DDR5 system was 736 and the multicore test was 6733, both of which were higher than the 6699 and 703 results of my DDR4 system. The differences aren’t huge, but if you’re more interested in gaming than in photo or video editing, then the difference really doesn’t matter.

DDR4 vs DDR5: Frequencies and latencies

Conventional wisdom about PC hardware is thrown out the window by this performance parity. What makes something faster and better if it’s newer, shinier?

DDR5 is superior to DDR4

Technically, DDR5 is superior to DDR4 on paper because of a variety of upgrades. From the specs of the RAM I used, you can see that DDR5’s frequencies are going to be faster across the board than DDR4’s, based on how many times the RAM cycles per second. Geil’s DDR5 kit can safely perform that many cycles straight out of the box, unlike DDR4 memory, which would cause a monstrous overclock, if carried out. Its higher bandwidth also makes DDR5 an excellent choice for maximizing performance over DDR4.

In addition to being more efficient, DDR5 is also faster. In this case, it falls from the DDR4’s 1.2v operating voltage down to 1.1v, which might not seem like a big deal, but it drastically reduces the power consumption the memory is consuming at any given time.  This is incredible. In addition to being alluringly powerful, Intel’s CPUs are quite eager to extract energy from the PSU tap when paired with an Alder Lake chip.

DDR4 have such a good performance in games

Then why does DDR4 have such a good performance in games, even at times being faster than DDR3? According to what I have gathered, this has to do with DDR4 RAM having a lower latency than DDR5 – the time it takes for data to be sent between the RAM and the CPU.

I apologize in advance for the numbers spilling over, but let’s take an example from the Crucial and Geil memory I tested. Ballistix Elite DDR4 RAM is faster than the Crucial Ballistix Ultimate DDR4 RAM due to its lower frequency of 4000MHz and its CAS Latency (CL) of 18. This means the RAM only takes 18 cycles to respond to a request for data. It takes more than twice as long to perform the same operation using Geil DDR5, which has a CL of 40. This problem isn’t exclusive to this particular model: pretty much every DDR5 kit to be released or announced is placed in either CL40 or CL38 category, whereas even inexpensive DDR4 kits can be found in CL18, CL16 or CL15.

By running through 40 cycles faster than DDR4, the difference is evidently reduced, since DDR5 frequencies are higher.The actual delay, however, is likely to be longer than expected. Here’s a calculator that will tell you how latency is measured in nanoseconds for RAM.My Crucial DDR4 clocks in at 9ns, whereas Geil’s DDR5 clocks in at 16.6ns, according to the calculation.

While playing a game, apply the longer delay to the CPU accessing data from the RAM, and it becomes less surprising that DDR4 can outperform DDR5.

similar latency problem

When DDR4 was launched, it was plagued by a similar latency problem – which explains, at least in part, why it did not replace DDR3 overnight. Likewise, DDR5 is likely to improve, as did DDR4, until it can deliver all of the benefits of speed and efficiency without the disadvantages. Unfortunately, it isn’t today.

DDR4 vs DDR5: Price and availability

In addition to its low price, DDR4 also has another advantage. ROG Strix Z690-A Gaming Wi-Fi D4 is clearly a very high-quality piece of kit, as it costs over £300 and is obviously a premium piece of technology. However, it is also something of an extreme example – in terms of price, you are getting full-size ATX Z690 motherboards that support Alder Lake, DDR4-based, and start at £170. As a result of low-cost 12th Gen chipsets, like the B660, we can expect to see many more affordable mobo options to complement the top-end Z690 in the future.

I haven’t seen a decent ATX motherboard for less than £230 yet, but the cheapest DDR5-spec motherboard I’ve seen is $280. The ROG Strix Z690-A Gaming Wi-Fi D4 that I own costs less than half the price of my ROG Maximus Z690 Hero, but with better PCIe and external I/O speeds.

DDR4 vs DDR5 comparisons are hard, largely due to the fact that so little DDR5 memory is available.

There has been an apparent launch of DDR5 in the last few weeks. Nonetheless, there is still a vast majority of RAM kits at reputable retailers that are currently listed as out of stock or as “coming soon” on their websites – including the Geil Polaris RGB memory kit.

Crucial’s 16GB DDR5 kit appears to be on sale for £138, but it’s not expected to arrive for several weeks. The heat spreader is missing as well. It’s awful.

Ballistix Elite kit

It’s true that my Ballistix Elite kit is experiencing a shortage of its own. There are plenty of much cheaper DDR4 kits available as well. For example, the G.Skill Trident Z offers 16GB, stock 4000MHz/CL18 memory for £131. For instance, Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4 16GB is available at just £50 right now.

In order to future-proof your purchase, you can wait until DDR5’s latency problems are resolved before buying. As soon as lower-latency models appear, you’ll have to purchase yet another memory kit because you’ll be forced to use high-latency DDR5 until then. Futureproofing means not having to make repeated purchases down the road. You will also have lost your ability to make cutting-edge processors and chipsets by the time you reach that stage.

the best Choice

Therefore, DDR4 is the best choice for the time being. When you’ve just upgraded to one of the most advanced CPUs on the market, equipping your PC with old-standard memory might seem counterproductive. In this situation, DDR5 is the only reasonable option, since it costs more and offers no real gaming advantage.

Upgrade your DDR4 without upgrading the rest of your system

Putting together a new or upgraded PC isn’t cheap, so if you can reuse components, you already own, it takes out some of the pain. Both DDR4 and DDR5 memory are compatible with Intel’s latest 12th Gen “Alder Lake” processors.

That caveat, however, should be noted. Assuming your set meets Intel’s requirement for DDR4, you should be good to go. It will be necessary to get a new motherboard regardless of what you choose, and if you opt for DDR4, you need to ensure your motherboard is compatible with it. The performance advantage of DDR5 will be greater

While 12th Gen CPUs have higher timings, DDR5 RAM will give a performance increase to a number of workloads. It will be beneficial for intense tasks, such as gaming, to benefit from the higher clock speed and greater memory bandwidth.

Final thoughts on DDR4 VS DDR5 for intel 12th Gen

DDR5 doesn’t take memory ranks into account. Approximately 3% more performance can be achieved with four memory ranks than with two memory ranks. Only 32GB DDR5 modules have dual-rank designs, which is a caveat with DDR5. A four-rank memory kit requires the purchase of two 32GB memory kits or four 8GB memory kits, which are costly options.

In terms of frequency, DDR5 adopters do not have to worry about it too much at the moment. As we are in the early stages of the development of DDR5, there is not a lot of opportunities, and we can still make some improvements. Compared to the baseline DDR5-4800, DDR5-6200 delivered a performance in excess of 3% higher as per the exact timings than the high-end DDR5-6200.

When it comes to DDR4, memory ranks are more important. There was a 5% difference between two memory ranks and four memory ranks. The users of DDR4 don’t have to spend ridiculous sums of money on memory kits, which gives them the luxury of not having to worry about purchasing dual-rank memory. The most important thing to keep in mind is the growing popularity of single-rank 16GB DDR4 memory modules nowadays, so before you go ahead and purchase your 32GB (2x16GB) memory kit, make sure you check the specifications for the product before getting started.

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