Ddr4 vs ddr5 gaming performance

Ddr4 vs ddr5 gaming performance

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Ddr4 vs ddr5 gaming performance
Ddr4 vs ddr5 gaming performance

DDR4 vs DDR5 gaming performance has been subject to debate for a long time. Using Alder Lake and Z690 motherboard we tested the two.

Now let’s talk about the gaming results. On the DDR4 setup today, we are testing four different games, on A range of frequency settings from 3200MT/s to 4000MT/s CL19, while on the DDR5 equivalent, we are testing four different games on a range of frequency settings from 4800MT/s to 6600MT/s CL40. Generally speaking, a quick overclock of this kit is done in steps of 400MT/s, gradually increasing to 6600MT/s as our XPG DDR5-6000 kit reaches its limits at 1.375W – quite impressive for such a quick procedure. We tested the games at 1080p using the same configurations as our CPU reviews – normally maxed out in addition to RT and DLSS enabled if available – as well as the same settings as our CPU reviews.

In addition to the average frame rate, the worst one percent and five percent metrics are displayed on the graphs (on desktop browsers). The framerate and percentage differences can be toggled by clicking. View the scenes with telemetry live in the videos and select or deselect comparison data points with a click.

On mobile, the presentation is rather drier, with just one percent average results and one percent worst calculations.

Read more on G.Skill Trident Z Royal Series

How We Tested: DDR5 vs. DDR4

Rather than having two 64-bit ranks per memory module, DDR5 memory has two 32-bit ranks, which are separated by a 32-bit divide, enabling the latency benefits described in the same overview article to be applied differently. For a much more in-depth description of memory ranks, you should check out that piece. Several modern-DDR modules were thrown into our test systems for a modern-DDR throwdown, without much knowledge of what to expect.

Two different Z690 motherboards

For our DDR5-versus-DDR4 comparison, we configured two testbeds on two different Z690 motherboards (one for DDR5 testing, one for DDR4 testing) using Intel’s flagship Alder Lake Core i9-12900KF (which does not include graphics). Besides the motherboards and memory modules, the rest of the testbed components were shared. Listed below are the components we selected…

During our testing, we used 32GB DDR4 and DDR5 kits, each with two 16GB modules. XMP-enabled (overclockable) DDR4 kits from Mushkin and Crucial were provided for today’s technology evaluation, and Mushkin provided a kit of DDR5-4800 from Crucial. Mushkin’s DDR4-4000 (18-22-22-42) and DDR4-3600 (16-19-19-39) are faster than Crucial’s DDR5(Opens in a new window), whose timings decrease from DDR4-4400 (19-26-26-46) to DDR4-4000 (18-22-22-42) and DDR4-3600 (16-19-19-39). Even though each DDR5 rank is divided into multiple 64-bit ranks, all modules are grouped as one rank (64-bit).

Alder Lake CPU

In addition to supporting both DDR4 and DDR5, the Z690 motherboard platform is the only one to support Alder Lake so far. In my opinion, everyone agrees that it would be great if motherboard manufacturers would put both DDR4 and DDR5 slots on the same board, but so far, that has not been the case. This might have something to do with the fact that these technologies cannot be used at the same time due to the incompatibility of these types of technologies. However, earlier memory generations (such as DDR2/DDR3 combo boards, for example) have seen several brands willing to take this risk in the past (with DDR2/DDR3 combo boards, for example).

Because there was no option to align two boards, we had to experiment with two boards that were nearly aligned. A pair of Asrock boards that are closely matched to each other when it comes to DDR4 and DDR5 were sent to us for review: the Z690 Extreme WiFi 6E and the Z690 Taichi (for the DDR5).

Testing DDR5 vs. DDR4: Down and Dirty With the Performance Differences

Due to the Z690 Extreme WiFi 6E’s BIOS support for the JEDEC DDR4-3200 standard, we chose this standard to assess its performance. In addition, Mushkin’s DDR4-3600 CAS 16 XMP setting the difference between Mushkin’s DDR4-3200 14-16-16-30.

Bandwidth and Latency Tests

In the beginning, we would like to summarize the memory-speed test we conducted and the synthetic application tests we performed…

Next, let’s take a look at the first set of results…

There is no such thing as too much bandwidth or too much latency. In terms of latency, DDR5 is just as slow as it is fast in terms of bandwidth. It was expected that the results would interact, but there might be a few surprises in the real-world applications. Those are the next steps…

Application and Gaming Tests

The synthetic application tests that we listed above played out thus…

In terms of PCMark 10 or 3DMark Time Spy, there isn’t much to see. 3DMark Time Spy’s CPU test shows DDR5 memory topping DDR4, but PCMark 10’s Photo Editing simulation shows it falling behind. There was a margin of error between the other results to be expected when testing with the same hardware from run to run.

Channel Architecture

An infographic illustrating how DDR5 memory works based on its new channel architecture

DDR5 has a different channel configuration compared to DDR4 – not to be confused with dual-channel.

The memory controller communicates directly with the processor through the channels within the modules. Whereas DDR4 memory has a single command/address bus with 64 data lines, DDR5 has two 32-channel buses with 32 data lines each. The processor can communicate with two lines simultaneously and, especially in gaming, this raises performance.

Power and efficiency

The Samsung DDR5 ram is available in capacities up to 512GB, as shown in this promotional image.

The DDR5 memory technology is more efficient than its predecessors, as was the case with previous generations. The difference between DDR4 and DDR5 is that DDR5 requires less voltage to function properly. As a result, they draw less power, which makes them an excellent addition to mobile PCs with batteries that are becoming more and more drained.

Despite their added performance, DDR5 models don’t typically require any greater cooling capacity than DDR4 modules, which should help keep temperatures down.

This is particularly noteworthy since DDR5 kits also incorporate voltage controller modules on a memory stick rather than a motherboard. Additionally, this allows platforms with large memory kits to have greater scalability and improve power efficiency.

Real World Performance – Gaming

Two ram sticks in a motherboard of G-Skill Trident Z5 RGB

The performance of DDR5 memory is only important if it actually improves real-world performance over DDR4 memory. The Alder Lake processors from Intel are capable of running both DDR4 and DDR5, which makes comparing memory sticks relatively easy.

You have a lot of control over what games you play in terms of gaming.

In comparison to the 3,600 MTps DDR4 memory kit in Far Cry 6, which is about 20 percent faster when compared to the 6,000 MTps DDR5 memory kit in the game, other games do not show quite the same improvement.

PlayersUnknowns Battlegrounds, World War Z, War Thunder, and Fortnite all have around 10 percent performance improvements. Death Stranding, Valorant, and The Division 2 all suffer similar drops in performance.

In most games, DDR5 memory does show some improvements, but it’s normally about five percent, so no matter what frame rate you use, it’s not going to be noticeable.

While this isn’t to say that DDR5 memory isn’t worth it, it’s obvious that you’ll need it if you intend to run a gaming PC on every setting and plan on putting up the funds for a high-performance processor and graphics card. It’s probably better to allocate your budget more strategically if you have the choice between DDR5 and spending some extra money on another part of your computer.

Real World Performance – Productivity

There are times when technological advancements tend to impact work more than play, so how can productivity applications such as photo and video editing suites benefit from technological advancements? Can you transcode videos and create CAD drawings?

A comprehensive test conducted by Puget Systems and PCMag earlier this year found that although DDR5 memory does improve overall system performance, its effect is not dramatic. DDR4 memory with 3,200 MTps and DDR5 memory with 4,800 MTps typically had a five percent difference in performance, so it shouldn’t make much difference in gaming.

In spite of this, it does suggest that higher-speed DDR5 kits may become more available in the future, and that, if they become available, they may also have a greater impact on memory as a whole, making the system more responsive and powerful. Despite this, DDR5 memory isn’t making any kind of significant difference to workloads at the moment, so it’s not a game-changer.

Best memory kits you can buy

Image of 2 sticks of white G-Skill Trident Z5 ram

Choosing your memory is crucial if you’re a gamer because you’ll need at least 3,000 MTps to meet your capacity requirements – usually 8-16GB for most games.However, higher-end kits will maximize your performance and give you higher FPS.With DDR5 memory, the higher the frequency, the better performance, as we saw in our real-world productivity benchmarks.

In order to build or upgrade your Intel Alder Lake PC, you should consider a DDR5 kit like the G.Skill Trident Z5 RGB DDR5-6000. It offers great performance and some tasty RGB lighting. If you are paired with a powerful CPU as well as DDR5, you’ll achieve some very impressive performance numbers — despite the tight timings of DDR5 and the high price tag.

There are a variety of gaming PCs available from Chillblast with G.Skill Trident Z 3,200 MTps memory kits. They offer tremendous gaming performance while also being attractively designed with a heatspreader and lighting system. Patriot Viper Steel DDR4-4400 offers slightly better performance, but you must tweak your CPU settings to maximize it (especially on AMD systems).

What Do You Need For DDR5?

Image of an MSI motherboard with an Intel Core i9 CPU box next to it

Adding support for DDR5 memory was first available in November 2021 on Intel’s 12th-generation Alder Lake processor and 600-series motherboard. During early 2022, AMD released its Ryzen 6000 mobile processors. DDR5 memory can only be used in Intel Alder Lake CPUs or AMD Ryzen 6000-based laptops at the time of writing, so if you want to run a PC with DDR5, you will need one of those two platforms.

However, that will change within a short period of time. Intel and AMD have designed their next-generation processors to work well with DDR5. Despite rumours of socket AM4/DDR4 compatibility with select AMD CPUs, AMD’s Ryzen 7000 Zen 4 CPUs will only support DDR5.

Regardless, Intel will introduce its 13th-generation Raptor Lake processors in the first half of this year, and these chips will feature support for both DDR5 and DDR4 immediately. In order to use DDR4 supported motherboards, you are going to need specific motherboards that support DDR4. DDR5 is supported by the vast majority of motherboards by default. This is most likely to be the last generation of Intel chips that will support the older memory standard in the near future.

A larger range of options are likely to launch in the months that follow these two new processor lines and their accompanying motherboards in Q3 2022. In a current-generation PC, DDR5 doesn’t appear to be a great improvement over DDR3, but it’s likely to yield much better results in future generations, making it worth upgrading to and upgrading for.

Final thoughts on ddr4 vs ddr5 gaming performance

There are already examples of 20% gains in games, so a 20% premium might be worth it. You’d be better off saving that money for an upgrade in a year or two because the DDR5 available now will be terrible by comparison to DDR5 memory in that time frame. As with DDR3, DDR4 is doing the same thing.

The Core i9-12900K is one of the most expensive CPUs we’ve reviewed, so DDR5 is a reasonable option. In any case, we recommend going for the significantly better value Core i7-12700KF for just $395 — whereas the DDR5 package will cost you 25% more, and the 12600K will be about 30% more expensive.

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