Three years after the computer industry vowed to double the world’s computer memory speed with the DDR5 spec, it’s almost here at last. SK Hynix officially unveiled the world’s first DDR5 memory modules. The company informs The Verge that in Q3 2021 it plans to start selling them, but they’re ready whenever systems can support them.
SK Hynix claims that this DRAM provides raw bandwidth of up to 5,600Mbps, not quite the maximum 6,400Mbps that the DDR5 spec requires, but a full 1.8 times faster than regular DDR4, and all at a lower voltage of 1.1V instead of 1.2V, for what SK Hynix reports will be a 20% power savings.
In practical terms, the announcement today would not mean much to your typical computer builder or buyer, partially because improvements in RAM speed have not given a major boost for normal apps and games, and partially because it may be several months before you can purchase them, much less slot them into a system. Intel has announced that it will support DDR5 for future processors, but DDR5 has not been formally adopted by AMD and may not be accepted until 2022.
But eventually, DDR5 ‘s capability might catch your eye. As AnandTech points out, 128GB modules are likely, and 2 TB server-grade modules aren’t out of the question. The announcement today is all about demonstrating that a company can actually produce such a module and involve other manufacturers in creating an ecosystem around the technology. In this case, SK Hynix notes that companies such as Synopsis, Renesys, Montage and Rambus are all signed on, not exactly the kinds of businesses that send us gadget lovers RAM.
This is literally how DDR4 first rolled out, too. After the spec was first released, it took a while. Plus, this July, JEDEC only managed to finish the spec, a couple of years behind schedule.