DDR4 vs DDR5: Why you don’t need to upgrade your RAM for Intel Alder Lake – Rock Paper Shotgun

Intel’s latest 12th Gen Alder Lake processors include some of the best gaming CPUs money can buy, and they’re not just a big step forward on pure power. They also add support for some new and up-and-coming technologies that that could form the bedrock for even better performance …….

Intel’s latest 12th Gen Alder Lake processors include some of the best gaming CPUs money can buy, and they’re not just a big step forward on pure power. They also add support for some new and up-and-coming technologies that that could form the bedrock for even better performance in the future, like PCIe 5.0 and DDR5 RAM. In fact, when buying a new, Alder Lake-compatible motherboard, you’ll have a choice to make: stick with DDR4 memory, or upgrade to DDR5?

Because the two aren’t cross-compatible, you’re stuck whatever you pick for as long as you use that motherboard – so it is an important decision. As things stand, though, it should also be an easy one, as DDR4 can currently provide as-good or better performance in games while being far more easily attainable. The situation could change in time, but for now let’s consider why you shouldn’t necessarily switch to DDR5 for a new CPU.


DDR4 vs DDR5: Performance

I originally tested the Intel Core i5-12600K and Intel Core i9-12900K with 16GB of DDR5 RAM, and both were intensely impressive chips; I still think the Core i5-12600K in particular is the CPU to buy for mid-range and high-end PC builds alike. Now that I’ve finally got hold of a compatible DDR4-based motherboard as well – the Asus ROG Strix Z690-A Gaming WiFi D4 (£310 / $350) – it’s time to see how the i5 handles games with the older memory.

To recap, the results below were recorded at 1080p using the Core i5-12600K and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti. In the DDR4 corner, the ROG Strix Z690-A Gaming WiFi D4 was paired with 16GB of Corsair Ballistix Elite memory running at its stock speed of 4000MHz, while my original DDR5 testing used 16GB of Geil Polaris RGB RAM (at stock 4800MHz speed) and an Asus ROG Maximus Z690 Hero motherboard.

RAM, of course, has never had as much of an impact on gaming speed as CPUs and graphics cards, but we can see here that the latest generational leap doesn’t produce a marked advantage at all. In fact it’s DDR4 that comes out looking slightly better, with an extra 7fps in Shadow of the Tomb Raider an extra 5fps in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, and only a 3fps deficit in Metro Exodus. In all the other tests, DDR4 and DDR5 are basically even.

The only time DDR5 clawed out a significant lead was in Cinebench R20. My DDR5-based rig scored 736 in the single-core test and 6733 …….

Source: https://www.rockpapershotgun.com/ddr4-vs-ddr5-intel-12th-gen-alder-lake

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