DDR4 vs DDR5: Which RAM Should You Choose and When to Upgrade?

DDR4 vs DDR5: Understanding the Differences and When to Upgrade


When building a computer, choosing the right RAM is crucial to ensure optimal performance. The latest DDR5 RAM offers many improvements over its predecessor, DDR4, but is it worth upgrading to DDR5? In this article, we will explore the differences between DDR4 and DDR5, including latency, speed, compatibility with Intel and AMD processors, and when it’s time to upgrade.

Latency and Speed Differences Between DDR4 and DDR5

DDR5 RAM offers higher bandwidth than DDR4, which means it can transfer more data at once, resulting in faster performance. However, DDR5 also has a higher latency than DDR4, which can impact performance. The main value that affects RAM latency is the CAS latency (Column Address Signal), which specifies how long it takes for the RAM to access the data the processor needs. DDR5 RAM kits typically have a CAS latency of 40, which is much higher than DDR4’s average of 16. While DDR5 can perform tasks faster, it takes longer to understand the job it needs to do, so manufacturers need to address this issue over time.

Compatibility with Intel and AMD Processors

For AMD Ryzen 7000 series processors, DDR5 RAM is necessary, while older AMD processors only support DDR4. On the other hand, Intel Core processors from the 12th or 13th generation can use either DDR4 or DDR5, but motherboards are not compatible with both types of RAM. It’s essential to consider your processor’s compatibility when choosing between DDR4 and DDR5 RAM.

Performance Differences between DDR4 and DDR5

DDR5 RAM offers much higher bandwidth, leading to a considerable performance improvement in workloads involving large data sets. However, DDR4 performs similarly to DDR5 in typical workloads, such as web browsing or office applications, as proven by PCMark 10. Gaming sees no improvement from using DDR5 instead of DDR4, at least in 1440p resolution. Performance boosts will most likely appear on high-end computers using extremely powerful graphics cards such as the Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090. Therefore, it may not be worth upgrading to DDR5 unless you require top performance or are building a PC based on the latest AMD Ryzen 7000 series processor.

When to Upgrade to DDR5

DDR5 memory kits are currently sold at high prices, so it may not be worth upgrading to DDR5 unless you require top performance or are building a PC based on the latest AMD Ryzen 7000 series processor. For those with an older AMD or Intel processor, it may not be compatible with DDR5, and upgrading to DDR5 would require replacing both the processor and the motherboard. Therefore, it’s essential to weigh the cost of upgrading against the potential performance gains.


DDR5 offers many improvements over DDR4, such as higher bandwidth and faster performance in workloads involving large data sets. However, DDR5 also has higher latency and is currently more expensive than DDR4. The decision to upgrade to DDR5 depends on several factors, such as processor compatibility, the type of workload you use your computer for, and your budget. Ultimately, it’s important to carefully consider these factors before deciding to upgrade to DDR5 RAM.