Memory standards are getting an upgrade thanks to a well known DRAM manufacturer, SK Hynix. The company is introducing the world’s first DDR5 RAM module, nearly 4 years after DDR4 entered the mainstream market.
This is the first we’re seeing of DDR5, which promises to deliver faster data rates and more efficiency than the current gen DDR4. SK Hynix has made a 16 GB DDR5 chip, which also complies with the JEDEC memory standards for DDR (or Double Data Rate) memory.
Now before we get into the details about DDR5 , let me briefly explain what RAM is and why this development is important.
What is RAM and Why Does it Matter?
If you own a smartphone or a laptop/PC you might have heard of “RAM”. Short for Random Access Memory, this is where all your apps, games and other software is loaded when you open them on your computer or phone. How fast they open up depends on how fast your computer/phone’s RAM is.
Now what determines how fast RAM is? Oversimplified, RAM speed depends on the memory standard (DDR vs DDR2, for example,where DDR2 would be faster) and the transfer speed (which depends on multiple factors like its clock speed, channels and so on).
DDR5 vs DDR4
The new RAM module is made using a 10nm fabrication process, and promises much higher transfer speeds. In fact, SK Hynix claims that their DDR5 RAM goes as high as 5200 Mbps, which is 60% higher than DDR4 which tops out at 3200 Mbps.
Other than that, the company claims that it’s also 30% more power efficient than DDR4. Hynix didn’t mention the die size and some other small details, but they did mention that an 8GB and a 32GB DDR5 module is also in the works.
Do note that Hynix has demoed the new RAM standard only, it’s not going to be available commercially any time soon. Mass production will begin in 2020, so there’s plenty of time until we start seeing mainstream use of DDR5 RAM.
Cadence and Micron are also working on DDR5 memory, aiming to begin production next year.