Editor’s take: TeamGroup is about to become the first manufacturer to bring DDR5 to market en masse. Whether that’s an achievement or not is up for debate, because it’s going to be a few months before Intel or AMD release a platform capable of running DDR5. Nevertheless, it’s pretty cool.
TeamGroup’s first DDR5 kit contains two 16 GB sticks of DDR5-4800. They run with CL40-40-40-77 timings, sip 1.1 V, and are rated for 38.4 GB/s of bandwidth. By the end of the month or the start of the next, the kit will launch as “Elite U-DIMM DDR5” on Amazon, Amazon Japan, Newegg, and with a few unnamed European retailers. Its MSRP: $400.
You definitely shouldn’t buy it, at least not right away. Even TeamGroup recommends acquiring an Intel 600-series motherboard first, which implies waiting for the release of Alder Lake later this year. But it also isn’t automatically the best memory on the market just because it is DDR5.
DDR4-4800 kits are readily available at about the same price. And they’re faster, too, at least superficially: a cheap (relatively speaking) DDR4-4800 kit might have CL19-28-28-48 timings, while a fancy kit can go all the way down to CL17-19-19-39.
But raw performance was never the goal. TeamGroup’s first foray into DDR5 is just the base spec set by JEDEC. And compared to the DDR4 base spec, it’s miles better; more than twice as fast. When DDR4 launched, the first few kits weren’t superior to the top DDR3 modules, either.
There’s much more to a memory standard than just speed though. DDR5 has built-in on-die SEC ECC (single-error correction code) to reduce errors, a doubled burst length to improve bandwidth, and on-board voltage regulation to enable higher overclocks. SK Hynix has announced plans to overclock DDR5 to 8400 MHz.
Intel’s upcoming Alder Lake platform is expected to be the first to support DDR5 when it launches in late 2021, closely followed by AMD’s Zen 4. Presumably, TeamGroup will be facing some stiffer competition by then.