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Next Generation DDR5 RAM Will Offer Twice The Bandwidth Of DDR4, But When Will It Arrive?

1 April 2017, 2:12 am EDT By Carl Velasco Tech Times
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The next generation of RAM, DDR5, will reportedly be twice as fast as this generation’s DDR4 technology. Commercial release of DDR5 RAM might take a while, however.  ( David Friedman | Getty Images )

DDR5, the next generation of RAM, will offer twice the speeds of current-gen DDR4 RAM come time it's released, according to JEDEC, an organization setting the terms of computer memory standards.

The typical modern computer still houses a DDR4 RAM; some still have last gen's DDR3. But of course, in the fast-paced motion of technological advancements, everything seems short-lived, and things change a lot in a short amount of time. The same can be said for DDR4 RAM, as you may have guessed by now.

As Ars Technica reports, JEDEC will be holding a demo of the new cards in June 2017, with finalizations set in place by 2018. In addition to being twice as fast as its predecessor, DDR5 RAM will be more power efficient, although the organization wasn't able to provide exact metrics illustrating by how much.

"As planned, DDR5 will provide double the bandwidth and density over DDR4, along with delivering improved channel efficiency. These enhancements, combined with a more user-friendly interface for server and client platforms, will enable high performance and improved power management in a wide variety of applications," says JEDEC in a statement.

When Will DDR5 RAM Be Released?

Despite the imminent demo, it might take long before DDR5 hits commercially, as was the case with DDR4. So if you're worrying about your recent purchase of current-gen chips — don't, because the release of DDR5 chips will might take a while. This delay might stem from memory controllers in processors and SoCs needing to be upgraded to natively support DDR5 technology. This redesigning process typically takes two to three years from conception to finalization.

By contrast, DDR4 RAM was finalized in 2012, but it wasn't until 2015 when the technology was able to reach the mainstream threshold. Consumer processors manufactured by Intel and other companies helped the commercialization of DDR4, and a similar trajectory is needed for DDR5 to traverse the same fate, which it will, eventually. If DDR5 mirrors the DDR4's development schedule, commercial DDR5 RAM might not arrive until 2021. But hopefully this time it won't take as long.

For now, no other metrics can paint a vivid picture of what DDR5 RAM can offer, save for the fact that it's poised to double the speeds of current-gen RAM technology. It's all pretty nebulous at present. The point is, don't contemplate whether you're getting a bang for your buck if you buy DDR4 RAM now, because DDR5 is still a ways to go, anyway.

A Potentially RAM-Free Future?

RAM technology is a crucial element of powering computer, so the notion of it going completely kaput is a hard one to swallow. However, as Ars Technica notes, in a few years, enough innovation in technology might push us to start exploring the idea of RAM-free setups. Optane drives by Intel are attempting to combine the capacity, density, and non-volatility of an SSD with RAM-level speeds. This version of future may or may not come, though if it does, it'll no doubt signal a whole new paradigm shift in computing technology.

Thoughts about DDR5 RAM? What are your expectations for the next generation of RAM technology? Feel free to sound off in the comments section below!

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