After years of waiting and speculation, Micron has become the first company to begin sampling DDR5. It will be some time yet before we see products that can take advantage of this — likely AMD's Ryzen 5000 in 2021 — but the potential is there, as DDR5 could usher in massively increased bandwidth, with early modules already operating as much as 85 percent faster than DDR4.
It is important to recognize, however, that this uplift is based on standard DDR4 modules. Technically, DDR4 is only rated to operate between 1,600MHz and 3,200MHz, with overclocked modules allowing the super high speeds we've seen in recent years, with retail modules hitting 4,400MHz, and some pushing them beyond 5,000MHz with high level cooling.
DDR5's standard operating range will be between 3,200MHz and 6,400MHz, still a major boost over even the fastest DDR4 speeds, and overclocking could take them further still. The memory chips are far denser too, leading to modules that start at 8GB, and can come in capacities up to 64GB.
“Micron’s sampling of DDR5 RDIMMs represents a significant milestone, bringing the industry one step closer to unlocking the value in next-generation data-centric applications,” said Tom Eby, VP and GM of Compute and Networking Business Unit at Micron, via PCGamesN.
2021 is the earliest we'll likely see any of this in consumer parts, with a potential later release from Intel. But servers and supercomputers could start working with it towards the end of this year.