DDR4 MEMORY

The system memory on a typical gaming machine currently ranges from about 8GB to 64GB depending on the age of the machine and the budget.

New machines with DDR4 now start at the low end with 8GB of memory on desktop and notebook machines.

SDRAM, DDR, DDR2, DDR3 and DDR4 are all 5.25 inches long. This standard uses a pin to block unsuitable memory from being inserted. Each generation specifies a lower operating voltage as smaller feature sizes come into production. The only change is on the slot lock to prevent mixing older memory improperly.

DIMM Type Data Rate Module Name Peak Transfer Rate
DDR4-2133 2133 MT/s PC4-17000 17064 MB/s
DDR4-2400 2400 MT/s PC4-19200 19200 MB/s
DDR4-2666 2600 MT/s PC4-20800 20800 MB/s
DDR4-2800 2800 MT/s PC4-22400 22400 MB/s
DDR4-3000 3000 MT/s PC4-24000 24000 MB/s
DDR4-3200 3200 MT/s PC4-25600 25600 MB/s

JEDEC

JEDEC has specifications for 4 gigabit, 8 gigabit, 16 gigabit and 32 gigabit DDR4 memory chips. DDR4 memory chips can be 4, 8 or 16 bits wide.  It was not until 2014 when 8 gigabit memory become widely available for servers and 2015 before it became available for gaming enthusiasts.

LPDDR4 is lower power for mobile machines.DDR4-2133 is the mainstream which is supported widely by AMD and Intel.

Higher speeds have segmented the market similar to the way DDR3 moved.DDR3 had Intel XMS profiles, now DDR4 has XMS2 profiles which are not JEDEC standard. AMD Ryzen can handle them.

The difference is real bandwidth from DDR4-2133 to DDR4-3200 is negligible. For this reason we recommend using the lower cost DDR4-2133 which works fine,

INTEL

Intel’s new X99 chipset and Haswell-E 22nm processors will finally bring DDR4 to the PC market, albeit 2 years behind the curve. The $400 6-core i7-5820K will have 28 PCI Express lanes. The $600 6-core i7-5930K has 40 PCI Express lanes. The $1000 8-core 150W i7-5960X also has 40 PCI Express lanes. The $400 EVGA X99 Classified EATX motherboard has 5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 slots and 8 DDR4 memory slots for the most extreme systems. Stuff this into a Corsair 750D with the AX1500i PSU. The H100i mounts easily on the top of the 750D. A pair of R9 390X or GTX Titan X would make this a powerful gaming rig.

We’re starting to see a fair number of DDR4 memory options on the market, but DDR3 is still, by far, the go-to RAM. DDR4 is currently limited to Intel’s X99 platform and Extreme processors, which are more expensive, and not much better for gaming, than the Core i5s and i7s we’re accustomed to. Even a year on, in 2015, DDR4 is still double the cost of DDR3. Its likely going to be some time before DDR4 prices can become mainstream.

The Intel Z170 mainstream platform will expand the DDR4 market. ATX boards are generally available for DDR4 however there are some models that support the older DDR3 memory for upgrades.

Technically there is a DDR4-1600 specification for scenarios that want the bargain basement memory and are unfazed by actual performance. Scanning various catalogs we have noticed DDR4-2133 to be the base speed with DR4-3600 at the high end of the market in Q4 2015.

DDR4-2133 4GB DIMMs are mainstream and 8GB DIMMs are also available. Higher capacity 16GB DIMMs are available at the high end. Generally DDR3-2133 and DDR4-2133 are close in price one year after the Intel X99 launched. 32GB DIMMs and 64GB DIMMs are very expensive but available.

AMD RYZEN

AMD Ryzen supports DDR4. AMD has moved into market segments previously held by Intel.