DDR5 RAM has technically been available on mainstream computing platforms since the release of Alder Lake and the Z690 chipset, though most PC gamers and building enthusiasts were put off buying early because of astronomical prices. Luckily, the cost of DDR5 RAM is rapidly dropping, falling by 20% in just four weeks.
As reported by VideoCardz (opens in new tab) (with reports from ComputerBase (opens in new tab)), DDR5-4800 memory is now available for under €5 per gigabyte (around $5 / £4 / AU$7.50), a huge improvement from the €15 per gigabyte (around $16 / £13 / AU$22) average we were seeing at the end of 2021.
In practical buying terms, this means that where a standard 32GB kit of DDR5-4800 memory was priced at €470 ($500 / £400 / AU$700) at the end of 2021, it will now set you back a more reasonable €154 ($165 / £131 / AU$230).
For transparency, the study lists 200 different DDR5 kits, though It goes without saying that given the initial report was in Euros, and prices may not reflect other regions with complete accuracy, but we are seeing a similar fall in DDR5 prices across the wider market.
Supply was expected to improve in the second half of 2022 which was expected to have a positive impact on prices, so this news is coming a tad earlier than anticipated but it'll be especially welcome for anyone planning to build their first PC or upgrade their current system in the coming months.
Nvidia is planning to announce its next generation of graphics cards in the coming months, including the likes of the GeForce RTX 4070 and GeForce RTX 4080, and Intel already has motherboards that support DDR5 on the market thanks to the launch of its Alder Lake series of processors.
AMD isn't far behind with its Zen 4 Ryzen 7000 series, which will require an AM5 socket platform motherboard, though there is concern that AMD hasn't confirmed DDR4 support alongside DDR5.
Still, if you were planning for a full next-gen upgrade, chances are you could achieve this by the time Lovelace hits the market...if you're quick enough to snap up a new GPU in the inevitable rush.
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All of these next-gen releases do present a problem though – you might need to upgrade most of your existing system to support them. It's a small, but frustrating circle: If you want to use DDR5 RAM, you'll need a new motherboard, and to use that new motherboard you'll need to upgrade your processor.
DDR5 becoming more affordable should certainly take the edge off, but it's still not ideal for folks who just want to keep their system relatively up to date, especially with the rumors that AM5 might not support the current DDR4 generation of memory for AMD fans.
To rub a bit more salt into those wounds is the current state of DDR4 prices. It was widely believed that as DDR5 starts to gain more notoriety and market share that the previous generation of memory would start to see a significant reduction in price...only we haven't seen any indication of this yet.
If you're not in a hurry to be an early adopter of next-gen tech then be reassured that DDR4 will still be relevant and capable for a few years – after all, it took around three years for DDR4 to overtake its predecessor, and processors don't need to be updated as frequently as you'd think.