Does having faster DDR5 memory make sense right now? There’s been already a few different processors released that are using DDR5, with Intel we actually have two generations, with the third one just around the corner. Initially DDR5 was pretty expensive and in many ways not much faster with 4800 MT kits vs higher end DDR 4. But the market has matured and since then prices have fallen drastically so I set out to check if getting the latest RAM makes sense and how much can you benefit? Also, quick note - the memory prices have really fallen on the open market but are expected to start going back up.
First let’s talk a bit about DDR5 - it is the latest generation of memory for PC’s and was first released in 2021 and is still in pretty early stages of adoption. DDR5 offers a number of improvements over DDR4, including:
Faster speeds: DDR5 memory can be way faster than DDR4 memory. This is due to a number of factors, including a higher clock speed and a wider data bus. It can also support higher capacities. This is important for users who need a lot of memory for tasks such as video editing and gaming.
As I mentioned, DDR5 memory was initially quite expensive when it first came out, however, prices have fallen drastically due to a number of factors, including increased competition and the maturing of the market.
So, does it make sense to get DDR5 memory right now? The answer depends on your needs and budget. If you are building a new computer system, DDR5 is the way to go. It offers the best performance and features available. However, if you are happy with your current computer system, there is no need to upgrade to DDR5 just yet. DDR4 memory is still a great choice for most users. For those buying DDR5 let’s see how much its speed actually matters. For our testing we used Intel 12900k CPU and Nvidia RTX 3080 GPU. All components were kept the same and only RAM was changed between these three kits. We tested Geil 4800 MT kit and two Kingston Fury, one rated at 6800 MT and one with 7200 MT speed.
We primarily tested synthetic benchmarks and a selection of games to get a broad perspective on performance. To make it a bit easier for me and probably you, I will refer to the RAM speeds in just numbers without repeating mega transfers.
In OCCT: The Kingston Fury Renegade 7200 MT/s outperformed in the Read, Write, and Combined tests, solidifying its lead in data transfer speeds. The 6800 MT/s variant was not far behind, and both significantly outperformed the Geil 4800 MT/s.
In Firestrike: Here, all RAM variants were neck and neck in the Graphics score. However, in Physics and Combined scores, the 6800 MT/s variant took a slight edge. And this is where having the fastest possible ram may not have the most consistent results - we actually did these tests multiple times and found results can shift significantly.
In Time Spy Extreme: Again, a very close competition with the 6800 MT/s variant slightly ahead in the CPU test. Graphics scores were almost indistinguishable among the three
In Cinebench R23: For single-core performance, the 7200 MT/s kit was marginally ahead, while for multi-core, the 6800 MT/s took the lead.
Let’s get to gaming with Starfield at 1080p, we see that the Kingston Fury Renegade 7200 MT/s delivers smoother frames, ensuring that space battles or planetary explorations remain fluid. However, the difference between it and the 6800 MT/s is so minor that it might be imperceptible during regular gameplay. For competitive games, this could mean the difference between spotting an enemy first or reacting to an in-game event just a tad quicker.
At 1440p resolution, the gaming experience becomes more GPU-bound. Yet, the 7200 MT/s RAM slightly edges ahead. Especially when exploring detailed planetary surfaces or bustling spaceports, that minor RAM speed advantage can offer slightly more consistent frame rates.
In Shadow of the Tomb Raider, the story remains similar. At 1080p, the FPS differences are marginal at the top. We see about 5% improvement in average FPS going up from 4800 RAM and 10% improvement on 1% lows.
Upping the resolution to 1440p, the differences between the RAM kits become more nuanced. The 7200 MT/s variant marginally outperforms in Average FPS but the difference is really irrelevant. What is important is that 1% low performance and we still see 5% improvement from 4800 RAM.
Just for fun I also tested World War Z with Ultrawide resolution which really pushes that GPU and found that both 4800 and 6800 RAM performed the same but we got bit more juice out of the 7200 which took 4% lead in average FPS and 10% lead in 1% low.
To wrap things up, while synthetic benchmarks provide a clear picture of RAM performance, real-world gaming results paint a more nuanced story. The benefits of faster DDR5 memory are evident, but the tangible impacts often depend on the specific game and resolution.
Revisiting our core question: Does DDR5 speed truly matter? It's a balance of needs and nuances. In data-heavy tasks, the Kingston Fury Renegade 7200 MT/s clearly demonstrates its prowess. But for many real-world applications, especially gaming, the differences are often subtle.
Consider this: if you're a content creator, frequently rendering large video files, that extra speed could cut down your render times, giving you precious minutes, if not hours, back. For a competitive gamer, it might mean smoother gameplay, potentially giving an edge in tight situations. But if you're on a budget and need a machine for general tasks, the Geil 4800 MT/s still offers commendable performance.
With DDR5 prices poised to rise, it's a game of timing and requirements. Weigh your needs, watch the market, and choose wisely. And as always, stay informed and tech-savvy!
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