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You Need to Know This! Non-Binary Memory ft. Kingston

Let's dive into the latest buzz in memory tech: DDR5 and its intriguing cousin, non-binary DDR5. It's not just about faster speeds anymore; it's about redefining what memory can do for us. 


The DDR5 standard and non-binary DDR5 memory are evolving concepts in the realm of computing, particularly within the datacentre and high-performance computing environments. 


Traditional DDR5 memory modules follow a binary capacity progression, doubling in size at each step (e.g., 8GB, 16GB, 32GB, etc.). This has been the standard for memory capacities for many years, simplifying manufacturing and compatibility across different systems. 


Non-binary DDR5 memory, on the other hand, introduces capacities that don't strictly follow this doubling rule. For instance, non-binary DDR5 DIMMs can have capacities like 24GB, 48GB, or 96GB. This departure from the binary norm allows for more flexible and cost-effective memory configurations, especially in environments where memory needs don't align neatly with the binary progression of capacities. Non-binary DDR5 memory uses 24Gb DRAM chips instead of  the 16Gb chips commonly found in standard DDR5 memory, providing these unconventional capacities. 


Non-binary DDR5 memory stands out for its cost-saving potential, particularly appealing to enterprise and prosumer markets. It allows for custom-sized memory upgrades, like opting for a 48GB module instead of overspending on a 64GB one, perfectly aligning with user needs without the extra cost. This flexibility is especially beneficial for enthusiasts and professionals seeking optimal performance without unnecessary expenditure. As an example, if you are building a video editing machine and expect to use anywhere between 30 and 40 GB of memory, then it may prove to be more efficient to buy 48 GB over more traditional 64 GB.  


There are some downsides too such as compatibility concerns, as some systems and applications may not fully support these unconventional capacities. There could also be potential challenges in memory optimization and management, as the non-standard sizes might not align perfectly with certain hardware or software configurations, potentially affecting performance. 


The other problem is availability. Since this is still a pretty novel thing – there are limited number of kits available which means there is less competition, and they could have less deals so make sure to do good research on this first.  


While technically you can mix and match standard and non binary memory – it is not really recommended. 


When it comes to performance – we actually have two kits from Kingston. The first one is 32GB of standard DDR5 and the second kit is 48 GB nonbinary type. They both have exactly the same speeds which are 7200 MT and same CL 38 timings which are pretty fast. Our only task was to check for non-binary memory support on our motherboard, flash the latest BIOS, and then pit them against each other. 


I wish I could tell you we were taken aback by the results or that we ended up let down. The reality is actually super boring but in a good way. The two different sets of memory are not different at all and actually preform within margin of error. Check out these scores in Cinebech R23, the single core scores are less than 1% apart and multicore scores are about 1.4% apart. The synthetic OCCT test shows almost identical results, with just few points difference. 


When it comes to Firestrike its also marginal, as well as Time Spy Extreme, so we'll skip the lengthy graph analysis. Throughout our extensive testing period, we encountered two blue screens, but these were infrequent over the long term, and stability was, for the most part, solid. It's unclear whether these were memory-related issues or something else entirely. 


So to sum this all up, I would say the addition of non-binary DDR5 allows for more nuanced memory configurations which can be more economical. Right now it is particularly beneficial in high-demand, cost-sensitive environments like datacentres. The fact that this is now available in consumer market is a great sign and with forever growing memory requirements in our day-to-day life, this will be a good way to upgrade without wasting money on unnecessary capacity. 


For our tech enthusiasts, what's your dream RAM kit and why? Are you excited about this new memory? Share your opinions in the comments below! 



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