Does DDR5 Need A New Motherboard?

share to other networks share to twitter share to facebook
Does DDR5 Need A New Motherboard?

The DDR5 has been out for a while now and people are wondering if they need a new motherboard to support the latest DDR5 RAM.

The new DDR5 standard is a major step up from DDR4 in virtually every area – faster speeds, greater bandwidth, better power efficiency – DDR5 does it all better. In fact, the new DDR5 is 2X faster than the official 3.2Gbps max speed of DDR4.

A lot of people are tempted to buy the new DDR-5 RAM, but the big question is, will it work on your current motherboard? Let's find out!

Advertisement

Does DDR5 Need a New Motherboard?

Yes, you will need a new motherboard if you want to use DDR5. Sorry to break the bad news to you, but your motherboard will not support DDR5 RAM.

The main reason is that your motherboard is designed to support only one type of memory technology. For example, if the motherboard is designed for DDR4 RAM, it will only support DDR4. All other RAM wouldn’t work.

This is because the physical design of the new DDR5 memory is different from the rest, thereby making it impossible to install in the DIMM/RAM slot dedicated for DDR4, or whatever you have. Trying to fit in a DDR5 RAM stick in your current RAM slot would be like, plugging a C-type USB cable into an A-type USB port - it just wouldn't work. 

In addition, you will need a new CPU that supports DDR5. As of now, Intel's 12th generation “Alder Lake” CPUs only support DDR5. The bottom line is that you will need a new motherboard as well as a new CPU to run DDR5 RAM.

Advertisement

Will DDR5 RAM Work On DDR4 Motherboard?

does-ddr5-need-a-new-motherboard
click to enlarge
DDR4 vs DDR5 (Layout)

No, since RAM modules are not backwards compatible, you cannot use a DDR5 RAM module on a DDR4 motherboard and vice versa.

Advertisement

Apparently, the pin layout of the new DDR5 memory is different from DDR4. Although they look very similar in design, the itty bitty notch (module key) at the bottom edge of the DDR5 stick is in a slightly different location than the DDR4 card.

Moreover, your DDR4 motherboard doesn't support the supply voltage that is required by DDR5 RAM. Due to all this, the DDR5 RAM module is incompatible with the DDR4 mobo.

But compatibility aside, if you are on the hunt for the best RAM you can find, be sure to check out our top DDR5 RAM picks right here to get you started on your search.

Can Any Motherboard Support DDR5?

No, only the motherboards designed to support DDR5 can only support DDR5. This is because RAM modules are not backwards compatible. 

As of now, only Intel 600 series motherboards offer support for DDR5 RAM. This includes the Z690, B660 and H610 chipsets.