AMD's Ryzen 7000 Zen 4 processors may support DDR5 memory exclusively

It looks like AMD's AM5 platform will not have DDR4 memory options

AMD's Ryzen 7000 Zen 4 processors may support DDR5 memory exclusively

Socket AM5 leaks reveal DDR5 exclusivity and a dual-chipset motherboard design for X670

AMD's AM5 platform us due to debut this year alongside the company's Zen 4 based Ryzen 7000 series processors, ushering in a new era for AMD and their Zen CPU lineup.

With AM5, AMD is moving away from the legacy trappings of today's AM4 CPU socket. AM5 is designed to be a fresh start for AMD, and a new platform that can be built up to support future Ryzen processors and products. As such, it looks like AMD has no intention to support DDR4 memory on AM5. 

According to Tom's Hardware, AMD's planned X670 and B650 motherboards will utilise a chiplet-based design, with B650 using a single chipset while X670 will feature two chipset dies. This approach enables increased scalability for AMD's high-end chipset and simplifies AMD's manufacturing by using a single chipset design for two motherboard ranges. 

AMD's AM5 CPU socket will feature support for PCIe 5.0 and DDR5 memory from the start. This sets up AMD with a strong baseline for future Ryzen series processors. Like AM4, AM5 will be a platform which will receive strong long-term support from AMD. As such, AMD does not want to support DDR4 on AM5. Supporting DDR4 on early AM5 motherboards will force AMD to support DDR4 long-term on their processors, which is something that AMD does not want. Unlike Intel, AMD does not plan to abandon their AM5 socket and backwards/forwards compatibility after two product generations. 


So why is AMD adopting DDR5 with their new AM5 CPU socket. The answer to this is simple. DDR5 is a stronger memory standard that will only improve with time. Right now, DDR5 can achieve higher frequencies than DDR4, do so while consuming less power, and can transfer more data with every clock cycle. DDR5 offers much more bandwidth than DDR4, and that will keep the CPU cores on AMD's next-generation processors fed with data. 

The problem with DDR5 memory right now is its cost. DDR5 is currently much more expensive than DDR4 when discussing things in pure cost/GB terms. This increases the upgrade costs for AMD's new AM5 platform, as it will require PC builders to buy a new CPU, a new motherboard, and new memory. Upgrading to Zen 4 on AM5 will be expensive. 

In time, the cost of DDR5 will decrease as it becomes more commonly used and manufactured. As it stands, DDR5 is very expensive, and its pricing might not be much lower when AMD launches their Ryzen 7000 series.

Socket AM5 - Dual Chipset Design

As mentioned before, AMD's AM5 socket is expected to use a dual-chipset design. These two chipsets are effectively twinned B650 chipsets, offering X670 owners more I/O options. Today's B550 and X570 chipsets are different chip designs, and that will change with AM5.

AMD's B650 chipset reportedly connects to AMD's AM5 CPU socket using four PCIe 4.0 lanes, reportedly offering users connectivity to a PCIe 4.0 (x4) M.2 storage device, four SATA devices, and a certain number of USB ports. With X670, AMD will offer users two times as many connectivity options. It will be up to motherboard manufacturers how these connectivity options are utilised. 

AMD's Ryzen 7000 Zen 4 processors may support DDR5 memory exclusively

Socket AMD doesn't have documented DDR4 memory support - Is this a bad thing?

AM5's lack of support for DDR5 is a long-term bet from AMD. AMD wants AM5 to be another long-lived socket, and that means that AMD can't afford to trap themselves by supporting legacy hardware on their new platform. If AMD wants AM5 to be a long-term platform, they cannot be forced to support legacy standards for the lifetime of the platform. If AMD wants AM5 to be a long-term socket, DDR4 support needs to be axed.

If AM5 supports DDR4 memory, AMD would either need to continue supporting DDR4 on their processors long-term, or create DDR4 AM5 motherboards that will only be supported by a few processor generations before DDR4 support is axed in newer Ryzen processors. Either way, supporting both DDR5 and DDR4 is expensive in terms of support, and only kicks the "we need to axe DDR4" problem down the road. If AMD cuts DDR4 support from AM5 at the start, AMD can create a much cleaner product roadmap and not waste CPU silicon on supporting both memory types.

AMD's Ryzen 7000 Zen 4 processors may support DDR5 memory exclusively

AMD's plans for DDR5?

With AMD focusing solely on DDR5 with AM5, the company will have more time to focus on execution. AMD's engineers have already suggested that their AM5 platform will support strong DDR5 overclocking support, suggesting that AMD has a strong DDR5 memory controller. This could enable DDR5 manufacturers to target higher memory speeds, or allow AMD to get more performance out of existing DDR5 modules. Remember, there is more to DRAM performance than the DRAM you use, your CPU's memory controller also matters.

You can join the discussion on AMD's Ryzen 7000 Zen 4 processors lacking DDR4 memory support on the OC3D Forums.

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Most Recent Comments

25-04-2022, 11:48:28

Unless DDR5 prices match current DDR4 prices by the time Zen4 launches this is a really idiotic move from AMD, To get a decently performing kit of DDR5 that actually makes sense over DDR4 you are looking at speed ranges of 5600MHz+ and at those speeds you're looking at roughly £260-£300+ for 2 x sticks or £230 on the low end for the really crap slow stuff.Quote

25-04-2022, 12:20:03

I think the problem here will be that Zen 4 would be far slower on DDR4 due to the way it works. Like, if the uplift is because of the IF speed and DDR5 is capable of reaching waaay higher clocks then DDR4 could hamper it.

I could be wrong, but that may be why they are adopting this stance.

DDR5 is still kinda new, and all DDR is stupid money when it's still new. That said many put DDR5 on Alderlake, which IMO was a silly move. It really doesn't make a huge difference, and AL isn't significantly faster than Zen 5000 series, so yeah kinda a waste of money.

If it makes the difference here? it may be worth it. You gotta remember we are talking about the bleeding edge here. I would hazard a guess and say they will still be knocking out 5000 series chips for quite a while to come.Quote

25-04-2022, 16:56:49

Even the slower ddr5 is still providing more bandwidth than very high speed kits from ddr4.. so I don't see it as an issue...

Only issue is cost to entry for the platform.Quote

25-04-2022, 17:48:21

Originally Posted by NeverBackDown View Post
Only issue is cost to entry for the platform.
Also all of the wonderful issues of being an early adopter of new platforms…Quote

25-04-2022, 18:25:29

Maybe by 3rd or 4th gen of AM5 it'll not only be a better option but also far cheaper, the ddr5 prices put me right off, but it'll change over time. Saying that i think if it's built around ddr5 from the off and full commit then it's better than less performance trying to support both least then those that buy into the platform are getting the current best. Bound to be issues thou any new platform always has them.Quote

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