ASUS is developing a DDR5 to DDR4 converter card - Shows working sample

When DDR5 isn't readily available, why not use DDR4 on a DDR5 motherboard?

ASUS is developing a DDR5 to DDR4 converter card - Shows working sample

ASUS has created an experimental DDR5 to DDR4 converter card

If Intel's Alder Lake platform has a problem, that problem is DDR5 availability. There simply is not enough DDR5 memory to meet demand, and that is causing memory prices to skyrocket. This supply shortfall is not due to a lack of DDR5 memory chips, it is due to a shortage of power management controllers and other components, presenting a major issue for all memory manufacturers.

Thankfully, Intel's Alder Lake platform supports DDR4 memory, but all Alder Lake compatible motherboards are designed with either DDR4 or DDR5 memory in mind. If you buy Alder Lake with DDR4 memory, you have bought into a DDR4 platform, limiting your upgrade options. For DDR5 customers, you will need to either settle for DDR5's current pricing, or wait for DDR5's supply shortfall to be alleviated, neither of which is an ideal solution.

As it stands, most people are recommending that Alder Lake users invest in DDR4 memory and DDR4 compatible motherboards, simply because they are more cost-effective solutions. While DDR5 offers the highest bandwidth and fastest performance (with high-end DIMMs), DDR5's pricing is simply too high to be considered good value by most consumers.

ASUS ROG to the rescue

It has been confirmed that ASUS is working on an adapter that can allow DDR4 memory modules to be used with DDR5 Alder Lake motherboards. In a new YouTube video by a user called BING, who is thought to be an ASUS/ROG employee, an adapter card has been showcased that allows DDR4 memory to be used with ASUS' ROG Z690 APEX motherboard. DDR4 memory on a DDR5 Alder Lake motherboard.

How does it work?

Since Alder Lake features a DDR4 memory controller and a DDR5 memory controller, Intel's 12th Generation processors are able to support both memory standards. As such, DDR4 memory can be supported by Alder Lake if connected correctly. However, DDR4 and DDR5 memory are not pin-compatible, which means that DDR4 memory modules cannot be slotted into DDR5 memory slots.

Another factor that presents an issue is the fact that DDR5 memory features on-DIMM power management circuitry and DDR4 doesn't. This means that a DDR5 to DDR4 converter card needs to feature power management circuitry that can power connected DDR4 memory modules. This makes converting a DDR5 slot to DDR4 a complex process. 

ASUS is developing a DDR5 to DDR4 converter card - Shows working sample

Right now, it is unclear whether ASUS plans to officially release DDR5 to DDR4 converter cards as a standalone product. While ASUS has created a working prototype, their solution is not a finished product. 

One of the benefits of ASUS' converter cards is that it allows PC builders to invest in the DDR5 ecosystem while maintaining support for cost-effective DDR4 memory. This allows PC builders to buy DDR5 memory modules when they are more cost effective, allowing them to save money and potentially allow them to spend their money on faster, lower latency DDR5 memory kits. 

ASUS is developing a DDR5 to DDR4 converter card - Shows working sample

Sadly, this converter is not expected to work outside of Intel's Alder Lake CPU platform. AMD's future Zen 4 CPU platform is expected to support DDR5 memory exclusively, and that means that a converter card like this would be useless. When your CPU lacks support for DDR4, a DDR5 to DDR4 converter card will not help. ASUS' converter cards only works because Intel's Alder Lake platform supports both DDR4 and DDR5 memory in silicon.

DDR5 memory is the future. It's bandwidth will be required for future workloads, especially if CPU core counts continue to rise and per-core performance reaches ever-higher levels. While DDR5 availability is poor right now, things are expected to improve as 2022 progresses. Will ASUS' DDR5 to DDR4 converter card be a worthwhile product when it becomes ready for a consumer release. Will ASUS ever release this product to consumers? I guess we will have to wait and see. 

You can join the discussion on ASUS' ROG DDR5 to DDR4 converter card on the OC3D Forums.  

«Prev 1 Next»

Most Recent Comments

31-12-2021, 14:57:26

Dark NighT
That looks comical, its so huge and probably doesnt sit very well in the slot because its so tall and the memory weight could shake it lose from the socket if the pc is moved.


It's clever but does it really work? and if it does, does it add latency because of the longer distance from the memory controller on the cpu to the modules, so many questions.Quote

31-12-2021, 17:36:13

KingNosser
Well it's a sample so not final bound to be far smaller, might be needed for some thou, persoanlly thinking i'll stick with ddr4 and get whichever CPU still uses it as an upgrade to tide me through several more years.Quote

31-12-2021, 18:08:52

Dark NighT
Yep im thinking the same thing, im not after bleeding edge performance, i might slip in a 5800x as a last upgrade path for this x470 board before i retire it, but i wouldnt buy anything new with these shortages anyway, rather stick to what works for now.Quote

31-12-2021, 19:27:56

Warchild
This is just an MVP (minimum viable product). I bet you the final release will be embedded into the mobo completely. You won't even know its there. I'd expect the circuits will be on the back side of the mobo protected by the armor that most ROG boards have these days.Quote

31-12-2021, 19:42:50

Dawelio
Quote:
Originally Posted by Warchild View Post
This is just an MVP (minimum viable product). I bet you the final release will be embedded into the mobo completely. You won't even know its there. I'd expect the circuits will be on the back side of the mobo protected by the armor that most ROG boards have these days.
Kinda like this?

Quote
Reply
x

Register for the OC3D Newsletter

Subscribing to the OC3D newsletter will keep you up-to-date on the latest technology reviews, competitions and goings-on at Overclock3D. We won't share your email address with ANYONE, and we will only email you with updates on site news, reviews, and competitions and you can unsubscribe easily at any time.

Simply enter your name and email address into the box below and be sure to click on the links in the confirmation emails that will arrive in your e-mail shortly after to complete the registration.

If you run into any problems, just drop us a message on the forums.