How DDR5 can improve PC gaming and remain a useless upgrade

DDR5 – All PC gamers can do it now AMD Ryzen 7000 about to launch. Although Intel has supported DDR5 since the launch of its 12th generation Alder Lake processors, the Ryzen 7000 is the catalyst that Kill the last generation of DDR4 for good. The next time you upgrade your computer, you’ll need DDR5, but paying for a faster set of memory may not translate into real-world performance gains.

one of the Best DDR5 Combinations It will still deliver a great gaming experience, but the delicate balance between speed and response time puts high-end DDR5 in a precarious position. On the one hand, faster DDR5 memory can provide practical differences in some games, but on the other hand, faster combinations can result in minimum performance. And in some games, the speed of the RAM does not matter at all.

It seems like a lot, and it is. But stick with me, and I’ll help you understand what to look for when buying your first DDR5 kit so you can bypass misleading marketing and get the best possible gaming experience.

Beyond Speed ​​- A Primer on RAM Speed

Several DDR5 sticks sitting on a table.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

RAM is confusing. It contains specific terms that do not apply to other components in your system, as well as a lot of peculiarity. The term “RAM” is not even a correct term to use, as it is colloquially used to describe DRAM despite the fact that it is an umbrella term that can also apply to other types of RAM.

Gamers are mostly interested in the main specification marketed on RAM sets: frequency. Frequency is actually the memory data rate (expressed in huge transformations per second), but you can still think of it as frequency as you would a CPU or GPU. This is one of the few specs that RAM shares with other components, and you’d be forgiven if you thought higher frequency meant faster speed. This is not always the case.

Going a little deeper, you have a CAS latency for the RAM (you’ll see it’s “CL38” or something similar on the DDR5 boxes). This is the time the RAM takes to deliver data when the CPU requests it, and lower latency is preferred. Using CAS response time and data rate, you can calculate real-world latency by dividing the CAS latency by the data rate, then multiplying by 2000. A DDR4-3200 memory with a CAS latency of 14, for example, has a latency of 8.75 nanoseconds .

Memory speed is important for games. How many different question.

It’s important to take both data rate and CAS response time into account when choosing your RAM cluster, as a faster and more expensive array on paper can actually result in similar performance to a cheaper array. I’ll dig into that more in the next section, so hold on.

In the early days of a new memory standard like DDR5, you were typically looking for high latency so companies could market high speeds (no matter how this balance of performance was shaken). This is not the case with DDR5, though. It’s already mature enough for bandwidth optimizations to go beyond Higher latency compared to DDR4. This means that DDR5 speed is really important for gaming. To what extent, though, is a different question.

DDR5 and gaming in the real world

Test platform with DDR5 installed.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

With the technical capabilities out of the way, let’s get to the fun stuff: benchmarking. I tried three DDR5 kits with different data rates and latency to see if there was a difference in gaming performance, and found some differences in some titles.

I did all my tests with Intel Core i9-12900 KAnd a 12GB Nvidia RTX 3080 and a MSI Z690 Carbon Wi-Fi motherboard. The relationship between the CPU and RAM is crucial, so keep in mind that DDR5 performance with AMD’s Ryzen 7000 processors may be different than what you found here. It should be very similar to previous AMD generations, with a similar architecture on the helm.

I tested four speeds: DDR5-4800 CL38, DDR5-5200 CL38, DDR5-6000 CL40, and DDR5-6200 CL42.

eDDR5 speeds in different games.

Most, if not all, DDR5 clusters will run at 4800MHz out of the box, so you’ll need to run an Intel Extreme Memory Profile (XMP) or AMD’s new EXPO standard for the advertised speed. Switching on the DDR5-5200 kit did not provide an immediate lift. I’ve already seen slightly slower results in gear tactics but F1 2022 It saw a strong improvement of 3%.

This trend has continued in the DDR5-6000, with gear tactics jump by 3% and F1 2022 by an additional 8%. That quickly changed with the PNY XLR8 Gaming DDR5-6200 range. I’ve already seen lower performance in gear tactics A similar result in F1 2022. Then there was Red Dead Redemption 2, which I’ll go around it in a moment.

I should note that this PNY kit was the only one with three XMP profiles on board, including a DDR5-5600 option that matches my DDR5-6000 results.

PNY XLR8 gaming memory stick mounted on a mouse pad.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

If you put on your math hat for a moment, these results will make sense. The DDR5-6000 kit actually has the lowest real latency out of the three, so it gives the best result out of these kits. Low latency is not inherently better across generations of memory, so always consider it inconsistent with bandwidth. DDR4-3200 CL14 solids still have lower latency overall, but the lower bandwidth means they aren’t as performing as DDR5 blocks with higher latency.

For the next generation, the balance between CAS latency and speed is important so you don’t buy a kit you don’t need. In the previous generation, we saw this dynamic between the DDR4-3200 CL16 and the DDR4-3600 CL16. The 3600MHz array is definitely faster, but the latency is identical. This means that spending on a DDR4-3600 array is effectively wasting money.

That’s what we see here with the DDR5-6000 and DDR5-6200. With nearly identical latency, you’ll see the same or slightly lower performance with the faster set, especially depending on the memory dying inside.

Just like the raw data rate, you don’t have to put all the value on the response time. Red Dead Redemption 2 A prime example is that the games you play have the biggest impact on performance. I didn’t see any difference between the four DDR5 speeds tested, which indicates that this game isn’t particularly sensitive to memory speed (it’s GPU-related in many cases, as you’ll usually find with modern games).

What DDR5 Kit Should You Buy?

Corsair Dominator Platinum memory installed in a computer.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

While it’s interesting to take a look at DDR5 speeds and how they affect gaming performance, this raw data doesn’t tell you which kit to buy. After all, you can’t just buy a bunch of RAM kits to find the best speed for the games you play.

The only place to start is the price. There is no real difference between the DDR5-4800 core kits you’ll find and the DDR5-5200. The 2x16GB Corsair Vengeance DDR5-4800 kit is $150 and the DDR5-5200 is just $2. Big deal. There are some DDR5-5600 kits that range from $160 to $200, but most kits are geared towards RGB lighting rather than speed as prices go up.

If you were to jump to DDR5-6000, you’d spend at least $220 for the same capacity. Beyond that, anything considered fair game, with some combos jumping to $300 or more. Obviously, an extra $70 won’t buy you extra performance in every game, but like DDR5 prices keep droppingWe are likely to see price tightening between different speeds.

The DDR5 memory you buy all comes from the games you play.

So, Which DDR5 Kit Should You Buy? At current prices, a solid DDR5-5200 set is all most people need, providing a solid bump in CPU-limited games without costing much more than a DDR5-4800. AMD says the perfect place for its upcoming Ryzen 7000 CPUs is DDR5-6000, though, so I’ll revisit this topic once we have new CPUs on hand. For now, you do not need to climb that height.

As always with PCs, it’s all about the games you play. As I wrote about in my last entry Upgrade your gaming CPUYou can learn a lot about the components to upgrade by analyzing the games you play. Great open game like Red Dead Redemption 2 It may not care about faster memory, but a limited CPU address like F1 2022 You like it very much. At the end of the day, the games you want to play should be the touchstone for informed PC upgrades.

This article is part of risbeck – An ongoing biweekly column that includes in-depth discussions, tips, and reports on the technology behind computer games.

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