Even though JEDEC, the gatekeeper to DDR RAM specifications, has yet to release an official spec for DDR5 RAM, Cadence, a major IP holder in the RAM space announced some provisional information about the new RAM type themselves. Cadence had earlier released their IP for a DDR5 controller and PHY, allowing RAM manufacturers to license their tech. Cadence stated that they expect their current DDR5 controller and PHY to be compliant with the actual JEDEC DDR5 specification when it comes out. Cadence also stated that their DDR5 controller has “over a dozen design-ins.” This means that over a dozen RAM manufacturers have integrated Cadence DDR5 IP into their products. When exactly can we expect DDR5 RAM to arrive, though?
Both AMD’s EPYC Genoa and Intel’s Sapphire Rapids Xeon Scaleable lineups are set to feature DDR5 support. Both of these product stacks have a 2021-2022 release, which means that DDR5 is likely to hit the market at least by next year. Cadence, however, is convinced that 2020 is “the year of DDR5.” The company expects vendors to actually start shipping commercial DDR5 modules by the end of the year.
With regards to capabilities, initial DDR5 implementations are expected to ship at 4800 MT/s at 16 Gb per chip, representing a substantial increase in both RAM speed and chip capacity over DDR4. DDR5 chips are eventually expected to hit 5600 MT/s within 2 years of launch, though we will likely see overclocked modules at this speed or higher earlier on. This is important in the gaming space, especially considering the substantial increase to console memory capabilities with the arrival of the Xbox Series X and Playstation 5 later this year.