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As promised, we’re back with more details for everyone who’s hungry for more information about DDR5 and how the new generation performs compared to DDR4 memory!
What’s more, in addition to directly pitting DDR4 vs. DDR5 RAM kits against each other when using the same processor, we’ve also conducted a few benchmarks that compare a few different DDR5 kits.

DDR4 and DDR5 Versions of MSI’s Z690 Motherboards for Intel 12th Generation Core Processors

As you’re already aware, Intel will support both DDR4 and DDR5 memory on its latest Alder Lake processors. As a result, MSI will offer both DDR4 and DDR5 versions of Z690 motherboards alongside these new processors during this transition period.
Please note that you CANNOT use DDR4 modules in DDR5 motherboards and vice versa – you won’t be able to use DDR5 modules on DDR4 motherboards either.

Multiple AIDA64 benchmark runs will give you memory-related information about how these new processors leverage the latest DDR5 standard, how performance will look like if you opt for DDR4 motherboards on Alder Lake, as well as a few other interesting comparisons.

What is AIDA64?

AIDA64 is a well-known system information, diagnostics, and auditing software on multiple platforms. It’s often used to benchmark memory performance (read, write, copy, and latency).
- A read operation measures the speed at which the system can read pre-existing data residing in memory.
- A write operation measures the speed at which data can be written to memory.
- A copy operation measures the speed at which pre-existing data within memory can be copied to another location within it.
- Latency measures how ‘fast’ (in nanoseconds) the memory can be accessed.

All these functions affect how fast and snappy your computing experience is, and benchmarking them helps us understand what performance to expect from newer hardware.

List of Memory Modules

The following memory dies were used for these tests:

DDR4

- Samsung 3200 C15
- Samsung 3600 C15
- Samsung 3800 C15
- Samsung 4000 C15
- Samsung 4266 C15
- Hynix 4600 C20
- Hynix 4800 C20
- Hynix 5000 C20
- Hynix 4200 C20

DDR5

- Hynix 4800 C40
- Hynix 5000 C40
- Hynix 4800 C40
- Hynix 5000 C40
- Hynix 5200 C40
- Hynix 5400 C40
- Hynix 5600 C40
- Hynix 5800 C40
- Hynix 6000 C40

Please note that these tests were conducted with mature DDR4 memory offerings, while DDR5 is still in the early stages of development. Also, these benchmark numbers can vary with the processor used, memory latency, voltage, and a few other factors. They are meant to be indicators.

Intel Core i9 11900K & Z590 DDR4 (2x8GB) vs. Intel Core i9 12900K & Z690 DDR4 (2x8GB)

In the first round of benchmarks, we compare an 11th Gen Intel Core i9 11900K with a 12th Gen Intel Core i9 12900K. Both are on the DDR4 platform, and tests were conducted with identical hardware on both systems.

DDR5

DDR5

DDR5

DDR5

Results: The Intel 12th Gen Core Processor CPU takes the lead in the read, write, and copy tests but falls behind in the latency benchmark.

Intel Core i9 12900K & Z690 DDR4 (2x8GB) vs. Intel Core i9 12900K & Z690 DDR5 (2x8GB)

Here, we’re comparing the difference in memory performance when using the 12th Generation Intel Core i9 12900K on the DDR4 and DDR5 platforms. Again, identical memory configuration – 2x 8GB.

DDR5

DDR5

DDR5

Result: Even the lowest tier of DDR5 memory modules manage to keep up with their mainstream DDR4 counterparts when using a 2x8GB memory kit. That said, super high-speed DDR4 memory (4266+) still edges out even the best newer gen DDR5 parts.

As for DDR5’s latency performance, there’s a drop across the board compared to even the slowest DDR4 modules.

2x8GB DDR5 vs. 2x16GB DDR5

Now, let’s take a look at memory performance if we keep the number (kit of 2) and type (DDR5) of modules the same, and double the density of each DDR5 module.

DDR5

DDR5
DDR5

DDR5

Results: Thanks to the improvements built into DDR5, we can see a marked improvement when using higher density DDR5 modules (16GB each). But, does this performance uplift help it outperform DDR4? Let’s move to the next benchmark and find out!

Intel Core i9 12900K & Z690 DDR4 (2x8GB) vs. Intel Core i9 12900K & Z690 DDR5 (2x16GB)

In this last test, we’ll compare the memory performance of a DDR5 kit with a DDR4 kit. This time, the only difference is that we’re using higher density modules on the DDR5 platform (2x16GB), while the 12900K on the Z690 DDR4 platform continues to use a 2x8GB kit.

DDR5

DDR5
DDR5

DDR5

Results: Now, the benchmark results look quite a bit different, don’t they? Even the lowest tier of DDR5 memory can now go toe to toe with the very best DDR4 has to offer when it comes to read, write, and copy performance.

Latency-wise, the best DDR5 kits now match higher-tier DDR4 kits like 3800+ CL15. However, tightly tuned DDR4 memory like 3600 CL15 still offers much better latency than even the best DDR5 kit on the market today.

Prepping for the Next Generation in Computing

Join us as we set the stage (virtually) to unveil the next era of computing on our Next Playground event. We’ll be launching 600-series motherboards for Intel’s 12th Generation Alder Lake CPUs and you’ll find more information about them on the dedicated 600-series motherboards page here – https://www.msi.com/Landing/intel-600-motherboard

Please head there for more details!