As you know, Intel Alder Lake chips will be the first processors to support the new DDR5 RAM standard. Intel has published a document that lists the first DDR5-4800 memory modules from various manufacturers that have already been validated for compatibility with the new platform.
Intel has delegated the right to validate DDR5 memory modules to Advanced Validation Labs (AVL), whose core business is currently validating DDR5-4800 memory modules that comply with the basic JEDEC specifications for DDR5. These modules do not have support for error correction technology, work with a voltage of 1.1 V and have timings of 40-39-39.
AVL has already verified and approved several DDR5 RAM modules from manufacturers such as SK hynix, Samsung, Micron, Crucial and Kingston. Although in general the characteristics of the memory of each manufacturer presented in the list repeat each other, the validated DDR5 modules range in size from 8 to 32 GB. According to the Intel document, the first DDR5 RAM modules tested use 16Gbit DDR5 chips. In the future, manufacturers will also release a new standard of RAM with a large volume.
Recall that one of the features of DDR5 memory modules is the use of their own power controllers (PMICs) and voltage regulation modules. Apparently, the first RAM modules of the new standard will use PMICs from Renesas. Although the document does not indicate the specific model of the controller used, according to Tom’s Hardware, they could be the P8911 controllers, which are an optimized version of the P8900 model that Renesas developed for server memory.
DDR5 RAM modules from SK hynix, Samsung and Micron will use their own memory chips. Kingston, in turn, uses SK hynix chips. The modules of Crucial, a subsidiary of the Micron brand, will apparently receive Micron’s memory chips.
SK hynix and Micron use M-die and A-die stepps, respectively. They work great at high voltages, but they can not always boast of low timings. Samsung’s B-die stepping DDR4 chips, which the company stopped producing back in 2019, had this characteristic. The Intel document confirms that the South Korean manufacturer’s DDR5 memory modules use DRAM chips with Revision B stepping. Apparently, we are talking about B-die. If so, then solutions based on them, as in the case of DDR4 B-die memory modules, will de facto again be designed primarily for enthusiasts…
Also noteworthy is the peer-to-peer memory organization for 8GB and 16GB modules, thanks to the use of chips with a 16- and 8-bit bus, respectively. For comparison, at the launch of the DDR4 standard, all 16 GB memory modules had a two-rank organization. With the launch of mass production of higher density memory chips, manufacturers have switched to peer-to-peer memory modules. As for the two-rank organization (2Rx8), it seems to be found only in 32 GB DDR5 memory modules.
Peer-to-peer memory is usually faster than peer-to-peer memory, but not in all scenarios. Intel Core and AMD Ryzen processors benefit from dual-ranked RAM, with benchmarks showing that quad-ranked RAM provides the greatest advantage and maximum performance. What kind of memory organization will appeal to Alder Lake processors in the end – future tests will show.