You may have heard that both DDR5 and DDR4 both use 288 pin SO-DIMM’s (in laptops), so your forgiven if you think DDR5 is backwards compatible with DDR4. As you can see in the 50 second video at the bottom on this article, DDR4 and DDR5 are not compatible.

Whats The Difference Between DDR5 and DDR4?

In the most direct terms DDR5 is better than DDR4 because it is dramatically faster, has a much larger maximum capacity, and uses less electricity. Take a look at this table which details some of the technical differences between DDR4 and DDR5:

FEATUREDDR4 Specification DDR5 Specification DDR5 Benefit
Speed1.6 to 3.2 GT/s
0.8 to 1.6 GHz
4.8 to 8.4 GT/s 
1.6 to 4.2 GHz
Much Faster
Maximum Die Size16Gb64GbMuch Higher Maximum Capacity per DIMM
Architecture (Channel)1 Channel / DIMM
72-bit data channel (64 data +8 ECC)
2 Channels / DIMM
40-bit data channel (32 data + 8 ECC)
Decreased Latency More Efficient Memory
I/O Voltage1.2 volts1.1 voltsLess Electricity Consumption, Longer Battery Life in Mobiles
Power Management         On MotherboardOne DIMM PMICScales Better & More Power Efficient
IntelligenceSPDSPD Hub & Temp SensorsBetter Thermal Management
Length of BurstBC4, BL8BC8, BL16More Memory Efficient

In this video, we demonstrate that the notch in DDR5 is offset from where it is on DDR4. This is an intentional design that keeps DDR5 out of DDR4 slots and vice versa.


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