RAM memory currently costs a lot. There has been a supply shortage over the last 18 months that while easing is still ongoing. This is especially true of DDR5 memory, which enthusiasts want to use with their modern Intel Alder Lake chipsets. To cut costs, users are jumping to more reasonable DDR4 and compromising on the best tech.
However, one problem is that Intel Alder Lake mother boards built for DDR5 cannot support DDR4, but that might be changing. ASUS has a method on their Z690 motherboard built for DDR5 allowing them to also run DDR4.
In a video from ASUS ROG employee Bing (via AnAndTech) shows the add-in for the motherboard that is currently in the prototype phase. It is easy enough too, and involves simply placing the new carrier card in an available slot and connecting the DDR4 memory to it.
There are some caveats to consider because of the differences between the functionality of DDR5 and DDR4. For example, DDR5 is 32-bit and has multiple channel per module, while DDR4 is a single channel per module 64-bit memory.
This means they manage power differently, with DDR5 handling power on a per module basis, while DDR4 takes its power management directly from the motherboard.
ASUS overcomes those differences by using a new BIOS change that allows ROG Apex DDR5 memory to run in DDR4 mode. In other words, the carrier card takes the 5V power signal and handles it through the motherboard power management.
While this is definitely interesting, it will not solve anyone’s problems just yet. Bing says this is just a prototype and there are still hurdles to overcome. That means you may be overpaying for your DDR5 memory (running around $1,000 from scalpers) or settling for DDR4 for some time yet.
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