[Closed] DDR4 or DDR5 on Alder Lake

So I thought I would start a topic and poll with one question for the community

Which standard of memory do you guys envision? The below quote is the closest thing I could find to a public comment either way but for Alder Lake this sounds inconclusive as it should support both types at least on desktop

Does the community wish to adhere closest to the reusablility aspect of framework and use DDR4 modules with the next iteration or move onto DDR5 with its potential benefits?

  • DDR4 please!
  • Gimme DDR5!

0 voters

I think that DDR 4 as the early adopter’s tax will be expensive and I would not be able to use my current RAM.

If Framework sticks to their principles of reuse, then they should use DDR4-3200 exactly like in the first generation.

However as time goes on, this will limit performance of new platforms and Framework will be getting left behind. There will also come a point that new DDR5 becomes less expensive than old DDR4 and that new platforms won’t support DDR4 at all. So there will have to be a turning point. Does Framework want to sell new laptops (might as well support DDR5) or new motherboards for existing Framework laptops (keep supporting DDR4 for as long as possible, but the new mainboards will be at a disadvantage in performance compared to the competition). Hard choice.

DDR5 is going to be expensive at first. It might be wise for Framework to skip a generation - if Alder Lake still supports DDR4 it would save existing Framework users a lot if Framework were to reuse DDR4 and wait at least another generation for DDR5 support.

That said, I’m not sure if the Zen 4 based AMD motherboard everyone wants will support DDR4 at all.


DDR4 for now and Gen2, DDR5 for Gen3 machines onwards - you can get a current Gen machine maxed out to 64GB (2x32GB) at between 250-300, which I think would be “end of the road” for SODIMM sizing on the DDR4 platforms. I am not sure how quickly (or expensively) it would be for DDR5 to get to 64GB SODIMMs or beyond, but by the time it does, it might not make economic sense.


I think this is mostly a case of awkward timing on Framework’s part, as we’re in a transition period for hardware.

I was under the impression DDR5 would initially primarily be targeted for the high end platforms on desktop, partly because only people willing to pay an arm and a leg will be getting DDR5 initially. So I could see a scenario where lower end SKUs get DDR4 and the high end variant have a DDR5 option. All the promotional materials and leaks I’m finding seem to be pointing that way, low end may be DDR4 or DDR5, but high end is DDR5 only.

But either way we need to see some benchmarks first. If it’s like DDR3 to DDR4, it’ll be a couple years before DDR5 eclipses DDR4 in performance and price will be prohibitive for a lot of people. So realistically there isn’t going to be a huge consumer demand for a couple years.

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In my humble opinion this is the wrong question to ask - Framework can’t decide to simply skip Alder Lake because it requires DDR5, that’s how you make money stop flowing into your business. Whichever memory generation they go with will be determined by the other hardware in the system. My hope is that at least for a while, DDR4 RAM will remain relevant with the release of other architectures, for example an ARM-based processor.

On the flip side - to be frank, for general computing needs the current set of mass market CPUs will be perfectly relevant for another few hardware generations, so I don’t really see the concern with Framework immediately releasing DDR5 models, so long as parts availability is good for the older hardware. Hardcore gamers/workstation users who demand the latest and greatest hardware will not settle for less than DDR5 RAM models, and DDR4 models and parts can simply be priced lower to compete if need be.

Where did you hear that? Alder Lake is supposed to ship with IMC capable of supporting either standard

It will be up to board developers which standard will be implemented

Oh interesting, didn’t realize it was going to be flexible on that. And that statement was meant to be hypothetical, not an assertion.

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I hadn’t even considered that tbh, my desires lie with coreboot and free software, areas intel is still superior to AMD

I expect that a switch to DDR5 is in the works then to maintain consistency

There could be two upgrade paths: Intel Alder Lake with DDR4 for maximum reusability and compatibility at minimum cost, and AMD Zen 4 with DDR5. If you want cutting edge, you pay for cutting edge…

All of this might be a bit silly, how many people actually upgrade every generation anyway? Until now we never had the option on laptop without completely replacing it (save the golden years of socketable mobile CPUs). I know on my previous laptops I basically rode them until they were beyond repair.

I just find it funny to see us early adopters quibbling about details like this when I suspect many of us aren’t shelling out for a mainboard upgrade anytime soon (save the compulsive /r/buildapcsales crowd of which I am… sometimes guilty). Anyone buying new in 2022 probably will lean DDR5 if you want to talk reusability. I don’t expect Framework to be beholden to their early adopters if they want to grow as a company, but I’ll defer to their roadmap on what makes the most sense there.


True, for me I won’t be upgrading to the next generation. Maybe in about 5 years/4 generations or so when the new benefits are very compelling.

Alder Lake just looks to be more efficient anyway, not immensely faster, so it will benefit those who want maximum battery life. That’s not a huge priority for me.

That would drive up costs unnecessarily in my mind

Really I’m in favor of the greatest benefit for the least cost, if the performance benefit from DDR5 is negligible then I support DDR4

If the performance delta is significant then I want DDR5, no need to lose chart performance on benchmarks or lose potential customers

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To those that stumble on this topic now, the reviews are out for desktop Alder Lake…and in a shock to nobody at all, good DDR4 is comparable to early DDR5

So I guess DDR4 is the way to go


Even so, I’d still prefer DDR5 for futureproofing and error correcting, especially when working with large datasets for Data and Computer Science.

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I also think one of the big things about a framework is it’s futureproofing capability, so I would certainly think that DDR5 would be the route to go with the 12th gen processors. That said, I bought an i5 for now knowing I’ll go to DDR5 when it rolls around and use this i5 in a pi 400 style mech keyboard build.