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Can DDR4 RAM Fit in DDR5 Slot? Be Aware

Last Updated Oct 4, 2022
RAM stick

DDR5 RAM is the newest type of RAM technology. But, due to some key advantages, like lower latency, many people still prefer using DDR4 RAM. If you’ve just purchased a new computer that has a DDR5 slot, however, you may be wondering: can DDR4 RAM fit in a DDR5 slot?

DDR4 RAM will not fit into the DDR5 slot, and vice versa. A computer’s motherboard will only function with one type of RAM technology, depending on the slot your computer features. This makes DDR5 motherboards incompatible with DDR4 RAM.

Below, we will discuss the differences between DDR4 and DDR5. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know to understand your computer’s memory!

Can DDR4 RAM Fit in a DDR5 Slot?

As all types of technology have advanced, DDR (double data rate) RAM has advanced along with it. DDR4 RAM, which precedes DDR5, has many different features and qualities than the newest technology. Because of this, you cannot fit DDR4 in a DDR5 slot.

There are a few reasons why DDR4 RAM is not compatible with the DDR5 slot on your computer. These include:

  • Physical structure
  • Power management
  • Channel architecture
  • Memory bandwidth
  • Operation voltage

Below, we will discuss how each of these factors plays a role.

Physical Structure

DDR4 and DDR5 RAM have different physical structures. Because of this, they do not align with your computer’s RAM slot in the same way.

DDR5 RAM sticks and slots have notches to avoid incorrect insertion. These notches do not exist on DDR4 chips, making it impossible for them to fit into DDR5 slots.

Power Management

Unlike DDR4 RAM slots, which hold the voltage regulation parts in the motherboard, DDR5 RAM holds these parts in the RAM stick. This places the responsibility of voltage regulation directly on the memory stick you use.

Because of this, each DDR5 RAM stick has its voltage regulator circuit, and your computer’s motherboard must be compatible. This is another big reason DDR4 RAM is incompatible with the DDR5 slot.

Channel Architecture

A computer’s motherboard and processor are designed with the RAM stick’s channel architecture in mind. Preceding processors and motherboards, like DDR4, are not designed to operate with the DDR5 RAM stick architecture.

Each RAM stick has two channels, each of which is 40bits wide. This gives no room for DDR4 RAM sticks to be compatible with a DDR5 slot.

Memory Bandwidth

DDR4 and DDR5 RAM also have different memory bandwidths, or the rate at which a motherboard can transfer data to or from a RAM stick. 

DDR4 RAM peak is 3.2 gigabits per second for each pin, while DDR5 peak is 6.4 gigabits per second for each pin. These differences are another reason why DDR4 RAM sticks are not compatible with DDR5 slots.

Operation Voltage

The operation voltage is the minimum to maximum voltages the circuit must operate within. DDR4 and DDR5 RAM have different operation voltages, another factor that makes DDR4 sticks incompatible with DDR5 slots.

DDR4 RAM has an operating voltage of 1.2V, while DDR5’s operating voltage is 1.1V. This means the power supply for DDR5 slots in motherboards should also be 1.1V.

Even if it is physically possible to insert a DDR4 RAM in the DDR5 slot, it could cause damage to the slot due to its lower operation voltage.

What is the Difference Between DDR4 and DDR5 RAM?

As we’ve discussed, there are many reasons why DDR4 RAM is incompatible with motherboards that have a DDR5 slot. But what exactly are the differences between DDR4 and DDR5 RAM?

DDR5 is notable for its improvement over DDR4 in terms of memory bandwidth and capacity. However, when it comes to latency, performance, compatibility, and price, DDR4 is usually the better choice.

DDR4 RAM is best for professional tasks, while the DDR5 might be better for someone who plans to use their computer for more demanding tasks. These might include mass file compression or photo and video editing.

DDR5 memory also has an on-die ECC, which provides error detection and correction before sending data to a CPU. This is expected to improve reliability and reduce defect rates. DDR4 RAM, on the other hand, does not feature on-die ECC.

Should I Buy a Computer That Uses DDR4 or DDR5 RAM?

Different computers use different types of RAM technology. If you prefer one type over the other, you’ll want to choose your computer accordingly. But what if you’re unsure which type is best for your needs?

A computer that uses DDR4 RAM is recommended for industrial use due to its ability to handle demanding tasks. For things like photo and video editing or 3D tools, DDR5 may be better.

In Conclusion

If you have a computer with a DDR5 RAM slot, you cannot insert a DDR4 RAM stick. This is due to several differences between the two types of technology, including physical structure and memory bandwidth.

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