Friday, December 31st 2021

ASUS is Working on a DDR4 RAM Adapter for DDR5 Motherboards

With the current short supply and maybe more importantly, the rather insane pricing for DDR5 memory, ASUS is working on what could be called a quick fix for the problem, an adapter that would allow DDR5 motherboard owners to put DDR4 memory in their motherboards. It's not what we'd call an elegant solution at this point, but it's said it'll be refined before it's ready for retail—if it ever enters the market—since apparently the engineer that developed the adapter doesn't always get to see his projects hit retail, as from our understanding he's responsible for a lot of the more unusual products from ASUS' ROG brand.

That said, considering that a lot of high-end Z690 motherboards only support DDR5, this might be an interim solution that makes sense for a lot of people until availability of DDR5 improves. There's some complexity in making the adapter work though, as not only does it need its own power regulation, since DDR4 memory doesn't have onboard power conversion components unlike DDR5, but there's also the 2x 32-bit vs 64-bit bus to take into consideration as well. On top of this, the DRAM traces are obviously extended, which could lead to instabilities, which is why it's apparently only tested with one type of memory right now, which appears to be G-Skill's Tridentz Royal. A further limitation of the adapter is that it requires a special UEFI version to be installed that allows DDR4 memory to be used, but this might be the smallest issue in this "skunk works" project from ASUS' ROG team.

Sources: Bing on YouTube, via Anandtech
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104 Comments on ASUS is Working on a DDR4 RAM Adapter for DDR5 Motherboards

#1
AlwaysHope
So the DDR5 shortage has made an Asus engineer resort to this eh?
Wow, that says a lot about global supply chain issues with latest PC tech.
I'll bet Intel are angry about that.
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#2
DrCR
I’d be all for a series of articles about other nerdiness that may or may not have come to market by this engineer and other irregulars like him
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#3
napata
AlwaysHopeSo the DDR5 shortage has made an Asus engineer resort to this eh?
Wow, that says a lot about global supply chain issues with latest PC tech.
I'll bet Intel are angry about that.
Why? All of their current CPU supports DDR4. The moment I saw leaks from Rapor Lake supporting DDR4 I knew the DDR5 situation was terrible and was going to be terrible for quite some time.
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#4
TheLostSwede
DrCRI’d be all for a series of articles about other nerdiness that may or may not have come to market by this engineer and other irregulars like him
Sadly my mandarin isn't anywhere near that level of comprehension.
I'd suggest you check out his YouTube channel.
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#5
AlwaysHope
napataWhy? All of their current CPU supports DDR4. The moment I saw leaks from Rapor Lake supporting DDR4 I knew the DDR5 situation was terrible and was going to be terrible for quite some time.
It discourages consumers from investing in DDR5 platform & they were the first company to market that tech.
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#6
puma99dk|
Is this a joke? Because I was wondering why not DDR4 in a DDR5 mobo?

Because a lot of people have DDR4 now a days.
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#7
Accelerator
Totally meaningless. If you must use DDR4 memory, just by a DDR4 motherboard. Why spending extra money to buy this?
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#8
looniam
AlwaysHopeIt discourages consumers from investing in . . . .
an air cooler!


j/k . .sorta. :p
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#9
TheLostSwede
puma99dk|Is this a joke? Because I was wondering why not DDR4 in a DDR5 mobo?

Because a lot of people have DDR4 now a days.
No joke, it seems to be something they're at least considering, but it seems to depend on how easy it is to commercialise it in the end and at what cost.
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#10
Chomiq
Anyone remembers SDR/DDR combo boards from back in the day?
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#11
TheLostSwede
ChomiqAnyone remembers SDR/DDR combo boards from back in the day?
There have been those types of boards for almost every transition except this one, as apparently Intel didn't allow the board makers to make such a board, according to Anandtech.
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#12
watzupken
They should introduce more DDR4 boards as oppose to making and selling this adapter. The adapter likely won't come cheap from the looks of it. So if buying the adapter plus a good DDR4 kit cost as much as DDR5, it makes sense to just get DDR5 instead. The height of the adapter + DDR4 DIMM is too high, and most air coolers won't be able to fit.
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#13
Caring1
I hope they get the chips on the right way.
looniaman air cooler!


j/k . .sorta. :p
That was my first thought too.
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#14
TheinsanegamerN
Reminds me of those old socket 370-slot 1 adapters from the late 90s.
TheLostSwedeThere have been those types of boards for almost every transition except this one, as apparently Intel didn't allow the board makers to make such a board, according to Anandtech.
Which is just insane. Why would you ban people from making combo boards for a transitionary generation? How hard does intel want alder lake to not appeal to people?
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#15
TheLostSwede
watzupkenThey should introduce more DDR4 boards as oppose to making and selling this adapter. The adapter likely won't come cheap from the looks of it. So if buying the adapter plus a good DDR4 kit cost as much as DDR5, it makes sense to just get DDR5 instead. The height of the adapter + DDR4 DIMM is too high, and most air coolers won't be able to fit.
This is not the final design, as mentioned in the news post.
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#16
Why_Me
I don't see a downside to this. Gives buyers more choices and that's a good thing especially seeing how it's going to be awhile before DDR5 becomes mainstream.
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#17
piloponth
Next article in couple of weeks: DDR4 RAM Adapter for DDR5 Motherboards shortage!
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#18
ST.o.CH
Regarding this is an asus article, I guess intel does not have the intel to overtake the ryzen factor.
A few more months and we shall see some improvements.
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#19
delshay
I wonder how it's going to work. One would think next gen processors will support DDR 5 only, so I take it, it has DDR4/5 controller built-in just like the good old Phenom Processors which supported DDR2/3.
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#20
The King
I don't see why board don't come with two slots for DDR4 and 2 slots for DDR5.
Basically if you using DDR4 then the DDR5 slot get disable and vice versa.

Then you would not have to make separate DDR4 and DDR5 versions of the same board.
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#21
Crackong
Maybe ASUS just wanna cut all the future Intel DDR4 MB models to save all the R&D cost, then offer this kit inside the box and claim "We support both D4 & D5 in one board!"
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#22
looniam
TheLostSwedeThis is not the final design, as mentioned in the news post.
fwiw the auto translate captions to english worked well enough.


guy has some crazy good stuff on his channel.
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#23
Verpal
Don't know the specific of this, but there are two issue that I can immediately imagine:
1. latency! Longer wire = more latency = less FPS = bad.
2. This thing need voltage converter, and they are, too, in short supply.

Either way, it isn't optimize yet, maybe there are other things that can be done on UEFI to compensate.
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#24
ixi
puma99dk|Is this a joke? Because I was wondering why not DDR4 in a DDR5 mobo?

Because a lot of people have DDR4 now a days.
A lot of people back in days had ddr3 not ddr4, same situation. After 1 year prices will go down.
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#25
TheLostSwede
looniamfwiw the auto translate captions to english worked well enough.


guy has some crazy good stuff on his channel.
And you just reminded me that we can insert videos in news posts :oops:
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