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

#51
TheLostSwede
TotallyAh that was what was thinking of, but they aren't just joined at the hip with Flash mem also DRAM and many other tech also.

www.micron.com/solutions/micron-ecosystem-partner-programs/chipset-partner/intel
Intel still doesn't make sticks of RAM.
They obviously use RAM in some of their products, such as SSDs...
The KingI was hardly serious. My point was if Intel's policy is that DDR4 and DDR5 should not be mixed then what should ASUS do with all the DDR5 mobos?

That's why this horrendous adapter came into existence! Unless intel can produce DDR5 RAM they should take their policy and stick it ...
As I mentioned in a different thread, apparently the RAM is made, the issue is that with the virus still spreading like mad, causing lockdowns and sick staff, the chip packaging plants are either being closed due to government regulations, or don't have sufficient staff to keep things running at a normal pace. This combined with a shortage of PMIC chips and some other key components are the main issues at hand. The city of Xi'an in the PRC for example is currently closed and people are apparently starving due to it, but this is also where Micron has at least one fab, which is further causing shortages of parts. Malaysia has had major lockdowns too and this is where a lot of the chip packaging is done. Taiwan is obviously unaffected, but only so much DRAM is being made and packaged in Taiwan. Not quite sure what the situation is in Korea right now, but I guess it's not great there either. So once there isn't a massive shitstorm going on, things should quickly improve.
Chrispy_Hahah, so for two DIMMs we're talking about basically the cost of a B660 board and for four DIMMs we're past entry-level Z690 and well into the price range of capable overclocking boards like the Tomahawk or TUF models?

I wonder if an entry-level $180 DDR4 Z690 is more stable and overclocks better than a flagship DDR5 board hampered by these kludgy adapters! :laugh:
That is IF these adapters are ever made.
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#52
Dyatlov A
I checked if it is April 1st today…
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#53
ir_cow
VerpalDon'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.
Yezzz. Bascially after the cost of this adapter for 2 DIMMs, it will be close to DDR5 prices with horrible latency.
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#54
Totally
TheLostSwedeIntel still doesn't make sticks of RAM.
They obviously use RAM in some of their products, such as SSDs...
K, but the conversation started with RAM chips not sticks of ram
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#55
TheDeeGee
So glad i didn't wait on Alder Lake, what a pain it must be having to pay 1000 dollars for some Ram.
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#56
ir_cow
TheDeeGeeSo glad i didn't wait on Alder Lake, what a pain it must be having to pay 1000 dollars for some Ram.
Adler Lake supports DDR4 you know..
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#57
TheLostSwede
TotallyK, but the conversation started with RAM chips not sticks of ram
Which they also don't make. Hence the deal with Micron.
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#58
enzolt
There seems to be a lot of misinformation here about Intel and their directive to not mix ddr4/ddr5.

From Anandtech:

Inside each of the Alder Lake processors are memory controllers for both DDR5 and DDR4. Unlike previous generations, we’re unlikely to see motherboards supporting both types of memory. We understand that Intel has explicitly requested this – we didn’t see many retail combo boards in the DDR3/DDR4 era, so expect to see fewer this time around (although you can imagine someone will eventually do it).

There is a slight technical reason too – DDR5 uses onboard power management, while DDR4 requires that from the motherboard, something which is hard to implement without wholly independent traces for both.

If Intel is saying both cannot be done at the same time, then it’s likely that this is a unified DDR4+DDR5 controller that shares an amount of logic internally, but only one can be used at any one time

Source: www.anandtech.com/show/16959/intel-innovation-alder-lake-november-4th/4

The level of journalism and technical know-how, or simply just providing unbiased coverage of tech really took a downfall here at TPU...
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#59
InVasMani
JismIf the traces are "big" enough and the impedance strong enough, then this really woud'nt impose an issue under normal day conditions. The difference you will note only when you take it to extreme levels like LN2 world records or so.

I mean have you ever seen the Gigabyte Superclock VRM Board? It's a thing that you solder directly onto your GPU as a full replacement for the VRM:



Now these "power" traces are'nt small either, and big as possible using copper to minimize any resistance as much as possible. And they work pretty well.
Looks like something that would provoke the AI to become self aware and kill all humanity.
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#60
TheLostSwede
enzoltThere seems to be a lot of misinformation here about Intel and their directive to not mix ddr4/ddr5.

From Anandtech:

Inside each of the Alder Lake processors are memory controllers for both DDR5 and DDR4. Unlike previous generations, we’re unlikely to see motherboards supporting both types of memory. We understand that Intel has explicitly requested this – we didn’t see many retail combo boards in the DDR3/DDR4 era, so expect to see fewer this time around (although you can imagine someone will eventually do it).

There is a slight technical reason too – DDR5 uses onboard power management, while DDR4 requires that from the motherboard, something which is hard to implement without wholly independent traces for both.

If Intel is saying both cannot be done at the same time, then it’s likely that this is a unified DDR4+DDR5 controller that shares an amount of logic internally, but only one can be used at any one time

Source: www.anandtech.com/show/16959/intel-innovation-alder-lake-november-4th/4

The level of journalism and technical know-how, or simply just providing unbiased coverage of tech really took a downfall here at TPU...
From their article about the adapter.
Because Intel limited the platform to either DDR5 or DDR4 per motherboard, there’s no way to run both
As I said, I don't know if this is true or not, hence why I mentioned according to Anandtech, since they clearly mention it in the article they wrote about it. So if you want to pick on someone, it's not me you should be having a go at.
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#61
AsRock
TPU addict
looniaman air cooler!


j/k . .sorta. :p
Not in my case, i would have to get a new cooler to get any thing like that to fit.

It fit but without on the fans
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#62
Dr_b_
Asus is concerned that they cant sell their ultra expensive DDR5 Motherboards, so this. Local retailers have plenty of stock, but no RAM for them
What they need to do is make DDR4 versions of most of them if they can, which is expensive too, but its better than not selling any motherboards. DDR5 isn't all that much better right now anyway, and DDR5 won't be cheap or widely available at all in 2022, just hope they solder on the capacitors in the correct direction with them if they are made.
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#63
Chrispy_
enzoltThere seems to be a lot of misinformation here about Intel and their directive to not mix ddr4/ddr5.

From Anandtech:

Inside each of the Alder Lake processors are memory controllers for both DDR5 and DDR4. Unlike previous generations, we’re unlikely to see motherboards supporting both types of memory. We understand that Intel has explicitly requested this – we didn’t see many retail combo boards in the DDR3/DDR4 era, so expect to see fewer this time around (although you can imagine someone will eventually do it).

There is a slight technical reason too – DDR5 uses onboard power management, while DDR4 requires that from the motherboard, something which is hard to implement without wholly independent traces for both.

If Intel is saying both cannot be done at the same time, then it’s likely that this is a unified DDR4+DDR5 controller that shares an amount of logic internally, but only one can be used at any one time

Source: www.anandtech.com/show/16959/intel-innovation-alder-lake-november-4th/4

The level of journalism and technical know-how, or simply just providing unbiased coverage of tech really took a downfall here at TPU...
I never really used them but weren't the old DDR2/DDR3 dual-type motherboards always limited to one type of RAM at once too?

Maybe I'm missing something but is anyone actually suggesting you can run DDR4 and DDR5 simultaneously on the same board? How would that even work with the CPU running both Gear1 for DDR4 and Gear2 for DDR5? Presumably you'd need to use the lowest common denominator which would mean running Gear2 for DDR4.

Presumably even if it were technically possible, running DDR4 and DD4R5 simultaneously would result in the lowest common denominators throughout so you'd end up with the bandwidth of DDR4 with the latency of DDR5, all running at Gear2 for a final result of something that's probably worse than DDR3!
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#64
TheLostSwede
Chrispy_I never really used them but weren't the old DDR2/DDR3 dual-type motherboards always limited to one type of RAM at once too?

Maybe I'm missing something but is anyone actually suggesting you can run DDR4 and DDR5 simultaneously on the same board? How would that even work with the CPU running both Gear1 for DDR4 and Gear2 for DDR5? Presumably you'd need to use the lowest common denominator which would mean running Gear2 for DDR4.

Presumably even if it were technically possible, running DDR4 and DD4R5 simultaneously would result in the lowest common denominators throughout so you'd end up with the bandwidth of DDR4 with the latency of DDR5, all running at Gear2 for a final result of something that's probably worse than DDR3!
That would maybe explain the angry comment. I never implied it was possible to run two kinds of RAM together, as it hasn't been possible since EDO RAM went out of fashion, as it could be mixed with fast page RAM.
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#65
Why_Me
TheDeeGeeSo glad i didn't wait on Alder Lake, what a pain it must be having to pay 1000 dollars for some Ram.
Ya because you can only get a DDR5 platform with Alder Lake. Seriously do some of you people think before you post.
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#66
InVasMani
"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."

You would think if they did it in reverse making a DDR4 to DDR5 adapter they wouldn't have to worry about the onboard power conversion components because a DDR4 board would already have that part in place. The 2x 32-bit vs 64-bit bus is another matter. It's a shame they could do something like this and put a pair of M.2 slots on each side that work as a NVDIMM with the memory because that would be fire. I'll give this Frankenstein engineer credit where it's due though he/she is a daring innovator to attempt something this strange, but it's the sort of thing that can lead to other breakthrough's based loosely around it at the same time. You need someone to step outside the box to see what's possible outside the comforting confines of the box.

The Gigabyte VRM thing idk about that that looks insane it just looks like a accidental short circuit waiting to happen. I'd done some ghetto stuff with GPU's, but I'll draw the line in the sand in not doing that no matter how good that 2% overclock headroom is on liquid nitrogen. It's dodgy just looking at it. It's probably more intimidating than it looks, but you just try and Ebay that and explain how it wasn't for mining.
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#67
FreedomEclipse
~Technological Technocrat~
Buy a DDR5 board to earn the right to buy a DDR5 adapter to run DDR4

OK. Let me just reach into my wallet and give you another $100 for that privilege


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#68
puma99dk|
TheLostSwedeNo 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.
Oh lol it's what I said DDR4 to DDR5 even they write DDR5 to DDR4 I guess it depends on how you read it.

So the adapter is nice if it's not gonna cost 200 dollars or something.
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#69
delshay
I wonder how voltage will be adjusted as some user's are using B-Die with XMP profile. It looks like it going to need some kind of access to change the voltage output. Then there's the extra height which will affect some CPU cooler/DIMM combo. I would think the final adapter will be angled so it does conflict with some old & new heatsink yet to reach the market.
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#70
SethNW
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.
Not really, Intel deliberately made Alder Lake and Raptor Lake compatible with both DDR4 and 5. Same as Skylake and Kaby Lake were DDR3 and 4. So Intel doesn't really care, they always had those transitional generations that you could use with both memory types, because in the end, main goal is to sell CPUs, not forcing people to use DDR5.
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.
Raptor Lake supporting DDR4 was expected regardless. Intel always has 2 generations that fit into same motherboards. Meaning Raptor Lake will fit into current Alder Lake motherboards with BIOS update. Hence why it will have to support DDR4 too. So regardless of DDR5 situation, that was pretty much guaranteed to happen. Don't believe me? Well, check Skylake and Kaby Lake, both had support for DDR3 and 4. DDR3 getting dropped with Coffee Lake that finally required new motherboards. So this is neither first time it happened, nor is it just because of DDR5 situation, since it is how Intel usually does stuff. And do you really think Intel would want to deal with support nightmare of Raptor Lake fitting into Alder Lake motherboards, but not ones that support DDR4? Like Intel can do some bad stuff, but 2 generations support for motherboard of 1st our of 2 generations was always rock solid and fully working, even if that meant dragging two generations worth of memory controllers for two CPU generations.
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#71
watzupken
TheLostSwedeThis is not the final design, as mentioned in the news post.
This is correct, but considering big tower coolers barely clears a low profile DDR4 DIMM, any height increase will likely mean that you can't use an air cooler. In addition, I don't know how much Asus will charge for this adapter. But if it cost as much as a decent mobo that supports DDR4, I rather get the motherboard which is going to be easier to sell off in the event I need to upgrade.
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#72
micropage7
why they don't use flexible cable or just release newest board with ddr4 or ddr5 slot
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#73
aQi
this doesnt make any sense ? why make an adaptor if you can lunch a dd4 version of z690. This profuct will be restricted to asus mobos only. I dont understand if there will be any customers willing to buy z690 mobo and then buying this convertor as an addon.
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#74
Icon Charlie
This is nothing new but I am glad they are going to do something like this. Back at the Stone age We Technology Reporters were banging away with rocks on a 386SX (hahaha no mathco processor)computer. There were Risers you could get to increase the ram size and/or different sizes of ram. There was a few times in the past were Ram shortages were extremely bad. Which of course the 3 manufactures were eventually sued off of their collective @$$es for price fixing and/or causing a shortage when there should not be one.
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#75
Antykain
That DDR4 > DDR5 adapter looks a little goofy.. But, I guess the old saying does apply, "Function over Form". Let's hope we get to a better place in the future where something this adapter is not needed..
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