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

#76
Turmania
I'm not knowledgeable in these but sounds like it is too much trouble and costly to produce it with no guarantee expected. What is the point? They will probably ditch the idea.
Posted on Reply
#77
Totally
AntykainThat 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..
Definitely the case,
at this stage looking pretty is the least of their concerns
Posted on Reply
#78
bonehead123
NO...

NOPE....

Notta.....

No way, 'jose ....
Posted on Reply
#79
lexluthermiester
TheLostSwedeASUS 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.
While this adapter would not be the first of it's kind, it is a bit silly. I just don't see this being released as a full-on product.
Posted on Reply
#80
InVasMani
Still feel like putting M.2's on each side of a adapter along with the DDR memory would be neat. Even if they continued to use DDR5 and bypass the power delivery complications. Basically turn the DIMM slot into a NVDIMM with very short traces to a M.2 that the DDR5 caches. In fact the M.2 would have shorter traces than memory itself which is probably fine being the slower of the two. Since it's Intel platform there is the option of Optane based M.2's as well.
lexluthermiesterWhile this adapter would not be the first of it's kind, it is a bit silly. I just don't see this being released as a full-on product.
I agree seems somewhat unlikely though if they can shrink the height of it and keep cost low they might do a limited run on them. It's a rather odd device reminds me of those DIMM testers.
Posted on Reply
#81
Wirko
InVasManiStill feel like putting M.2's on each side of a adapter along with the DDR memory would be neat. Even if they continued to use DDR5 and bypass the power delivery complications. Basically turn the DIMM slot into a NVDIMM with very short traces to a M.2 that the DDR5 caches. In fact the M.2 would have shorter traces than memory itself which is probably fine being the slower of the two. Since it's Intel platform there is the option of Optane based M.2's as well.
A M.2 connector has a PCIe interface. A memory slot has a DDR5 interface. These two are fundamentally different. What would the PCIe lanes connect to?
InVasManito a M.2 that the DDR5 caches.
What?!?
Posted on Reply
#82
lexluthermiester
InVasManiI agree seems somewhat unlikely though if they can shrink the height of it and keep cost low they might do a limited run on them.
If they were to move the power circuitry to other side and move the DIMM slot down and as you said shorten it down, yeah they might have a viable product as long as the cost is decent.
Posted on Reply
#83
Wirko
Asus may be up to something else. They're developing a DDR4+DDR5 motherboard, and their first prototype is a DDR5 board with this adapter on top. The VRM that is now part of the adapter (basically the only part) will eventually be integrated into the board. Sounds plausible?
Posted on Reply
#84
lexluthermiester
WirkoSounds plausible?
It does. There are no specs that say they can't do so. This was done with DDR2/DDR3. I can't remember if it was done with DDR3/DDR4, but it would not surprise me.
Posted on Reply
#85
InVasMani
I see your point wouldn't really work w/o wiring PCIE into the DIMM slots in some manner or another. I mean that might eventually be possible to combine the two, but yeah on ADL today.
lexluthermiesterIt does. There are no specs that say they can't do so. This was done with DDR2/DDR3. I can't remember if it was done with DDR3/DDR4, but it would not surprise me.
The memory controller is a mixed channel and width design however which wasn't quite the case in previous hybrid boards. DDR5 is a fair bit different with ADL than other transitions in the past it's as much a complication as big LITTLE itself.
Posted on Reply
#86
lexluthermiester
InVasManiI see your point wouldn't really work w/o wiring PCIE into the DIMM slots in some manner or another. I mean that might eventually be possible to combine the two, but yeah on ADL today.


The memory controller is a mixed channel and width design however which wasn't quite the case in previous hybrid boards. DDR5 is a fair bit different with ADL than other transitions in the past it's as much a complication as big LITTLE itself.
While there are some complexities, as there always is, ASUS seems to have done it. So it would seem the interface with the IMC on AlderLake is a more or less straight forward one. I expect other board makers to follow suit.
Posted on Reply
#87
TheLostSwede
lexluthermiesterWhile this adapter would not be the first of it's kind, it is a bit silly. I just don't see this being released as a full-on product.
I thought I wrote that a bit further down, minus the silly bit.
Posted on Reply
#88
lexluthermiester
TheLostSwedeI thought I wrote that a bit further down, minus the silly bit.
TLDR? I skipped the last few pages..
Posted on Reply
#89
TheLostSwede
lexluthermiesterTLDR? I skipped the last few pages..
if it ever enters the market
I guess you skipped that part too? :p
Posted on Reply
#90
MaenadFIN
S.T.A.R.S.
AntykainThat 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..
It's ROG branded so I bet that it will have some sexy RGBs if it gets released. :P
Posted on Reply
#91
Wirko
lexluthermiesterIt does. There are no specs that say they can't do so. This was done with DDR2/DDR3. I can't remember if it was done with DDR3/DDR4, but it would not surprise me.
Skylake has support for DDR4 and DDR3L. Running DDR3 is possible but requires raising the voltage above the safe limits of memory controller, and DDR3L was never popular.
Posted on Reply
#92
aQi
why doesnt Asus make another board with a combo ddr4 and ddr5 solution. Just like back in the days of ddr2 and ddr3 transition stage. The all famous P5QC was there supporting both ddr2 and ddr3 (at a time) solution.
Posted on Reply
#93
ST.o.CH
The main issue here is the fact there were only entry level z690 boards with ddr4 and not a single maximus or creator board has ddr4.
Almost all r&d were sent to ddr5 designs.
The same applies to other board makers except evga.
This adapter can be a good idea but in theory, in practical I'm not so sure.
Posted on Reply
#94
Tigger
I'm the only one
ST.o.CHThe main issue here is the fact there were only entry level z690 boards with ddr4 and not a single maximus or creator board has ddr4.
Almost all r&d were sent to ddr5 designs.
The same applies to other board makers except evga.
This adapter can be a good idea but in theory, in practical I'm not so sure.
Pretty sure my Rog strix z690-A is not a entry level DDR4 board
Posted on Reply
#95
caroline.v
What about hybrid transition boards? Remember DDR+DDR2 for Intel's 915. At the time if you were going to get a Prescott core chip but already had a high end config with DDR533 memory but an older CPU spending more to grab some DDR2-533 with worse timings wasn't a great idea, but you could wait for a while and get DDR2-667 or 800 when prices were more reasonable without having to swap the mobo again.
Posted on Reply
#98
TheLostSwede
aQiwhy doesnt Asus make another board with a combo ddr4 and ddr5 solution. Just like back in the days of ddr2 and ddr3 transition stage. The all famous P5QC was there supporting both ddr2 and ddr3 (at a time) solution.
Because, once again, according to the Anandtech article linked in this news piece, Intel doesn't allow it.
caroline.vWhat about hybrid transition boards? Remember DDR+DDR2 for Intel's 915. At the time if you were going to get a Prescott core chip but already had a high end config with DDR533 memory but an older CPU spending more to grab some DDR2-533 with worse timings wasn't a great idea, but you could wait for a while and get DDR2-667 or 800 when prices were more reasonable without having to swap the mobo again.
See above.
Posted on Reply
#99
lexluthermiester
TheLostSwedeIntel doesn't allow it.
Intel has no say in the matter. Vendors are free to match any hardware they wish with an Intel CPU. Intel even trying to prohibit specfic hardware pairing would be technically and literally illegal.
Posted on Reply
#100
InVasMani
I could ride 1000w ebike 24/7 and have better RTRT.
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