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DDR5 memory shortage is a reality, and quite serious

If we tried to buy, right now, a DDR5 memory kit in any online store we could not do it, at least at the time of writing this article, since she was totally exhausted. Even the most inexpensive Kingston Value Series kits, which are typically more widely available, were not in stock.

We could think that it is a specific problem, and that the situation will improve in the short or medium term, but recent information suggests just the opposite. It is true that the big semiconductor manufacturers are not having a problem making DDR5 because, in the end, this new memory standard scales perfectly in the “old” and mature 14nm process, but it seems that the integration of the PMIC (Power Management Integrated Circuit) in DDR5 modules has become a real headache.

This is, at least, what 12chip says, a component supplier that ensures that, as a result of the integration of said component in DDR5 memory modules, the delivery times of orders for PMIC chips have been extended up to 35 weeks, which supposes a very important delay on the orders that manufacturers and system assemblers had placed, and ultimately amounts to a serious bottleneck in the supply chain of a vital component for the production of DDR5 modules.

On the other hand, it must also be taken into account that PMIC chips used by DDR5 kits are up to 10 times more expensive than the solutions used in DDR4-based systems, something that does not bode well for the future of the prices that memory modules based on this new standard will have. In other words, if the situation does not improve, it is likely that it will be impossible to buy DDR5 modules in the coming months, and if we are fortunate to find one available, its price could be so high that we may decide not to buy it.

We might think that this is a hard blow for Intel, who recently launched its new generation of Alder Lake-S processors, but the truth is that it is less serious than it seems, since these processors are compatible with DDR4 memory, as long as we buy a motherboard that uses this standard, and there is no important difference in performance if we accompany them, at least, with a DDR4 kit at 3,200 MHz and CL14 latencies.

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