Intel reportedly wants the next generation of 700-series motherboards to switch to DDR5 support only. The 700 series boards will launch alongside the 13th generation Raptor Lake series processors, which will reportedly happen in the third quarter of this year.
TechPowerUp reports that Intel is pushing motherboard manufacturers to drop support for DDR4 memory, although Raptor Lake processors are expected to retain support for DDR4. If you don’t want to shell out big bucks for DDR5, luckily, Raptor Lake is expected to be compatible with existing 600-series motherboards that support DDR4 or DDR5. This is especially useful for owners of high-quality DDR4 kits, which lose very little performance compared to higher latency DDR5 kits.
If next-generation motherboards stop supporting DDR4, it won’t be a big surprise. The industry has moved quickly from DDR3 to DDR4, and as long as prices and availability are reasonable, there is little reason to continue supporting DDR4.
Even without this news, one would expect Z790 boards to only support DDR5, but the situation with cheaper chipsets may be more nebulous. DDR5 will need price parity with DDR4 or a slightly higher cost if it wants to penetrate the lower market segments. If DDR5 still has a price premium, it will certainly slow down the adoption of B-series and H-series chipset systems. Users are more likely to delay upgrading until DDR5 memory prices force them to switch.
Looking back, maintaining DDR4 support for 12th Gen systems was a great move. DDR5 was completely unavailable at the time of its launch, and forcing users to use only DDR5 would have slowed down the adoption of 12th generation products. But by the time the 13th generation arrives, DDR5 supplies are expected to be much better. Even now, it is widely available, although it still carries a significant price premium over DDR4.
Of course, much of this is guesswork, as we don’t know what the market will look like in six months or more. Will the worst of the semiconductor shortage be left behind? It seems to be in trend.
Intel’s 13th generation platform will compete against AMD’s Zen 4 platform, which should also accept DDR5. Throw in the RTX 40, RDNA3, and Intel Arc Alchemist graphics cards, and it looks like the second half of this year will be a great time to upgrade.