ASUS develops DDR4 to DDR5 adapter card

Intel’s Alder Lake CPU and Z690 motherboards brought DDR5 memory to the desktop for the first time. The problem is that the supply of DDR5 has been severely affected due to the shortage of key components. Although there are Z690 motherboards that support DDR4, most of them are mid-to-low-end options. If you must have a high-end DDR5 system and don’t want to pay the scalper’s price, it is easy to wait a few months before upgrading. By then, the supply of DDR5 memory should be stable. However, there is another potential option.

ASUS is developing add-on cards from DDR4 to DDR5. How about the Skunk Project? ASUS has shown in the past that it is capable of accomplishing some major engineering feats, including the joint development of dual-capacity RAM modules, but the development of DDR4 to DDR5 adapters to meet all challenges is very extreme!

A Youtuber named Bing (By Anandtech) Posted a video (in Mandarin) This explains the concept and shows a prototype. The idea is simple. Take a DDR4 memory stick, put it on the riser card, and insert it into the DDR5 slot of the motherboard. However, if the idea is simple, it is much more complicated in the engineering sense. Although Alder Lake memory controllers support both DDR4 and DDR5, these modules are fundamentally different in terms of architecture and power supply. The latter is a key obstacle, because DDR5 motherboards lack the ability to manage the power of DDR4 modules, so this must be done through a converter.

(Image source: Bing via Youtube)

Can this solution benefit hardcore overclockers? The high latency of DDR5 is not suitable for some benchmark tests, so the ability to use DDR4 memory in high-end motherboards may be limited. But there are other problems, such as the long memory trace length, which means that even if everything else works well, it will never reach the same maximum clock and timing as the DDR4 motherboard.