Intel and AMD are gearing up for one of the biggest showdowns the CPU industry has seen in years, with new generations of processors rapidly approaching launch on both sides. from Intel 13th generation ‘Raptor Lake’ chips will face AMD ‘Zen 4’ Ryzen 7000 series, and both competitors are promising some serious performance.
Details about the new CPUs are slowly emerging through a combination of leaks and official announcements, and things are looking pretty good for Intel. Raptor Lake is reported to represent a significant increase in performance of current-generation Alder Lake chips, and now a leaked slide from an Intel China workshop event has revealed that Raptor Lake-S chips will support both DDR4 and DDR5 memories.
We previously knew that the Raptor Lake and Ryzen 7000 would support DDR5, but now it looks like Intel will have an advantage over Intel by offering support for the new memory standard and the more common DDR4 flavor of RAM.
That’s a big deal as DDR5 is the new kid on the block and adoption is still pretty slow among PC makers. It is constantly working on pre-built desktops and laptops, but not as common on custom PCs as it requires a motherboard upgrade. DDR5 is also expensive – it’s getting more accessiblebut DDR4 is still much cheaper, and you also need a more expensive DDR5 compatible motherboard.
For the uninitiated, the ‘S-series’ Raptor Lake chips are efficiency-oriented versions of Intel’s CPUs, with slightly less processing in exchange for lower power requirements. It’s unclear at this point whether regular Raptor Lake chips (or the overclocking-enabled K-series) will feature this same dual-standard memory support.
Analysis: AMD could be harmed by forcing adopters to upgrade to DDR5
AMD is is already struggling a little against the resounding success of Intel’s Alder Lake CPUs, which deliver incredible performance thanks to their hybrid core architecture that uses powerful ‘performance cores’ along with low-power ‘efficiency cores’.
AMD is generally still a good choice for building PCs on a budget (the Ryzen 5 5600X is currently available for under $200) and Team Red has long positioned itself as the processor of choice for gamers, but this leak causes problems for the Ryzen 7000.
Potential buyers on a tight budget are likely to be lured by support for the more affordable DDR4 memory standard – especially since DDR5-capable motherboards are often more expensive as well. AMD forcing everyone who buys a Ryzen 7000 CPU to use DDR5 could make it the least attractive option for money-conscious consumers.
AMD appears to have plans for the Ryzen 5000-series chips before the launch of its next-gen processors, at least. It has been suggested that AMD may target a september release date to knock Intel in the punch, but that depends on the Ryzen 5000 stock being shifted first. AMD also appears to have plans to integrate its 3D V-cache technology that boosts the game on new current generation chips, which might help their position a little.