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Getting a new desktop: is it worth holding out for DDR5 compatibility?
I am planning on replacing my desktop-replacement-laptop with an actual desktop. The question is, should I wait another half a year to get a motherboard/CPU that is compatible with DDR5 memory, or is the difference between DDR4 and DDR5 irrelevant to my use case?

I intend to run Linux Mint Cinnamon. The apps I expect to run, in approximate order of how demanding they are on hardware, are:

1)Sagemath: mostly manipulating topological and graph-theory objects.

2)iTunes running in a Windows virtual machine: Much to my frustration, some musicsians only release their albums through iTunes/Apple Music and not other stores like Bandcamp. And even though iTunes sells DRM-free audio files that can be played using any media playing app, the only way to purchase or download music from the Apple Music store is with the iTunes desktop app. I will not actually be using iTunes to play music (I use VLC for that), just to purchase it.

Side note: does anyone know if having secure boot disabled on the host system prevents Windows 11 from being installed in a VM?

3) OBS Studio, which I will use to record video meetings. I do not record myself playing games.

4)Indie games from Steam and Itch. No games with heavy graphics requirements. I also stick to Linux native games.

5)Typical office tasks (web browsing, editing text files including compiling LaTeX, video meetings).

6)Open source games from the Mint/Ubuntu/Debian repository.
Shmerl 21 Dec, 2021
New GPUs in 2022 will probably make a bigger difference for gaming. But by that time Zen 4 / DDR5 will also be available.

Last edited by Shmerl on 21 December 2021 at 8:20 am UTC
furaxhornyx 21 Dec, 2021
Quoting: RandomizedKirbyTree47I am planning on replacing my desktop-replacement-laptop with an actual desktop. The question is, should I wait another half a year to get a motherboard/CPU that is compatible with DDR5 memory, or is the difference between DDR4 and DDR5 irrelevant to my use case?

I intend to run Linux Mint Cinnamon. The apps I expect to run, in approximate order of how demanding they are on hardware, are:

1)Sagemath: mostly manipulating topological and graph-theory objects.

2)iTunes running in a Windows virtual machine: Much to my frustration, some musicsians only release their albums through iTunes/Apple Music and not other stores like Bandcamp. And even though iTunes sells DRM-free audio files that can be played using any media playing app, the only way to purchase or download music from the Apple Music store is with the iTunes desktop app. I will not actually be using iTunes to play music (I use VLC for that), just to purchase it.

Side note: does anyone know if having secure boot disabled on the host system prevents Windows 11 from being installed in a VM?

3) OBS Studio, which I will use to record video meetings. I do not record myself playing games.

4)Indie games from Steam and Itch. No games with heavy graphics requirements. I also stick to Linux native games.

5)Typical office tasks (web browsing, editing text files including compiling LaTeX, video meetings).

6)Open source games from the Mint/Ubuntu/Debian repository.

1) I don't know about this one, unfortunately

2) A VM is usually not very dependant on speed of RAM, and it will "just" be to start iTunes, make a buy, then close, so I don't think the DDR5 will make any difference here. For reference, I am running a VM for Ableton Live, and it works very well with my DDR4

3) I am not sure about OBS, but I think the GPU/CPU performance will be most relevant ; I don't think the DDR5 vs DDR4 will make a big difference here

4) Same, the DDR5 will probably not make a big difference

5) Same as 4)

6) Probably the same as 4) and 5)


I would like to add that, usually, early new technologies are not "stable": you may encounter bugs and issues with the first generations of hardware that supports DDR5. Usually, for RAM, people tend to suggest waiting 1 or 2 years after the first products are released.

That's just my 2 bytes ;)
dvd 22 Dec, 2021
Quoting: RandomizedKirbyTree47I am planning on replacing my desktop-replacement-laptop with an actual desktop. The question is, should I wait another half a year to get a motherboard/CPU that is compatible with DDR5 memory, or is the difference between DDR4 and DDR5 irrelevant to my use case?

I intend to run Linux Mint Cinnamon. The apps I expect to run, in approximate order of how demanding they are on hardware, are:

1)Sagemath: mostly manipulating topological and graph-theory objects.

2)iTunes running in a Windows virtual machine: Much to my frustration, some musicsians only release their albums through iTunes/Apple Music and not other stores like Bandcamp. And even though iTunes sells DRM-free audio files that can be played using any media playing app, the only way to purchase or download music from the Apple Music store is with the iTunes desktop app. I will not actually be using iTunes to play music (I use VLC for that), just to purchase it.

Side note: does anyone know if having secure boot disabled on the host system prevents Windows 11 from being installed in a VM?

3) OBS Studio, which I will use to record video meetings. I do not record myself playing games.

4)Indie games from Steam and Itch. No games with heavy graphics requirements. I also stick to Linux native games.

5)Typical office tasks (web browsing, editing text files including compiling LaTeX, video meetings).

6)Open source games from the Mint/Ubuntu/Debian repository.

All of these run well on my system:
ryzen 1300x
24 gigs of ddr4 ram
mediocre mainboard
rx 560

sagemath is dependent on how big of a workload you have (i guess you also want to run your own instance)
kit89 23 Dec, 2021
I think it depends on what your buying/upgrade habits are.

Do you upgrade components incrementally over the years? If so DDR5 will provide more leg room.

Do you buy/build a machine then use it for X years maybe upgrading the GPU but other than that you don't upgrade? If so DDR4 is probably the better option.

I would probably hold out to be honest, the current chip shortage, ludicrous prices, and introduction of new consumer tech has shook things up quite a bit. If you want to make a good purchase that will last years I'd wait for things to settle down.
denyasis 24 Dec, 2021
I don't think DDR5 is going to make much of a difference. Most newly introduced tech isn't used to it's full potential for a while. Depending on what you think your future uses might be over the life of your desktop, it might make sense to invest upfront.

I say this, if you are thinking your system will be pretty much the same in 4 or 5 years as it will be when you build it, go for the DDR4 and pocket the savings. Sockets and standards will have changed enough that now matter what you buy now, in 2027, it probably won't be very upgradable, and I think it unlikely that apps in 2027 will be too much for DDR4.

Let us know what you come up with, and good luck!
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