DDR6 RAM is expected to begin the testing phase of production in 2024 and be available to buy sometime during 2026. While the standard is still in development, you can expect speeds in the area of 12,800Mbps for DDR6.
Although most PCs are still running on DDR4 or even DDR3 memory, DDR6 is well on its way to being released. But how far away is the release of the upcoming memory standard, and will it be worth the wait?
Does DDR6 RAM Have a Release Date?
Samsung, one of the world’s main producers of memory modules, has been talking about its development of DDR6 for a couple of years. It was more officially announced, albeit behind closed doors, during Samsung Tech Day 2022 as part of its memory development roadmap.
If the current timeline is accurate, DDR6 will begin to be commercially available in 2026. That’s about the same gap as there was between the launch of DDR4 and DDR5 memory.
What to Expect From DDR6 RAM
DDR6 is still in the active development stage, so although there are planned specifications, there is at least a chance the exact spec will change during the process. Here are the improvements and features you can expect to see from DDR6.
The speed of DDR RAM, not to be confused with capacity or frequency, is based on the data rate. In other words, it’s how fast data can be stored and retrieved by the memory. The higher the RAM speed, the faster your software or processes can access it.
It is hoped that DDR6 RAM will provide data transfer speeds of up to 12,800Mbps on JEDEC modules and potentially 17,000Mbps on overclocked modules. That’s twice as fast as DDR5 and four times as fast as DDR4. It will also feature four memory channels per module, compared to two in DDR5 modules.
Note: If you are wondering, JEDEC (Joint Electron Device Engineering Council) is an industry body that proposes and maintains common standards for different types of memory.
Samsung has announced that DDR6 will use MSAP (Modified Semi Additive Process.) This manufacturing process, already used on some DDR5 modules, involves coating more of the copper plate where the circuit patterns are formed.
The details of this process are quite complicated, but in essence, it allows for the creation of RAM modules with finer circuits capable of higher data processing speeds.
How Much Will DDR6 RAM Cost?
Predicting the price of new PC components has become difficult in recent years. We have all seen how semiconductor supply issues during Covid pushed up the cost of everything from graphics cards to gaming mice. Who knows what could happen before DDR6 hits the stores?
When DDR5 became more widely available in 2021, the average price for 32GB was around $320. The price has fluctuated wildly since, but as of April 2023, you can find the same amount of DDR5 RAM for less than $150.
Based on this, and even if RAM prices remain low, you should expect to pay over $300 for 32GB of mid-range DDR6 when it arrives in stores in 2026. Fingers crossed that we are wrong and the price is half that.
DDR6 or GDDR6 – What’s the Difference?
The main difference between GDDR (Graphics Double Data Rate) and DDR (Double Data Rate) RAM is where each type is used. GDDR is used on graphics cards to provide the GPU with memory, while DDR is system memory used by a computer’s CPU.
GDDR memory standards are periodically updated as faster chips are developed, just like with DDR RAM. You will see graphics cards that feature a variety of memory types (GDDR2, GDDR3, GDDR4, and so on.)
GDDR6, which offers data rates of up to 24Gbps, was announced in 2016 and began to appear on graphics cards in 2018. Samsung has said it expects to launch GDDR7 in 2024.
Unlike DDR6, the GDDR6 standard is not something you can upgrade to or from yourself. The average PC user cannot just go into a store and purchase GDDR RAM. Instead, you buy a graphics card with the RAM already wired to the board. Even if your GPU supported a newer GDDR standard, upgrading it for an existing card would require desoldering the module and soldering in a new one. Not something most of us would be willing to try.
The wait for DDR6 RAM shouldn’t stop you from building a great PC right now. To get started right now, check out our recommendations for the best Intel motherboards or best AMD motherboards. If money is tight, learn some tips for building a gaming PC on a budget, where it isn’t worth splurging on a PC build, or which PC parts are safe to buy used.