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Why it matters: This week, a Taipei YouTuber who may be part of the Asus ROG motherboard team prototyped an adapter for using DDR4 memory sticks on motherboards designed only for DDR5. This trick may alleviate a dilemma facing those building or buying new computers with Intel’s new Alder Lake processors.
When Intel launched its Alder Lake CPUs in November, it let users finally take the plunge into DDR5 RAM--if they can find any. Supply chain shortage has affected DDR5 production as well, so users may want to stick with DDR4 for the time being. However, upgrading from DDR4 to DDR5 at a later date means replacing your entire motherboard, as motherboards can currently only support one or the other.
YouTuber Bing—an Asus employee according to machine translation of his profile page—posted a video Thursday of his prototype adapter, which lets him use DDR4 RAM on an Asus Z690 DDR5 motherboard. We've embedded the video above, but it is in Chinese, so change the closed caption settings to auto-translate.
The challenge lies in the fundamental differences between DDR4 and DDR5 modules. From the looks of the video, Bing’s prototype is still in an early phase and might not turn into something you can buy for a while. If it turns into an actual product, users could go ahead and purchase DDR5 motherboards even before they can get their hands on DDR5 RAM and simply upgrade to it whenever it becomes more available and cost-effective.