Talk of reducing die sizes for CPUs and GPUs are the norm. We’ve discussed it plenty. But the same reduction in transistor sizes impact RAM, and even with huge strides in improving the speed and efficiency, don’t expect any serious changes anytime soon.
The reason is that DRAM manufacturers are stuck in the fabricating process at 10nm, according to a report by Blocks and Files. RAM makers like Micron have hit a size barrier, just like Intel has struggled to reach 7nm for it’s CPUs. Smaller sizes require better techniques to ensure quality, specifically with maintaining power per switch.
This means that, at least according to this report, we may not see significant changes to DRAM until 2025. That doesn’t mean we won’t see improvements to memory: there’s plenty of room for side-upgrades, like increased clock speeds and better data management.
The truth for most people is that they just don’t have enough RAM. The typical Windows desktop starts with 8GB. 16GB is more than enough for most people. 32GB will handle next to any game, and only major workstations handling tons of processes require more. My own main rig has 32GB of DDR4 RAM at 3200MHz, and that’s 5 years old.
So while the speed junkie in me wants to see DDR5 RAM boosting to 5GHz, so far we don’t need it. In fact, I see this physical limitation as a good thing. Now RAM makers can focus on improving efficiency, power handling, and hopefully pricing. Oh, and a side note: this limitation in NAND wafer fabrication will hold true for SSDs too, but we don’t have to worry about that. Not yet, anyways.