Next-Generation DDR5 RAM Will Double Speeds of DDR4 RAM as MacBook Pro Remains on LPDDR3

JEDEC, the organization that develops global standards for computer memory, has announced it will be previewing its next-generation DDR5 standard for RAM in June 2017. The standard is expected to be finalized by 2018, at which point chipmakers like Intel will be able to add support for the technology.

mbp trio 2016
As noted by Ars Technica, DDR5 RAM will double the speed of current DDR4 RAM while offering greater power efficiency.

DDR5 memory will offer improved performance with greater power efficiency as compared to previous generation DRAM technologies. As planned, DDR5 will provide double the bandwidth and density over DDR4, along with delivering improved channel efficiency. These enhancements, combined with a more user-friendly interface for server and client platforms, will enable high performance and improved power management in a wide variety of applications.

It might be quite a while until DDR5 RAM goes mainstream, however, as the first computers with DDR4 RAM did not arrive until two years after that standard was finalized. Apple itself has yet to even adopt DDR4 RAM, with nearly every current Mac equipped with older LPDDR3 RAM, which maxes out at 16GB.

MacBook: 8GB of 1866MHz LPDDR3 RAM
MacBook Air: 8GB of 1600MHz LPDDR3 RAM
MacBook Pro: 8/16GB of 1866/2133MHz LPDDR3 RAM
iMac: 8/16/32GB of 1867MHz LPDDR3 RAM
Mac mini: 4/8GB of 1600MHz LPDDR3 RAM
Mac Pro: 12/16GB of 1866MHz DDR3 ECC RAM

Apple said the 2016 MacBook Pro does not support DDR4 RAM because of battery life considerations. DDR4 memory's low-power variant LPDDR4 is not supported by Intel's Skylake processors powering the latest MacBook Pro models, and using regular DDR4 RAM would have reduced space for batteries.

Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller responding to MacDaddy developer Ben Slaney in November:

The MacBook Pro uses 16GB of very fast LPDDR memory, up to 2133MHz. To support 32GB of memory would require using DDR memory that is not low power and also require a different design of the logic board which might reduce space for batteries. Both factors would reduce battery life.

The often reliable Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities said Apple will release a 15-inch MacBook with 32GB of desktop-class RAM later this year, but it is unclear which Intel processor the notebook would use.

Intel's next-generation Kaby Lake and Coffee Lake processors do not support LPDDR4 RAM beyond ultra-low-power chips, while Cannonlake processors expected by early 2018 are not designed for the MacBook Pro.

Related Roundup: MacBook Pro 14 & 16"
Tag: RAM
Related Forum: MacBook Pro

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Top Rated Comments

TheTruth101 Avatar
95 months ago
Apple.... is not the same company. They are just into making money and no creating productive products. They are just creating fancy useless stuff.

They have no need to come up with a Mac Pro or a new iMac... for what? we are already making billions, if we need some push we could release an iMac or something but no reason to play our best cards if we are winning any way.
Score: 41 Votes (Like | Disagree)
JMacHack Avatar
95 months ago
Apple isn't equipping their current lineup with the latest tech? Thats weird
Intel processors don't support LPDDR4 yet, Kaby Lake only supports it on ultra-low power, and Cannonlake has no plans for it, Apple's hands are tied in this part.

Desktops are another matter entirely.
Score: 34 Votes (Like | Disagree)
furtive Avatar
95 months ago
Intel said DDR5 won't ship until 2020. It's easy to take the piss out of Apple and their falling behind on cutting edge tech but this is the same story for PCs as well.
Score: 30 Votes (Like | Disagree)
JMacHack Avatar
95 months ago
Intel said DDR5 won't ship until 2020. It's easy to take the piss out of Apple and their falling behind on cutting edge tech but this is the same story for PCs as well.
It's almost as if people read the title, and jump to conclusions.
Score: 30 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Fancuku Avatar
95 months ago
So Macs will get it in 2020?
I think you meant to say 2120 ;)
Score: 24 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Appleaker Avatar
95 months ago
So Macs will get it in 2020?
Score: 23 Votes (Like | Disagree)