can you use ddr4 ram in a ddr5 motherboard

Can You Use DDR4 RAM in a DDR5 Motherboard? [Explained!]

Thinking of using your old DDR4 ram on your new DDR5 motherboard? If you’re having that thought then you must have considered the compatibility. So, there’s only one thing that’s going through your mind right now.

“Can you use ddr4 ram in a ddr5 motherboard?”

To be honest, you can’t use a ddr4 ram in a ddr5 motherboard. It’s because they are not quite compatible with each other. Though they look almost similar, they are slightly different in the physical aspects. They also differ in voltage, controller requirement, frequency, and bandwidth. 

Are you interested to know about the details as well? Well, for you, there’s everything you need to know about DDR4 and DDR5 motherboards in here.

So, bear with me till the end of this article. Hopefully, it’ll help you to make a wiser decision. 

Can You Use DDR4 RAM in a DDR5 Motherboard?

Let’s jump straight into your main concern and that is- 

Can ddr4 ram fit in ddr5 motherboard?

In most cases, you can’t actually use DDR4 RAM in a DDR 5 motherboard. Because the architecture of DDR4 and DDR5 ram is not the same. You can forcefully sort in the ram but in most cases, it isn’t the right thing to do. 

Like the compatibility of DDR3 with Ryzen, there’s a difference in compatibility between DDR4 and DDR5. 

Connecting ddr4 to ddr5 adapter is not a good idea. If you forcibly try to fit a DDR4 RAM in DDR5’s slot, possibly you’ll ruin the motherboard. Yes, I’m not kidding! And there are some core reasons behind it. 

Continue reading to discover the basic differences between both of the RAMs. Only then, you’ll understand why the two aren’t compatible with each other.    

Reasons Why DDR4 RAM Isn’t Compatible with DDR5

In this section, you’ll basically get an overview of ddr4 vs ddr5. I’ll try to touch on all the points that affect the compatibility of the RAMs. 

However, one thing you should take note of is the fact some motherboards do support both RAMs. 

So, check whether your motherboard supports both types of RAMs or not.

ddr4 vs ddr5

Now, there are three major differences that set the two RAMs apart. These are physical compatibility, the required voltage and controller, and frequency. 

Want to know more? Keep reading!

Physical Compatibility

Let’s talk about the physical compatibility of both of the RAMs. At a cursory glance, it might feel that the two look exactly the same. But they don’t actually.

Now, you might wonder how they differ. Two of the RAMs have the exact number of pins. It’s 288 for both of the RAMs for desktops.

But if you look close enough, you’ll find differences in the pin layout. The DDR5’s key notch is slightly on the left side than that of the DDR4. 

This means if you try to fit a DDR4 on a DDR5 slot, they won’t fit. Whether you’re using memory from ADATA or JEDEC, it will be the same. The position of the notch won’t let you use one as the alternative to another. 

Alright, now let’s move on to the next ddr5 compatibility issue – voltage requirement. 

Voltage Requirement

RAMs have different voltage requirements according to generation. Usually, older generations require more voltage capacity than newer ones. 

It’s easily visible from DDR 4 and DDR5’s voltage requirements. DDR4 can produce a maximum of 1.05-1.2 V. On the other hand, DDR5 produces 1.1 V. You can see the two have a difference of 0.1-0.4 V in voltage capacity.

Voltage Requirement for ddr4 & ddr5

Ultimately, if we think about efficiency, DDR5 proves to be more efficient than DDR4. So, if you fit DDR4 RAM in a DDR5 slot, you will get less power. 

It’s more like the efficiency difference in 2x4GB, 4x2GB, and 1x8GB RAM

So, you can see that the two RAMs have different voltage requirements. Because of this, they are not compatible with each other. 

Controller Requirement

When you’re searching for DDR4 ram and DDR5 motherboard compatibility, you should take the controller into consideration. 

It’s because the controller is also an important aspect that plays a role in this. Within each generation, the controller differs.

Controller Requirement for ddr4 & ddr5

I would like to clear up a little info here. This is in case you don’t know what a RAM controller does. 

The RAM controller or memory controller maintains the flow of information. It’s the information that runs from the memory to the CPU.

Now back to the main topic! So, as I said, DDR4 and DDR5 have different RAM controllers. This means the DDR5 motherboard won’t be able to control the newly inserted DDR4 RAM. 

So, would upgrading the memory controller do the work?

No, it won’t. It’s because you have to bring some significant changes in your motherboard then. You need to change the slot, CPU socket, and ICs. This will be more hectic for you than buying a new DDR4 motherboard.

That’s why rather than changing all of that, it’s better to replace your DDR4 RAM. Now, you might be a bit lost about which DDR5 rams to pick up. Well, to help you with that, I’ve listed some RAMs after searching through tons of forums-

So, check out these DDR5 RAMs if you don’t want to get yourself a new motherboard.


Moving on to the next differentiating factor – frequency. You’ve already seen how voltage matters in RAMs. I’ll show you how ram frequency compatibility works in this section.

RAM voltage has a direct connection with the frequency. The voltage varies in RAMs according to the frequency a RAM is functioning.

ram frequency compatibility

The lower the frequency, the lower voltage a RAM will require in the same generation. But the frequency changes when it’s in different generations. 

So, the ram frequency of ddr4 is different from that of ddr5. Let’s dive straight into the frequency levels that DDR4 and DDR5 RAM operate at. 

A DDR4 has a base frequency of 800-1600 MHz. On the other hand, the range is 2400-3600 MHz in DDR5. 

Now, speaking of effective frequency, the range is 1600-3200 MHz in DDR4. But DDR5 uses up 4800-7200 MHz of effective frequency. 

Did you notice something? I think you guessed it right. The DDR5 requires more frequency than the DDR4. 

So, if you try to replace a DDR5 RAM with DDR4, it won’t be compatible.  

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is DDR5 worth it?

Yes, DDR5 is worth buying. There are a few reasons why DDR5 works the best. First of all, you’ll be able to get twice the bandwidth of DDR4 RAM. This means you can run high memory-intensity applications faster. You’ll be benefitted using 3D tools, image and video, editors, games, and browsers.    

Can I use DDR5 RAM in a DDR4 motherboard?

No, you can’t use DDR5 RAM in a DDR4 motherboard. Both of the RAMs are different in terms of compatibility, power management, and specifications. So, when you insert DDR5 RAM in a DDR4 motherboard, you won’t receive the preferred output. That’s why it’s better not to mix up the generations.

Are there any brands where DDR4 fits in a DDR5 motherboard?

Luckily, there is a brand where DDR4 fits in a DDR5 motherboard. ASUS is working hard on building a motherboard that is compatible with both RAMs. However, the engineering of the device is a bit challenging. The design of the controller makes it difficult to manage the power supply of the RAMs.     

Final Words

So, Can you use ddr4 ram in a ddr5 motherboard? 

No, you can’t and now you know why. I hope this article helped you in understanding the core differences between the two RAMs. I’ll say don’t try to damage your DDR5 motherboard. Hopefully, you’ll figure out a better solution. 

Best of luck!

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