Raptor Lake, the successor to Alder Lake, isn't due for release until this autumn, but that hasn't slowed the slew of benchmarks from appearing. Hot on the heels of an impressive Cinebench R23 result (opens in new tab) and plenty of gaming benchmarks (opens in new tab) is news that DDR5 could well make a significant difference for Intel's 13th Gen chips. It's not a small difference either, with one benchmark showing a 20% uplift from making the switch to DDR5 over DDR4.
It's early days, and there's no way to verify these claims ourselves until the chips are actually released, but two Geekbench 5 results (via Sweclockers (opens in new tab)) for the Intel Core i7 13700K appear to show a significant difference between running with DDR4 and DDR5. You're looking at a multi-core score of 16,542 using DDR4 (opens in new tab) versus 19,811 for DDR5 (opens in new tab).
If you're after the specifics for the memory used, then DDR4 was clocked at an effective 3,600MHz, while the DDR5 has an effective frequency of 5,200MHz. Neither of these clock speeds is particularly outrageous, which would indicate that the uplift in performance is something within the reach of plenty of us.
Intel's current Alder Lake (opens in new tab) chips already support DDR5, although at launch the new memory standard was in short supply and demanded a significant premium over DDR4. This resulted in many DIY builders ignoring DDR5, particularly as there wasn't an obvious performance uplift switching over to the new thing.
Recent price drops have seen DDR5 hit far more reasonable levels, with DDR5-4800 available for as low as $94 for 16GB of Crucial branded RAM (opens in new tab) over on Newegg. DDR4 continues to be the cheaper option by a significant margin—you're looking at less than $50 for 16GB of DDR4-3200 (opens in new tab), but if there is a real performance improvement to be had for the newer memory standard, then it's an upgrade that is at least worth considering.
Bear in mind that DDR5 gets a lot more tempting with the release of Zen 4 at the end of the year too because AMD's next-gen CPUs will drop support for existing DDR4. This should hopefully help drive prices down even further for the new memory standard. AMD is promising big things for DDR5 too, saying that it'll achieve "speeds you maybe thought couldn't be possible. (opens in new tab)"
Whichever CPU manufacturer you side with, it looks like DDR5 is going to be a significant part of the upgrade path by the end of the year. Here's hoping it's worth it.