Standards for DDR5 will be finalized in 2018.
Intel's Optane memory won't replace RAM, but it could be a step towards a future of universal memory (Source: Intel)
The fifth generation of DDR memory is on its way and it will be twice as fast as DDR4 RAM. It might just take a few years to make it to consumer PCs. The organization responsible for crafting DDR standards, JEDEC, will demonstrate DDR5 in June, according to ArsTechnica. The standards will be finalized in 2018.
Some companies are already trying to imagine a future without RAM, but right now it remains a critical factor in how well a PC performs. So even with the wait for DDR5, some may find it exciting that it will have double the bandwidth and density of DDR4. Although standards will be finalized next year, processors will need to be updated to support it. DDR4 did not go mainstream until 2015, three years after its standards were finalized, according to ArsTechnica. Even today, however, DDR3 remains a popular option to keep costs low.
Memory is currently undergoing something of a revolution. While RAM is expected to be important for the foreseeable future, it is becoming easier to envision a world without it. One step in this direction is Intel's Optane memory. These storage drives were designed specifically for cache memory and come with a capacity of 16 or 32GB. They have a latency of under 10 microseconds and are as fast as any SSD.
Optane is not designed to replace RAM, but it is not difficult to imagine how this might be a step towards universal memory. Today, though, people still need RAM and there is plenty to look forward to with DDR5 on the horizon.