Intel’s Z690 platform introduced DDR5 to the desktop market, but initial DDR5 modules were quite expensive and did not quite live up to expectations regarding performance. But as high-speed DDR5 kits get cheaper, the new type of memory gets more attractive, which is why we expected most of Intel’s Z790-based platforms to feature DDR5 rather than DDR4. We were wrong. MSI is prepping a host of Z790-based motherboards with good-old DDR4 memory.
MSI readies Z790 Edge DDR4, Z790 Tomahawk DDR4, and Z790 Pro DDR4 motherboards that will combine Intel’s newest chipset and DDR4 memory, according to manuals published by Overclock.net (opens in new tab) (and discovered by momomo_us (opens in new tab)). These main boards will support up to DDR4-5333+ memory modules in one DIMM per channel configuration and up to DDR4-4400+ sticks in two DIMMs per channel setup. However, a lot will depend on CPU capabilities and processor cooling systems.
MSI’s Edge, Tomahawk, and Pro motherboards are not precisely the company’s top-of-the-range offerings. So it raises the question of whether they will be good enough to squeeze all the juices out of Intel’s 13th Generation Core Raptor Lake processors as far as overclocking is concerned.
One of the key features of unlocked Raptor Lake CPUs will be their 350W mode enabling ultimate turbo frequencies and therefore requiring an advanced voltage regulating module to deliver immaculate power to the CPU and a sophisticated cooling system both for the CPU and its VRM. Budget motherboards are pretty good these days but are not as good as flagship models with their expensive VRMs and advanced cooling systems for power circuitry.
Using good-old DDR4 with an all-new Intel platform sounds like a good idea, especially if you own those high-end DDR4-5333+ kits. With such memory, you are going to get outstanding out-of-box performance. But with cheaper motherboards, you may not be able to take full advantage of one of Raptor Lake’s key features on the desktop; whether the trade-off is worth something, everyone has to decide for themselves.