When the PlayStation 5 made its way onto the market in November of 2020, players and reviewers (like yours truly) were fascinated to learn about the numerous upgrades Sony had made over those of the PS4.
For a while, it felt as though we were playing on a bogged-down system that was struggling to compete with what Microsoft was putting out with its Xbox consoles.
I’m a diehard PS gamer and always have been.
I still have my PS2 and PS3! But the PS4 was somewhat of a disappointment in terms of specs.
In terms of GDDR5 unified system memory, the PS4 has 8 GB for CUH10XX/CUH11XX models or 8 x 1 GB on the CUH12XX models.
The PS4 can run at a maximum clock frequency of 2.75 GHz with a max bandwidth of 176 GB/s.
When it was released in November of 2013, this was adequate enough.
But soon, it became evident that we were going to need more RAM to run bigger, more graphic-heavy games.
Now that games are coming out with higher poly models, more detailed textures, and exponentially more complex worlds (holy moly, have y’all seen the open-world structure of Elden Ring?!), Sony made the decision to up the ante on its specs.
In terms of RAM, Sony basically doubled what you got on the PS4, making the PS5 much better able to keep up with the gaming world.
Let’s take a look at just how much RAM the PS5 has.
What RAM Does the PS5 Have?
The PS5 has two pools of RAM: a main pool of 16 GB GDDR6 SDRAM and a secondary pool of 512 MB DDR4 SDRAM Memory. The main pool is used at high bandwidth rates for high-performance gaming. The secondary pool is used for background tasks performed by the operating system.
How much RAM does the PS5 have, and who manufactures it? Can you expand the PS5’s RAM?
How does this RAM compare to that on the PS4?
And is there a PC RAM equivalent? Read on to learn more about the PS5’s two RAM pools.
What kind of RAM does the PS5 have?
RAM is undoubtedly one of the biggest upgrades to the PlayStation, and Sony went all-out, giving the PS5 two RAM pools that handle two different sets of functions.
16 GB GDDR6 SDRAM
The main RAM pool is a 16 GB GDDR6 SDRAM (which is short for Graphics Double Data Rate 6 Synchronous Dynamic Random-Access Memory) and succeeds the previous GDDR5.
The GDDR6 has a higher bandwidth interface that is designed for use with high-performance PC gaming, gaming consoles, and graphics cards.
Performance and gaming are the focus of this RAM pool.
The PS5 utilizes a combination of 8 chips of 2 GB (which comes out to 16GB) each that can log up to the equivalent of 14000 MHz, equaling 448 GB/s and thereby more than doubling the PS4’s bandwidth.
This GDDR6 RAM is also much more efficient since it can load data directly from the SSD, doing so at exponentially quicker speeds.
512 MB DDR4 SDRAM
In order to handle all of the OS’s background tasks, Sony added the 512 MB DDR4 SDRAM.
Its benefits? More power efficiency, being more cost-effective, and enhancing performance capabilities.
Who makes the PS5’s RAM?
These two pools of RAM are actually made by different manufacturers. Let’s look at who makes them.
16 GB GDDR6 SDRAM
Micron manufactures the main pool 16 GB GDDR6 SDRAM.
This tech industry-leading company has been in business for over 40 years and is known for its DRAM technology and memory cards.
512 MB DDR4 SDRAM
SK hynix makes the second RAM pool.
This South Korean company has been leading the way in the global ICT industry since 1983.
After Samsung, they are the world’s second-largest memory chipmaker.
They’re also the world’s third-largest semiconductor company.
Can you add more RAM to the PS5?
You cannot expand the amount of RAM that comes with the PS5, but there really is no need to even do so.
For the time being, the SSD has eliminated the need for users to add more RAM to the PS5.
The traditional magnetic HDDs might not have had enough bandwidth for some users, but the SDDs absolutely do.
The PS5’s SDD is well over 100 times faster than a standard hard drive, which is quite impressive indeed.
A lot of the non-essential data can be left on the PS5’s SSD then, when it is required, loaded into RAM in real time.
And a lot of games that are coming out now use SSD to its full potential.
And, since a game will dump all of its current level’s data out of RAM and load the new level from the SSD into the main RAM pool in under 1.5 seconds, you get nearly instantaneous transitions between levels.
In games like Insomniac, any assets that are not currently on the screen will be stored in SSD and loaded into RAM when they are needed.
Telephone boxes and bins used to be stored in RAM on the PS4 since its hard drive could not load them quickly enough.
Now, with the PS5, the snappy SSD can hold them and load them into RAM whenever needed.
What kind of RAM does the PS4 have?
Speaking of the PS4’s RAM, here’s what we see in its two RAM pools: 8 GB (16 × 512 MB) of GDDR5 RAM for the CUH10XX/CUH11XX Models or 8 x 1 GB (1024 MB) of GDDR5 unified system memory (and a max bandwidth of 176 GB/s) on the CUH12XX Models and a secondary RAM pool with 256 MB pool of RAM to handle OS functions and background tasks.
The PS4 has GDDR5 RAM.
What PC RAM is akin to the PS5’s RAM?
This is a difficult comparison to make since the PS5 has RAM that is shared between the CPU and GPU. A PC does not.
Instead, the RAM in a PC is divvied up, with the CPU having its own DDR4 RAM and the GPU having a pool of GDDR6 RAM.
The closest thing that can compare PC-wise is a PC that has 16GB of CPU system RAM running at a speed of 3200Mhz.
And, when it comes to graphics RAM, a PC would need to have somewhere between GPU with 10GB and 16GB of GDDR6 to really match the PS5.
Sony didn’t hold back when creating the PS5.
The PS4 wasn’t a terrible console, but it had its shortcomings and wasn’t as future-oriented as it could have been.
The PS5 takes the future of gaming into more consideration, which is reflected in how it structured its RAM.
With two pools to divide up the work, the PS5 is able to offer snappy gameplay at max efficiency.