Alder Lake with 256GB RAM

Is it naive to expect that Intel’s Alder Lake desktop CPUs will be able to handle 256GB of DDR5 RAM with 4 x 64GB configuration someday?

With DDR4 the maximum amount of non-buffered/registered non-ECC memory per one stick is 32GB, thus it’s reasonable to put 128GB limit on desktop SKUs today. But with DDR5, AFAIK, the theoretical density limit is much higher, it’s just the industry doesn’t manufacture such modules yet.

I know, it can only be speculated, but from my previous experience with X99 Broadwell platform, here what happened:

  • initially the platform with 8 memory slots declared support of up 128GB ram for desktop SKUs, say 6950x, because higher capacity sticks didn’t exist.
  • many years later, when regular 32gb dimm sticks appeared - they were running fine on those X99 CPUs (have such build as of writing)
  • manufacturers, neither CPU, nor Motherboard, didn’t bother to update the supported specs, yet the 256GB config works.

How do you think, would Alder Lake be similarly future-proof platform?

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Alder Lake? Probably not…All Z690 boards I’ve seen have either 64GB or 128GB maximum. But I expect 13th gen Intel and maybe Zen4 to support 256GB once DDR5 is more established.

Alderlake feels like a rough diamond. Yeah its valuable but its a first gen product so early adopter caveats should apply.


Indeed. And new boards with toothing problems like every new architecture. And the early adopter tax. Not talking about software that needs to mature and probably takes years. For me I can’t see a reason to switch and will buy a Ryzen whenever that cache upgrade gets released.

And the fancy new DDR5 only gets two channels. So basically +35% memory bandwidth and otherwise a wash except for the price. Not impressed. Quad channel DDR5 would be real standout for Alder Lake. If you need max bandwidth, you don’t buy consumer platform.

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I’m in the same boat; I’ll be switching out my 5950x with v-cache version later eventually but will likely wait for intel 14th gen vs AMD 8th gen

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Im even more excited for meteor lake

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