Is it possible to upgrade your older DDR4 laptop to use DDR5 memory?
No. DDR4 and DDR5 SODIMM memory sticks are not interchangeable.
The pin layout is different between DDR4 and DDR5. This means it’s not physically possible to install DDR5 RAM sticks in a DDR4 laptop or vice versa, they will not fit.
The image below demonstrates this. The top two sticks are the same DDR4 kit and the bottom two sticks the same DDR5 kit. Regardless of which way the sticks are flipped, the cut out space in the pin area down the bottom is in in a different spot. This will prevent you even attempting to install DDR5 into a DDR4 laptop.
Which Laptops Support DDR5 Memory?
As of early 2022, AMD Ryzen 6000 laptops or Intel 12th gen laptops support DDR5 memory.
AMD’s latest mobile processors only support DDR5, while Intel 12th gen CPUs can support either DDR4 or DDR5 memory.
Unfortunately this does not mean you have the choice of using DDR4 or DDR5 memory. Although the processor technically supports either DDR4 or DDR5 RAM, it’s up to the laptop maker to pick one. The motherboard for the specific product will be designed with either DDR4 or DDR5 memory in mind, it will not be possible for you to swap between them.