DDR3 vs DDR4 Key Differences And DDR4 Advantages Over DDR3

Last Updated on June 14, 2022 by

When you are buying a new computer, there is always a lot to consider. For example, if you are going with a desktop PC, you might be confused by the different types of RAM you will come across. If you know anything about computers, you probably have heard of DDR3 and DDR4 RAM, but you might not know the difference between the two types. Below is a quick rundown of DDR3 vs DDR4 and their benefits to your system.

What is DDR3 RAM?

DDR3 stands for double data rate three RAM. It is the third generation of RAM to be released, and it is slower than DDR4. It was launched in 2007 as an updated edition of DDR2 RAM. Many computers still utilize DDR3 RAM today, the standard for many desktop PCs and laptops.

The main differences between DDR4 and DDR3 include speed, latency, power consumption, and price. Compared to DDR4, DDR3 runs at a lower speed and has higher power consumption. But, it is less expensive than DDR4 due to the lower speed.

Installing DDR3 RAM in my Computer Motherboard

Features of DDR3

The following are some important features of DDR3:

  • A 64-bit wide memory interface can transfer 16 bytes per clock cycle (8 bits transferred twice for each clock cycle)
  • On-die termination utilizes a resistor rather than a transistor for reducing the power consumption
  • Low voltage interface of 1.5 volts or 1.35 volt, compared to the 1.2-volt interface on DDR4
  • The data transfer rate is 800 to 2133 MT/s
  • The JEDEC standard number is JESD79-3F

What is DDR4 RAM?

DDR4 RAM is the latest version of random access memory. It is also the promising version of DRAM technology launched in 2014. Moreover, it is incompatible with all the previous RAM versions because of the physical interface, varying signaling voltages, and other factors.

DDR4 has several advantages over DDR3. The number one advantage is that it consumes less power than DDR3, making it more effective for laptops and tablets. It also has a higher module density to have more gigabytes in a single stick of RAM. They also run at a faster frequency than DDR3 RAMs, which means they transfer data faster than their predecessors.

Features of DDR4

The following are the fantastic features of DDR4:

  • Increased memory density and scalability
  • Lower voltage requirements 1.2V compared to 1.5/1.35V
  • The data transfer rate is 1600 to 3200 MT/s
  • Improved channel efficiency through the pseudo open drain (POD) signaling
  • On-die VrefDQ for control of signal swing and timing margin
  • Programmable on-die VPP driver for future command and address bus applications

What is The Difference Between DDR3 And DDR4 RAM?

Physical Difference Between DDR3 and DDR4

The major difference between DDR3 and DDR4 is the speed. DDR4 has a higher module density and lower voltage need than previous generations. This allows for much higher memory speeds than what was possible in previous generations of memory.

DDR3 RAM runs between 800MHz and 2133MHz, while the newer DDR4 standard starts at 2133MHz and goes up to 4266MHz. The faster clock rate means that data can be read from or written to the memory quicker, resulting in better overall performance. When a computer boots, it loads data into RAM first and then uses it to run programs. If you have more RAM, your system will be able to load more data into it faster than if you had less RAM.

DDR4 also brings improvements in power consumption over DDR3. It requires just 1.2 Volts versus 1.5 Volts for DDR3 modules. A lower voltage requirement means less stress on your PC’s power supply and increased energy efficiency for your computer.

DDR3 vs DDR4 Price

DDR4 does not hurt the wallet as much as you might think. With prices drastically lower than they were just a couple of years ago, buying RAM is more affordable than ever. The 16 Gigabytes of DDR4-2666 RAM cost around 70 dollars compared to 60 dollars for 16 Gigabytes of DDR3-1600 and these prices varies with time.

How Can You Tell if Your Machine Supports DDR4 Memory?

If your system supports DDR4 and you are buying new RAM, it should also support the latest version of DDR4. A DDR4 upgrade will require you to replace your motherboard if your system does not support DDR4. If your system has an Intel 100 Series chipset or an AMD 300 Series chipset, it supports DDR3 and DDR4 memory.

Look for a white sticker near the RAM slots and compare it to this list:

  • PC3-17000 (2400 MHz)
  • PC3-19200 (2666 MHz)
  • PC3-16000 (2133 MHz)
  • PC3-12800 (1600 MHz)
  • PC3-24000 (3000 MHz)
  • PC3-14400 (1866 MHz)

If you found any of the RAM mentioned above versions labeled on your system’s motherboard RAM slot, it supports DDR4 memory.

Which Applications Benefit From DDR4 RAM?

DDR4 RAM is optimized for various applications, including workstations, gaming, and cloud computing environments. The following are just some of the applications that will benefit from DDR4:

Data centers: Data centers require high-performance memory to handle large amounts of data. DDR4 allows data centers to process more transactions and provide better customer response times.

Virtualization: Several organizations are using virtualization to reduce costs, improve efficiency, and enhance flexibility. For example, virtualization allows businesses to deploy new applications quickly and easily scale them up when needed. DDR4 can help improve virtualization performance by reducing latency and increasing bandwidth.

High-end consumer systems: High-end consumer systems such as gaming PCs use DDR4 as well because it delivers faster speeds than earlier generations of DRAM technology without sacrificing stability or reliability.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About DDR3 Vs DDR4

Can you install DDR3 memory in the DDR4 slot?

DDR3 and DDR4 are incompatible due to different notch locations (keys) and voltage requirements. Additionally, the physical design of the RAM modules for each type is different. DDR3 modules have 240 pins, while DDR4 has only 288 pins. Due to all these reasons collectively, you cannot install the DDR3 memory in a DDR4 memory slot.

Similarly, DDR4 ram cannot install in DDR3 slot though some motherboards that take DDR3 will accept DDR3L (1.35V) or DDR3 (1.5V). Please be aware that using DDR4 in a motherboard designed for DDR3 will cause permanent damage to the motherboard, processor, and memory. So, do not try to insert DDR4 memory in the DDR3 memory slot. 

How much faster is DDR4 than DDR3?

DDR3 is the RAM used with Ivy Bridge processors, while DDR4 first appeared in the Haswell-E Core i7s. DDR4 is a newer technology and will be faster than DDR3, but not all systems support it. DDR3 RAM can transfer data at a rate between 800MT/s (million transfers per second) to 2133 MT/s, while DDR4 will be able to hit speeds anywhere from 2133 MT/s to 4266 MT/s. Theoretically, DDR4 modules will be twice as fast as DDR3 modules when clocked simultaneously.

Wrapping it up

After reading this article on DDR3 vs DDR4, you should understand the key differences and similarities between DDR3 and DDR4 memory technology. Which one is best for you will be determined by a number of criteria, but hopefully? I have tried to provide you with enough information to help you make the right decision.

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