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If you hang out around any person with good technical knowledge related to computers, the terms DDR3 and DDR4 are always thrown when talking about RAM. DDR3 and DDR4 are types of RAM installed on a computer.

While DDR3 is old, DDR4 is the newer version with more benefits. So what’s the actual difference between DDR3 vs DDR4? Let’s find out.

In this article, we will compare DDR3 vs DDR4 RAM and understand what is the actual difference between the two.

Also, Read: Best RTX 3070 Gaming PC Build Under $1500

What is RAM?

DDR3 vs DDR4 RAM
Photo by Valentine Tanasovich from Pexels

RAM stands for Random Access Memory. It is one of the most important parts of your computer. RAM temporarily stores the information, this information can be read or written anytime.

Meaning the faster your RAM is, the better performance you will get as it could process more data in less time. 

Recommendation: Buy Best RAM for your Computer from here.

DDR3 vs DDR4 RAM

DDR3 vs DDR4

Key Differences: DDR3 vs DDR4

ParametersDDR3DDR4
Stands forDouble Data Rate Version 3Double Data Rate Version 4
Introduced in20072014
CostLess compared to DDR4 RAMCosts of DDR4 RAM are generally higher
SpeedDDR3 RAM is slower compared to DDR4The speed on DDR4 is higher compared to DDR3
Power ConsumptionConsumes more power than DDR4Consumes less power than DDR3
Interface240-pin interface288-pin interface
Clock Speed400MHz to 1066MHz1066MHz to 2133MHz
LatencyDDR3 has lower latencyDDR4 has more latency compared to DDR4
Backward CompatibilityBackward compatible with older generations of RAMsNot backward compatible with older generations of RAM
VoltageOperates on 1.50 V volatgeOperates on 1.20 V voltage
CapacityMaximum memory size is up to 16GBDDR4 RAM has no upper limit to memory size

Interface

This is one and the only physical feature that you will notice while counting the differences between DDR3 vs DDR4 RAM. When DDR3 RAM was introduced in 2007, manufacturers made motherboards with 240-pin slots.

However, the modern DDR4 RAM comes with a 288-pin interface so you can’t use a DDR4 module in place of a DDR3 module.

Cost Factor

DDR4 RAM is the modern RAM and that is why it is used in every emerging technology these days. DDR4 RAM is used in smartphones, tablets, PC, laptops, etc.


This has made DDR3 RAM totally outdated and that is why DDR3 RAM is cheaper compared to DDR4 RAM. You will hardly find stores selling DDR3 RAM modules these days as everyone uses DDR4 RAM 

Clock Speed and Latency

DDR3 vs DDR4

Speed and Latency are two important parameters that determine the performance capabilities of a RAM.

Clock Speed has a very direct effect on the performance and cost of the RAM. The RAM sits between your hard drive and CPU. It holds the important readable data so the better clock speed it has, the faster it can read/write data.

Latency is the time that your RAM takes to read/write data that it is storing. Usually, the latency in RAMs is measured in nanoseconds.

Ideally, a RAM should have low latency as it means that it takes less time retrieving the data. However, that is just one side of the coin. Higher clock speed generally means slower latency.

DDR3 RAM operates on CL11 which takes 13.75 nanoseconds to complete a read. DDR4 operates on CL15 which takes 14.06 nanoseconds doing the same task making about a 2% difference in latency.

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Refresh Algorithm

RAM should be always ready to read/write. To make sure of it, RAMs have refresh algorithms to make sure that they do not idle themselves.

The older DDR3 RAM uses two refresh algorithms called the Auto-refresh(AR) and self-refresh(SR) algorithms. It switches between the two depending on the need.

On the other hand, DDR4 uses only the auto-refresh algorithm to make sure that nothing on the memory is unprocessed. 

Power Consumption

DDR3 RAM operates on 1.50V voltage while DDR4 operates on 1.20V voltage. This is roughly a difference of 15W.

For an everyday normal user, it doesn’t matter much as their computer might only have one or two RAM sticks. But when we talk about servers that contain thousands of RAM modules, this small 15W difference in the power consumption can make a huge difference.

Also, RAMs with lower voltage are more efficient in running a computer.

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Capacity

The DDR3 RAM capacity can range between 512MB to 16GB. This is where DDR4 RAM gets the big W. There is not really an upper limit to the capacity of DDR4 RAMs. Some users even use 128GB of DDR4 RAM. So when it comes to capacity, DDR4 is definitely the winner.

Bottom Line – DDR3 vs DDR4

The bottom line is that if you are looking to buy RAM then DDR4 is a no-brainer.

It is modern and used in all modern devices. It is more fast and efficient in every aspect compared to DDR3. DDR3 had its fair share but now DDR4 is the ay forward. And that pretty much sums up our DDR3 vs DDR4 comparison.

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