Home / Hardware / DDR3 vs DDR4 RAM: Differences Explained

DDR3 vs DDR4 RAM: Differences Explained

by  Jone -  Last Updated On 25th January 2022
ddr3 vs ddr4

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. This means that at no cost to you, we may earn a small commission for qualifying purchases.

Show Page Contents

Are you confused regarding the RAM, which you should choose for your machine?

Are you wondering about the difference between DDR4 and DDR3 RAM?

If yes, we will solve this confusion for you today. Instead of going into the specifications which no one understands, we will explain to you in simple terms the difference between DDR3 and DDR4 RAM. We will compare ddr3 vs ddr4 on various parameters, which will provide you with a clear-cut picture of which RAM version is better.

What is the main Difference Between DDR3 and DDR4 RAM?

We will compare these RAM versions on six different parameters. Each parameter has a different weight. Also, different individuals might prefer some parameters over others. It is a good idea to go through the entire comparison before deciding between both the RAMs.

1. Data rate:

Data transfer rate refers to the clock speed at which your machine can read or write the data into the RAM. The higher the data rate, the faster your computer will be. In this age, when multitasking is a necessity, it is a good idea to choose RAM, which has a higher data rate.

DDR3 RAM has a data rate that varies between 800 MHz to 2133 MHz. The data rate of this RAM cannot increase behind 2133 MHz. Generally speaking, if your machine is reasonably modern, the data rate for this RAM version varies between 1600 MHz to 1800 MHz.

When you look at the DDR 4 RAM, you will realize that the minimum data rate which it has is of 2133 MHz. The maximum data rate is not specified. The maximum data rate depends on your machine. It means that if you have are pretty advanced computer; the data rate can be pretty high as well. As a result, when you’re looking for RAM (Random Access Memory), which can multitask, DDR4 should be your choice. In case you don’t know DDR stands for Double Data Rate.

2. Voltage levels:

Did you know that both of these RAMs operate at different voltage levels?

The DDR3 RAM operates at 1.5 V. When you look at the specifications of DDR4 RAM, you will realize that it works at 1.2 V. The difference between both of them is around 15 minutes. ??

You might be thinking that such a difference is not significant enough. However, when you just have a single machine, the difference might not be significant enough. However, when you have servers or when you have clusters of computers, such power difference can add up.

It means that if you want to save on power, the DDR 4 RAM is the perfect option for you. It runs much more efficiently and provides you with a higher clock speed and at the same time, reduces the power consumption by 20%. That is why a better option is to go with DDR4 because of its low power consumption.

3. Refresh mechanism:

RAM is designed in such a way that it does not stay ideal for too long. So, to avoid this problem, it refreshes itself from time to time. The refresh mechanism, or rather the algorithm, is different in DDR3 and DDR 4 RAM.

When you take the case of DDR3 RAM, there are two algorithms present. The first one is the automatic refresh. The second one is the self-refresh. In most cases, the DDR3 RAM switches between both of these algorithms to ensure that it is not ideal. The algorithm choice depends on the interaction between your machine and RAM. For the device to operate at a faster pace, the algorithms keep on refreshing the RAM again and again.

As an advancement, the DDR 4 RAM uses only the automatic refresh. It means that whether your system is interacting with the RAM or not, it will keep on refreshing itself. As a result, the lag time, if any, is on the lower side. The RAM will always be ready for any kind of multitasking or reading and writing of the data. It is a huge advantage since it can save you precious time.

Thus, there is a stark difference between the DDR4 and DDR3 RAM when it comes to the refresh algorithm as well.

4. Latency:

Latency is the time between the transmission of the command and its execution. If the latency is high in any of the RAMs, the machine’s speed will slow down.

Honestly speaking, on the latency criteria, there is a surprise.

The latency is slightly higher in DDR4 RAM. However, the difference is pretty minuscule.

When you compare the execution of the read command by the DDR3 and the DDR4 RAM, you will get a clear picture. The ddr3 RAM takes 13.75 ns to complete the read command. The DDR4 RAM takes 14.06 seconds to complete the read. Thus, the difference is only 2%. It is barely noticeable to an average human.

However, when using these stands for complex tasks and complex machines, then the 2% difference can become noticeable. You have to decide whether it is a factor that you need to weigh heavily on or whether a 2% difference does not matter.

5. Capacity:

The RAM is generally defined by its memory capacity. The memory capacity of the RAM directly refers to the amount of data that it can store temporarily. So, when trying to find the difference between DDR4 and DDR3 RAM, it is essential to take this factor into account.

The design of the ddr3 RAM is such that the memory capacity can vary from 512 MB to 8 GB. It means that you cannot get a single RAM stick above 8 GB. If you need a higher capacity, you will have to install different RAM sticks in parallel.

When you look at DDR 4 RAM, the range is between 4 GB to 16 GB. It means that the maximum limit of both the versions of the RAM is starkly different. The maximum capacity of DDR4 is double that of DDR3 RAM. Due to this reason, if you’re looking for a high amount of RAM, DDR4 should be your choice.

While different RAM sticks can be connected in parallel for both, these would occupy slots in your machine, and therefore, it is a good idea to use a single RAM stick with a higher capacity.

6. Cost:

The cost of the DDR4 RAM is, of course, on the higher side. However, when you consider the improvement in performance, you will realize that it is well worth it to pay that extra cost. There are a few other factors that you have to, however, keep in mind while choosing between DDR4 and DDR3 RAM. These include:

• Type of machine which you have:

If you have an older computer and older motherboard, it might not be compatible with the DDR4. In case you want to install the DDR4 RAM in it, you would have to change your motherboard. That can add to the cost as well. Due to this reason, if you have an older machine, you have to keep this factor in mind.

The newer motherboards are compatible with the DDR4, and therefore you should face no problem at all and installing that stick in your machine.

• Requirement:

Another factor that will determine the cost is the memory capacity you need. If you need 4 GB or 8 GB RAM, DDR4 does not cost you a lot. When you’re going for the 16 GB RAM, the difference is quite significant. Due to this reason, when you’re factoring in the cost, it is essential to consider your requirements.

Instead of just comparing them on the cost of the RAM stick itself, you have to keep these two factors in mind and then compare the DDR4 and DDR3 RAM. Once you do so, you can factor in the overall cost. It will help you make the decision, keeping in mind the budget which you have as well.

7. Obsolescence:

When you’re comparing the DDR3 and DDR4 RAM, you cannot ignore this factor. The DDR3 RAM is not the latest one and hence outdated. Even if you get a DDR3 RAM today, chances are the next time around you want to upgrade the RAM or replace it; you would have to do so with the DDR4 RAM.

It all depends on the application for which you are using the RAM. Eventually, you will have no other alternative but to switch entirely to the DDR4 RAM because of the obsolescence of the DDR3 RAM.

You need to ask yourself, should you switch to the DDR3 RAM now itself?

Once you do so, it will be easier for you to understand the difference between both of these RAM versions and the one which you should choose.

Read Also: How Much RAM Do I Need for Gaming?

So, instead of just going into the technical jargon to compare ddr4 vs ddr3 RAM, it is a good idea to go through our guide above. Once you go through our guide above, it will become easier to choose the right RAM stick for your computer. The decision need not be that difficult. Moreover, since we have articulated all the differences between these 2 RAM sticks, making your decision will be easy.

It is time to keep your machine with the right hardware so that you can use it efficiently and over a long time. Our guide above will help you do that quite easily.

Related Articles:

Leave a Reply