What’s The Difference Between DDR3 vs DDR4?

What’s the difference between DDR3 and DDR4? In the DDR3 VS DDR4 RAM comparisons, the maximum memory of the DDR3 RAM is 16 GB, whereas that of the DDR4 is 64GB(Per DIMM). While the DDR4 RAM clock speed starts from 2133 MHz and has no definite maximum clock speed, the maximum DDR3 clock speed is 2133 MHz.

Here is a more detailed table format:

Clock speed800 – 2133MHz2133MHz-
Bandwidth12.8 GB/s21.3 GB/s
Cost$60- $115$70-$130
RefreshAuto and self-RefreshSelf-refresh
DateOutdatedUp to date
Pin module240288

The Double Data Rate:

DDR means double data rate or a dual-rate of data. It’s the sophisticated memory of a computer. It is a more advanced variant of the DDR SDRAM (Synchronous Dynamic Random Access Memory) that uses both the increasing and falling edges of the clock signal, which ensures that it requires less power and is twice as fast as the SDRAM, while the same frequency is used for both.

So far, DDR3 VS DDR4 RAM comparisons have shown that there is not much distinction between the two. Let’s take a look at the important differences:

Both variants of dual data rates are still reasonably successful. We can deduce, however, that DDR4 emits less heat than DDR3 from the voltage ratings of both. The reason for its low power usage is that the DDR4 RAM has a self-refresh feature. DDR3 has higher consumption.

There were changes in the composition of the notches and slots as the centuries advanced. These keyhole improvements are made to ensure the use of the proper RAM module. A computer is unable to operate with a module that does not support it. They made the notches so that you don’t end up fitting them in the wrong direction.

The capacity of Memory:

In this aspect, the DDR4 RAM leads pretty well. There is a rising need for higher levels of memory power. Particularly nowadays, as more machine operations such as games and large applications are processed and run by people. 

This is the main explanation of why DDR4 has greater memory space than DDR3. Compared to the 512 MB to 8 GB for the DDR3, the DDR4 has a storage spectrum of 4 GB to 16 GB, which means that the DDR4 will contain double the storage of a DDR3.

Clock Velocity:

The rate at which the machine RAM reads and writes data in comparison to the RAM is the clock speed. That means the higher the speed of the clock, the higher the RAM, and that essentially means that the machine is quicker. 

On the other hand, the DDR3 RAM has a top speed of 2133 MHz while the minimum speed of the DDR4 is 2133 MHz and it can still go up to 4800 MHz, which indicates that the processing rate of the DDR4 is much higher.

In the year 2007, DDR3 came on the scene. And it was quicker than its ancestors, as predicted. It began with a speed of around 6300, but the higher-speeds such as 8533, 10666, and even 12800 could still be seen. These are the more famous ones, with other speeds like 14933 and 17066 being discovered at some stage.

JEDEC is the organization responsible for publishing the technical uniformity standards. They published the DDR4 specifications in the year 2012. This new standard was followed by super speeds of 12800, 17066, and 19200 MB/s, so you find that lower speed memories begin to fall out of the market over time due to lower demands coming in over the years, especially with the advent of new generations. 

Voltage Variations:

Although, the DDR3 operates at a normal voltage of 1.5V, a high voltage of 1.6V, and a low voltage of 1.3V. On the other hand, the DDR4 works at a regular 1.2V voltage, 1.3V high voltage, and 1.05 low voltage. In the DDR3 Vs DDR4 contrast of RAM voltage, DDR4 simply leads. 

The effect would not always be seen on your power bill because the difference is not that much. You only begin to see the effect when you operate large-scale organizations that need many servers. 


One of the first big things you can find when observing the DDR3 VS DDR4 RAMs in plain view is the pin module arrangement on each RAM. A 240 pin module type connector is used on the DDR3 RAM, while a 288 pin module type connector is used on the DDR4 RAM. 

So you can tell from the physical configuration of the two RAMs that they cannot fit into each other’s sockets. Both DDR memories are, in nature, functionally and mutually incompatible. Memories of DDR2, 3, and 4 can only be connected to their respective sockets, with their slots positioned differently.

Well, in this compatibility issue of DDR3 vs DDR4 RAM, aside from the fact that the DDR4 slot is a little wider than the DDR3 slot, and that the slot notches do not match, there is also the problem of voltage. DDR3 operates in low power mode on 1.35V while it uses 1.5V for normal voltage.

On the other side, DDR4 needs just 1.2 standard voltage to work. This also means that the motherboard would not be able to provide the necessary voltage requirement, even though the slot notches are compatible.

Refresh Role:

DDR4 has a larger advantage over the DDR3 RAM, being the most recent of all DDR RAMs. This is because it only uses the self-refresh function to update its content. This is also another explanation why DDR3 uses both auto-refresh and self-refresh to refresh its content as it requires less power. 

The refresh algorithm, in simple words, means how many times a machine RAM refreshes itself to stop lagging due to constant inactivity. The use of DDR3 for two kinds of RAM refresh makes it absorb more resources. This is another major reason why DDR4 RAM is a better alternative. 

The Latency:

Latency is an empirical breakdown of the processing speed of the data contained in the cache; it can also be referred to as memory timings. That is, the RAM’s capacity to read and write storage data. In RAS, RP, CL, and RCD, latency is measured in nanoseconds and can be illustrated through them. To retrieve requested data, the RAM usually has to run through its database.

So, essentially speaking, quicker memory timings mean more accurate results. To retrieve data, DDR3 takes around 13.75 nanoseconds, and that’s because it operates on CL11. DDR4, meanwhile, works on CL15 and uses the same reading for around 14.06 nanoseconds. It’s not that much of a distinction, but it’s still something worthy of note.

The obvious speed is just a little different. The main fact is that every second, DDR4 handles a higher number of exchanges than DDR3, but its latency is much greater. The DDR3 optimum point at around 2GHz regularly, although its latency is around 13 nanoseconds, the DDR4-2133 starting stage has 2.1GHz with a latency of around 15ns.


DDR3 vs DDR4 RAM comparisons indicate that in most departments, the DDR4 is better. Because it all comes down to the configuration and chipset of the device. If your machine can accommodate it, it’ll be better to go for the DDR4 because it provides more speed, efficiency, and capacity. 

Years earlier, the price gap between the two was pretty large when the DDR4 was first published. These days, you will get about $115 for the DDR3 and around $130 for the DDR4.

For quite a few years, DDR3 used to be at the top of the food chain (or machine RAM chain). But the rapid descent of the DDR3 was clear and evident when the DDR4 came on stage. The first DDR4 RAM module was launched in the year 2014 by SK Hynix. It’s been the best so far. It may be there for a bit though unless it is displaced by a more deserving nominee.

It is important to know the correct specifications of your device when looking for a new or higher update to your RAM. This is to avoid necessary buying errors here and there. A DDR4 RAM is not backward compatible, which suggests that it can only work with its requirements on a device. For DDR3, the same goes, and so on. You might want to remember that.

Here are some details that you might want to watch out for before you make a purchase:

  1. Slots / Notch Location:

The pin modules are not the same in the two RAMs. So it would be wise to check out their positioning while making your purchases. Both RAMs are incompatible so buying the wrong RAM would render it useless, especially if you ordered it from an online store where it’s difficult to return it.  

  1. DDR Voltage:

DDR3, DDR3L, and DDR4 RAMs all have different levels of voltages. It would be important to buy the RAM that correlates with the motherboard voltage to prevent a drop in voltage, which in turn leads to an overall drop in efficiency.

  1. Computer Specifications:

You want to make sure you have accurate knowledge of your system specifications before making an upgrade. DDR4 RAMs are great, but if you buy one and your motherboard or CPU seems to be lower, that might become an issue.

Major Reasons For Purchase:

If you run a large scale business, it would be preferable to get the DDR4 as you wouldn’t have to worry about the extra bill that would have built up if you were using DDR3 RAM.

Well, you can’t single out an obvious winner in real-world comparisons of the DDR3 vs DDR4 RAM. In some departments, you find out that the two RAMs are on par with each other. You might want to run some large capacity programs with them if you want to compare and contrast the RAMs capabilities though.

By the way, the DDR3 has an advanced version called the DDR3l. DDR3L RAMs will directly fit in all DDR3 RAMs slots. However, that doesn’t mean it’s the right choice because you experience a decrease in voltage power the moment you swap them. That’s the only visible distinction between the two. Unlike the DDR3, the DDR3l RAM operates on a lower voltage. As it lowers the heat intensity, this makes for smoother activity.

Upgrading from a DDR3 to DDR4 RAM is recommended. Especially for those of us that are more game inclined. It’s actually to our advantage, although not every time. In the end, it all comes down to device properties and what may be required by the game software or program. You will probably notice more DDR4 systems than DDR3 systems. Since it appears everybody is upgrading to DDR4.

A high level of RAM clock speed can be found in AMD’s RYZEN CPUs. This does enhance productivity, but it has just a slight effect.

By the way, looking at the DDR3 vs DDR4 RAM comparisons, it would most likely require your motherboard to be partly or completely overhauled, and not just the DDR. That is if you plan on upgrading. 

This could also require that the CPU be upgraded. And when you do the improvements, you could end up having to adjust almost everything about the machine. You might want to give this a thought before making your trading decisions too.

However, if you are a regular game player, you can attest to the fact that people would prefer better graphics to anything else (most importantly gamers).  

Better graphics normally come with the game running more smoothly. So before you jump into the market to buy that DDR4 RAM you’ve been craving all year, why don’t you consider updating the graphics card first before upgrading to the DDR4 RAM. It would be smart, plus it’ll be much more cost-effective.

Not all graphic cards can allow up to 16 lanes to transport data from the RAM and CPU to the memory of the graphics card at once. If you attach other PCle devices such as direct SSD/Optane cards, this may be a challenge. 

That is why a necessary understanding of the requirements of your device is needed. However, I’ll still advise you to get a new system. Since you’ll be having all parts fresh and up to date, that’s still the better choice. Also, it will last longer.

However, it would still be sensible to go for the DDR4 RAM, particularly if the 6th or 7th generation is your system build. If you are stuck with DDR3, then it’s probably because your system is old and cannot support DDR4. But if you can, then what are you waiting for?

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