DDR3 vs DDR4: The Difference Between DDR4 and DDR3 RAM

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RAM is short for Random Access Memory. This is one of the most important aspects of a computer. The main purpose of RAM is to hold the data that is frequently accessed by the CPU. In other words, it allows you to enjoy a fast computing experience. This is why you need a higher RAM in your device.

Speaking of RAM, users often get confused while choosing between DDR3 and DDR4 RAM. These are the two versions of RAMs found on a computer. To be able to choose the right RAM, you need to first know the difference between the two.

In this post, we will explain to you the main differences between DDR3 RAM and DDR4 RAM. Once you know the details, you can then decide which RAM to use for your computer.

DDR3 vs DDR4: The Difference Between DDR4 and DDR3 RAM

We will compare the two RAM versions based on certain factors or parameters. Each of these factors has an important role to play. Every user has different needs. This is why it is a good idea to first learn the entire comparison.

1. Data rate

By data rate, we mean the speed at which your device reads or writes the data into the RAM. Having a higher data rate allows you to multitask easily. The higher the data rate, the faster your PC will run. 

Speaking of data rate, DDR3 RAM comes with a data rate ranging from 800 MHz to 2133 MHz. You should be informed that the data rate of this RAM version will not go up beyond 2133 MHz. If you have a new model, then the data rate is usually between 1600 MHz to 1800 MHz.

Coming to the DDR4 RAM version, it has a minimum data rate of 2133 MHz. However, the maximum data rate of this RAM version is dependent on your PC. To put it simply, if you have a high-end PC, then the data rate will be high as well. So if you want a high-performance laptop for multitasking, then you should go for DDR4 RAM.

2. Refresh mechanism

RAM never stays ideal for too long. This is why it is designed to refresh itself frequently. The refresh mechanism of both the RAM versions is different.

DDR3 RAM has two algorithms including automatic refresh and self-refresh. The RAM keeps switching from one algorithm to the other to make sure that it is not ideal. The choice of algorithm is influenced by the interaction between the RAM and your computer. The algorithm is refreshed from time to time to allow your machine to run faster.

As far as DDR4 RAM is concerned it uses the automatic refresh. This allows the RAM to refresh itself automatically even if your device is not interacting with the RAM. This prevents the device from lagging. Not just that, but it also allows for smooth multitasking. It can even read and write data at a much faster speed. 

From the above pointer, we know that there is a huge difference between the two RAM versions in terms of refresh algorithm. You should choose the RAM based on your requirements.

3. Voltage levels

For those who don’t know both the RAM versions works at different voltage levels. For instance, the DDR3 RAM works at 1.5 V, while the DDR4 RAM operates at 1.2 V. The difference between the voltage levels of the two RAM versions is 15 minutes.

Many of you might think that the difference is not much. But it will make a big difference, especially when you are using multiple computers or servers. 

If your priority is to save more power, then DDR4 RAM would make a better choice for you. In comparison to DDR3, DDR4 RAM runs efficiently and also delivers an increased speed. Not just that, but it can also decrease power consumption by 20%. This is why many users prefer to go for DDR4 RAM.

4. Latency

Latency can be defined as the time between the transmission of the command and its execution. If you are using a RAM version with higher latency, it will reduce the speed of your computer.

When it comes to latency, DDR4 RAM beats DDR3. But the difference in the latency between the two versions is not much.

To give you a better idea, DDR3 RAM takes around 13.75 ns to finish the read command, whereas DDR4 RAM requires 14.06 seconds to fulfill the command. This means that the difference is just 2% which is hardly noticeable to any human unless you are told about it.

However, this small difference can have an impact when performing any type of complex tasks. In this case, even the 2% difference becomes noticeable. It is up to your personal choice whether you want to give importance to this 2% or not. Based on that you can select the RAM version you want.

5. Capacity

The capacity of the RAM is one of the most important things to consider. That’s because the capacity of the RAM determines the amount of data that can be stored temporarily in the RAM. 

DDR3 RAM usually comes with a memory capacity ranging between 512 MB to 8 GB. This means you will have to get more than one RAM stick if you need more than 8GB capacity. In other words, you need to install different RAM sticks in parallel.

However, DDR4 RAM has a memory capacity ranging from 4 GB to 16 GB. This gives you a much higher capacity than DDR3 RAM. So if you want to build a fast and high-end PC, then DDR4 RAM is the option for you.

Instead of installing two RAM sticks in parallel, we would suggest you use a single RAM stick with a higher capacity. This will save you from using up the extra RAM slots. Also, you don’t have to spend money on buying two RAM sticks as it may cost you more than the price of a single RAM stick with a higher capacity.

6. Cost

Even the cost is an important factor to consider. In terms of cost, the DDR4 RAM is no doubt a more expensive higher side. But it gives you a performance that is worth the price.

Other than the cost, there are few other things to remember when selecting between the two RAM versions.

7. Machine you have:

Before you come to a decision, you must consider the type of machine you have. Let’s say if you have an older PC and motherboard. In this case, it may not support DDR4 RAM. However, if you still want to install DDR4 RAM, then you will have to upgrade your motherboard. This means you will have to spend money on your motherboard as well.

The latest motherboards are designed to support DDR4. If you have a newer PC, then you shouldn’t have any problem installing DDR4 RAM.

8. Requirement:

Another very important thing to keep in mind is the amount of memory you need. Let’s say, you need 4 GB to 8 GB RAM. In this case, you can go for DDR4 as it will not cost you much.

The price of DDR4 RAM skyrockets when you opt for 16GB RAM. This is why you need to consider the amount of memory capacity you need.

The cost of RAM alone is not important. To determine your budget, you need to think of these two factors as well. This will help you know how much to spend to get what you need.

9. Obsolescence

Lastly, you should also consider this factor when choosing between the two RAM versions. 

As you already know DDR3 RAM is not the latest version. Even if you get DDR3 RAM now, chances are that you will have to upgrade it in the future. At that time, you may have to upgrade it to DDR4. That’s because you will be left with no other better alternative but to replace it with DDR4 RAM as DDR3 RAM gets obsolete.

Product Reviews

We have reviewed some of the best DDR3 and DDR4 RAMs for you. If you are planning to build a new PC or want to upgrade your RAM, then you should check out the products listed below.

1. Patriot Viper Steel Series DDR4 16GB

If you want the highest quality DDR4 RAM for your PC, then Patriot Viper Steel Series could be the perfect option for you. Made with premium-grade materials, this is one of the best RAM sticks you can get. The memory modules are hand-tested and are validated for compatibility. 

This is a high-performance RAM stick that is designed to handle heavy games and provide you top speed at the same time. This RAM stick is perfect for multitasking. This 16GB kit is an excellent option for gamers.

Coming to compatibility, it is made for the latest AMD and Intel platforms. It provides you stability and performance for the most demanding computer environments. Along with that it also offers top speed from 3000MHz to 4400MHz with XMP 2.0 support. With this RAM stick, you will never have to lag with your tasks.

It comes with an aggressive heat shield design that helps in superior heat dissipation. This will keep your RAM stick safe even after long hours of use. It can boost performance while gaming and using certain programs.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • RGB-free design
  • Heatshield design
  • High performance
  • High-quality materials

Cons

  • None

2. Thermaltake TOUGHRAM RC DDR4 4400MHz C19 16GB

The next best option we have is the Thermaltake TOUGHRAM RC DDR4 RAM. This is a high-quality RAM stick with 16GB memory space. It is designed to deliver high performance. Whether you are using heavy applications or gaming, this RAM stick can support it all.

The best thing is the superb heat dissipation with the brushed aluminum heatsink. This prevents the RAM from getting overheated after long hours of use. It also has the Floe RC CPU & Memory AIO liquid coolers which are the world’s first-ever memory and a liquid cooling solution.

This RAM stick is made of the highest quality materials and is black. This is perfect for gamers and people who use heavy software. However, if you are not sure about the product, no worries because it comes with a lifetime warranty.

This 16GB kit provides you top speed even during heavy tasks. The maximum speed delivered by the RAM is 4400 MHz which is enough to pull through the task and prevent lagging.

Pros

  • Excellent cooling system
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Perfect for gaming
  • High performance
  • Durable

Cons

  • Performance may vary

3. Corsair Vengeance RGB PRO 16GB

The next best option we have is the Corsair Vengeance RGB PRO series DDR4. This RAM unit comes with dynamic multi-zone RGB lighting to light up your PC. It not only features an attractive design but also gives you a powerful performance.

This unit is mainly known for its stability and performance. Every module present in the unit boasts ten individually controlled RGB LEDs. It is also easy to install. With the help of the CORSAIR iCUE software, you can completely customize every module’s lighting to match your system.

As far as compatibility is concerned, it works the best with AMD and Intel processors. It gives you speed up to 2133 MHz which is pretty good to support all your activities. 

It comes with a custom-designed PCB for high signal quality. If you want both performance and stability, then this would be the best option for you.

Pros

  • High performance
  • Greta stability
  • RGB LED lighting
  • Easy to install
  • Works with both Intel and AMD

Cons

  • None

4. DUOMEIQI 8GB Kit (2 X 4GB) DDR3

If you are looking for high compatibility in DDR3 RAM, then this could be the best option for you. This RAM unit is compatible with MAC, AMD, and Intel. This is a high-quality RAM unit that is designed for performance.

By installing this unit in your system you can run it faster and smoother. This is perhaps the easiest way to improve your PC’s performance. Not just that, but it also has high stability. It is equipped with high-quality originals. It has chips that are tested for stability. 

The advanced electroplating process is used on the connecting finger to improve electrical conductivity and resistance against corrosion. With this unit, you can increase bandwidth, reduce power consumption, improve system performance, and extend battery life. Faster burst access speed gives you a better game experience as well.

Unlike other RAM units, this one is easy to install. If you are still not convinced with the performance and quality, then you should know that it comes with a lifetime warranty service.

Pros

  • Easy to install
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Fast
  • High performance
  • High compatibility

Cons

  • A bit pricey

5. Patriot 16GB(2x8GB) Viper III DDR3

If you are looking for a high-performance DDR3 RAM, then Patriot Memory’s Viper 3 Series would be a great choice for you. It is designed to give you a stable performance. It is compatible with Intel’s DDR3 processors and chipsets.

The Viper 3 series is mainly known for its performance and stability for the most demanding computer environments. It comes with a high-performance heat shield for excellent heat dissipation for solid performance even when you are using heavy applications.

It is also made of premium grade materials and is tested for performance. Given its features, there is no doubt that this is one of the best DDR3 RAM units you will find in the market. It is available in dual and quad-channel kits. 

It even gives you a high speed ranging from 1600 MHz up to 2133 MHz at 1.5 Volts. Not just that, but it is also XMP 1.3 ready. This RAM unit is hand-tested for quality and is also provided with a lifetime warranty. It best works with the latest DDR3 based Intel and AMD dual channel processors.

Pros

  • Great heat dissipation
  • High performance
  • Made of quality materials
  • Works best with AMD and Intel processors 
  • Tested for performance

Cons

  • None

RAM is one of the most important parts of your computer. It has a huge influence on the performance of your PC. This is why you need to select the right RAM type for your device. You should take into account all the factors before making your final choice. 

Conclusion

By now you know the major differences between DDR3 and DDR4 RAM. The final decision is based on your requirement and budget. However, we would like to remind you that DDR4 is the latest RAM version, whereas DDR3 is the outdated one. Since you are building a new PC, it would be better to go for a newer RAM version. But again it’s up to you what you want. You can choose any of the RAM products mentioned above. All of these products are top-rated on Amazon and are trusted by buyers.