People looking to buy a laptop this fall will be faced with a difficult decision: DDR3 vs DDR4 Laptop? Both types of RAM have their benefits and drawbacks.
The latest in computer memory is DDR4. DDR3 has been used in computers since 2007 and still remains to be the most popular type of memory because it is faster, cheaper, and more power-efficient than DDR4 ram. DDR4 memory can offer better performance and higher bandwidth which is why many people choose it for their laptops.
Read MedCPU’s guide to learn more about DDR3 and DDR4 Ram!
What is RAM?
Most people reading this will already be familiar with RAM. However, RAM (Random Access Memory) is the physical hardware that stores temporary information on your computer for those who don’t know RAM. RAM is a temporary storage device that can store information. This allows for data to be written to and read in any order. RAM with a faster speed will perform better when processing data.
DDR3 RAM, the third iteration of what was previously known as SDRAM (Synchronous Dynamic Random Access Memory), is the new name for the memory. It is currently the most popular RAM option when choosing memory. DDR3 RAM sales have dropped dramatically since 2014’s announcement of DDR4.
DDR4 RAM is a new type of technology that offers many more features and improvements than its predecessor. It has faster speeds, greater capacity, and (overall) better build quality.
Let’s now take a closer look at the differences between the RAM modules.
DDR3 is an abbreviation for Double Data Rate 3. This is a type SDRAM that is used to store primary data in a system. You can also find this RAM in SODIMM or DIMM form factors.
DDR3 RAM works almost the same as DDR2. However, DDR3 RAM works nearly the same as DDR2.
DDR3 RAM is 30% more efficient than DDR2. These RAMs also have a vastly different data transfer rate.
DDR3 RAMs can transfer data twice as fast as DDR2. DDR2 RAM can transfer data at 3200 Mbps while DDR3 RAM can transfer data at 6400 Mbps.
DDR3 RAMs are capable of handling large amounts of data at a faster rate.
If all other specifications are the same, but the RAM type is changed on two computers, the DDR3 RAM-equipped system can perform better than its counterpart with DDR2 RAM.
DDR3 RAM’s memory module is very similar to DDR2 and DDR2 chips. However, there is a significant difference between the two sets.
DDR3 RAM is therefore not compatible with a slot that isn’t made for it.
Here are some essential characteristics of DDR3 SDRAM
- Data transfer rate: 800 to 1600 Mt/s (mega transfers every Second).
- Operating voltage: 1.8 V
- Lower signaling standard Lower power x8 prefetch
- For improved writing signaling, Dynamic ODT is used
- Fly-by architecture
- Read/Write Levelling
- Calibration of drivers
- Device reset
- Mirroring DIMM addresses
- Improved device pinout
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DDR4 stands for Double Data Rate Fourth Generation.
DDR4 RAMs are used frequently in laptops and desktops. This RAM is now widely appreciated.
The majority of 8th and 9th-generation processors from AMD and Intel only support DDR4 RAM.
These RAMs have a higher level of performance than DDR3. This RAM can transfer large amounts of data quickly and at high speed.
DDR4 RAMs can be operated at a lower voltage. The DDR3 RAM needs 1.5 volts to work, while it can be used at 1.2 volts.
DDR4 RAM can be found in three sizes: 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB.
DDR4 RAM’s data transfer rate is between 1600 Mbps and 3200 Mbps.
A DIMM DDR4 RAM with 288 pins is a regular DIMM DDR4 RAM. A SO-DIMM RAM has 260 pins. The two most popular primary forms of it are DIMM and SO DIMM.
Tower desktops most often use DIMM RAM. SO-DIMM can be found in small devices like laptop or All-in-One computers.
DDR4 DIMM, the first RAM model to offer a curved bottom edge, was released in 2004. This feature allows users to insert and remove RAMs very quickly from the motherboard slots.
This feature, and the notch position between pins, prevent users from inserting DDR4 RAM into other types of slots.
DDR4 RAMs offer faster processing speeds thanks to the new multi-core processors.
- These are the key features of DDR4 SDRAM types:
- The standard for lower signaling
- Prefetch: Reduced power x8
- Improved write signaling with Dynamic ODT
- Fly-by architecture
- Read/Write Levelling
- Calibration of drivers
- Device Reset
- Mirroring DIMM addresses
- Improved device pinout
- Data transfer rate 2133 to 31200 MT/s
DDR3 and DDR4 RAM Compare
DDR3 RAMs and DDR4 RAMs have different refreshing abilities. DDR3 RAM has both self-refresh and auto-refresh. The only self-refresh facility is available on the modern DDR4 RAMs.
DDR3 RAM’s processing speed is slightly slower than DDR4. DDR4 RAM is an updated version. Its processing speed, however, is somewhat slower than DDR3. DDR4 RAMs can be used in advanced configurations.
DDR3 RAMs can be used with older computers with low configuration. DDR4 RAMs, on the other hand, can be used with modern, advanced systems.
Consumption of energy
DDR3 RAMs use less energy than DDR2 RAMs. DDR4 RAM consumes more energy than DDR3 RAMs. DDR4 RAM operates at 1.2 volts, while DDR3 RAMs run at 1.5 volts.
DDR4’s memory capacity is a win-win situation. Multitasking and gaming are putting increasing importance on memory capacity. DDR4 has much larger capacities. DDR3 has 512MB to 8GB, while DDR4 offers 4GB to 16GB.
Double Data Rate Fourth Generation could potentially store twice as much data as DDR3. It’s a no-brainer. There are many benefits to increasing RAM capacity. We have seen a significant improvement in performance by increasing RAM’s capacity.
DDR3 and DDR4: Differences in pins
The pin nodules are the essential difference between DDR3 RAM and DDR4 RAM. DDR3, introduced in 2007, had a 240-pin nodule, which was intended for older motherboards. DDR4 was introduced seven years later, and it used the same 240-pin nodule. Developers chose a 288 pin nodule, which is easily compared visually.
What does this mean for those looking to buy the new RAM? It meant that DDR4 RAM would not be compatible with DDR3 motherboards. Anyone upgrading from DDR3 RAM to DDR4 would be charged additional fees. It isn’t very pleasant.
However, the DDR’s length has not changed at all. They are still approximately 133mm long. Developers had to reduce the distance between the pins by 0.15mm to accommodate the 48 additional pins DDR4 uses.
When the heatsink has been removed, the height between the modules is also slightly different. Despite the constantly changing heatsinks manufacturers offer, this doesn’t make any real-world difference to consumers.
Let’s not forget about the technical differences between DDR3 RAM and DDR4 RAM.
DDR3 and DDR4: Clock Speed
It doesn’t matter if we are talking about RAM, CPUs, or GPUs. The clock speed of the hardware should be high up on your list. It has an impact on both performance and price in most cases. Comparing DDR3 RAM to DDR4 RAM can show significant differences in the clock speed. However, before we get into that, let’s explain clock speed and how it affects your system’s performance.
The random access memory is your computer’s working memory, as we have already mentioned. The RAM is the primary storage device between your CPU and hard drive. It holds all data, in any order, at any time. RAM is available in many sizes, including 2GB, 4GB, and 8GB. This number indicates how much information each stick can store at once.
The clock speed, measured in MHz, refers to how fast RAM can read or write data while communicating with the CPU. As a rule of thumb, RAM faster than the CPU is better for high-demanding RAM applications such as Photoshop.
The clock speed of DDR3 varies from 400 MHz to 1066 MHz. The clock speed of DDR4 varied from 1066 to 2133 MHz.
DDR3 RAM can run at 2133mhz. DDR4 has a maximum speed of 2133mhz, and a maximum speed of 4800mhz. This means it can transfer data much faster. DDR4 has another huge advantage.
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DDR3 and DDR4: Latency
Latency (or memory timings) is the measurement of how quickly your RAM can perform the necessary actions to read/write the data stored. The memory timings are displayed in four parameters: CL (RCD, RP, and RAS) and are usually measured in nanoseconds.
Each parameter represents a different action that RAM must take when an application locates data. RAM technology can be compared to an Excel spreadsheet without getting too technical. It stores data required by the applications in your system. It uses columns and rows.
When an application requires data stored on RAM, it must locate the requested data by searching each column and row. As a rule of thumb, faster times are better for performance.
It’s important to note the impact that fast clock speeds can have on RAM’s timings. Nine out of ten times, the faster the clock speed is, the slower the latency. This doesn’t necessarily indicate that RAM is slower. It just means that RAM has slower timings. And that’s only one aspect of RAM’s performance.
DDR3 currently runs on CL11, which takes 13.75 nanoseconds for a read. Double Data Rate Fourth Generation, however, is running on CL15 and takes 14.06 nanoseconds to complete the same task. This difference is only 2%, so it’s not significant but undoubtedly noticeable.
We come to the most crucial question that people want to answer – what is the price difference between DDR3 and DDR4? Is DDR4 worth the additional investment?
Let’s not get carried away. We’re now in the 21st century, and everyone and their dog use DDR4 – except if you have an ancient PC. DDR4 is an easy choice.
DDR4 offers superior performance, greater capacity, better build quality, and better heat dissipation. It also outperforms DDR3 in every other aspect. DDR3 is still more expensive than DDR4. To be compatible, you would need to use old components on your PC.
Let me answer this question quickly: Yes. DDR4 is 100% worth purchasing in today’s market. This article may have been written five years ago. DDR3 is almost obsolete, thanks to DDR4.
I recommend that you upgrade your entire PC build if the components are last-gen. There are many affordable components available at the moment, meaning you could build a PC for as little as $300.
FAQs: DDR3 vs DDR4 Laptop
Is it possible to combine DIMMs with different data rates on the same system?
Yes. You will need to be sure that the DIMMs are put into the right memory sockets, and that they are all at the same data rate.
Can I use 4GB of RAM in a notebook or a mini-tower computer?
In general, you can use 4GB of RAM in a notebook or a mini-tower computer.
However, the actual memory installed on your notebook will be limited by the socket type. If you’re installing more than 4GB of RAM, the processor needs to support ECC (Error Correction Code) which adds an additional price to the product.
What is the maximum number of pins for DDR4 RAM?
The maximum number of pins for DDR4 RAM is 288 pins.
How much faster is DDR4 than DDR3?
A DDR4 module typically has a bandwidth of 2133 megabytes per second, while a DDR3 module has a bandwidth of 800 megabytes per second.
How can I tell if my laptop has DDR3 or DDR4?
If you open your laptop and look at the markings near the bottom of the motherboard, you should see a letter and a number. For example, DDR3-1333. This would mean that the laptop has DDR3 memory.
If the markings are DDR4-1600, then your laptop uses DDR4 memory.
What happens if I put DDR3 RAM into a DDR4 Slot?
DDR4 isn’t backward-compatible, and DDR3 is not forward-compatible. It would be dangerous to put a DDR3 stick in a DDR4 socket. This is a common mistake.
It’s not something we should worry about. However, random access memory modules are usually made with keying slits or notch, preventing them from fitting in an incompatible socket. If your RAM stick isn’t fitting into the slot, don’t force it.
You might have the wrong RAM format for your motherboard.
DDR3 sticks may appear to fit into the slot because they have fewer pins. However, they won’t securely clip into place like DDR4 sticks. We’re afraid that DDR4 motherboards will not work if you have DDR4 RAM.
DDR4 is the newest technology, so you are more likely to find it in new laptops. It will not be available in older laptops because they are not upgradable.
If you are buying a laptop that only uses DDR3, then you should be able to upgrade to DDR4 without paying more. If you buy a laptop that only uses DDR4, then you should be able to upgrade to DDR3 without paying more. You can also expect it to support DDR3 at some point in the future.
Thanks for reading our guide about DDR3 and DDR4 laptops. If you have any comments or questions, please post them below.
Eyal Ephrat serves as the co-founder and CEO of medCPU.com, where technology is making significant strides in the field of medicine. Through his experience in purchasing PC and laptop equipment and various other tech products, Eyal Ephrat contributes valuable insights to medCPU’s mission.