After eight years of utilising the same DDR3 memory, all RAM manufacturers have started rolling out their newest memory chips in the form of DDR4. However, in real-world applications, what are the advantages of DDR4 over DDR3 and are they worth the higher price?
The major differences between DDR4 and its predecessor, DDR3, are the wider range of clock rates and timings available, lower power consumption, and decreased latency. DDR3 has four distinct clock speeds (i.e. how quickly the RAM can read or write data): 1333Mhz, 1600Mhz, 1866Mhz, and 2133Mhz, with 2133Mhz being the highest. Technically, 800Mhz and 1066Mhz processors are still available, but manufacturing has shifted to the newer, faster models.
DDR4 on the other hand seems to have no upper clock speed limit, at least not one that manufacturers have been able to achieve. Everyone thinks they’ve gone as fast as they can go, but then someone goes faster and raises the bar for exceptional performance. G.Skill, the company that makes RAM, has unveiled a new kind of crazy in the form of a 128GB DDR4 system with four 3000Mhz-clocked 32GB sticks, while the 8GB G.Skill TridentZ series is already available at 4266Mhz.
DDR4 RAM works more effectively at only 1.2v, a level that may be lowered as low as 1.05v depending on the manufacturer and the quantity of RAM. This is in contrast to DDR3 RAM, which consumes anywhere from 1.5 to 1.975 volts in overclocked computers. At 1.35v, the DDR3L standard (the “L” stands for “Low-voltage”) makes some progress in this area, but the increased overall efficiency of DDR4 is a significant improvement.
That’s a fancy way of saying faster transfer rates in DDR4 at lower voltages, resulting in longer-term system stability. It lowers the risk of your RAM burning out when you’re overclocking, as well as the overall load that demanding applications may have on your computer.
If you just want to decide whether it is a DDR3 RAM or DDR4, you can observe the difference in their physical structure as follows: