DDR3 vs. DDR3L

What's the Difference?

DDR3 and DDR3L are both types of computer memory, but they have some key differences. DDR3 operates at a standard voltage of 1.5V, while DDR3L operates at a lower voltage of 1.35V. This lower voltage makes DDR3L more energy-efficient and helps reduce power consumption, making it suitable for laptops and other portable devices. However, DDR3L is backward compatible with DDR3, meaning it can be used in systems designed for DDR3 memory. DDR3L also tends to run cooler than DDR3 due to its lower voltage, which can be beneficial for systems with limited cooling capabilities. Overall, DDR3L offers improved energy efficiency and compatibility with DDR3 systems, making it a popular choice for many computing applications.


SpeedUp to 2133 MHzUp to 1866 MHz
Module CapacityUp to 16GBUp to 16GB
Power ConsumptionHigherLower
CompatibilityCompatible with DDR3 slotsCompatible with DDR3 and DDR3L slots

Further Detail


When it comes to computer memory, DDR3 and DDR3L are two commonly used types that have their own unique attributes. DDR3 (Double Data Rate 3) and DDR3L (Low Voltage DDR3) are both iterations of DDR memory technology, but they differ in terms of voltage requirements and power consumption. In this article, we will delve into the details of DDR3 and DDR3L, exploring their similarities, differences, and the scenarios where each type shines.

DDR3: The Standard Memory Module

DDR3 is the third generation of DDR memory technology, succeeding DDR2. It is widely used in various computing devices, including desktops, laptops, and servers. DDR3 operates at a standard voltage of 1.5V, which was the norm for many years. This voltage requirement allows DDR3 to deliver reliable performance and compatibility across a wide range of systems.

One of the key advantages of DDR3 is its higher memory bandwidth compared to its predecessor, DDR2. This increased bandwidth allows for faster data transfer rates, resulting in improved overall system performance. DDR3 modules are available in various capacities, ranging from 1GB to 16GB, catering to different user requirements.

However, the higher voltage requirement of DDR3 also means it consumes more power compared to DDR3L. This can be a concern for devices that prioritize energy efficiency, such as laptops and small form factor systems. This is where DDR3L comes into play.

DDR3L: The Low Voltage Alternative

DDR3L, as the name suggests, is a low voltage variant of DDR3 memory. It operates at a reduced voltage of 1.35V, which is 10% lower than the standard DDR3 voltage. This reduction in voltage allows DDR3L to consume less power, resulting in improved energy efficiency and reduced heat generation.

DDR3L modules are designed to be backward compatible with DDR3 slots, meaning they can be used in systems that originally supported DDR3 memory. This compatibility makes DDR3L a viable option for upgrading older systems without the need for a complete overhaul. However, it is important to note that DDR3 modules cannot be used in DDR3L slots due to the voltage mismatch.

Despite the lower voltage, DDR3L does not compromise on performance. It offers the same memory bandwidth and data transfer rates as DDR3, ensuring a seamless user experience. DDR3L modules are available in various capacities, similar to DDR3, making them suitable for a wide range of computing needs.

Choosing Between DDR3 and DDR3L

When deciding between DDR3 and DDR3L, several factors need to be considered. Firstly, the compatibility of the memory module with the existing system is crucial. If the system supports DDR3L, it is recommended to opt for DDR3L modules to take advantage of the lower power consumption and improved energy efficiency.

On the other hand, if the system only supports DDR3, it is best to stick with DDR3 modules. While DDR3L modules may physically fit into DDR3 slots, using them can lead to instability or even damage to the system due to the voltage mismatch. It is essential to consult the system's specifications or the motherboard manufacturer's guidelines to ensure compatibility.

Another factor to consider is the intended usage of the system. If energy efficiency is a priority, such as in laptops or small form factor systems, DDR3L is the recommended choice. The reduced power consumption and heat generation can contribute to longer battery life and cooler operation. However, for high-performance desktops or gaming rigs where power consumption is less of a concern, DDR3 can provide the necessary performance without any compromises.


DDR3 and DDR3L are two variations of DDR memory technology that offer different voltage requirements and power consumption levels. DDR3 is the standard memory module, operating at 1.5V, and provides higher memory bandwidth for improved performance. On the other hand, DDR3L is a low voltage alternative, operating at 1.35V, which offers improved energy efficiency and reduced heat generation.

When choosing between DDR3 and DDR3L, compatibility with the existing system and the intended usage are crucial factors to consider. DDR3L is recommended for systems that support it, prioritizing energy efficiency and longer battery life. DDR3, on the other hand, is suitable for systems that require high performance and are not as concerned about power consumption.

Ultimately, the choice between DDR3 and DDR3L depends on the specific requirements of the system and the user's priorities. Both memory types have their own advantages and can deliver reliable performance when used in the appropriate scenarios.

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