DDR3 vs. DDR4

What's the Difference?

DDR3 and DDR4 are both types of computer memory, but they have some key differences. DDR3 is the older version and has been widely used for many years. It operates at a lower voltage and has a lower maximum data transfer rate compared to DDR4. On the other hand, DDR4 is the newer and faster version of memory. It operates at a higher voltage and has a higher maximum data transfer rate, making it more efficient and capable of handling larger amounts of data. DDR4 also offers improved power efficiency and higher memory density, allowing for better performance and multitasking capabilities. Overall, DDR4 is a significant upgrade over DDR3 in terms of speed, efficiency, and capacity.


Memory TypeDDR3DDR4
Release Year20072014
Maximum Data Rate2133 MT/s3200 MT/s
Module CapacityUp to 16GBUp to 128GB
Pin Count240288
Memory Bus64-bit64-bit (per channel)
Memory Channels22
Memory TimingCAS Latency 9-11CAS Latency 14-19

Further Detail


When it comes to computer memory, DDR3 and DDR4 are two widely used types that have revolutionized the performance of modern systems. Both DDR3 (Double Data Rate 3) and DDR4 (Double Data Rate 4) are generations of synchronous dynamic random-access memory (SDRAM) that offer significant improvements over their predecessors. In this article, we will delve into the various attributes of DDR3 and DDR4, highlighting their differences and advantages.

Memory Speed and Bandwidth

One of the key differences between DDR3 and DDR4 lies in their memory speed and bandwidth capabilities. DDR3 memory typically operates at speeds ranging from 800 MHz to 2133 MHz, while DDR4 memory starts at 2133 MHz and can reach speeds of up to 3200 MHz and beyond. This increased speed allows DDR4 to deliver higher bandwidth, resulting in faster data transfer rates and improved overall system performance.

Moreover, DDR4 memory modules have a higher data transfer rate per clock cycle compared to DDR3. DDR3 operates at a base data rate of 800 MT/s (million transfers per second), while DDR4 starts at 2133 MT/s. This means that DDR4 can transfer more data per second, making it more efficient in handling large workloads and demanding applications.

Voltage and Power Efficiency

Another significant difference between DDR3 and DDR4 is the voltage requirement. DDR3 memory modules typically operate at a higher voltage of 1.5V, whereas DDR4 modules operate at a lower voltage of 1.2V. This reduction in voltage not only contributes to improved power efficiency but also helps in reducing heat generation, making DDR4 memory modules more energy-efficient and cooler during operation.

The lower voltage requirement of DDR4 also has implications for system compatibility. While DDR3 and DDR4 memory modules have different physical designs and pin configurations, some motherboards support both types. However, it is important to note that DDR4 memory cannot be used in DDR3 slots and vice versa due to the differences in voltage and pin layouts.

Module Capacity and Density

DDR4 memory modules offer higher capacity and density compared to DDR3, allowing for greater memory expansion possibilities. DDR3 modules typically have a maximum capacity of 8GB per module, while DDR4 modules can go up to 16GB per module and even higher in some cases. This increased capacity is particularly beneficial for memory-intensive tasks such as video editing, 3D rendering, and virtualization, where larger amounts of RAM are required to ensure smooth performance.

Furthermore, DDR4 memory modules support higher memory densities, enabling the use of more memory chips on a single module. This increased density allows for greater memory capacity within the same physical space, making DDR4 an ideal choice for compact systems or servers that require a large amount of memory in a limited form factor.

Latency and Timing

DDR4 memory offers improved latency and timing compared to DDR3, resulting in faster response times and reduced delays. DDR3 memory typically operates with CAS (Column Address Strobe) latencies ranging from 9 to 11 cycles, while DDR4 memory modules can achieve CAS latencies as low as 14 cycles or even lower in some cases.

Additionally, DDR4 memory modules feature improved command bus efficiency, allowing for faster command execution and reduced overhead. This enhanced efficiency translates into better overall system performance, especially in scenarios where low latency is crucial, such as gaming or real-time applications.


DDR3 and DDR4 memory technologies have brought significant advancements to the world of computer memory. While DDR3 remains a reliable and cost-effective option for many systems, DDR4 offers superior performance, higher memory speeds, increased capacity, and improved power efficiency. As DDR4 becomes more prevalent and affordable, it is becoming the preferred choice for new systems and upgrades. Whether you opt for DDR3 or DDR4 ultimately depends on your specific requirements, budget, and compatibility with your existing hardware. Nevertheless, the benefits offered by DDR4 make it a compelling choice for those seeking the best performance and future-proofing their systems.

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