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DDR3 vs DDR4 Laptop RAM: A Comparative Analysis

The performance of a laptop is intrinsically linked to its hardware, and one of the most critical components in that mix is the Random Access Memory (RAM). As the temporary working space for your computer’s processor, the type of RAM you have can significantly impact your laptop’s speed, efficiency, and overall performance.

Two of the most common types of RAM in the current market are DDR3 (Double Data Rate 3) and DDR4 (Double Data Rate 4). Each has its own strengths and weaknesses, and choosing between them isn’t always straightforward. DDR3, although older, is still widely used in many laptops due to its affordability and compatibility.

DDR4, however, is the newer and faster successor, boasting improved performance and greater power efficiency, albeit at a higher cost.

In this article, Glitchmind will delve into a thorough comparison between DDR3 vs DDR4 laptop RAM, discussing their differences in speed, power consumption, cost, and compatibility.

Whether you’re planning to upgrade your laptop or simply curious about these technologies, this guide will provide you with an understanding of which type of RAM best suits your needs.

What is RAM?

RAM is the main memory in a computer system that can be read or changed at any moment. The data stored in this kind of memory is erased when the electricity supply to the computer or laptop is turned off.

It is referred to by its name as the Main Memory, temporary memory, volatile Memory, or cache Memory in computers. RAM is the full version for RAM would be Random Access Memory.

What is DDR3?

DDR3 is the essential kind of 3rd generation SDRAM used to store memory for the system. This kind of RAM can transfer information from one place to another at a faster speed. The full version of DDR3 RAM is called Double Data Rate.

Here are the most important features to be found in DDR3 SDRAM:

  • Rate of data transfer between 800 and 1600 MMT/s (mega transactions per Second)
  • Operating voltage: 1.8 V
  • Lower signaling standard. Reduced power prefetch of x8
  • Dynamic ODT for better writing signaling
  • Fly-by architectural design
  • Read/Write Levelling
  • Driver calibration
  • Device reset
  • Mirroring of DIMM addresses
  • Improved device pinout

Here are the pros and benefits of making use of DDR3:

  • DDR3 transmits data at a faster rate up to 6400MBps
  • It can provide more bandwidth or high data rates.
  • DDR3 uses less power consumption.
  • DDR3 provides batter latency in comparison with DDR2.

What is DDR4?

DDR4 RAM can be described as the most up-to-date model of RAM widely used to power the future of computers. Due to the reduced voltage and higher transfer rates of DDR4, it can provide maximum efficiency and faster speed.

The full version of DDR4 SDRAM is Double Data Rate Fourth Generation Synchronous Dynamic Random-Access Memory.

Here are some important features to be aware of DDR4 SDRAM kind:

  • Standard for lower signalling
  • Prefetch with reduced power
  • Dynamic ODT for better signaling of writing
  • Fly-by architectural design
  • Read/Write Levelling
  • Driver calibration
  • Device Reset
  • Mirroring of DIMM addresses
  • Improved device pinout
  • Transfer rate of data 2133 up to 3200 MMT/s

Here are some pros and cons of DDR4:

  • DDR4 provides a higher density of modules and consumes a lot less energy.
  • DDR4 is ideal for high-speed games.
  • DDR4 provides more DIMM-specific capabilities.
  • The speed of data transfer is higher when compared to the earlier versions.
  • DDR4 allows for transferring greater speeds, at extremely low voltage, without cooling needs.
  • DDR4’s latency DDR4 is higher than alternative DDR versions.
  • DDR4 refreshes its contents only through self-refreshing, which means it consumes less power.

DDR3 vs DDR4 Laptop RAM

1. Lower power

DDR4 modules have a higher energy efficiency operating at 1.2V than the DDR3’s 1.5V and 1.35V. The lower power consumption results in significant power savings and permits higher speeds with the need for more power or cooling.

2. Higher module density

DIMM density starts at 2 GB and can go 128 GB – an enormous leap from DDR3’s 512MB and 32GB capacity.

3. Faster data transfer speed

The newest ATP DDR4 modules for industrial and embedded applications offer high-speed data transfer as high as 3200 MT/s. DDR4-3200, the most recent industrial DDR4 option from ATP, can transfer data up to 70 percent faster than DDR3-1866. one of the most efficient DDR3 versions available, which gives an impressive increase in theoretical performance.

4. MTps versus MHz

To avoid confusion, it’s best to clear any confusion by defining to avoid confusion; it’s essential to clarify the difference between MTps and Mhz. Certain companies advertise RAM in MTps, while others advertise it in MHz.

MTps (millions of mega-transfers per second) determine the bus and channel speeds based on the number of effective cycles per second. The MHz (megahertz per second) is the measurement of the transmission rate of an electronic device in the form of one million cycles every second.

Typically, DDR RAM is measured in MTps. In contrast, SRAM (static RAM) is measured in MHz because it can only perform one operation every second. DDR3 RAM running at 1066.6MHz will be referred to as DDR3 2133.

It is because DDR is also known as double data rate RAM; RAM runs two processes simultaneously, and the 1066.6MHz is multiplied by 2133MTps.

In essence, MTps and MHF are the same things. However, it’s essential to understand how a company defines its measurement.

5. Pricing

When DDR4 first hit markets, the cost difference was huge. But with more compatible CPUs and motherboards, DDR4 RAM is now cheaper.

But when compared with DDR3 RAM, DDR4 tends to be more expensive. This is a minor difference in purchasing a few modules. If you need a lot of RAM, costs will add up quickly.

Is DDR4 faster than DDR3 RAM?

DDR4 can be much more efficient than the top DDR3; however, there are some cross-overs.

Regarding transfer rates, DDR4 can handle more than a million transactions per second. However, MTps is only one factor to consider when buying RAM.

Timings, including Column Access Strobe latency (CL), also play an essential role in the overall performance of memory. CL measures how many clock cycles are needed for RAM to provide data required by the CPU.

In the end, fast clock speeds do not necessarily translate into greater RAM. The high latency could drag results down, so evaluating all specifications to discover the appropriate RAM to meet your needs is essential.

If you take Corsair’s Vengeance DDR3 kits and compare them against Corsair’s Vengeance LPX DDR4 kits, there’s a noticeable difference in speed and performance.

While the read and write speeds are marginally less on DDR4 kits when compared to the rate of DDR3, which runs at 2133MHz, you must keep in mind that these are the entry-level speeds for DDR4.

Regarding latency, DDR3-1600 has more significant latency than the other DDR4 kit. With a speed of 2,133MHz, DDR3-1600’s DDR4 kit is faster than DDR3-2133. However, as the rate of memory clocks increases, the total latency will decrease, even if timings are looser.

In the end, DDR4 is faster than DDR3 RAM. It also delivers more excellent performance and an affordable cost per dollar compared to the other DDR3 RAM, excluding the basic 1,600MHz.

Why DDR3 and DDR4 don’t work together?

One of the significant distinctions between DDR3 and DDR4 RAM is the arrangement of physical pins. DDR3 RAM utilizes a 240-pin connector, while DDR4 has 288 pins.

A motherboard with DDR4 compatibility will not work with DDR3 RAM and reverse. These connectors’ pins will be different to ensure you don’t mistakenly install the wrong RAM.

The different voltage requirements also mean that a system created to work with DDR4 in mind would not have the right voltage for DDR3 by default and could not even be constructed with this voltage capability in mind.


1. Is DDR4 Better than DDR3 for Gaming?

DDR4 is superior to DDR3 in nearly every way, aside from the price and around a 2-percent increase in latency. It’s also the preferred RAM format for gaming today.

RAM is the least important of the various components in a gaming machine. It does not influence gaming performance. However, it’s essential, mainly when you’re playing at 1080p.

When you connect your computer with a 1440p monitor or higher monitor, the workload shifts from your system’s RAM to the memory integrated into the GPU; however, at 1080p, the data accessing speed remains the RAM’s responsibility.

DDR4 format, with its higher bandwidth, higher clock speed, and lower latency, could give you a decent frame-per-second improvement.

If you upgrade your resolution to a higher resolution, your difference between DDR4 and DDR3 is reduced to a couple of frames per second.

2. Is 8GB DDR4 Actually Better than 16GB DDR3?

These RAMs will be similar in terms of performance in real-world conditions; however, based on the RAM rate at issue, 8GB DDR4 could be superior to 16GB DDR3.

Usually, capacity is the most crucial element of RAM in the gaming system, but because DDR4 is much more efficient and can run at speeds as high as 4800MHz, 8GB is enough.

You cannot evaluate DDR4 and DDR3 capacity at the same level since DDR4 is much faster. The new memory architecture can do more with the power of 8GB than DDR3 could do with 8GB capacity.

If, however, the DDR4 RAM is slower, possibly only 2133MHz, it’s worthwhile to consider the more powerful DDR3 RAM. It will improve performance at 1080p and enhance the speed of general computation.

3. What Happens If I Put DDR3 RAM in DDR4 Slot?

However, DDR4 is not backward compatible and therefore isn’t DDR3 to be forward compatible. Putting a DDR3 stick in the DDR4 socket is a risk for both the stick and the motherboard, possibly causing irreparable damage. It’s a common mistake to make.

We shouldn’t be too concerned about it. However, RAM modules typically have key slots or notch that block their fitting in an uncompatible socket. Therefore, if your piece of RAM doesn’t fit into the space, Don’t try to force it. There’s a good chance you’ve had the wrong RAM format compatible with your motherboard.

Since DDR3 sticks are smaller because they have smaller pins, they could initially appear to fit through the hole, yet they will not be able to clip in securely as the DDR4 stick would. If you’ve opted for DDR4 motherboards, your only choice is to add DDR4 RAM. We’re concerned.

4. Is DDR3 RAM Outdated?

DDR3 was introduced in 2007. In terms of technology, it’s almost a dinosaur fossil. So yes, DDR3 is outdated. However, it’s not by any standards, but it isn’t obsolete by any.

It’s still possible to utilize fast DDR3 RAM with an 8-16GB capacity suitable for modern games. So, get rid of the impression that the DDR3 motherboard is causing problems for you.

With the upcoming release of DDR5 and DDR5, it’s not the best thing to think about an upgrade; however, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with using DDR3 as of now.

The issue is that If you want to leap into the future of RAM, it’s more challenging than purchasing one or two DDR4 sticks. Also, you’ll need a new motherboard, which means an upgrade to your memory seems like it could be more complex, but it does begin to look like an expensive option.

If you decide to take the plunge and spend money on a brand-new build, do not throw away the old DDR3 sticks. Save them for a future appearance. There’s life left in them!

Choosing the right RAM

DDR3 or DDR4 RAM varies based on the hardware that you have in your system. If you’re running an older CPU and motherboard, you choose DDR3.

However, if you already have a compatible motherboard and processor or are considering upgrading, DDR4 RAM can be a better option for a future-proofed choice.

It’s more expensive, and, in a few instances, with lower clock speeds, it might not be as efficient as DDR3 RAM. However, it’s compatible with the most recent hardware.

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