What is the difference between a DDR4 and DDR3 RAM?

What is the difference between a DDR4 and DDR3 RAM? The world of hardware is constantly evolving, with new proposals increasingly innovative and, for this reason, many are in demand.

From a first point of view we can see that the modules are quite similar to each other, even if it is totally improbable to be able to insert DDR4 in slots destined to DDR3. This is due to the fact that the position of the recess placed in the base of the RAM is different. In addition, the DDR4 have a greater amount of pins than the DDR3: 288 against 240. As a last detail, we can deduce that the DDR4 have the same length as the DDR3, but they are slightly higher.

JEDEC has decided to focus on some aspects of fundamental importance with regard to DDR4, namely: increase in frequency, increase in chip density and decrease in operating voltage. With regard to the DDR3 see 1.5 and 1.35 V during the operations, while the DDR4 require 1.2V. This change has brought interesting results with regard to the decrease in consumption towards memory, a truly beneficial result. This change also affects the temperature of the RAM.

DDR4 RAMs have been designed to consume less if put in idle mode. From the memory frequency point of view, we see 2122 MHz, even if the memory kits can reach 3200-3300 MHz. With this new hardware, proposed in 2014, it is possible to accentuate the density of the memory modules; SK Hynix provides a new 128 GB model on 8 gigabit chips created through a 20-30 nanometer process. The DDR4 RAM have some advantages and defects compared to DDR3, which we will now analyze in detail.

Making a quick summary, the DDR4 see a reduction in consumption due to the 1.2V power supply; they have higher densities that can be reached with more spacious modules and other advantages are expected over time. However, we must also talk about the negative aspects of this new product. First of all, we must mention the price. We are talking about an innovative technology and the price much higher than the DDR3 RAM. As soon as platforms that support them are created, even DDR4 RAM should cost less. Another negative side we find in the decidedly high timings: they occur in DDR4 memories, CL 15-16 compared to CL 8, 9 or 10 of the DDR3 RAM.

From the point of view of compatibility, the DDR4 are indicated only for the Intel X99 Express; you can find many motherboards with this chipset and three processors, which we will now analyze. The strongest is the Core i7-5960X, priced at $1000 with frequencies ranging from 3 to 3.5 GHz. In addition, it has 20 MB of L3 cache, 40 PCI Express 3.0 lines and a memory controller with four channels. Let’s move to the Core i7-5930K, from the price of about $600 with two cores and 5 MB of L3 cache less than the first mentioned. The last one is the Core i7-5820K, priced around $400 with six cores, 15 MB of L3 cache and a quad-channel DDR4 controller. It has 28 PCI Express lines. Currently the purchase of DDR4 is aimed at particular users, especially against those who want to build workstations or servers.

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