When it comes to gaming and graphics, one of the most common questions is: Is DDR4 worth it? DDR4, also known as the double data rate fourth-generation, is the next generation of RAM (random access memory) cards or chips. It is considered to be the next step in technology from DDR3.
If you’ve recently tinkered with your desktop computer’s hardware or upgraded your unit with the next-gen components , then you might have encountered concept of DDR3 and DDR4. But what are those, anyway ? Is it worth it to purchase or upgrade to this level or RAM? What are the advantages and disadvantages? Let’s take a closer look:
What is a DDR4?
DDR4 or double data rate (4th generation) is the latest variant in Random Access Memory or RAM. DDR4 has been released to the public since 2014. Since 2007, the best and latest RAM design has been DDR3, which has been the benchmark for RAM variants ever since.
While many people may say that there are no significant improvements over the previous incarnation, DDR4 has subtle but significant advantages over DDR3. While it has not gotten as much hype or recognition as other computer components, most of the latest devices and gadgets now incorporate DDR4 technology in their processing power.
Compared to the differences between DDR3 and DDR2, there is definitely a difference. The upgrade from the second gen to third gen RAM was definitely significant at the time. But the same can’t be said about DDR4 (yet).
What are the Advantages of DDR4?
One of the biggest advantages of DDR4 over its predecessors is its speed and efficiency. The DDR4 Ram offers an increased clock speed (clock speed is measured by how fast the RAM can read and write data).
This means that DDR4 can process information at a faster and more efficient rate. DDR3 had speeds between 1066 and 1600MT/S, but DDR4 has speeds 2133 to up to 3200 MT/s.
The new DDR also has an advantage in power consumption. While the previous DDRs consumed around 1.5 volts to 1.9 volts, DDR4 runs on only 1.2 volts (on overclocked devices). This is all made possible by the chip’s new bus. This power saving upgrade is significant with long run usage.
DDR4 is also denser than DDR3. This allows for more internal banks (16 banks compared to the 8 banks of DDR3), allowing the RAM to pack more memory. This is a significant increase, especially for memory on small gadgets such as smart phones and tablets.
DDR4 also features a lot more bandwidth than DDR3. There aren’t any real world applications for this yet, but CPU’s in the near future are sure to incorporate the additional RAM bandwidth to its design and capabilities.
What are the Disadvantages of DDR4?
One of the disadvantages of DDR4 is its compatibility. Because of its different signal voltage and interface, DDR4 is not compatible with earlier RAMs. The new design and layout of DDR4 also makes it incompatible with most systems and motherboards, so you can’t simply purchase DDR4’s and upgrade your desktop. You will have to overhaul your entire system to be able to use it.
Another disadvantage of DDR4 is latency. DDR4 has as much as 50% more latency for CAS. CAS latency is how we measure the time it takes for the RAM controller to process for a specific memory column on the RAM. So while heavy data applications such as photo and video editing will have better performance, apps with heavy data transactions will suffer considerably.
Another disadvantage of DDR4 is its price: DDR3’s are still more affordable than DDR4. This is mainly because of the technology being used today and the devices that are able to access DDR4. but as soon as the technology catches up with the rest of the world, I expect this to change drastically.
Despite having been available in the marketplace for close to 2 years, there is still a lot we need to see from a DDR4 to make it a must-have upgrade on your computer. Sure, there are some advantages and there are definitely some upgrades, but for the price and the compatibility, it is still much easier and much more convenient to stick with your DDR3 RAMs.
If you’re an avid gamer, you won’t really feel the difference between DDR4 and DDR3, so it’s better to stick with your current setup. For those that feel that they need the extra speed and the saved power that DDR4 provides, then it worth it to overhaul your entire CPU and MoBo.
Right now, the specs and numbers are on the side of DDR4, but it’s not worth the price and the change to go for something that provides basically the same service and performance as your current setup. If you are already planning to change your rig then upgrading to DDR4 will make sense.
So is DDR4 worth it? It’s still too close to call DDR4 a major upgrade over DDR3. But in a couple of years, developers are sure to find out new and innovative ways to use the improvements and advances of DDR4 for a better RAM chip. But until then, stick to your current RAM. If you have any questions , feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section.