Since the introduction of RAM in DIMM (Dual In-line Memory Module) format, there are many types of memory that have been on the market, but since 2000 it is DDR RAM that has prevailed above the rest.
Here we will tell the difference between DDR1, DDR2, DDR3, and DDR4 since its inception in 2000.
It is true that DDR1 and DDR2 RAM are no longer in use, and in fact, DDR1 memory is long gone. DDR3 RAM is out of print, but many still use it, while DDR4 is already established in the market since its launch in 2014 and is currently used by all platforms.
But let’s see what differences we find between DDR1, DDR2, DDR3 and DDR4 RAM so that you can learn to differentiate these types of modules.
DDR1 vs DDR2 vs DDR3 vs DDR4:
DDR stands for Double Data Rate, and basically, it means that they are capable of two reads and two write tasks per clock cycle. This is what all generations have in common, but logically each new generation has been implementing changes and improvements that make them technically very different.
Launched in 2000, it did not start to be used until almost 2002. It operated at 2.5V and 2.6V, and its maximum density was 128 Mb (so there were no modules with more than 1 GB) with a speed of 266 MT/s (100-200 MHz).
Released around 2004, it ran at 1.8 volts, 28% less than DDR1. Its maximum density was doubled to 256 Mb (2 GB per module). Logically, the maximum speed also multiplied, reaching 533 MHz.
This release occurred in 2007, and it was a revolution because XMP profiles were implemented here. To begin with, the memory modules operated at 1.5V and 1.65V, with base speeds of 1066 MHz, but that went much further, and the density reached up to 8 GB per module.
This did not arrive until 2014, but today it is already the most widespread. The voltage is reduced to 1.05 and 1.2V, although many modules operate at 1.35V. The speed has been notably increased, and each time faster memories are released from the factory, but its base began at 2133 MHz. Currently, there are already 32 GB modules, but this is also being expanded little by little.
Although these four types of memory are DIMM formatted and can look very similar in appearance (in fact, they are all 133.35mm long). There are fundamental physical differences whereby we will never be able to plug a DDR1 RAM module into a DDR2 socket.
All modules have an opening in the area of the contacts that will prevent them from being connected to the sockets of another generation (and be careful because if you push too hard, you could break the socket or the RAM module).
In addition, DDR4 RAM memory modules have the contact area with a ridge in the center. It is not completely flat, although it is unnecessary because the incision would not allow us to connect a DDR4 module in a socket of another generation. In the image given below, you can see it with physical differences in each module.
Finally, it should be noted that in each generation, the number of contact pins has changed as follows:
- DDR1: 184-pin (DIMM), 200-pin (SO-DIMM), and 172-pin (micro DIMM).
- DDR2: 240-pin (DIMM), 200-pin (SO-DIMM), and 214-pin (micro DIMM).
- DDR3: 240 pins (DIMM), 204 pins (SO-DIMM), and 214 pins (micro DIMM).
- DDR4: 288-pin (DIMM), 256-pin (SO-DIMM). DDR4 micro DIMMs no longer exist.
RAM differences in performance
The most obvious differences between the different generations of RAM are in the performance. As technology has advanced, the performance has been gradually improved, and this has generally been doubling generation after generation.
Thus, there is an obvious difference between DDR3 and DDR4 RAM for example, and not only in practical terms but also in terms of the sensations that users appreciate when using a PC with one memory or another.
However, it is true, which also has to do with improving the rest of the components’ performance since the change from one generation to another of RAM is usually linked to a complete platform change.
I hope that the article was helpful in understanding the difference between DDR1, DDR2, DDR3, and DDR4. So if you ever think about upgrading RAM in your PC, don’t forget to check the specs of the motherboard to see which kind of RAM it supports.