Let’s talk about RAM—random access memory—for your custom gaming computer. When it comes to today’s games, the amount of RAM you have can make a huge difference in your overall gaming experience. The right level of RAM gives you a better frame refresh rates and quicker response times, so you never miss a shot or an opportunity to score a few extra points against your opponent. In this article we’re not going to discuss the amount of RAM you need (we always recommend at least 8 GB as a minimum, and 16 GB or 32 GB if you can afford to splurge or want to future-proof your current machine). Instead we’re going to talk about DDR4 and why you want this RAM in your new gaming rig.
What is DDR4?
DDR4 is an abbreviation for “double data rate fourth generation,” which means it’s the newest iteration of memory, and an upgrade from the DDR3. In technical terms, the upgrades to DDR4 when compared with DDR3 include:
- 288 DIMM pins versus 240 pins
- 260 SO-DIMM pins versus 204
- Lower power consumption (1.2V compared with 1.35 or 1.5)
- 70% higher transfer rates (3200 MT/s versus 1866)
- 71% higher peak transfer rates (25600 MB/s versus 14928)
- Different placement of the key notch
- Slightly curved edge connector that makes it easier to insert, and protects pins during insertion from excess force
Why it Matters
The specs are impressive, but when it comes to gaming there are a lot of benefits that you may not realize. The DDR4 RAM operations with lower power, and the energy efficiency of its 1.2V compared to the 1.35V or 1.5V of its predecessor allows your PC to operate at higher speeds without using more power or requiring more cooling. The DIMM density also allows you to go up to 128 GB, which is significantly higher than the DDR3’s max of 32 GB.
The DDR4 provides higher data transfer speeds as well, and not just a marginal increase. The DDR3 transfer rate of 1866 MT/s increased to 3200 MT/s in the newest models, a 70% increase. Peak transfer rates are also about 70% higher, so you get a big boost in overall performance.
Upgrading to DDR4
For those considering upgrading a current PC from DDR3 to DDR4, it’s important to note that the new RAM is not backward-compatible with older generations. The design of the DDR4 includes a slightly curved “v” shape on the pins toward the center, making them longer than the pins on the outer edges, which is different from previous generations. The notch is also in a different place. Before you try to upgrade your current PC, make sure the slot on the motherboard can accommodate the new DDR4 shape.
If your current PC doesn’t support an upgrade to DDR4, start a new custom build at Xidax to get the latest in RAM upgrades, along with the latest in plenty of other upgrades for your PC gaming life.