We get lot of queries about whether Gamers should use the DDR4 RAM or DDR3 is sufficient for high end gaming PC. Lets see whether we should buy the DDR4 Ram for our gaming PC or should we hold on with the DDR3 RAM.
What is DDR4 ?
DDR4 stands for Double Data rate fourth generation synchronous dynamic random-access memory. DDR4 was released in the market in Q2 2014 and is successor to the DDR3 RAM. DDR4 memory operates at a voltage of 1.2 V with a frequency between 1600 and 3200 MHz, compared to frequencies between 800 and 2400 MHz and voltage requirements of 1.5 or 1.65 V of DDR3.
Should You Upgrade from DDR3 to DDR4 RAM ?
DDR4 as we know is the next generation of RAM which we can use with the Intel Haswell E Processor’s like the Core i7 5820K supports the RAM however earlier generation of processors like sandy bridge, IVY bridge and even the Haswell 4th gen processors like Core i7 4790K does not support the DDR4 RAM.
To compare the performance of a DDR3 VS a DDR4 is difficult as they are not supported by the same processor for instance a Core i7 4790k can’t support the DDR4 RAM but supports a DDR3.
Currently we have socket LGA 2011 featuring Sandy Bridge-E and Ivy Bridge-E CPUs on top of the X79 chipset using DDR3 memory and we also have the LGA 1155 and 1150 sockets for the Ivy Bridge and Haswell processors.
Intel latest processors Haswell-E, supported by the new X99 chipset uses the DDR4 memory. With the Haswell-E architecture, the Core i7-5960X, i7-5830K and i7-5820K are meant for users seeking multi core performance. The 5960X is the successor to the 4960X, and has been upgraded to an 8-core design. The 5820K has received a core upgrade as well, touting a 6-core design.
All of this looks pretty good for marketing and on paper specs sheet. Buyers may also benefit for multi-tasking and tasks where processor is using more cores, however the gaming performance gains are not significantly higher compared to the old main stream Core i7 3770k or Core i7 4790k. Will share the benchmarks how DDR4 or even the Haswell E series processors gain in terms of gaming compared to the legacy processors.
Is it compatible with all the motherboards with Z77, Z87, or Z97 sockets and Processors belonging to earlier generation to Haswell E?
Answer is no, you will have to get a new motherboard and processor for the DDR4 RAM.
What Benefit DDR4 offers Vs a DDR3 ?
It uses less voltage compared to the DDR3. While a DDR3 on average uses 1.5 volt a DDR4 uses 1.2 volt which also results in energy saving which is not very significant for a stand alone home PC. The DDR4 has speeds upto 3200 Mhz which is significantly faster than the DDR3. Most gamers out there are using 1336 Mhz or 1600 Mhz clock speed RAM.
The RAM enables higher DDR4 frequencies, lower latencies and enhanced stability but does it translate to increase in FPS in games is very subjective to the game as well as the gains are not so much which justifies the higher cost of DDR4.
While Intel will be moving beyond Haswell-E to Broad Well (intel 5th generation desktop processor) we may see most of the motherboards having support only for the DDR4 RAM. This may happen somewhere in late 2016 or beyond and prices of the DDR4 RAM may also fall and becomes more affordable.
Gaming Benchmarks DDR3 Vs DDR4
Concluding Thoughts :DDR4 VS DDR3 RAM Should I Buy DDR4 for Gaming PC
Crux of the matter is that gains from the high cost DDR4 memory are not substantial if you need it just for gaming. The gain of 2-3 FPS in games while comparing the DDR3 Vs DDR4 does not financially justifies the purchase of DDR4 at this point of time.
I would recommend to put money in a better graphics card or cooling solution to get better performance from your gaming PC RIG. In case you are planning to get the Haswell E processor and an X99 motherboard you have little choice but to go with the DDR4 RAM which is more suitable if you intent to use the 6-8 cores.