We get a lot of queries about whether you need the latest DDR4 RAM or if the DDR3 is sufficient for high-end gaming PC. Let’s see whether we should upgrade to the DDR4 Ram for our gaming PC or should we hold on to the DDR3 RAM.
What is DDR4?
The DDR4 stands for Double Data rate fourth generation synchronous dynamic random-access memory. That’s a lot of technical words:). The DDR4 was first released on the market in Q2 2014 and is the successor to the DDR3 RAM. Notably, the DDR4 memory operates at a voltage of 1.2 V with a frequency between 1600 and 3200 MHz, in comparison to frequencies between 800 and 2400 MHz and voltage requirements of 1.5 or 1.65 V of DDR3.
Should You Upgrade from DDR RAM?
As we know the DDR4 is the next generation RAM that we can use with the Intel Haswell E Processor’s like the Core i7 5820K supports the RAM, however, earlier generation of processors like a sandy bridge, IVY bridge and even the Haswell 4th gen processors like Core i7 4790K does not support the DDR4 RAM.
So, it depends on the motherboard and processor whether you should opt for DDR4 or DDR3 ram.
Comparing 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 LGA 2011 socket featuring Sandy Bridge-E and Ivy Bridge-E CPUs on top of the X79 chipset using DDR3 memory. On the other hand, we 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.
Notably, the Intel 5th Gen, 6th Gen, 7th Gen and 8th Gen processors support only DDR4 Ram and you will need to buy the DDR4 ram with these processors. Also, the new Ryzen series processors from AMD support DDR4 memory only.
I will share the benchmarks, to show how DDR4 Vs DDR3 perform in terms of gaming.
Is DDR4 compatible with all the motherboards such as Z77, Z87, or Z97 sockets and Processors belonging to earlier generation?
Answer is no, you will have to get a new motherboard and processor for the DDR4 RAM.
What Benefit DDR4 offers Vs a DDR3 ?
For starters, it uses less voltage in comparison to the DDR3. The DDR3 on average uses 1.5 volts, a DDR4 uses 1.2 volts, resulting in energy saving which is not very significant for a stand alone home PC. The DDR4 has speeds upto 4000 Mhz that 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?
The answer is very subjective and based on the games tested. Also, the gains are not so much as is apparent from below benchmarks.
Beyond the Intel Haswell-E or Broad-Well (Intel 5th generation desktop processor) most of the motherboards have support only for the DDR4 RAM.
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 DDR4 memory are not substantial for gaming. The gain of 2-3 FPS in games while comparing the DDR3 Vs DDR4 is not really significant.
Having said that, DDR4 is the current generation Ram and most of the motherboards and processors have support for it only. Besides, if you are buying a new PC it is essential to have DDR4 Ram. You may not see a major difference in terms of FPS but other tasks can get a speed bump by using a low latency high-speed, DDR4 Ram.
Also, We did a review of the Review G Skills DDR4 3200 MHz RAM TridentZ: How Fast? In this review we have also done some benchmarks that shows how gaming performance varies with the RAM clock speed. You may find it useful.