DDR4 DRAM memory technology is poised to replace DDR3 later this year. But what exactly is DDR4, and what are its advantages over DDR3? Let’s explore DDR4 and the benefits it brings, with insights from Crucial Memory.

Efficient, Faster, and Higher Capacity Modules

Compared to DDR3, DDR4 technology offers several key improvements:

  • Lower Power Consumption: DDR4 operates at 1.2V, reducing power demand. Low voltage versions run at around 1.05V, ideal for mobile devices.
  • Higher Capacity: DDR4 modules can reach up to 16GB per stick, compared to DDR3’s 8GB per stick, thanks to higher density modules.
  • Increased Speed: DDR4 speeds start at 2133MHz, effectively doubling the 1000MHz standard of DDR3. While DDR4 offers higher speeds, it does introduce increased latency compared to DDR3.


Topology Changes

DDR4’s architecture differs significantly from DDR3:

  • Point-to-Point Topology: Unlike DDR3’s Multi-Drop BUS topology, DDR4 uses a Point-to-Point topology. This means DDR4 will only operate in Single Channel with one stick, Dual Channel with two sticks, and Quad Channel with four sticks, limiting upgrade flexibility. For example, a Dual Channel configuration maxes out at 32GB.

Detailed Comparison

Here’s a detailed comparison of DDR3 and DDR4 features:

Feature/Option DDR3 DDR4 DDR4 Advantage
Voltage (core and I/O) 1.5V 1.2V Reduces memory power demand
VREF inputs 2 – DQs and CMD/ADDR 1 – CMD/ADDR VREFDQ now internal
Low voltage standard Yes (DDR3L at 1.35V) Likely 1.05V Further power reductions
Data rate (Mb/s) 800-2133 1600-3200 Higher-speed I/O
Densities 512Mb–8Gb 2Gb–16Gb Supports larger memory subsystems
Internal banks 8 16 More banks
Bank groups (BG) 0 4 Faster burst accesses
tCK – DLL enabled 300 MHz to 800 MHz 667 MHz to 1.6 GHz Higher data rates
tCK – DLL disabled 10 MHz to 125 MHz (optional) Undefined to 125 MHz Full DLL-off support
Read latency AL + CL AL + CL Expanded values
Write latency AL + CWL AL + CWL Expanded values
DQ driver (ALT) 40Ω 48Ω Optimized for PtP applications
DQ bus SSTL15 POD12 Reduces I/O noise and power
RTT values (in Ω) 120, 60, 40, 30, 20 240, 120, 80, 60, 48, 40, 34 Supports higher data rates
RTT not allowed READ bursts Disables during READ bursts Easier use
ODT modes Nominal, dynamic Nominal, dynamic, park Additional control mode
ODT control ODT signaling required ODT signaling not required Simplified control, non-ODT routing
Multipurpose register (MPR) Four registers – 1 defined, 3 RFU Four registers – 3 defined, 1 RFU Additional specialty readout

Market Readiness

Currently, no existing motherboards or CPUs support DDR4, necessitating new hardware to leverage this technology. Intel’s forthcoming Enthusiast-grade Haswell-E chips will support DDR4, while AMD is expected to introduce support later in 2014, according to JEDEC’s roadmap. As with any new technology, expect initial DDR4 costs to be high.

Intel and several memory manufacturers showcased DDR4 at the recent Intel Developer Forum, indicating that its first widespread use will likely be in servers rather than consumer-grade hardware, with the exception of the soon-to-be-released Haswell-E.

Source: Crucial


  1. Ravi Luttikhuizen
    August 10, 2015
    • Ravi Luttikhuizen
      August 10, 2015
    • Leo Bien Durana
      August 11, 2015
    • Ravi Luttikhuizen
      August 11, 2015
    • Leo Bien Durana
      August 11, 2015
    • Ravi Luttikhuizen
      August 11, 2015

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