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Intel Skylake DDR3 vs. DDR4 Comparison


DDR3 vs. DDR4 – More Than Just Frequency & Latency

Some people have shied away from DDR4 because of the loose timings, but that’s somewhat shortsighted. As a general rule, memory timings increase as clock speed increases, so of course DDR4 has looser timings since it’s clocked much higher. Having said that, true latency is a function of clock speed, which means that memory latency actually decreases as memory speeds increase. As long as you’re increasing the speed more than you’re loosening the timings, you’ll achieve lower latency, higher bandwidth, and just generally better memory performance. And that is what DDR4 was designed to do. Both Crucial and Corsair have really interesting articles dedicated to this topic. While these are both inherently biased sources – since they really want you to go out and buy DDR4 – both companies are also experts in their field.

Now you might be saying that DDR3 can match certain DDR4 frequencies and do so at tighter timings. That is absolutely true, but it can’t do it at 1.2V or 1.35V. When you consider the 20% voltage reduction and all the other energy-saving features baked into DDR4, the overall power savings are upwards of 30%. If a reduction in power consumption doesn’t excite you, then maybe vastly increased module density will.

While DDR3 memory chips can contain up to 8 internal banks, DDR4 increases that to 16 internal banks. While more internal banks help with performance – by allowing the advance prefetch functions to reduce access latency via increased parallelization – it opens the door to higher density memory modules. Thus, the DDR4 standard supports high-density 128GB DDR4 memory modules, an example of which Samsung just unveiled a few days ago.

The point of this section is not to sell you on DDR4, it’s just a refresher on why the new standard was needed to begin with. Having said that, once you see some of our future reviews, revealing DDR4’s true capabilities and potential, we suspect that no one will need any further convincing. You can see a good example of that in the sneak peak posted above.

When it comes down to it, we can list all the reasons why DDR4 is a step in the right direction, but all we actually care about is performance. Does DDR4’s inherent superiority actually make a difference on Skylake? Are these quad-core processors even able to make use of all that additional bandwidth? That’s what we are here to find out.


  1. Introduction
  2. DDR3 vs. DDR4 – More Than Just Frequency & Latency
  3. Test Setups & Methodology
  4. System Benchmarks
  5. Gaming Benchmarks
  6. Conclusion
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