DDR3 vs DDR3L

This article explores the DDR3 and the DDR3L types of RAM to help you decide which one is right for you.

WePC DDR3 VS DDR3l min

Nowadays, it seems that everyone needs to use their computers. Whether for gaming, work, or even for catching up on your favorite tv show.

Whatever the reason, you can bet that you’ll encounter a great deal of performance enhancement if you have the right amount of RAM.

This is where the DDR3 and the DDR3L RAM comes in! In this article, we’re going to be covering the differences between the DDR3 and the DDR3L, in order to help you decide which one may be right for you.

What Is It?

To break it down, RAM essentially stands for ‘Random Access Memory’, and helps to keep communication running between the cache in your CPU, and the storage of your SSD (or solid-state drive).

It is an important part of your computer, but it can be pretty confusing to get your head around. As RAM is a type of short-term memory, your computer will use it to store important data regarding data usage and other information there temporarily.

The more RAM that you have, the more quickly you will be able to access and retrieve data as and when you need it. However, as it is only temporary storage, all contents stored within your RAM will be wiped clean every time that you power off your PC.

What are They?

DDR3 stands for ‘data rate three’, and is a type of DRA (dynamic random-access memory) that was first developed in 2007. DDR3 RAM memory chips have a base clock speed of around 400 MHz and can be boosted to 1066 MHz and can range in size anywhere from 1 to 24 GB.

Then, the DDR3L was developed. It is essentially the exact same as the DDR3, with the only difference being that it uses less power.

This is why it features the ‘L’ on the end of the name, which stands for ‘low voltage’. Both designed for Intel 4th generation processors, the DDR3 operates at a voltage of 1.5V, while the DDRI operates at a voltage of 1.35V. This makes the DDR3I more power-efficient than the DDR3.

What Forms are Available?

DDR3 is an abbreviation for ‘Double Data Rate 3’, and comes in two forms:

  • DIMM – This stands for ‘dual in-line memory module’ and is suitable for servers and desktops.
  • SO-DIMM – This stands for ‘small outline DIMM) and is made for smaller units, such as a laptop.

Now, though these two types of RAM are pretty much the same, the two types are not compatible with each other, and cannot be used interchangeably. This is because they have different pins.

Can They be Used Together?

In some instances, both the DDR3 and the DDR3L are compatible and will be able to be used together for one computer. The SoDIMM versions DDR3L and the DDR3 each feature the same amount of pins (204), which are little metal pieces that are able to connect the ram to the motherboard. As the two cards (SoDIMM only) are compatible, it means that they will both fit together in one slot.

In addition to this, the upgraded DDR3L is known as a ‘dual voltage memory’ which means that it is able to support both a 1.3 and 1.5 voltage power supply, while the older DDR3 will only be able to support computers with a 1.5 power voltage. As a side note, PCs that have been built with the intel 4th Generation will only be able to support DDR3L memory cards, but any other kind of computer will be compatible with both.

Voltage and Power Usage

There isn’t too much difference between the two cards when it comes to power. The older DDR3 operates at a single voltage power of 1.5, which ensures a solid and fast performance. In contrast, the DDR3L module uses less voltage power, which ensures that the chip will operate at a much cooler temperature, which means that the DDR3L has a lower risk of overheating out of the two.

What are the Main Differences?

DDR3:

  • The DDR3 is a single-voltage chip and can only operate at 1.5V.
  • It isn’t compatible with 4th Generation Processors, which are only compatible with a 1.35V power.

DDR3L:

  • The DDR3L can be used with the DDR3 as it is pin compatible.
  • It is a dual-voltage chip and can be operated at varying voltages of a default 1.35V, all the way to 1.5V if required.

Which One is Better?

So, out of the two, which one comes out on top? Well, that answer comes down to what you intend on using your RAM for. If you currently have a computer that utilizes the 4th generation Intel processor, then you’ll need to go with the DDR3L, as it is compatible with the system.

On the other hand, if you currently have DDR3 RAM and you’re wondering if an upgrade to DDR3L is worth it (or simply want to combine the two to give yourself more RAM to play with) then we recommend doubling up with the DDR3L, as long as you can comfortably afford to.

From a technical standpoint, as the DDR3L is the newer RAM chip, it only makes sense that it should come out as superior. Though both the DDR3 and DDR3L generally serve the same purpose, the DDR3L is a lot more power-efficient and uses 25% less energy than the DDR3.

Not only that, but as a newer model, it’s safe to assume that the DDR3L is better equipped at handling the demands of next-generation computers and laptops, making it the most future-proof out of the two.