Let’s Talk About Hardware: DDR4 Memory is Coming Your Way, Are You Ready?

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So I bet you are looking at the latest set of console releases and wondering how you can give your PC an edge against those inferior console playing noobs. 

It’s rough, considering that the Playstation 4 and the Xbox One both have the hardware of decent gaming PCs with the advantage that games are optimized to play on them.  But take heart, a secret weapon is about to hit the market in the next year, and it’ll give you the power you need that nether console will have.

That power is DDR4 RAM.  Compared to DD3, DDR4 gives you a massive performance boost.  The most obvious difference is that DD3 can only perform 800 to 2133 million transfers per second, while DDR4 can handle all the way up to 4266 million! 

It also features a far more direct and efficient way for the hardware to connect to the DIMMs, which in layman’s terms means that you’ll get far more out of each stick of RAM than ever before.

DDR4 Incoming?
DDR4 Incoming?

DDR4 has been in the works since 2005, and we’ve been overdue for a RAM type upgrade. 

In comparison with DDR3 again, DDR4 uses 20% less power, which is important for mobile workstations and laptops.  It’s twice as fast, which is a given seeing the huge leap in technology.  What you might not expect is that the density is also much larger.  What is density? 

It’s the amount of RAM you can shove onto one stick.  The smaller DIMM dies allow for more RAM per stick, and it’ll be common to see 16GB DDR4 sticks coming down the pipeline pretty soon.  Curcial has a nifty infographic on their website also explaining why all of this matters.

All of this is worlds faster and better than what has been shoved in the latest generation of gaming consoles, and heads and shoulders better than what people are running under the hood now in the PC gaming world.  So how much will this set you back?  No one is giving up prices just yet, but you are going to have to buy a new motherboard to make the jump.  Also, unlike with DDR2 and DDR3, there will be no cross pollination of the RAM types because they use different methods to carry voltage across the hardware.  The good news is that you won’t have to get a new CPU or change anything else, so you could just drop everything else you have into the new motherboard with your shiny new DDR4 RAM and keep on going.  That said, those who are looking forward to new CPUs should note that reports have come in with Intel having a “DDR4 Reference Test Platform” at the Intel Developer Forum in September, and it used the new Haswell-E processor.

If you think about it, it’s even more likely that you could deck your system out with massive amounts of RAM.  What could you do with so much RAM?  You could use a program called Dimmdrive to load games completely into RAM for super fast load times and performance, bypassing the chokepoint of your hard drive all together!  Hard drives are often the bottleneck for almost all high end gaming systems, and even solid state drives can be slowest component in the whole system.  If you have so much RAM that you could comfortably run an entire game on it, which DDR4 systems likely will, then you should take advantage of it and bypass that drive all together.

Then you can blow away all those console dorks in every category!

Image credits: thanks to [email protected]

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Zachary Freeman is the former owner and co-founder of an IT firm that specialized in custom hardware and software solutions. With over a decade of experience building custom PCs and years spend behind a keyboard and mouse fighting off the Horde, Kilrathi, the Empire, and the likes of Shodan and the Zerg, I've taken my knowledge to the web so I can share my tales and expertise. .

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