can you use ddr3 in ddr4 motherboard

Can You Use DDR3 In DDR4 Motherboard? Find Out Now!

DDR3 and DDR4 ram vary heavily from each other as they belong to different technological generations. The RAM support for your motherboard depends on whether both have the same architecture or not.

Picking the latest one at random isn’t gonna work if your motherboard isn’t compatible. 

That brings us to the question: can you use ddr3 in ddr4 motherboard?

DDR3 RAM can’t be used in the ddr4 motherboard. Because both have different builds and aren’t compatible in software and hardware sections. DDR4 is slightly curved in shape and has the key placed in the middle. It also has more pins. Both of these DRAMs are backward incompatible.

Those are the key points to our today’s discussion. Do you wish to learn more about them in detail? Then join us for the full discussion. 

Let’s begin!

What’s the Difference Between DDR3 And DDR4?

It’s not just the hardware difference that makes both DRAMs interchangeable. There are many technical differences between these two volatile memories.

So, what are the differences between ddr4 vs ddr3 ram?

DDR4 ram is more power efficient and faster than DDR3 ram. As DDR4 is the fourth gen iteration, it has better data rate and bus clock speed. However, DDR3 ram is affordable as it’s the older version of its counterpart.

Here’s a numerical comparison table of the two-

Technical AspectsDDR3 RAMDDR4 RAM
Voltage 1.35/1.51.2
Data transfer rate (GBs)8.5-14.917-21.3
Data rate 1066-16002133-3200
Bus clock (MHz)533-8001066-1600
Channel bandwidth 6.40-17.0 GBps12.80-25.60 GBps
Released in 20072015

As the fourth generation DRAM, ddr4 functions on a lower voltage level than ddr3 RAM. It operates on 1.2v or 1.3v whereas ddr3 ram requires 1.5 volts.

fourth generation DRAM

Whether it’s 1.2v or 1.35v ddr4, it takes less voltage to run. Ddr4 is also faster than ddr3. Between the two random access memory, ddr4 has a higher speed. Its transfer rates range from 2.13 GT/s to 4 GT/s.

On the other hand, ddr3’s transfer rate is a little more than 2 GT/s. Since ddr4 has a higher transfer rate it also has an increased latency. But most of the ddr4 RAMs function at CL15-CL16 latency.

So, compared to ddr3’s latency of CL11 ddr4 takes a few nanoseconds longer to read. It also provides a bigger bandwidth of 6.40-17.0 GBps. 

The data rate is 2133-3200 which is almost twice the data rate of ddr3. As you can see, ddr3 is the improved version of ddr3 RAM. It’s better than ddr4 in all aspects.

It is more stable, faster, and has all over improved performance. That makes ddr4 the winner of the ddr4 vs ddr3 debate. The price of ddr4 isn’t very high either.

It’ll cost you $10-$20 more to get the ddr4 counterpart. Which isn’t much compared to its performance. But before you plan on buying it make sure to know your motherboard RAM type.

So, if you’re stuck with your old RAM, then it’s probably best to look at the new gen ones. However, going through all the different RAM and its compatibility will feel like a chore now. 

That’s why check out this fan-favorite recommendations from different forums-

We’ve already mentioned that ddr4 and ddr3 aren’t interchangeable because they aren’t backward compatible. If you are satisfied with your ddr3 RAM then no need to look for ddr4.

Unless you’re planning to change the motherboard it’s not necessary. But it’s a prospective option for your future PC up-gradation.

Can DDR3 Memory Be Used In a DDR4 Motherboard?

No motherboard supports two different RAM technologies at the same time. It can only process a single generation of DRAMs at a time. That’s because all five generations of DRAMs have different builds.

That’s why different RAM types can’t be mixed. This clarifies the question of whether you can use ddr3 in ddr4 motherboard. The answer is no. Ddr3 can’t be used in place of the ddr4 motherboard.

ddr4 motherboard

If you have a ddr4 motherboard, you’ll have to use a ddr4 ram with it. There’s no other option for it. The same is true for the ddr3 motherboard. It operates with ddr3 RAM and ddr4 won’t run on it.

However, your motherboard might have both ddr3 and ddr4 memory slots too.

In that case, you can use either of them according the board’s requirements.

But more importantly, ddr3 won’t even fit on a ddr4 motherboard. Previously, we mentioned both have different builts. Ddr4 has a slightly curved shape than ddr3. 

It also has more pins than ddr3 has. There are 288 pins in ddr4 whereas ddr3 has 240 pins. But that’s not the only reason why it won’t fit in another motherboard.

The DRAMs have a small notch also known as a key among the pins. The notch fits into a suitable wedge on the motherboard. The placement of these keys is different in all five-generation DRAMs.

The key placement in ddr3 is near the sides. But in ddr4 RAM the key is placed close to the middle. Given all that, a ddr3 ram cannot fit into a ddr4 motherboard.

For the same reason ddr3 with ryzen isn’t compatible. You have to use ddr4 with rygen. Even if you manage to fit them somehow they still won’t run on your computer. 

Trying further may result in damaging the hardware components.

Can DDR3 & DDR4 Work In the Same Dual Motherboard?

Earlier we answered your query to can ddr3 work in ddr4 slot. You must already realize they can’t work together. But what about the dual or combo motherboards?

Although rare, there are some dual motherboards that support both ddr3 and ddr4 DRAMs. Like Biostar’s hi-fi series motherboards. Even though those are dual-motherboards, they can only operate with one RAM at a time.

can ddr3 work in ddr4 slot

That means you can’t use two different types of DRAMs together. You can either use ddr3 or ddr4. Both can’t be used combined and have to be switched while using each time.

Whether you are enabling dual-channel or single-channel RAM you’ve to enable either ddr3 or ddr4. So, no real benefit comes from using dual or combo motherboards. 

This rather makes it less efficient than normal motherboards. Yet the price is quite high for them due to their scarcity. 

Rather than using these dual motherboards, a regular motherboard is more efficient for users.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

A few more talks regarding ddr3 and ddr4 RAMs-

What is the latest RAM type?

DDR5 is the latest DRAM to reach the market. It’s the fifth generation of DRAM. Although it introduces the latest technology it isn’t the best among the other generation DRAMs. They also don’t work on all laptops or PCs. Ddr4 is more compatible and easy to find in the market. It’s cheaper too.

Which RAM works faster between SRAM and DRAM?

Between SRAM and DRAM, SRAM is faster. SRAM doesn’t need to be refreshed by electric charges. When retrieving the data, the CPU doesn’t have to wait for data access. They also run on less power. But the creation of SRAM chips is pretty complex. This is why they are more expensive than DRAMs.

Which DRAM is better for gaming between ddr3 and ddr4?

For a better gaming experience, you’d require RAM that has a higher data rate. Speed is also very important. Ddr4 has a better transfer speed than ddr3 and thus saves a lot of energy. That’s why using ddr4 is better than using ddr3 DRAMs if you’ve gaming purposes.


Now you know the answer to can you use ddr3 in ddr4 motherboard. Hopefully, our post was able to provide you with the answers you were looking for.

Before you make any purchase make sure to learn your motherboard’s type and version. Because buying the electronic components at random can easily turn out to be a waste.

That’s all for today and happy PC building!

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