Tech Tip: What is DDR Memory?

DDR(#) SDRAM stands for Double Data Rate (Insert a number here) Synchronous Dynamic Random-Access. It’s a mouthful, but what is it exactly?

Short Term Memory

Memory modules allow your computer to open and operate multiple software at the same time. It’s what allows you to keep opening new tabs in your browser and allow one to go down the rabbit hole. You can keep opening tabs as long as you have enough memory to support it. When there’s sufficient memory, the computer experience is smooth and enjoyable.

Generations of DDR

DDR SDRAM stands for Double Data Rate Synchronous Dynamic Random-Access


DDR SDRAM, the original, was released in 1998.

The DDR1 module runs two data transfers per clock cycle. It has data transfer rates of 200 MHz to 400 MHz. Being the predecessor to all future DDR modules, DDR1 runs at the highest of voltage rates. DDR1 runs at 2.5V and at low power, rates of 1.8V.

The Days that Banjo-Kazooie, Gran Turismo, 1080 Snowboarding, Resident Evil 2, and Spyro the Dragon were leading the scenes. And while Furbies were irritating parents all over America, Apple had released the iMac G3.

Memory: 32GB
Storage: 128GB
Weight: 40lbs
Display: 15″ Monitor (1024 x 768)


Then in 2003 then was DDR2. Its key benefits was that DDR2 literally doubled the data transfer rate while lowering the voltage required to run it. While DDR1 speed ranged from 200 MHz to 400 MHz, DDR2 speeds were double and ranged from 400 MHz to 800 MHz. And, in some cases transcended beyond double the speeds of their DDR1 counterparts.

Meanwhile, the DDR1 voltage ran at 2.5V as a standard and 1.8V as low voltage, DDR2 was able to achieve it’s standard consumption at 1.8V and accomplish higher performances at 1.9V.

This was all achieved with DDR2 having a bus speed running at twice the speed as it’s predecessor.

Although DDR2 has a maximum capacity of 4GB, the were most commonly seen with 2GB. They were literally twice as good as their predecessors and DDR2 was an apt name for module.

Unfortunately, DDR2 modules are not designed to backwards compatible with their DDR1 counterparts. The pin numbers and the position of the notch differ, so the pieces are not interchangeable whatsoever.


In 2007, DDR3 modules were released. They were the Double Data Rate (Version 3) Synchronous Dynamic Random-Access Module. Clock speeds doubled again. While DDR2 modules clock speed ranged between 400 MHz to 800 MHz, DDR3 clock speeds ranged between 800 MHz to 1600 MHz.

As far as capacity is concerned, DDR3 doubled DDR2 with 8GB per module. However, there are 16GB DDR3 sticks available, 8GB modules were the best seller and most popular.

DDR3 also managed to drop the voltage usage ever further. While DDR2 ran at 1.8V, DDR3 was able to lower power usage down to 1.5V.

In 2020, despite no longer being the standard, the DDR3 module holds its own and is quite prominent in the market. It is and older module suitable for older systems yet hasn’t faded away from the market like it’s predecessors.


Ever since 2014, DDR4 has jumped into the marketplace and dominated the module scene. Data transfer rates have jumped up to 1600 MHz to 3200 MHz, and the voltage is even lower than ever, a shocking 1.2V. As far as capacity is concerned, you can find 32GB and above in the marketplace, however the 16GB is the most cost effective and them ost popular of the modules.


News of the DDR5 module has been out since 2018, when it was originally planned to be released. There was news of it’s release in 2019, and now the computer world is eagerly anticipating to see the DDR5 module take the crown in 2020.

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