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What's the Difference Between DDR1 DDR2 and DDR3?

What is the confusion about RAM? Most computer users do some research before upgrading their system so they exactly know about a perfectly matching CPU, motherboard and video card combination that will meet all their needs. But most of them fail when it comes to RAM.


They just know the size of the RAM i.e. 1GB, 2GB or 4GB, but they don't know what this DDR1, DDR2 or DDR3 is all about. So that's why I came up with a this guide for buying a RAM, because it turns out that selecting the proper DDR variant is a very important factor that determines how your overall system will perform, thus every computer user should be well-advised to learn it.

DDR1 Specifications

DDR-DIM (Double Data Rate DIMM or DDR DIMM), or most popularly just plain DDR. Double Data Rate interfaces provide two data transfers per differential clock. The data becomes registered when the CK goes high (the + side), and /CK goes low (the - side). DDR1 utilizes the JEDEC standard for Double Date Rate (DDR I) SDRAM.

Like all DDR RAM it is available as registered or un-buffered. Registered DIMMs are generally known as FB-DIMMs and have their address and control lines buffered in order to reduce signal loading. FB-DIMMs are considerably more expensive than un-buffered DIMMs and are generally reserved for server use. There are very few enthusiast/prosumer/gamers utilizing FB-DIMMs in their CPU's.

Un-buffered DIMMs don't feature address lines and control line buffering, so they cost quite a bit less. However, they may be system-loading limited and are thus generally restricted in the number that can be fitted onto one system. You'll find that most un-buffered DIMMs these days can only be installed on one motherboard to a maximum of 4 x 1GB.

Buffered or registered DIMMs don't have these limitations and server boards can accommodate 8 x 1GB, 16 x 1GB or more. An interesting and largely unknown aspect of un-buffered DDR DIMMs is that they are able to operate one clock cycle faster then FB-DIMMs.

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