Up For Debate - Is DDR4 Memory Worth The Upgrade Cost

Written by Jon Sutton on Tue, Nov 25, 2014 2:30 PM

Next up in our Up For Debate feature is a discussion around DDR4. Making the leap to the next-generation of memory can be a tricky little blighter. It’s one of those things that rarely has to happen, but when it does it generally involves ripping out your motherboard and everything thats on it and starting your PC build again with DDR4 in mind from the start. We’ve been cruising along with DDR3 for a while now, happy as Larry, but along comes something new and shiny to tempt us.

DDR4 then? It’s new. It’s faster. It’s bloody expensive. Traditionally when I look at the main set of system requirements system memory is often way, way, way down at the bottom of the priority list. In comparison to basically everything else it’s pretty much a bargain, and there’s not many things simpler in the world than throwing in a new stick of RAM.

The basic gist of DDR4 memory is that it offers four key benefits over the previous generation DDR3: It is capable of increased frequencies, has a lower voltage, runs more efficiently, and has an improved chip density. The upshot of this is that uses less power, runs cooler, and runs faster.

In terms of the frequency, sticks of DDR4 RAM begin at the peak of DDR3’s capabilities, 2133MHz, which sticks already hitting the market capable of hitting 3200MHz. Due to the increased density we’re also likely to see larger sticks such as 16GB become commonplace.

It all sounds great, but as with any new hardware there’s one major caveat, the price. 16GB of DDR4 memory currently goes for upwards of £200, while 16GB DDR3 can be easily had for £130. The real difficulty though is that DDR4 will generally need a new motherboard such as Intel’s new X99 chipset, and CPU, unless you’ve picked up a gaming PC very recently.

In terms of actual gaming performance the difference is negligible, but in the PC gaming world it can be all too easy to slip into the trap of buying the biggest and best. Now we want the GD community’s expertise to wade in on the debate. Do you think DDR4 is a worthwhile upgrade? Would you hold fire now if you were buying a new PC, or is it something worth dropping the cash on to get that extra gaming boost? Its Up For Debate below...

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08:28 Nov-27-2014

No way I'm upgrading anytime soon, I just got my flashy Ballistix Tracers :P

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08:58 Nov-27-2014

Are you kidding me? hahaha
never saw that before

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09:46 Nov-27-2014

Nope, not kidding at all :)
I almost bought a Corsair Dominator DIMM set, then I found out about these. They're not nearly as popular as they should be for the price, quality and aesthetics you get!

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11:57 Nov-27-2014

Ballistix is my favorite brand together with Mushkin

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21:47 Nov-26-2014

My next upgrade in eiter 2015 or 2016 will be a new Gpu and a new X99 socket if i want to, probaly both in 2016 :) Depends if i have a job as i am 17 then^^


15 now and i love my current rig, just need a g-synch screen, more ram 16gb 2400Mhz CL 11 and a bigger SSD, maybe a another Gpu, but that will will take some longer time, a custom loop is also on the list... but but.. haft to wait and see :D

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21:51 Nov-26-2014

Sooo who paid for your comp right now? I was working my ass off when i was 16 to pay for my first modest pc

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21:58 Nov-26-2014

After saving 2yrs, getting a Psu, cooling, case sponsored from Fah community, working every oppurtunity i get, i guess mostly me ;)

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22:00 Nov-26-2014

I do admit that its mostly the money from my parents that i have saved (and family) I am just lucky :) Though my dad lost his job, so untill he is getting a new job it will be some savings :/

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12:17 Nov-26-2014

2x 8gb sticks would be nice, haven't seen any. But still get it now you can buy more when it cheaper.

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09:09 Nov-26-2014

Not worth the upgrade cost for me if you notice what you get in return for such a price currently (here) and I'm still happy with my 3GB DDR2 667MT/s RAM :) I could buy it for the environment :P Nah, even aside gaming, it's maybe just for the hardware enthusiasts who are bathing in too many luxury...

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06:56 Nov-26-2014

I personally think the only difference us gamers will see in terms of performance is a decrease in loading times, by a little bit.

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23:31 Nov-25-2014

right now it's not the time for ddr4, stick to ddr3 and you'll be fine

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22:15 Nov-25-2014

In order for DDR4 to become mainstream it will take more than one high-end intel platform to adopt it, and many enthusiasts to buy DDR4, thus leading to mass production and price cuts. Just like any other new tech product. My guess, and most I've seen online, is it will take until 2017 for the prices of DDR4 to become reasonable, but still DDR3 will be lower in price.

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22:05 Nov-25-2014

In my opinion and in my case the jump to DDR4 is great for me personally at least. I have a rig which utilizes DDR2 1066Mhz :D So for me personally it would be awesome. Maybe not for those who have DDR3 operating at high frequency! Dunno :D

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20:21 Nov-25-2014

Linus nails it perfectly, so I'll leave his video here.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=utWnjA4NzSA

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19:38 Nov-25-2014

DDR4 ram has in most cases higher latency than DDR3 right?

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19:44 Nov-25-2014

The lowest latency DDR4 is the same latency as the highest latency DDR3 DIMMs.

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22:18 Nov-25-2014

Yep. The higher speed kind of makes up for it in most scenarios, or even outweights it, but still...

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15:23 Nov-26-2014

I don't know much about ram, but lower latency has better performance for games than higher ram speeds right? for example 7 latency at 1333 is better than 9 latency at 1600mhz

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15:28 Nov-26-2014

not exactly,
more MHz is better and lower CL (CAS latency) is better too,
it's important to get balance of both, you can see some calculated charts on wiki right here :)

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17:59 Nov-25-2014

ATM its simply not worth it, unless you get a compatible APU set up

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17:16 Nov-25-2014

Is this a worthwhile upgrade?
Nah.
As stated above, the performance increase is negligible.
I'd rather get myself that shiny new GTX 970 and see a real performance increase ;)

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17:19 Nov-25-2014
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20:51 Nov-25-2014

lol

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16:41 Nov-25-2014

DDR4 is quite useless upgrade not to mention stacked memory like HBM is ready for production, if not HBM then there is intel supported HMC

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16:36 Nov-25-2014

It is worth it but as soon as it becomes more widely available and prices come down because of more demand

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16:02 Nov-25-2014

Well, DDR3 offers enough bandwidth for most users, including gamers. The only market in what i will think DDR4 will offer worthwhile performance for the money, will be with APU's. Intel's iGPUs are just weak, and probably won't really benefit from DDR4.

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15:47 Nov-25-2014

No,because it's a bit more expensive than ddr3 and for example:
An r9 270X and 6GB DDR3 should perform better or at least equal than r9 270 and 8GB DDR 4 and i think they are at the same price.

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15:51 Nov-25-2014

That's not taking into account the cost of the CPU and Motherboard required for DDR4, which is also brand new, and not cheap. At this moment, DDR4 is only cost effective for workstation PCs and maybe servers, depending on the application.

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15:40 Nov-25-2014

If your building a new PC from scratch, It's probably better to go ahead with DDR4.
However, as a regular PC upgrade, definitely not worth it. Especially considering you'd be switch out your perfectly good MOBO.


Enjoying these "Up For Debates"!
Keep 'em coming guys!

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15:52 Nov-25-2014

Motherboard and CPU, as only CPUs for LGA 2011-3 support it right now.

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15:35 Nov-25-2014

no fakin way haha =P
...but...as soon as prices drop I'll build 6-core Intel based workstation PC :))

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16:17 Nov-25-2014

.,..to work ...sure :-D

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16:51 Nov-25-2014

yes actually, I've been exploring audio/video/image/3D tools for years and so I definitely can make use of as much processing power as possible ;))

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15:28 Nov-25-2014

in the future ssd will become ram i know IT !!!!

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15:48 Nov-25-2014

Uhm, no? SSDs are way slower than even cheap sticks of RAM right now. For example, a single channel stick of 8 GB of 1600Mhz RAM (What's in my PC) has a bandwidth of 102.4 GBps, where SSDs are limited to 6GBps because of SATA. (I hope I did that calculation right)

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15:19 Nov-25-2014

For gamers the importance isn't that much the speed, because you'll be only able to squeeze a frame or two from memory. If you get 16 Gb of DDR4 memory I think you'll be fine untile the next gen meory comes out.

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