Well, the short answer is: no. DDR3 and DDR4 are not interchangeable, although they look similar.
In essence, DDR3 memory is the precursor to DDR4 memory, but they have different technology and specifications.
Thus, you can not use DDR3 RAM on a DDR4 motherboard and it is likely that your motherboard will not able to hold it because of differences in memory.
A memory module’s compatibility depends on several factors: its slot type, its capacity (in GB), its speed (in MHz), and its voltage (in V).
If any of these don’t match up with your motherboard’s specifications listed in its documentation or online, it won’t work.
Hence, you should not attempt to install a DDR3 DIMM into a DDR4 slot.
Doing so could seriously damage your computer’s motherboard, particularly the DIMM slots.
What are DDR3 and DDR4 RAM?
The DDR3 and DDR4 are two different types of RAM. Put simply, the DDR3 is the third generation of the standard while the DDR4 is the fourth generation.
The reason they have different names is because they use different technology and have different capabilities.
DDR3 was originally released in 2007 and has been used in computers ever since.
It’s still being used today as it’s a highly capable type of RAM that can hold up to 16GB per stick (although you won’t find much larger than 8GB for sale) and has a clock speed (the speed at which it works) of 1600 MHz, although it can be overclocked to run faster.
However, when we take into account how long this type of RAM has been around, you can see why people think that it might be outdated for modern computer usage.
DDR4 was released in 2014 and is currently the latest standard of RAM. It’s faster than its predecessor, with a clock speed of 2133 MHz.
As well as having higher clock speeds, DDR4 also uses less power than previous models so your system will run cooler while using it.
You can also get up to 32GB per stick, although many modern motherboards don’t support more than 16GB on each stick – so this won’t really make any difference to most users.
Can You Use DDR3 RAM On A DDR4 Motherboard?
Two different technologies
DDR stands for Double Data Rate, and there are different types such as DDR, DDR2, and DDR3.
The main difference between DDR4 and DDR3 is that the former has twice the bandwidth while requiring lesser power than its predecessor.
The voltage required on both modules is also different with 1.5 volts on DDR3 compared to 1.2 volts on DDR4, which dictates how much power it uses during reading and writing operations.
Note: Please do not try using your DIMM slot backward as you may risk frying your motherboard due to incorrect insertion. Always confirm both module types are compatible before attempting any installation or removal procedures.
Both have different memory controllers
RAM requires a memory controller to function, a circuit that is part of the CPU and manages data transfer.
A DDR4 module cannot run on a DDR3 slot, and vice versa, since they both have different architecture, communication speeds, and so on.
Also since DDR4 was developed after the DDR3, they do not share the same type of slots because of differences in power requirements and pin configurations.
DDR4 uses 288 pins while DDR3 uses 240 pins. DDR4 has a 1.2 V voltage which reduces the overall power consumption of the memory module, and it operates at a speed between 2133 to 3200 MHz (compared to 800 to 1600 MHz for DDR3).
The primary benefit of the faster speed is that it enables more data packets to be transferred per unit time, thereby increasing system performance during workload.
A motherboard will either support DDR3 RAM or DDR4, and there is nothing in between.
Hence, if you have upgraded your motherboard and wanted to use your old DDR3 RAM with it, then you aren’t in luck.
You’ll have to purchase a new DDR4 compatible RAM that matches the motherboard.
When it comes to RAM technology, there is no ‘backward’.
The old can’t work with the new because they are both different.
While the majority of motherboards support either memory module, you should always check beforehand when buying computer products for compatibility purposes.
Can DDR3 and DDR4 work together in a motherboard?
Well no, a motherboard support just a single RAM technology, and there is no such motherboard I know of which provide support for both type of RAM at once.
So if you want to use DDR3 then go with the DDR3 motherboard and vice versa.
Also if somehow (not really possible because of the number of pins) you are able to use both DDR3 and DDR4 in a single motherboard then the performance will be very poor since each type of RAM has different bandwidth, number of signal pins, memory types, etc.
Can you use DDR4 in the DDR3 slot for a laptop?
You cannot use DDR3 RAM in a DDR4 RAM slot. The physical shape of the DDR3 RAM is different than the DDR4 RAM.
The difference between DDR3 and DDR4 RAM is that, while both physically do not fit into the same slots, and are not compatible with each other on a laptop.
Your motherboard will not be able to make sense of any data coming from your (newer) DDR4 stick if it has been written to work only with a DDR3 stick.
DDR3 and DDR4 memories modules are not compatible with each other because they have different pin counts, voltage, interface speeds, and so on.
They require different memory controllers too, which is why you can’t use a DDR3 DIMM on a DDR4 slot.
Hence, if you need to increase your system memory, you can’t use old memory modules with new motherboards, rather you would have to purchase the correct type of memory for that motherboard instead.