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Can You Use DDR3 In DDR4 Slot? Things to Be Aware Of

Last Updated Sep 24, 2022

With DDR3 slowly being phased out of production, you may be wondering if the DDR3 slot can be used interchangeably with the DDR4 slot. DDR3 remains as one of the most common RAM options available and is a good processing unit. However, the DDR4 runs faster, which is the reason many are upgrading. So can you use DDR3 in the DDR4 slot? What are some things to be aware of?

You cannot use a DDR3 in a DDR4 slot. It may be tempting to cheat the system, but besides it physically not fitting, you also risk damaging your system. Also, even if you do manage to get it in, the motherboard will not recognize it.

Motherboards are built to use one or the other, specifically. There are some motherboards that can use both DDR3 and DDR4 at the same time but they are very expensive and hard to find. Keep reading to find out what you should be aware of when upgrading your computer’s DDR3 to DDR4.

What Happens If You Put DDR3 In DDR4 Slot?

DDR3 is a different shape than DDR4. The DDR4 has curves whereas the DDR3 does not.  The only way to get it in the slot would be to jam it in, which would normally be an indication to stop. But let’s say you do get it in the slot, what would happen then?

Motherboards are typically designed to run specifically for DDR3 or DDR4 and so they cannot be switched out. Turning on your computer with the wrong RAM would cause extensive damage to the system that can be easily avoided.

If you are serious about upgrading your system, the best practice is to purchase a motherboard that was made to handle the equipment that you want it to.  

What’s the Difference Between DDR3 and DDR4?

Whether you are planning on upgrading soon or are just curious about the newest technology, it’s good to know the difference between these two to stay up to date.  While DDR3 is fine for everyday use like surfing the internet, working from home, and occasional gaming, if you are wanting to do more strenuous things the system may need the support that a DDR4 gives.

There are several key things that differentiate DDR4 from DDR3:

  • Lower draw on power- the DDR4 is much more energy efficient than the DDR3. It only requires 1.2 volts while the DDR3 needs 1.35 or even 1.5 volts to operate.
  • Better module density- This refers to the number of chips on the module. DDR4 offers 2 GB up to 128 GB, while the DDR3 only offers 512 MB to 32 G. This is obviously a huge leap and means that users will have much more capacity. This is great to know if you are a gamer, as most games require a lot of capacity. 
  • Faster processing speeds- On average the DDR4 processes at a rate that is 70% faster than the DDR3. This is a huge upgrade and will make a noticeable difference. 

Now you know the difference between DDR3 and DDR4.

Best DDR4 RAM 

It can be overwhelming to pick out a new RAM system, so here we have compiled a list of the best overall options available. 

They include:

  • Corsair’s Vengeance LPXAt $70 the Corsair’s Vengeance LPX is a great option for beginners. It isn’t the fastest on the market but it’s compact size and affordability makes it a great choice for those that are replacing their RAM for the first time. One con is that it can’t boost beyond XMP profile, so for someone who wants a more industrial system, this may not be it.
  • G.SKILL Trident Z RoyalThe G.SKILL Trident Z Royal is known for its stunning visuals and lightning fast speeds. It is a little more pricey at $176, but is still a great investment. 
  • Thermaltake WaterRam RGBThermaltake WaterRam offers a water cooling compatibility which keeps the system cooler than any other brand on the market. It does come in at $500, but it’s’ beautiful design and ability to water-cool your RAM makes it a favorite of many.

Knowing your options is the best way to upgrade your computer so use our list to pick the best ones for you.

So Can You Use DDR3 In DDR4 Slot?

The short answer is that, no, you cannot put DDR4 in a DDR3 slot. It simply won’t fit and the system will not be able to run on RAM that it was not built for. If you are wanting to upgrade your system the smartest thing to do would be to buy a motherboard that is DDR4 compatible. Due to DDR4’s faster speed, energy efficiency, and better module density, it is a worthy investment.

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