Difference between Low Voltage RAM and High Voltage (Normal) RAM


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Published 2 Years Ago On Tuesday, August 16, 2022

This writeup explains the difference between low voltage RAM modules and standard RAM modules. The primary question will always be: Which one is better for your computer system?

Low Voltage RAM vs Standard RAM

Definition of Low Voltage RAM Modules?

Low voltage Memory Modules are a newer generation of computer memory. The term ‘low-voltage’ implies that the RAM requires less power - (1.25V or 1.35V) to operate at a minimum of 1600MHz. On the other hand, the normal RAM modules will render the same result at 1.5V or 1.65V or even higher. This low voltage RAM will have a lower stress on the CPU which will provide more space for overclocking at a higher voltage.

WORD OF CAUTION: It should be noted that low voltage RAM is not supported by all motherboards. Make sure you check the specifications of your motherboard before ordering for a low voltage DIMM RAM modules.

Which RAM is better: Low Voltage RAM modules or High Voltage (also Normal) RAM Modules?

A LV module is preferred because it consumes less electricity and provides the same speed just like HV module. Although it doesn’t matter much for normal use; However, the ability of these RAMs to work on low voltage becomes a significant factor when overclocking is attempted.

For example, a 1.25V RAM module operating at 1600MHz can be overclocked to 1866MHz or even up to 2133MHz without stressing the C.P.U. A 1.5V RAM probably cannot be overclocked this way.

This is one of the many reasons why low Volt Memory Chips are better than High Voltage RAM modules.

Can You combine Low Voltage and High Voltage RAM Modules in one P.C?

Yes, a low voltage RAM Chip can work normally with a high voltage RAM module because it is backward compatible. A motherboard that doesn’t support a low voltage RAM ( maybe 1.35V or lower) will run it at 1.5V because of this backward compatibility feature.

However, it is not advisable to mix these RAM Modules as doing so may diminish the useful life of these components and in turn lower system performance.

The DDR3U – Ultra Low Voltage DDR3 Module

JEDEC, the industry’s standard association for Double Data Rate (DDR3 RAM Modules), is working on another RAM module that works on 1.25V. This RAM module is being called the ‘DDR3U’ where ‘U’ stands for ‘Ultra’.

The RAM will consume 10% less power and provide the same speed. It will also reduce the carbon footprint of computing devices.

Things to note:

  • low voltage DIMM module is backward compatible and includes 1.25V and 1.35V RAM memory.
  • On most memory module packets, the low voltage RAM can either be written as 1.35V or ‘DDR3L’, where ‘L’ stands for ‘Low voltage’ or ‘LV RAM’.
  • If Low Voltage DDR3L RAM is not supported by a motherboard, it will run at the normal voltage of 1.5V.

In Conclusion:

If your system supports low voltage DIMM modules, then buy and use it. If it doesn’t, you can still buy it but know that they will run at the normal voltage. For most people, the price is a limiting factor. So if the price difference is low, invest in the modern technology (low voltage RAMs) that’ll stay relevant for several years.

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