by Manny Kressel, Director of Services and Hardware, SUMURI, LLC

At SUMURI we get a lot of questions about the new DDR4 (Double Data Rate) memory technology, as opposed to the somewhat older DDR3 RAM, which has been on the market since 2007.  A vast majority of the questions encompass speed and benefits from switching from the older DDR3 to the recently released DDR4.   So, what are the main benefits and what exactly is the difference between the two technologies?

Some of the main differences between DDR3 and DDR4 is that the latter implements increased data transfer rates, higher module density, as well as, higher frequencies, and lower power consumption.   More specifically DDR4 is twice as fast, delivers 50% more bandwidth, and 40% more energy efficient.  The decreased dependency on power with DDR4 equates to reduced CPU load and the ability to run demanding programs much faster than it’s predecessor.

There are numerous acronyms associated with computer technology, and the DDR (Double Data Rate) RAM (Random Access Memory) is not removed from this trend.  While you likely understand, or shouldn’t really be concerned with the acronyms, “DDR and RAM”, one of the more prevalent descriptors you may commonly see with DDR RAM is MT/s.   MT/s represents MegaTransfers per Second or Millions of Transfers per Second, and refers to the number of operations or amount of data that can be transferred per second.  Conversely, you will often see speed of RAM represented in MHz, which is MegaHertz.   More of us are familiar with MHz, which simply put is the clock rate of the RAM or one million cycles per second.  In an effort to make it more simple, MHz means some number of bits (16, 32, 64, etc.) are manipulated one million times per second.  So, the conversion between the two technologies, as it pertains specifically to DDR, is a clock speed of 400 MHz times 2 clock cycles would equal 800 MT/s; or conventionally written as 400MHz x 2 (double) clock cycles = 800 MT/s.  Keep in mind that the equation between MHz and MT/s is dependent upon how many pieces of data for every clock cycle.   Again, with DDR, we refer back to “double”, so we know that there are two clock cycles; hence the “2” multiplier.

If all that is too much to consume, just remember this, the higher the clock frequency (MHz) and the more efficient the RAM (DDR4 vs. DDR3), the faster you will be able to transfer the given number of data(s) through your system.   This is why we at SUMURI decided to make the switch to DDR4 at the end of last year to give our TALINO customers the most efficient and quickest path for data transfers and calculations.

The chart below represents a comparison and an overall description of the technology benefits from running a forensic workstation with DDR4 RAM, like the TALINO Forensic Workstation(s) offers by SUMURI.

Memory Chart

Image Source: http://www.crucial.com/wcsstore/CrucialSAS/pdf/product-flyer/crucial-ddr4-infographic-en.pdf