What Is DDR1 RAM?


DDR SDRAM, also called DDR or DDR1, is one of the more common types of memory found in desktop and notebook computers. If you are considering upgrading the memory in your computer, understanding DDR1 and how to identify it can help you make the correct purchasing decision.


  • If your desktop computer uses DDR1 RAM, the RAM modules will have 184 contact pins on the bottom. DDR1 used in notebook computers has 200 pins per module. Additionally, the RAM modules may have stickers identifying the brand, RAM type, and speed.


  • The types of DDR1 RAM modules are differentiated by the speeds which they are rated to run at. These types include PC-1600, PC-2100, PC-2700, and PC-3200. It is safe to install RAM that is rated for a higher speed than what is required by the computer's motherboard. Lower speed RAM should not be used, however, as it may cause system instability.


  • DDR1 RAM is capable of a maximum transfer speed of 3,200 MB per second. This is significantly faster than the older standard, SDRAM, but is slower than DDR2 and DDR3 RAM. The fastest RAM available in 2009, PC3-12800 DDR3-SDRAM, can transfer data at a maximum rate of 12,800 MB per second.


  • DDR1 RAM is not interchangeable with SDRAM, DDR2-SDRAM, or DDR3-SDRAM. A computer that has DDR1 installed can handle only that type of RAM. The different types of RAM modules are keyed with tabs and notches, preventing them from being installed into incompatible motherboards. A RAM module should never be forced into an upgrade slot if it cannot be inserted easily.


  • As processors have increased in speed, RAM technology has become faster to keep up. DDR-SDRAM entered the market in 2000 and found favor with consumers due to its speed. Double-data-rate RAM could transfer data twice as quickly as the SDRAM commonly in use at the time. DDR-SDRAM remained popular until the 2003 debut of DDR2-SDRAM, which featured twice the speed of DDR1.

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