Perhaps you’re planning to expand your system memory and want to know the difference between DDR3 vs. DDR3L technologies. Increasing RAM with DDR3 cards is a common practice for many users. Also, some users prefer to use DDR3L and DDR3 cards simultaneously. The dual-voltage nature of the DDR3I card leads to some doubt about its compatibility with DDR3. So, how do you decide which one to get?

DDR3L and DDR3 differ primarily in their voltage specifications. DDR3L requires only 1.35V of voltage, while DDR3 requires 1.5V. Because of the lower voltage requirement, DDR3L consumes less power. When compared to DDR3, DDR3L emits considerably less heat. However, DDR3L is not compatible with large devices like computers which is not the case with DDR3.

What Is DDR3?

The Double Data Rate Type 3, or just DDR3, is a form of dynamic random-access memory (DRAM). The DDR3 aims to serve as the successor to the DDR and DDR2 memory systems. 

In 2007, DDR3 entered the market, and most laptops and computers today use this type of memory. Compared with its predecessors, DDR and DDR2, DDR3 is very energy efficient since it operates at 1.5 volts. 

The DDR3 allows for a maximum chip capacity of 8 GB. Different DDR3 RAM frequencies are available, ranging from 800MHz to 2133MHz. 

An example of a DDR3 computer memory module is the DDR3 240-pin module for personal computers with a size of 133.35 mm. In laptops, DDR3L memory modules are referred to as SO-DIMM, whose length is much shorter, measuring 67.6 mm, and has fewer pins, which are 204.

What Is DDR3L?

DDR3L is a low voltage version of DDR3 RAM, as indicated by the letter ‘L.’ Compared to DDR3, DDR3L requires only 1.35 volts, which is 0.15 volts less than what DDR3 uses. The low voltage of DDR3L contributes to its low power consumption. 

It means the device’s battery life can increase by using less power. Therefore, DDR3L is most commonly present in mobile devices and embedded devices instead of desktop computers. 

Low power consumption also has the benefit of generating less heat, which is vital for compact smartphones. All other specifications, such as memory density and frequencies, are identical to those for DDR3. 

There are generally 204 pins on a SO-DIMM module for DDR3L RAM, which is 67.5 mm in size instead of a more extended DIMM module. It is because DDR3L aims for mobile devices which come with SO-DIMM slots.

DDR3 Vs. DDR3L – Head-to-Head Comparison

The following is an in-depth comparison between DDR3 and DDR3L.

Voltage Specification

The main difference between DDR3L and DDR3 is their voltage specifications. The DDR3L is a dual voltage memory that can work at 1.35 and 1.5 volts, while DDR3 only operates at 1.5 volts. 

Considering DDR3L needs a much lower voltage, it consumes less power. In comparison to DDR3, DDR3L generates significantly less heat. DDR3L is incompatible with large devices such as PCs, unlike DDR3, which is compatible.

Processor Compatibility

Compatibility with DDR versions also depends on processor type. Computers with the Intel 4th generation processor or lower will only support DDR3L cards. 

Using both DDR3L and DDR3 is possible if your PC has a processor higher than Intel’s fourth generation. 

Therefore, if your computer does not have a processor higher than 4th Generation Intel, you can only use DDR3L cards. DDR3 memory is not compatible with processors after the 5th generation. In these ranges, you can only find DDR3L and DDR4 support.

Pin Compatibility

Pins are metal parts that connect the RAM to the motherboard. Pin compatible refers to two cards that will fit together indistinguishably. 

Computer memory modules containing DDR3 typically have 240 pins and are 133.35 mm in size. Unlike DDR3 memory modules found in desktop computers, DDR3L modules are available in laptops. 

In addition to being shorter, the 67.6 mm module comes with 204 pins. So, the SO-DIMM version of DDR3L has 204 pins each and is pin-compatible with DDR3.


The memory or RAM of a computer comes in a wide variety of variations. They are custom-built for various types of processors, and the specifications and performance of each vary significantly. 

For example, DDR RAM is a popular choice for selecting RAM for the system. However, you can find different segments within the DDR RAM version. Therefore, I have compared two semi-groups in this article, DDR3 vs. DDR3L.

Harold Anderson
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