You’ve probably landed on this page because you either want to get up to speed with what DDR laptop memory is or you’re bang in the middle of trying to upgrade your laptop but stuck what to do. Well you know what? You’ve probably landed on a page that can help!
A good place to start is an introduction to DDR laptop memory…
Types of DDR laptop memory
DDR stands for Double Data Rate and is an enhanced (faster) form of SDRAM (Synchronous Dynamic Random Access Memory). Virtually all laptops sold today as well as those sold since circa 2002 use a given (older or newer) version of DDR laptop memory. Put it in plain English DDR memory is faster than standard SDRAM because it can transfer data on both the falling and rising edge of each clock cycle and hence the ‘double’ in its name. There’s absolutely no reason you should remember this but just note that if you ever see DDR SDRAM mentioned anywhere, be sure to appreciate this is the exact same thing as plain vanilla DDR.
So moving on, what types of laptop memory do we have?
DDR laptop memory, otherwise known as DDR1 (though this isn’t an official name instead referred to as just DDR) or DDR SDRAM is the oldest and slowest. It’s predominantly available in capacities up to 1GB (per module) and at speeds of up to 400MHz (effective).
DDR2 is an evolution to DDR with some internal enhancements to boost performance and usually available in capacities up to 2GB (per module) and speeds up to 1066MHz (effective).
DDR3 is presently the latest form of laptop DDR memory and is yet a further evolution of DDR2 boosting speed a further notch. It can be found in capacities up to 4GB (per module) and speeds up to 1600MHz (effective).
Notice that we could have said DDR2 SDRAM just as DDR3 SDRAM. For simplicity sake, stick to remembering that there’s DDR, DDR2 and DDR3 because quite frankly this is what you’ll encounter most! Luckily, the industry seems to prefer the shorthand naming convention.
You may also want to discover more about DDR, DDR2 and DDR3 laptop memory.
How do the above types relate to your laptop? This we’ll examine next!
What type of DDR laptop memory do I need?
When upgrading laptop memory you need to identify what type of DDR memory is used thus supported by your laptop. dell inspiron 3511 i3 11th generation Failing to do this will mean a failed upgrade for a very simple reason – all versions of DDR are incompatible with each other and use a different type of slot connector, which differs in the number of pins (and several other technical aspects).
Speaking of memory slots we need to introduce memory modules. In contrast to desktops your laptop uses a smaller form of memory slot that consumes less space. As a result, the memory modules used in laptops are smaller too. You may or may not have heard the term DIMM (Dual In-line Memory Module) before, especially if you’ve upgraded your desktop computer (now is a great time to jog your memory!). Laptops use SO-DIMM’s – simply append ‘Small Outline’ to a DIMM. The name isn’t very important except what this means in practise, namely you cannot install a DIMM in a SO-DIMM memory slot and vice versa. DIMM’s are considerably longer than SO-DIMM’s and are not designed for use in laptops. Before going further we should also point out that you may stumble upon SO-DIMM written as SODIMM – this is the exact same thing!
So just to recap, we know the different types of DDR, that various versions of DDR don’t mix and also that we can’t use any DIMM’s lying around the house and/or office (should you have any) in our laptop. Next we need to conclude just what type of DDR memory we need, specifically what will work in our laptop.