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Considering purchasing one of two laptop options which have almost the same specs with the exception that the version with DDR2 RAM is $100 less than DDR3 (there are a few other tiny differences that I'm not too concerned about, such as NVIDIA graphics card vs integrated - I'm not concerned with playing games).

All things held equal, is the performance boost I will get out of DDR3 vs DDR2 worth an extra $100?

(I understand the extra cost is somewhat subjective here, but what I'm really trying to ask about is how much of a difference DDR3 vs DDR2 will make).

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consider this: for $100 (or slightly more) you can buy a 1TB external drive. which would you rather have, slightly more performance or a boatload more storage? –  quack quixote Nov 4 '09 at 14:21
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Well I guess that's what I'm trying to ask about, I'm pretty clueless about memory and speed so I'm trying to quantify how much "slightly more performance" is exactly –  matt b Nov 4 '09 at 14:24

4 Answers 4

up vote 7 down vote accepted

All other things being completely equal - you will not notice any performance difference between DDR2 and DDR3 memory in typical office type scenarios. DDR2 is currently much cheaper than DDR3 (though that is starting to even out), thus you see the price difference. If possible, I would recommend using the $100 difference to purchase additional memory - either as part of the stock configuration or aftermarket from somewhere like crucial.com or newegg.com.

Also, other potential upgrades like a 7200 RPM hard drive, or even an SSD instead of magnetic platters will probably have a bigger impact on performance than the difference in memory technology. Also, the NVIDIA/ATI graphics vs. Intel integrated may be worth the upgrade, as Windows 7 and Vista both benefit from having a better video solution.

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you woudn't get quality SSD for extra $100, but spending, liitle more and getting it seems a good idea. –  domen Nov 4 '09 at 15:59
    
this sounds very reasonable - thank you –  matt b Nov 4 '09 at 16:51
    
+1 for mentioning the video card; it's no longer about games. –  Joe Internet Dec 31 '09 at 4:18

I'd say that it DDR2 vs DDR3 is not a great difference. But if it is coupled with a higher system bus it might be well worth its money. Of course, if its only for facebook and email, it probably doesn't matter either way.
Tell us a bit more about the laptops and their intended usage, perhaps then we might be able to help you more efficiently.

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It depends on the memory speed, but I would say no.

For a given speed, DDR2 is likely better than DDR3 - it will have lower latency. DDR3 merely allows greater speeds. Whatever the speed bump that option might get you, it's likely not worth $100.

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DDR3 is lower voltage and thus likely lower power than DDR2. I suspect that over time, large DDR3 modules will be cheaper than DDR2 as well (ie, 4GB SODIMMs are very pricey for either), and that may make you feel better if you think you will upgrade the ram later.

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