Is DDR3L RAM and DDR3 RAM compatible?

I have a Notebook that I want to upgrade, Toshiba Satellite C55-B5212KL and (the manufacturer specs are here) where they clearly state that the RAM is a DDR3L.

Now my question comes from the fact that I have dual OS (Windows 8.1 and Linux Mint 17.3) and the outcomes after using an app on Windows and running two commands in Linux are like this:

Outcome of memory under Windows 8.1

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Outcome of SPD under Windows 8.1

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Linux: sudo lshw

enter image description here

Linux: sudo dmidecode --type 17

enter image description here

On Linux the results are straightforward and they don’t show that my laptop has a DDR3L memory, they say it has a DDR3 @1333 MHz. On the other hand the app in Windos 8.1 also shows a RAM DDR3 but @666 MHz which is confusing for me since I don’t know so much about hardware.

So again, whom should I trust for upgrading my laptop and making the right purchase, my output from two different OS or the manufacturer specs?

  • Small note, but as you can see I edited your post to set inline images. Of course at the time of this post you don’t have enough reputation to post images. But in the case of the Linux command output, it’s always better when the output is text to just copy and paste that text into the body of your question or answer itself. It makes things easier to read and easier of the page to be searched on if someone is dealing with an issue similar to yours. Hope you get an answer that focuses on your issue and hope you earn more rep so you can add images on your own! Dec 15, 2015 at 6:45
  • 1
    Thanks Jake, I'll take your advice on the command output. Sorry for the terrible drafting on this question, kind of late here and not a native in the English language. Hope to earn more rep soon.
    – juliotv
    Dec 15, 2015 at 6:56

1 Answer 1


DDR3L is identical to DDR3 except for the ability to operate at lower voltages, officially 1.35 V. Otherwise, it is identical, and can be used with any DDR3 compatible device. However, some devices are designed for lower voltages and may be damaged by the higher voltages, which would cause reduced device lifetime.

Typically, Laptops are designed for DDR3L for improved battery life, but you can check by reading the voltage delivered to your memory. To be safe, you can use DDR3L anyway, though the performance would be slightly lower, hardly anything is memory bound any more due to the high efficiency of modern caches.

  • Thanks for the answer. To summ up, DDR3L and DDR3 are compatible but it's not recommended to change if I don't want my device lifetime reduced.
    – juliotv
    Dec 15, 2015 at 6:45
  • So, could the laptop be damaged by using regular DDR3, or the regular DDR3 could be damaged by the laptop? Should Julio use regular DDR3 or may something be damaged?
    – Xen2050
    Dec 15, 2015 at 7:15
  • @Xen2050 The designed-for-lower-voltage device could be damaged by higher voltages, and if you only deliver the lower voltages, the hardware isn't guaranteed to work in the first place, and even if it does, it would likely produce errors. Since the motherboard / memory controller on CPU is doing the delivery of voltage, using memory designed for higher voltages is bad, and to be safe, use the low voltage version
    – timuzhti
    Dec 15, 2015 at 7:24
  • So in this case, nothing could be damaged? Just the expecting-higher-voltage regular DDR3 may not work reliably? Answer says DDR3L & DDR3 are otherwise identical, and then says may be damaged, and now DDR3 may not work. Not very clear
    – Xen2050
    Dec 15, 2015 at 7:32

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