GDDR-RAM vs. RAM: What’s the Difference?

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GDDR-RAM and System-RAM are common terminologies you come across in the world of desktop computers. While the terms may seem similar and interchangeable, they are not. System RAM and GDDR RAM differ in their application, and one cannot be replaced by the other.

Read on to learn the difference between GDDR RAM and RAM.

What do GDDR-RAM and DDR-RAM mean?

Before we get into the basics, it’s good to have a solid foundation of what these two common terms mean. DDR is the abbreviation for Graphics double data rate, while GDR is the abbreviation for. is Double the data rate.

RAM, or Random Access Memory, is short-term computer memory that holds all of your programs and data that are currently in use. In general, however, you will see DDR RAM, which is simply referred to as RAM.

For more information, see our complete guide to RAM.

With this in mind, you now know that both GDDR-RAM and DDR-RAM are only short-term memory modules in your computer. Another difference is that everyone has their uses.

GDDR-RAM vs. RAM: Use Cases

In short, the main difference between GDDR RAM and RAM is the use case. As you probably know, both your computer’s GPU (graphics processor) and CPU (central processing unit) require memory to perform their various functions. This is where GDDR-RAM and DDR-RAM come into play.

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GDDR RAM is used in graphics cards, while your computer’s CPU uses RAM. The reason for this specialization lies in the nature of the functions your graphics card and CPU perform to meet your end-user needs. Since graphic processing requires higher data transfers, GDDR-RAM has been specially optimized for high bandwidth requirements in order to ensure optimal performance.

On the other hand, due to its narrow memory bus, RAM cannot perform large data transfers at once. However, it can transfer small amounts of data with very little latency to ensure that your everyday computing tasks such as opening a Word document, surfing the Internet, and others run smoothly.

That brings us to the underlying technologies that make GDDR RAM and RAM better handle their respective functions.

Related: Things You Need To Know Before Buying a Graphics Card

GDDR-RAM vs. RAM: Technology

The difference between GDDR-RAM and RAM applications arises from the underlying technology. Basically, GDDR-RAM uses a wider memory bus, which ensures that large amounts of data can pass through once.

For example, GDDR6 has data rates of 18 gigabits per second (Gbps). This is crucial considering the kind of work GPUs do – rendering graphical data like images, or ensuring a seamless experience in your favorite RPG game.


System RAM sticks

RAM, on the other hand, is optimized for low latency rather than high bandwidth data transfers.

RAM has a narrow memory bus and therefore transfers less data at a time. However, RAM is perfect for processing multiple operations at the same time. Because of this, you can open different applications on your computer at the same time and switch tasks seamlessly.


Aside from bandwidth, GDDR and DDR RAM also differ in other areas such as power consumption and latency.

It is also important to note that there are different versions of GDDR RAM and System RAM. When it comes to RAM, there are DDR1, DDR2, DDR3, DDR4 and DDR5. Here is an in-depth article on what different generations of RAM mean.

GDDR-RAM follows the same naming conventions, but with some optimizations. GDDR RAM versions include GDDR, GDDR2, GDDR3, GDDR4, GDDR5, GDDR5X, GDDR6, and GDDR6X.

In addition, GDDR-RAM and RAM are developed independently of each other. For this reason, at the time of writing, the latest generation of GDDR RAM is GDDR6 while the latest iteration of RAM is DDR5.

Related: How Much RAM Do You Really Need?

Different RAM for different work

GDDR and DDR-RAM are both short-term desktop memories, the main difference being in their main functions. GDDR-RAM is built into the GPU for graphics-related tasks, while system RAM is connected to the CPU for normal computing tasks. However, the CPU and GPU communicate via the PCI Express bus.


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