Double Data Rate Synchronous Dynamic Random-Access Memory

What Does Double Data Rate Synchronous Dynamic Random-Access Memory Mean?

Double data rate synchronous dynamic random access memory (DDR SDRAM) is a type of random-access memory module that allows for higher
transfer rates and faster performance compared to earlier RAM modules. DDR
SDRAM transfers memory on both the rising edge and falling edge of a clock
cycle, doubling the transfer rate. This is where the name “double data rate”
comes from.

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Techopedia Explains Double Data Rate Synchronous Dynamic Random-Access Memory

DDR SDRAM works on the principle of transferring data on both the rising edge of a clock cycle and the falling edge. While most people might perceive a computer’s clock cycle as a discrete event in time, electronically it is a wave, typically a square wave. This wave has a rising edge and a falling edge. Typical RAM only transmits data on the rising edge, but SDRAM transfers data on the falling edge, which allows it to transfer more data in a clock cycle, doubling the performance of a chip. This is called “double pumping.” DDR can transfer data at a rate of up to 1600 MB/s.

DDR SDRAM modules have complex circuitry to maintain this timing, using phase-locked loops to keep the timing accurate. DDR has been supplanted by DDR2, DDR3 and DDR4. None of these standards are forward or backward compatible, so motherboards with one type of DDR can only use RAM modules that support that standard.

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Margaret Rouse

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.