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Home » Memory
Everything You Need To Know About DDR, DDR2 and DDR3 Memories
Author: Gabriel Torres
Type: Tutorials Last Updated: August 27, 2009
Page: 7 of 7
Physical Aspect

Finally, we have the differences at the physical level. You buy memory chips already soldered on a printed circuit board called a “memory module.” Memory modules for each DDR generation are physically different, so for example you won’t be able to install a DDR2 module in a DDR3 socket. Unless your motherboard supports both DDR2 and DDR3 sockets (only a few do), you cannot upgrade from DDR2 to DDR3 without replacing the motherboard and eventually the CPU (if in your system the memory controller is embedded in the CPU, as with all processors from AMD and Core i7 from Intel). The same thing is valid with DDR and DDR2. Other than for a few are rare exceptions, you cannot replace DDR memories with DDR2. DDR2 and DDR3 modules have the same number of pins, however, the key notch is placed in a different position.

Memory Module

Number of Pins







DDR vs. DDR2
click to enlarge
Figure 7: Difference in edge contacts between DDR and DDR2

DDR2 vs. DDR3
click to enlarge
Figure 8: Difference in edge contacts between DDR2 and DDR3

All DDR2 and DDR3 chips use BGA (Ball Grid Array) packaging, while DDR chips almost always use TSOP (Thin Small-Outline Package) packaging. There are a few DDR chips with BGA packaging on the market (like the ones from Kingmax), but they are uncommon. In Figure 9, you can see what a TSOP chip on a DDR module looks like, while in Figure 10 you can see what a BGA chip on a DDR2 looks like.

DDR module
click to enlarge
Figure 9: DDR chips almost always use TSOP packaging

DDR2 module
click to enlarge
Figure 10: DDR2 and DDR3 chips use BGA packaging

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