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DDR3 1600 vs 1866 MHz – Which Speed to Go With?

Since the year 2007, the DDR3 modules have been in the market delivering more performance than the DDR2 and DDR1 modules. In a time where we are about to enter the world of DDR5 ram modules, it still is a difficult decision to choose between DDR3 1600 vs 1866 sticks. Both of these ram speeds are the most popular of their time, and today we’ll discuss which one of these you should pick depending upon your need and budget.

Before we get deep into the comparison, let’s first discuss each of these modules one by one.

Common Name Industry Name Max Transfer Rate
DDR3-800(PC3-6400)6400 MB/s
DDR3-1066(PC3-8500)8533 MB/s
DDR3-1333(PC3-10600)10667 MB/s
DDR3-1600(PC3-12800)12800 MB/s
DDR3-1866(PC3-14900)14933 MB/s
DDR3-2133(PC3-17000)17066 MB/s
List of DDR3 modules with their corresponding speed

DDR3 1600 MHz

The DDR3 1600 MHz (code name PC-12800) comes with a peak transfer rate of 12800 MB/s. Now when it comes to playing games, this is enough to handle entry-level to mid-range game titles on your computer.

Even in the current year, many people have DDR3 1600 MHz installed on their computer for playing AAA titles. If we move back in the past, this was one of the fastest memory of its era. Still, it’s a no match for the DDR4 ram modules of today. However, we can compare the 1600 Mhz DDR 3 memory with its own family member like the DDR3 1800 MHz to get a better idea of its performance.

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Also, if you want to overclock this memory on an older motherboard, it would be a difficult task to do. Older generation ram modules were equipped with low-quality heat spreaders as compared to the current generation. So there is a potential risk of losing your memory as a result of overheating.

DDR3 1866 MHz

The DDR3 1866 gets a little edge over the DDR3 1600 stick due to its higher clock speed. There isn’t much of a gain to expect in gaming performance, but you can’t ignore that as well. Also, the maximum peak transfer rate of DDR 1866 is up to 14933 MB/s.

If you already have a DDR3 1600 ram in your computer and you want to jump to an 1866 MHz one, you will see an improved performance while accessing your files and doing multitasking. But the difference would be hardly noticeable for you.

Difference between DDR3 1600 and 1866 Ram Module

The real difference lies in the clock speed, bandwidth, and CAS latency. There are three main deciding factors before choosing a ram module.

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 DDR3 1600 DDR3 1866
Clock Speed1600 MHz1866 MHz
Bandwidth12800 MB/s14933 MB/s
CAS Latecny 10
Comparison Table

Although the DDR3 1833 comes with a bit more core speed, bandwidth, and better CAS latency, it is the DDR3 1600 module that is highly compatible with most motherboards. Also, the DDR3 1600 modules are cheaper and readily available in stock as compared to 1833 MHz DDR3 modules.
High speed ram modules in DDR3 Generation Compared


Finally, as now you are well aware of the main difference between a 1600 MHz and 1866 MHz DDR3 ram, it’s time to make your choice. If we go with the technical terms, then the 1833 MHz module looks like the right option for a gaming build. However, it’s hard to find one of these modules these days on stores like Amazon and eBay. If you find one, it would be a great deal to go with.

The 1600 MHz DDR3 modules are quite common to find in online marketplaces. Moreover, these are cheaper to get and deliver almost the same performance as that of a higher clock speed module in the DDR3 series.

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