While we have been led to believe that the larger a RAM is, the faster our smartphones will be, it not always about the size after all. While manufacturers aren't lying, the phenomenon is more like going for more coffee without taking a look at the variety of the bean.
RAMs, like processors, have their own clock speeds which need to be in tune with the clock speeds of the processors they are working with. If a RAM's clock speed is lower than the processor's, it will drag down the performance of the latter and if it is higher, it will bring no added benefit as the processor will continue to perform the way it has been designed to.
Until last year, DDR3-grade RAM was the most capable smartphone RAM around, generating speeds between 800 and 2133 MT/s, much faster than DDR2 or earlier-generation RAMs and enabling quicker multi-tasking and switching between apps. However, with the latest generation of premium smartphones, a newer DDR4 RAM has started seeping in which offers speeds between 2133 and 4266 MT/s. These RAMs can work effectively with powerful processors like the Apple A9, Snapdragon 820, Exynos 8890 or Kirin 950 whose clock speeds are quite similar.
Apart from offering higher speeds, the newer RAMs also consume much lesser power than their predecessors. While DDR2 consumed 1.8 volts, DDR3 consumed a slightly lesser 1.5 volts and the DDR4 can get by with just 1.05 volts! This ensures a longer battery life for your smartphone without compromising on performance.
As per reports, Samsung is currently working on a new LPDDR4x RAM which offers similar speeds as the DDR4 but consumes just 0.6 volts of power compared to 1.05 volts consumed by the latter.
Among RAM manufacturers, Samsung Semiconductors and Micron are currently the best known and produce a bulk of RAMs that are powering modern smartphones. As per Android Authority, Micron's DDR4 RAM offers a clock speed of 2.1 GHz and a transfer rate of 4266 MT/s while the one manufactured by Samsung offers a clock speed of 1.6GHz and a transfer rate of 3200 MT/s. In terms of size, Micron also offers up to 16GB of DDR4 RAMs and Samsung is also working towards mass-producing the same in the near future.
So if you want to buy a smartphone with better power efficiency, higher clock speeds and amazing transfer rates, do check if the phone comes with a DDR4 RAM and do ask your seller about the manufacturer of the RAM as well.
The latest DDR4 RAM debuted last year with premium phones powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon 810 and Samsung's Exynos 7420 processors. These included LG G Flex 2, Samsung Galaxy S6 and 6 Edge, HTC One M9 and Xiaomi Mi Note Pro. Several tablets like Sony Xperia Z4 tablet also launched with the DDR4 RAM.
In September last year, Apple launched the iPhone 6s with the latest 2GB LPDDR4 RAM manufactured by Samsung which offered twice the speed compared to the RAM in iPhone 6 and better energy consumption. The same RAM is present inside the just-launched iPhone SE which is presently retailing at mid-range prices.
As of now, almost all premium phones running the fastest processors have adopted LPDDR4-grade RAMs and with the pace at which technology is advancing, we should come across an LPDDR5 RAM with a premium smartphone in the near future. Yes, we're thinking about Apple iPhone 7 too!