CAMM memory could be the successor to DIMM

Daniel Sims

Posts: 763   +31
Staff
Recap: A laptop Dell introduced earlier this year may have brought about the first real alternative to the ancient DIMM and SO-DIMM standards. While there was some initial controversy, Dell has defended its new Compression Attached Memory Module (CAMM) standard due to its connectivity, speed, and efficiency advantages.

When Dell unveiled the Precision 7670 workstation laptop in April, some noticed that the company used it to introduce a new kind of RAM. RAM has used DIMM and SO-DIMM connectors for decades, and Dell might convince the industry to transition to CAMM.

Because Dell patented CAMM, worries spread that it would remain proprietary and that laptops using CAMM could only use RAM upgrades purchased from Dell. However, the company soon told PCWorld it intends to license CAMM out with help from the Joint Electron Device Engineering Council (JEDEC).

Dell may be the only company offering CAMM memory now, but it wants other vendors to support it in the future. Furthermore, Precision laptop models currently supporting CAMM will eventually have SO-DIMM variants, letting users get the latest Precision models while keeping access to more accessible memory upgrades.

Compared to SO-DIMM, CAMM's connectors leave a shorter distance between the memory and the CPU. Along with their thinner and cooler footprint, this lets Dell – and hopefully other manufacturers in the future – make thinner and lighter PCs.

One reason Dell is switching to CAMM is that it thinks SO-DIMM connections will soon reach their limit. The company believes that by the time PCs arrive at DDR6 system RAM, transfer speeds will saturate SO-DIMM. CAMM already has an advantage in this area, allowing for 128GB of 4800 RAM, while SO-DIMM is limited to 4000 at that capacity.

The new standard's only significant drawback so far is that it's a bit harder for users to install and upgrade than DIMM and SO-DIMM. In the new Precision laptops, the process involves removing six screws and a stiffening plate, which is more complex than opening the retention clips for SO-DIMM. However, the added steps probably won't stop anyone already savvy enough to upgrade RAM.

Outside the new RAM style, the Precision 7670 includes the user's choice of 12th-generation Intel processor, Nvidia Quadro RTX graphics card, 16-inch 1920 x 1200 display, and PCIe 4 SSD. Customers can also choose between Windows 10, Windows 11, and Ubuntu. The workstation laptop starts at $2,400.

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takaozo

Posts: 521   +820
Any connector still beats soldered RAM, see XPS 13,15 and MAC books. At least user has an option to upgrade and for the vendor to make a single type board, reducing fabrication costs.
Also if a RAM BGA chip has an issue no more motherboard replacement, faster and cheaper service.
This is a win-win scenario.
 

yRaz

Posts: 4,984   +6,471
My laptop is 0.6 inch thick and it uses SO-DIMMs.

This is just dell trying to justify its proprietary garbage as "da futchah".
If there is a legitimate speed and capacity advantage then I don't see why not. If they can pair that with price advantages then they will have a real winner. If not, then it will just fall to the wayside.

Something that I'd like to point out is that intels optane showed significant performance increases I'm some workloads but it didn't have enough market penitration to be economical for Intel to produce.

Still, it's always nice to see new tech.
 

fps4ever

Posts: 1,111   +1,799
SO-Dimms are not the least bit heavy and going from 4000 to 4800 isn't a big of enough leap in performance to switch to a whole new connection.
 

jerbmega

Posts: 7   +24
Something that I'd like to point out is that intels optane showed significant performance increases I'm some workloads but it didn't have enough market penitration to be economical for Intel to produce.
Optane also had the nasty tendency to stop working and prevent Windows from booting. I've had several instances where a prebuilt machine in an Optane array would stop booting into Windows or would exhibit freezing or stuttering until Optane was disabled, with both the Optane drive and source hard drive confirmed good.

The technology behind the Optane drives were great, and I employ an Optane drive in my TrueNAS for caching, but I'd never use a traditional Optane array in one of my machines.
 

Aryassen

Posts: 211   +240
1) I didn't know So-DIMM is so old. Given how many generations of desktop memoriy formats I have seen (started with DIP ram chips, then EDO, then SDR, then DDR (and as a side note Rambus)...did SO-DIMM just outlast all of them? Weird.
2) I don't see the big leap either. "by the time we reach to DDR6"....OK, then let's get back this topic in 2030, shall we?... :)
3) "Thinner & Lighter PCs" - Ohh come on now. The weight os a So-DIMM module is really not a defining factor for the weight of a laptop. Thinner...I think if the absolute minimum size is the most important, soldered Ram can't be beaten...and if not, the I think we can manage the "extra" 2 mm...besides, the thickness of the RAM module is usually not the bottleneck....heatsinks usually are (even though manufacturers do like to skimp on them :( )
 

Hodor

Posts: 436   +320
Why separate laptop and desktop RAM? I think it's time that we start using universal RAM for all platforms, just like we did with classic SSDs and M.2 modules. Separation only serves producers as an excuse to inflate the prices of RAM for laptops.
 

mbrowne5061

Posts: 2,088   +1,298
SO-Dimms are not the least bit heavy and going from 4000 to 4800 isn't a big of enough leap in performance to switch to a whole new connection.
Just to play devil's advocate: it is a 20% increase, and they did only quote one memory capacity (lower, more common capacities may see larger increases).

But yeah, I am also still largely skeptical that this will take off. Mostly because its Dell, and they're not exactly known for their willingness to play nice with other computing companies and their hardware.
 

fps4ever

Posts: 1,111   +1,799
Just to play devil's advocate: it is a 20% increase, and they did only quote one memory capacity (lower, more common capacities may see larger increases).

But yeah, I am also still largely skeptical that this will take off. Mostly because its Dell, and they're not exactly known for their willingness to play nice with other computing companies and their hardware.

Just to clarify that 20% increase is not linear. Going from 4000 to 4800 is going to increase JDEC Cas latency so it might be a wash or slightly/moderately better depending on a multitude of factors. It does not increase performance by 20% other than bandwidth benchmarks.
 

Hardware Geek

Posts: 459   +538
How much will dell charge other companies to license this design? This could be great but with Dell in control of the standard, it won't last.
 
SO-Dimms are not the least bit heavy and going from 4000 to 4800 isn't a big of enough leap in performance to switch to a whole new connection.

Interesting that a 20% speed bump isn't enough to switch in your opinion, yet people routinely buy whole new video cards for a 10% bump in performance in their video games, and argue over whose manufacturer is best over a 3% difference in frame rates.
 

fps4ever

Posts: 1,111   +1,799
Interesting that a 20% speed bump isn't enough to switch in your opinion, yet people routinely buy whole new video cards for a 10% bump in performance in their video games, and argue over whose manufacturer is best over a 3% difference in frame rates.

No because its not even close to a linear jump in real word performance...its not the same as a 10-20% cpu or video card increase. You are comparing an increase in speed/MHz vs straight up performance increase. Not the same. Also faster memory comes with increased CL. And its a new technology. There are plenty of reviews out there dedicated to increasing memory speed/bandwidth and performance delta's with pc's. Please educate yourself.
 
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