Most laptops released over the past two decades have used replaceable SODIMM sticks for memory although a growing number of thin and light systems in recent years have featured non-replaceable LPDDR memory soldered to the motherboard.
But last year Dell introduced a new type of removable memory called CAMM that’s capable of higher capacity and higher speeds while taking up less space. At the time the company said it hoped CAMM would be widely adopted by other companies, and now it looks like that’s a real possibility.
As PC World reports, JEDEC, the organization that managing laptop memory standards (among other things) has voted to approve the CAMM 0.5 specification as a potential replacement for SODIMM memory and version 1.0 of the new specification could be adopted later this year. That would pave the way for companies other than Dell to release their first laptops using CAMM memory as soon as 2024.
CAMM stands for Compression Attached Memory Module, and Dell says the modules it released last year:
- Are 57% thinner than a SODIMM stick
- Support theoretical higher speeds than the fastest SODIMM modules
- Support up to 128GB of RAM on a single module
While a CAMM module is longer and wider than a typical SODIMM module, it’s thinner, which could make it a better fit for thin and light laptops. And since it supports up to 128GB of RAM, it can even be used to reduce the height of high-performance PCs like mobile workstations, which may have to use as many as four SODIMM slots to get that much memory, with two on each side of the motherboard.
Dell also says that the SODIMM format will struggle to support speeds higher than 6,400 MT/s, which shouldn’t be a problem for CAMM.
And Dell Senior Enginer Tom Schnell, who is also a JEDEC committee member, tells PC World that CAMM modules could also be equipped with LPDDR memory, allowing PC makers to use next-gen low-power memory without sacrificing repairability and upgradeability.
Of course, it could take a while before CAMM fully replaces SODIMM. JEDEC voting to approve the new standard is an important step, but PC makers and memory module manufacturers will still need to actually produce hardware using the new standard. And I suspect that transition could take several years.