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In recent years we’ve seen a growing number of PC makers adopt LPDDR memory for thin and light laptops and mini PCs, where space is at a premium. But since that memory is fixed to the motherboard, it’s not user upgradeable.

Last year Dell came up with another solution it calls CAMM (or Compression Attached Memory Module) that takes up less space than a SODIMM, and supports more memory, but is still a replaceable module. And while the first PCs to ship with support for these modules were made by Dell, the organization responsible for setting standards for computer memory and storage has now adopted the technology for a new open standard called CAMM2.

JEDEC

Like the SODIMM standard that has been around for ages, CAMM is a memory module that’s not soldered to the motherboard. That allows PC makers more flexibility in offering customers a range of memory options… and allows end users to upgrade the amount of memory in their computers after purchase.

But the new memory modules are 57% thinner than SODIMMs, and support up to 128GB of memory on a single module, whereas SODIMMs typically top out at 32GB. Not only does this let you buy a single module with a lot of memory on it, but it also means that you can more easily fit huge amounts of memory on a single side of a motherboard (laptops that support up to 128GB of SODIMM memory often need four slots, with two located on each side of a motherboard).

That means laptops that use the new CAMM2 standard can be thinner, while offering more memory… and memory that’s more easily replaced.

JEDECC says the CAMM2 standard “defines a common connector design for both DDR5 and LPDDR5/X” memory, but the pinouts are different for each, so it’s not like modules with different types of memory will be interchangeable.

One other thing to keep in mind? So far, CAMM-based memory is expensive. Dell currently sells 16GB modules for $260, 32GB for $500, 64GB for $1030, and 128GB for $2000. But that’s likely due, at least in part, to the new and exclusive nature of the technology.

Hopefully if the standard is adopted by more PC and memory makers, prices will start to get more affordable in the coming years.

press release

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  1. Dell is a greedy company. Like apple and microsoft. Of course, it’s not about the brand name itself, but about their shareholders. There is no culture on the market. As soon as another company makes a noble gesture, there will be 1,000 greedy ones.

    1. OMG, everyone is greedy. If you happened to own a 1964 1/2 Mustang that you bought new (or inherited from someone who did), you’re not going to sell it for some amount less than paid. You’re going to get what you can for it.
      Similarly, companies price to maximize profits.

      But as to Dell, it took a lot of looking because their website sucks for finding deals, but before Thanksgiving I found a notebook deal on their website that was better than anything I could find on Amazon and other on-line sites, and even better than a great unpublicized deal Costco had. And when it arrived I discovered it even had a fingerprint scanner–something that was unclear on their poor quality website. Turns out though, fingerprint scanners are not all that useful on laptops where you use a separate keyboard most the time.

  2. If only there were some advanced technology that would allow them to install a small door in the back cover of a laptop, so that you wouldn’t have to remove the entire back cover to change out the memory. Doubtful such advanced technology could ever be developed. /obvious sarc

        1. Not clear from the article, but it sounds like the silicon parts are also different form factor/thinner. So maybe “technologies” wasn’t the best term, but until there are factories that pump the parts for these out in mass, they will be expensive.

  3. Having grown up owning and upgrading laptops with two or more so-dimm memory modules that follow the same set of logic in how memory works on desktop motherboards, I’m having trouble getting my brain to accept the fact that one CAMM module is dual channel.

    1. It’s a DDR5/LPDDR5* standard at fault rather than CAMM module specifics. Instead of a single 64-bit bus, DDR5/LPDDR5* employ two 32-bit buses, so while technically it makes them “dual channel”, the bus width is still 64-bit per module.

    2. This is awesome news. So many times a lifespan of a laptop could have been extended if you could just add some more memory. Instead, it ends up in a landfill – so this is a great environmental plus. In fact, knowing I could extend the lifespan of my laptop, I’d even be willing to pay a little more for the memory. It always me to buy what I need “now” and upgrade to what I might need at a later date – typically at cheaper prices for the memory than spacing it out with all the additional RAM from the start. I’m sure prices will drop as it gets adopted – and I certainly hope that it does!