In recent years laptop memory has either come in the form of a removable SODIMM stick or been soldered to the motherboard. But Dell’s new Precision 7670 and Precision 770 mobile workstation laptops take a slightly different approach.
They both have user-upgradeable memory. But instead of SODIMM sticks, they use a new format called CAMM (Compression Attached Memory Module). As Dell points out, there are some benefits to the new form factor… but there are also some down sides, at least in the near term.
Dell says CAMM modules are 57% thinner than a SODIMM stick, while supporting up to 128GB on a single module. Among other things, that allows for thinner laptops by allowing PC makers to mount up to 128GB of RAM on one side of a motherboard (often to achieve 128GB, you’d need four SODIMM slots, with two mounted above the motherboard and two more below).
Of course, the down side is that CAMM modules aren’t as common as SODIMMs. That may be not be a big problem if you never plan to upgrade or replace your laptop’s memory, or if you’re happy to buy your upgrades directly from the company that makes your laptop. But it could be a problem if you’re used to shopping around for the fastest and/or cheapest third-party solution… since there may not be that many.
Dell says it’s hoping CAMM becomes a new industry standard, and if that happens, it could help alleviate that issue. But for now, good luck finding aftermarket CAMM modules for performing upgrades or replacements.
As for the notebooks that will be among the first to ship with the new CAMM modules, the Dell Precision 7670 is a 16 inch notebook with up to a 3840 x 2400 pixel OLED 16:10 display, up to a 55-watt Intel Core i9 vPro processor, up to 128GB of RAM, and up to 4TB of PCIe NVMe Gen4 storage. plus support for up to NVIDIA RTX A5000 or GeForce 3080 Ti graphics.
Interestingly, while the first models to ship are expected to feature CAMM modules for memory, Dell says eventually you’ll be able to use SODIMM memory with this laptop too – but you’ll need to use a SODIMM interposer that allows you to use current-gen memory sticks with laptops designed to support CAMM modules.
Dell’s Precision 7770, meanwhile, is a 17.3 inch notebook with similar specs and options, except that it has a 16:9 display and there’s no OELD display option, but if you opt for a model with a 4K screen, you get a 120 Hz display panel.
It is absolutely useless bad idea and looking very ugly. No advantages I hope this bad solution to die as soon as possible.
Sure, Dell would love the competitors to standardize so they can own the market and get share in every laptop built.
What about dual channel RAM. Or quad? I guess this will be only one stick.
and f*ck Dell.
“Dell says CAMM modules are 57% thinner than a SODIMM stick because the memory is all mounted to one side of the module”. This is not correct, the CAMM modules can have memory mounted on both sides.
Yep, I misinterpreted part of Dell’s graphic at first. I’ve updated the article to more correctly reflect that they’re saying that since a single CAMM module supports up to 128GB of RAM, there’s no need to mount memory on both sides of a motherboard, which can cut down on thickness and make upgrades easier (if you can find a CAMM module).
Oh. So in that case, maybe they could, or maybe even should, just use full sized DIMMs, they’d just need a socket designed for horizontal use, and have to use DIMMs without those heat spreaders that last I checked they don’t really need anyway.
It’s a mobile workstation, no one cares if it can’t fit in a manila envelope.
Heck for a mobile workstation I might want vertical Sodimms. Allllllllll the cooling airflow.
In theory I support this, but are they just working towards standardization after releasing a product that uses it? I get suspicious because Dell still builds PCs with proprietary PSUs and motherboard shapes. Without multiple suppliers of memory upgrades you can be sure they are going to be very expensive. A quick look at the pictures above does not seem to show the touted benefits of a slimmer form.
I guess it is one step better than soldering ram to the mainboard.
A new incompatibility to beware — mightn’t CAMMs be broken more easily too? If they’re compression-attached, how are they removed — suction?