The CAMM2 laptop memory standard has been approved. A competitor has appeared in SO-DIMM

The CAMM2 laptop memory standard has been approved. A competitor has appeared in SO-DIMM

A few days ago it became known about the approval and publication of the new CAMM2 RAM standard by the JEDEC community. The advantage of the new modules is their compactness and speed of operation, in the near future CAMM2 will probably appear in laptops and other devices. But it is too early to say goodbye to SO-DIMM, most likely, both standards will coexist for several years. Details about the new product and its prospects are below.

What’s with the standard and JEDEC?

JEDEC – Semiconductor Product Engineering Standardization Committee at EIA (Electronic Industries Alliance). It was founded back in 1958 to develop standards in the electronics and semiconductor industry. The board now has more than 300 members, including Dell, SK Hynix, IBM, Infineon, Micron, Samsung, Toshiba.

As for CAMM2, it defines both mechanical and electrical requirements for DDR5 SDRAM CAMM2 modules, and even LPDDR5/5X SDRAM CAMM2s. The first will be used in gaming and non-gaming laptops and desktop PCs, and the second is planned to be used in the budget segment of laptops and servers.

Experts believe that the new standard will eventually replace SO-DIMM, which has been used for more than 20 years. Of course, this does not mean that the replacement will happen instantly. The process will likely take several years.

About the origins of the idea and the advantages of the standard

The first company that offered to develop compact RAM modules based on CAMM (Consumption Attached Memory Module) technology was Dell. She presented a new format in 2022, and it was not just an announcement. Immediately after demonstrating CAMM capabilities, the corporation released a whole line of Precision 7000 notebooks with new memory, including the 7770 and 7670 models.

A few months later, Dell submitted the specifications for the new JEDEC format. This company did it in order to make it possible to standardize. Which, in fact, ended in December 2023.

The new memory is ideal for portable devices such as laptops or even tablets. The fact is that the compactness of a laptop most often depends on the presence of a RAM module or unsoldering memory on the board. Ultraportable laptops with a regular bar are a rarity, most often in such devices the RAM is unsoldered on the board.

In the case of Dell, one CAMM module allows you to replace four SODIMM modules at once. Thus, four 32 GB SODIMM bars can be replaced by one 128 GB CAMM bar. At the same time, the CAMM bar is 57% thinner than a traditional SODIMM.

As for the options offered by Dell and Samsung, both allow you to make compact devices with a removable RAM module. It is pressed to the contacts with a special connector, screws are also used.

Another advantage of this type of memory is its high reliability. The fact is that the module is firmly fixed in the connector, without the possibility of loosening. Plus, this push connector is used as a heatsink, so the memory doesn’t overheat.

Along with Dell and Samsung, Adata also talked about compact modules in 2023. She announced the new product at the Computex 2023 exhibition.

There is also LPCAMM

This is a variant of the new RAM format from the South Korean corporation Samsung. It has already released the first two models of 32, 64 and 128 GB. In addition to high capacity, the memory works in dual-channel mode. Thanks to this, the speed of data exchange between the RAM itself and the central processor increases.

Due to the size, one would think that the new RAM is intended exclusively for consumer equipment. But Samsung says that LPCAMM will be able to show itself well in server systems as well. Many companies now use the LPDDR format, which allows you to increase system performance. But it is non-modular. Accordingly, even if one memory chip fails, it is often necessary to replace the entire board. And modular LPCAMM, being a fairly productive standard, allows you to solve this problem. If something happens, you can simply replace the module.

Among the advantages of the new format, the company names:

  • reduction of memory board area by 60% compared to DIMM

  • a 50% increase in performance compared to the same format

  • increasing energy efficiency by 70% immediately, which is not bad

In addition to DRAM chips, there are other microcircuits on the LPCAMM module. In particular, SPD and PMIC food management. These components are very sensitive to signal integrity, so they are offset relative to the LPCAMM connector. The total area of ​​the chip is 78×23 mm. The chips are located directly above the connector, which shortens the signal path and increases performance.

It is planned that the new memory will be used in two guises — ordinary removable and unsoldered on the motherboard. Currently, the Korean company is testing the performance of its memory with hardware from various vendors. It is planned to start selling RAM of a new type in 2024, and compatibility with components from Intel has already been confirmed.

Unfortunately, it is not yet known whether the LPCAMM technology is compatible with Dell’s CAMM and CAMM2, but the corporation is likely to provide details soon.

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