JEDEC has officially published the new CAMM2 memory module standard which brings higher capacities, faster speeds & big space savings.
Bid Farewell To SO-DIMM As Faster & More Efficient CAMM2 Memory Modules All Set To Enter Market Next Year
CAMM (Compression Attached Memory Module) is a memory standard specifically for laptops & portable platforms designed to provide maximum performance and occupy minimal space. It was initially designed by Dell who showcased it during CES 2022 and later moved to make it an open standard. JEDEC later adopted it as the newest memory standard.
The primary advantage CAMM has over the traditional SO-DIMM in laptop memory is that it is very thin, leading to a slimmer design, while also making it easier for the modules & laptops to be field-repaired. In a way, it’s a win-win for both laptop manufacturers and consumers. The company later introduced its 2nd Gen CAMM modules known as CAMM2 and JEDEC has now officially published it as a new memory module standard.
The CAMM2 standard makes use of a slim module, whose contacts are pressed with a bar that is located between the module and the motherboard. The bar is inscribed with a set of pins that provide an interface with the contacts of the motherboard. In novice terms, since the contact between the motherboard and the module is so close, it makes the communication between RAM and the CPU much faster compared to SO-DIMM modules, making it a viable option in getting higher memory speeds.
DDR5 and LPDDR5/5X CAMM2s cater to distinct use cases. DDR5 CAMM2s are intended for performance notebooks and mainstream desktops, while LPDDR5/5X CAMM2s target a broader range of notebooks and certain server market segments.
While JESD318 CAMM2 defines a common connector design for both DDR5 and LPDDR5/X, it is crucial to note that the pinouts for each differ. To support different motherboard designs, intentional variations in mounting procedures between DDR5 and LPDDR5/X CAMM2s prevent the mounting of a module where it should not go.
As announced earlier this year, JESD318 CAMM2 supports stackable CAMM2s: dual-channel (DC) and single-channel (SC). By splitting the dual-channel CAMM2 connector lengthwise into two single-channel CAMM2 connectors, each connector half can elevate the CAMM2 to a different level. The first connector half supports one DDR5 memory channel at 2.85mm height while the second half supports a different DDR5 memory channel at 7.5mm height. Or, the entire CAMM2 connector can be used with a dual-channel CAMM2. This scalability from single-channel and dual-channel configurations to future multi-channel setups promises a significant boost in memory capacity.
Samsung & Micron have already announced plans to offer CAMM in various capacities, speeds & designs. We are looking at up to 128 GB capacities on a singular module with up to 8533 MT/s speeds. The CAMM2 memory modules will come in both standard DDR5 and LPDDR5(X) flavors & Micron has even teased a further optimized version that would offer over 192 GB+ capacities & 9600 MT/s speeds.
However, CAMM isn’t simply all bright and glitters since it does have a few drawbacks since its module is a singular piece, in terms of upgrading and swapping it out, you might need to replace the whole module, which could be relatively expensive.
The certification by JEDC has labeled the standard as CAMM2, and it is distributed into two models, one for DDR5 and the other for LPDDR5/5x. While we can’t say whether CAMM2 will replace the traditional SO-DIMM designs entirely by 2024, it has some key benefits that could be vital to progress in the industry, since CAMM2 offers high memory speeds and is a slimmer standard.
It will be interesting to see whether CAMM2 memory modules see official adoption by memory and laptop manufacturers in the future. Even if the CAMM standard isn’t adopted fully within DDR5’s life cycle, DDR6 and LPDDR6 are the definitive future for the new standard but once again, it will be some time before we get to see those in action.
News Source: JEDC