New standard promises to be faster and denser while taking up less space
Last week, the first details of Dell’s Compression Attached Memory Module (CAMM) type memory surfaced thanks to a leak, but now the official details have been published and the good news is that Dell is saying it won’t be a proprietary solution.
The Compression Connector is unlike anything used by computers today and it is said that Dell expects it to be the next industry standard for memory modules, according to PCWorld. There is a kind of adapter that allows a pair of SO-DIMMs DDR5, with the disadvantage of making the installation higher.
Dell is apparently planning to have its CAMM modules approved by JEDEC, which is the standards organization when it comes to memory. However, even if the CAMM format is accepted as the JEDEC standard, Dell owns patents and will likely charge some sort of royalty fee to interested parties for using them.
That said, if it becomes a JEDEC standard, Dell must follow the terms RAND or Reasonable and Non-Discretionary, so royalty rates would have to be reasonable for JEDEC to agree to make CAMM a standard. The main benefit of this Dell format is that memory installations end up being shorter, as CAMM modules have a one-sided interface, while SO-DIMMs use both sides. This would allow for higher speed memory interfaces, without the need to use something like re-drivers or signal re-timers.
Dell is apparently already gearing up for DDR6 and told PCWorld that when DDR6 arrives, SO-DIMMs will no longer be suitable. Another advantage of CAMM is that higher memory speeds can be used in combination with higher RAM densities, as a single CAMM can host 128GB of DDR5 memory. The type of connector used is known as DGFF and Dell already uses it in some of its products today, as a bridge connector for GPU among other things.
More speed and density
Dell claims that the DGFF connector is capable of handling frequencies up to 20 GHz, or four times the speed of DDR5 memory at 4800 MHz. The physical CAMM will come in different shapes and sizes, but the common part is the compression connector, which is, as the name implies, compressed into place with the help of a pair of screws.
Dell also claims that the CAMM connector can act as a heat sink and help with dissipation, though the company didn’t go into detail on exactly how this should work. There will be what Dell calls a booster plate that sits above the CAMM, likely to protect it from screw damage, but it looks like it can also be extended as part of a heatsink if needed.
The bottom bracket is where the top bracket is screwed on, rather than the compression connector itself. It should be noted that the CAMM does not have any kind of pins, so accurate installation is key, but judging by the photos provided, there are a few types of guides to make this easier. Each of the 14 interface lines appears to have 44 contacts per, for a total of up to 616 interface contact points.
Contact points appear to vary in shape and size depending on their function. A CAMM can be one-sided or two-sided, depending on memory density and the Dell has developed CAMMs ranging from 16 to 128 GB. Dell will begin shipping computers with CAMMs installed later this quarter.
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