Tech internet was blown away a few months ago when Dell’s new Compression Attached Memory Module (CAMM) leaked, which led to the common belief that the company was trying to develop a way to lock out user guides by creating a proprietary memory standard. However accurate and convincing it may have sounded at that time, the developer and creator of Dell’s CAMM clarified in his interview with PCWorld that the sole purpose of devising a new memory module was to blow up looming bandwidth ceilings in the current SO-DIMM designs. He also informed on how CAMM by Dell will bring a change through its lower cost values and enhanced performance, performance, and better user upgrades.
How CAMM is not a proprietary?
Proprietary is a method adopted by a company that locks its users into buying the upgrades from the same company. The senior, highly distinguished engineer, Tom Schnell, clearly said that standard is one of the tenets of the PC industry; hence the company is trying to put these standards into their products. He further told the media that in the future, a CAMM-equipped laptop would be able to purchase its RAM from the company of their choice and install it in their computer without any hindrance.
He further clarified that at the current moment, CAMM upgrades could only be bought through Dell, but this will change in the future as the other PC-making companies start adopting this technique and stranded scales go up. Like the conventional SO-DIMMS, commodity DRAMs are used to build new memory modules.
Dells justifies that CAMM Is not proprietary on its laptops since conventional SO-DIMMs will be offered to the first precision workstations that come with CAMM. The product manager for Precision workstations, Mano Gialusis, said that the interposer option also goes into the same CAMM mount.
After the development of CAMM, Dell is now on its way to making JEDEC, the memory standards organization, available to people. According to Schnell, “it is far easier to get a standard minted once it’s proven to work rather than trying to create something new every time.”
- Although it is very early to discuss royalties, the company will indeed have royalties and hold patents on the CAMM design.
- The manufacturing of a typical laptop typically results in the cross-licensing of most patents that different PC companies have.
- The licensing should be anti-competitive, reasonably priced, and anti-discriminatory; otherwise, it cannot go through JEDEC since JEDEC requires standards to flow through Reasonable and Non-Discretionary (RAND) terms.
Need for CAMM
Why Dell needs to upgrade its system from the SO-DIMM to CAMM? is a common question that has been moving rounds since CAMM came into the headlines. According to the company and experts, several reasons have contributed to the arrival of a much faster, cooler, and more reliable memory system in the form of CAMM:
- Since SO-DIMMs have not changed much since their first introduction almost 25 years ago, it is being said that SO-DIMM is now heading toward a glass ceiling within a generation of design.
- The convoluted design pattern of SO-DIMs, with its elongating wires and traces connecting the CPU to a SO-DIMM design, is relatively shortened by Dell’s CAMM design. The distance of the wire to the CPU can be reduced to half using a SO-DIMM design. The shorter the length, the less the power needed to run high potential.
- Parallel interfaces are used to build RAM, which means memory receives multiple wires leaving the CPU. to reduce interference, the wire needs to have the same length and spacing to fulfill the signal timing and integrity requirements completely. SO-DIMM surpasses these limitations, but it is said that with the arrival of DDR6, SO-DIMM might as well be past its prime.
- CAMM is already being put to practical use. For example, you can reach a DDR5/4800 transfer speed using two SO-DIMMs. But in a laptop with 128BGB of RAM, if you push it to a four-DIMM design, you need to ratchet it back to the transfer speeds of DDR5/400.
- With CAMM, one can reach 128GB of density and reach DDR5/4800 transfer speeds.
- A compression connector such as the one Dell uses in its graphics card, called DGFF, can hit 20GHz, which is more than four times that of the rough clocks of a DDR5/4800 module’s mega transfer speeds.
Why is CAMM reliable?
CAMM has gotten enough attention over the last few months because of its increased reliability and highly compelling feedback. Experts have provided excellent reasons for CAMM to be better than SO-DIMMs and other memory storage techniques of the past.
- CAMMs possess better reliability, improved thermals, and increased storage space, which can help the companies manufacture thinner laptops.
- The connector acting as a heatsink helps CAMM design dissipate more heat. Whereas with SO-DIMM, the convoluted wires do not allow the heat to leave, and the heat stays trapped, sometimes overheating the system.
- A SO-DIMM design can be very thick if four modules are being used in it. The exact length of four sets of traces is used for working four modules. This leads to the laptop makers mounting them on both sides of a motherboard. This is a hindrance if you want to access RAM on the other side of a motherboard. People usually have to remove the motherboard to do this, which means you are dealing with tricky, delicate cables and there are highly likely chances that you will mess something up or break some component of a laptop.
- Also, using four SO-DIMMs increases the possibility of the module getting loose. CAMM allows the compression to find its place with the connector, improving its protection and reducing its exposure to air. This, according to Schnell, is a big step in making CAMM more reliable and remarkable for the commoner.
Dell plans to set up a new Precision 7770 mobile workstation while the industrial customers hope for a better standard and performance. The incorporation of CAMM into the system is an evident reflection of Dell’s faith.