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posted by hubie on Sunday May 12, @10:17AM   Printer-friendly

https://www.ifixit.com/News/95078/lpcamm2-memory-is-finally-here

If you've ever tried to "future-proof" a purchase by paying for everything you might eventually need up front, you know it can be a sucker's game. The problem? We can't actually see the future.

But today we got our hands on LPCAMM2 for the first time, and this looks like the future to us. LPCAMM2 is a totally modular, repairable, upgradeable memory standard for laptops, using the latest LPDDR chips for maximum speed and efficiency. So instead of overpaying (or under-speccing) based on guesswork about your future memory needs, you'll hopefully be able to buy your next laptop and then install more RAM as needed. Imagine that!

Previously: Compression Attached Memory Modules May Make Upgradable Laptops a Thing Again


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Compression Attached Memory Modules May Make Upgradable Laptops a Thing Again 18 comments

The CAMM2 spec was recently finalized, and memory makers are testing the waters:

Of all the PC-related things to come out of CES this year, my favorite wasn't Nvidia's graphics cards or AMD's newest Ryzens or Intel's iterative processor refreshes or any one of the oddball PC concept designs or anything to do with the mad dash to cram generative AI into everything.

No, of all things, the thing that I liked the most was this Crucial-branded memory module spotted by Tom's Hardware. If it looks a little strange to you, it's because it uses the Compression Attached Memory Module (CAMM) standard—rather than being a standard stick of RAM that you insert into a slot on your motherboard, it lies flat against the board where metal contacts on the board and the CAMM module can make contact with one another.

CAMM memory has been on my radar for a while, since it first cropped up in a handful of Dell laptops. Mistakenly identified at the time as a proprietary type of RAM that would give Dell an excuse to charge more for it, Dell has been pushing for the standardization of CAMM modules for a couple of years now, and JEDEC (the organization that handles all current computer memory standards) formally finalized the spec last month.

[...] It used to be easy to save some money on a new PC by buying a version without much RAM and performing an upgrade yourself, using third-party RAM sticks that cost a fraction of what manufacturers would charge. But most laptops no longer afford you the luxury.

Most PC makers and laptop PC buyers made an unspoken bargain in the early- to mid-2010s, around when the MacBook Air and the Ultrabook stopped being special thin-and-light outliers and became the standard template for the mainstream laptop: We would jettison nearly any port or internal component in the interest of making a laptop that was thinner, sleeker, and lighter.

[...] The CAMM standard (technically finalized as CAMM2) tries to offer the best of all possible worlds.

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  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by RedGreen on Sunday May 12, @12:05PM (1 child)

    by RedGreen (888) on Sunday May 12, @12:05PM (#1356646)

    "you'll hopefully be able to buy your next laptop and then install more RAM as needed. Imagine that!"

    I do not have to imagine it you have been able to do this for some time now. There is even little access port on the bottom of most laptops to allow this upgrading at least for the ones where it is not soldered to the motherboard. All this is is another effort to keep the unnecessary changes to ensure no choice but to buy something new when upgrading scam going in the computer industry. It happens all the time with everything from motherboard sockets changing, the ram on them same thing, video cards, power supplies. And do not get me started on that supposed universal serial bus USB garbage with a "standard" that is never a standard, like most of the other things that supposedly follow "standards" in the computer industry. I have not believed their god damn lies for decades now and this simply more of the same....

    --
    "I modded down, down, down, and the flames went higher." -- Sven Olsen
    • (Score: 2) by driverless on Monday May 13, @11:41AM

      by driverless (4770) on Monday May 13, @11:41AM (#1356799)

      LPCAMM2 is a totally modular, repairable, upgradeable memory standard for laptops

      Don't worry, vendors will make sure you can't repair, replace, or upgrade it, just as they did for totally modular, repairable, upgradeable SODIMMs.

  • (Score: 2) by looorg on Sunday May 12, @01:57PM (3 children)

    by looorg (578) on Sunday May 12, @01:57PM (#1356658)

    While I can't see into the future or predict it with accurate certainty I think we can all agree upon that you'll always need more memory. There isn't enough memory. 8GB, 16GB, 32GB ... Whatever you install is going to get used. It's not going to sit idle. If you don't use it the OS will certainly use it when it install more UI-BLING-BLING that you didn't ask for but the UI-wizards at MS or Apple or Google have decided that you can't live without. I think it's the main conclusion or deduction of decades with computer -- resources will always get used, be it RAM, Diskspace, or CPU cycles. It's never idle. It all gets consumed eventually.

    So the safe guess is that whatever you have now you just add more to for the next machine. This has as far as I can tell been a thing with all my machines going back like 40ish years. Just add more.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 12, @05:51PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 12, @05:51PM (#1356674)

      It does use it all for caching data, and it should.

      However.. there's a trend that you don't necessarily *need* more, like you did in yester-year.

      Consider that ten years ago (2014) I was ordering computers with 8GB RAM for the sales folk, Macbook Airs, and 8GB for the finance folk, and 16GB for the designers (mechanical, graphics, ..). There was one exec who demanded 32GB of RAM, for doing design work on a mac and booting into Windows and etc, and he never once used his Windows partition in 1.5y at the company. Never did any design work at all. (Total waste.) Honestly, no one *ever* complained about slowness that was due to lack of RAM. (I did switch some from spinning disk to SSDs as needed, and other customizations for their workflow. Each computer was sized largely for what the user needed, within a few base models.)

      Four years later, at the next company, developers were lead by an engineering/science type who certainly saw the need for good, strong systems for software development. I can't actually remember if systems came default with 32GB or if they came with 16GB, but.. it was good. Very good. Most were python devs, but honestly for the C++ devs, 16 vs 32GB of memory, compilation isn't *that* much faster -- you're taking a break regardless the amount of RAM you have. I had a system with 32GB. At one point I had a memory error and cut it in half to 16GB. I didn't notice any difference in performance.

      Four more years, I'm again on a system with 32GB of memory, and a few months ago while traveling I again had a memory error. The fix? Take out one of the two modules -- back to 16GB. Running Windows, with Linux inside a VM, compilation and RAM-hungry applications, it was perfectly fine. Well - Windows' bad management of VM memory (and not respecting the VM memory settings) caused me to have to restart the VM a lot, but when I did it came back with all that I needed and it was plenty fast.

      Now, Mac is selling new Macbooks and saying "8GB is enough, compared to PC!"

      There's actually a lot of (anecdotal) evidence that memory needs are stablizing at 8-16GB, and have been there for ten years or more, eutside of the most demanding computer-intensive environments.

      • (Score: 2) by drussell on Sunday May 12, @06:13PM

        by drussell (2678) on Sunday May 12, @06:13PM (#1356677) Journal

        Well - Windows' bad management of VM memory (and not respecting the VM memory settings) caused me to have to restart the VM a lot, but when I did it came back with all that I needed and it was plenty fast.

        Windows' handling of virtual memory has pretty much always been total shit, be it for a virtual machine or otherwise.

        The worst offender for ridiculous memory use these days is the web browser bloat.

        Regardless, if you're running 16-32 GB or memory on most systems, you should be running with Windows' pagefile completely disabled. Especially if you're using an SSD. Why would I want to waste my SSDs' write endurance having Windows randomly page out random things unnecessarily. In most applications, memory is cheap enough now that you don't need or want "virtual" memory. The system works way faster that way.

        Even my Windows 2000 laptops all, always ran with virtual memory disabled once I had at least 512 MB in a machine. They always run so much faster with virtual memory disabled!

    • (Score: 2) by drussell on Sunday May 12, @06:06PM

      by drussell (2678) on Sunday May 12, @06:06PM (#1356676) Journal

      ...resources will always get used, be it RAM, Diskspace, or CPU cycles. It's never idle. It all gets consumed eventually.

      That's the typical corollary to Parkinson's law...

      Just like the accumulation of stuff always seems to continue until all available space is consumed.

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by turgid on Sunday May 12, @02:31PM

    by turgid (4318) Subscriber Badge on Sunday May 12, @02:31PM (#1356662) Journal

    Shouldn't you choose one with slots for extra RAM if you don't want to buy a whole new laptop later?

  • (Score: 5, Touché) by drussell on Sunday May 12, @05:59PM (2 children)

    by drussell (2678) on Sunday May 12, @05:59PM (#1356675) Journal

    The fact that you now seem to "need" a machine with 8 or 16 GB of ram just to type and print out a damn letter when the same function worked just fine using WordPerfect 5.1 on an 8086-class machine with 384, perhaps 512 kB of memory is actually rather grotesquely absurd! 🙄

    • (Score: 3, Funny) by jasassin on Monday May 13, @01:15AM (1 child)

      by jasassin (3566) <jasassin@gmail.com> on Monday May 13, @01:15AM (#1356742) Homepage Journal

      The fact that you now seem to "need" a machine with 8 or 16 GB of ram just to type and print out a damn letter when the same function worked just fine using WordPerfect 5.1 on an 8086-class machine with 384, perhaps 512 kB of memory is actually rather grotesquely absurd!

      You could always install DOS with WordPerfect in a VM to use less... oh... never mind.

      --
      jasassin@gmail.com GPG Key ID: 0xE6462C68A9A3DB5A
      • (Score: 2) by drussell on Monday May 13, @11:09AM

        by drussell (2678) on Monday May 13, @11:09AM (#1356795) Journal

        You could always install DOS with WordPerfect in a VM to use less... oh... never mind.

        Yeah, I do run it in DOSBox on FreeBSD, but... uhh... yeah... :)

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 12, @06:29PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 12, @06:29PM (#1356679)

    I remember when NuBus was future proof.

    • (Score: 2) by RedGreen on Sunday May 12, @10:19PM

      by RedGreen (888) on Sunday May 12, @10:19PM (#1356713)

      "I remember when NuBus was future proof."

      Or Firewire, SCSI .... The landscape is littered with the now dead ones. After all you cannot let the parasite corporations leave some profit on the table by ending the never ending upgrade cycle. The new shinny to hype to get the rubes parting with more of their cash until the next change makes that obsolete too, to begin the new cycle.

      --
      "I modded down, down, down, and the flames went higher." -- Sven Olsen
  • (Score: 2) by jasassin on Monday May 13, @01:01AM (1 child)

    by jasassin (3566) <jasassin@gmail.com> on Monday May 13, @01:01AM (#1356741) Homepage Journal

    A major reason why I'm still on a 2010 Dell laptop (upgraded 4GB to 8GB [max] thanks to the SO-DIMM slots) is because of the LPDDR bullshit.

    I get it. It's faster, which I've read is necessary to accommodate the faster CPU's (no idea if this is true) and uses less power.

    The problem is (and it's a major problem) if any part of the RAM is bad your entire laptop is now e-waste! Upgradeability is awesome but what's even more awesome is being able to repair your laptop if the RAM dies, instead of throwing it away and having to buy a whole new laptop (which could've been a $10 part from eBay).

    One can only imagine the amount of laptops floating around on garbage island because of LPDDR, but that's too depressing to think about. On a lighter note, since Lenovo and Dell are in on this I think it might actually become mainstream. I'd love to see it aimed at the consumer market not just the enterprise market.

    --
    jasassin@gmail.com GPG Key ID: 0xE6462C68A9A3DB5A
    • (Score: 2) by drussell on Monday May 13, @10:58AM

      by drussell (2678) on Monday May 13, @10:58AM (#1356794) Journal

      A major reason why I'm still on a 2010 Dell laptop (upgraded 4GB to 8GB [max] thanks to the SO-DIMM slots) is because of the LPDDR bullshit.

      I get it. It's faster, which I've read is necessary to accommodate the faster CPU's (no idea if this is true) and uses less power.

      LPDDR is just slightly lower voltage and uses a bit less total power. Many of the DDR3 SODIMMS sold today are LP-capable (1.35V) but 1.5V tolerant (standard DDR3 SODIMM voltage) so are basically universal 1600 MHz DDR3 SODIMMs.

      If your laptop uses DDR3, you can probably actually upgrade it to 16GB. (You can check the chipset documentation or just try it.) Many of the machines of that era stated "8GB max" but will actually take two 8GB dual rank SODIMMS just fine.

      I just did this a couple months ago in my ASUS K53S (was 6GB factory, spec sheet says it will take 8GB max) using $25 CAD worth of SODIMMS. It runs them at 1.5V (DDR3, non L-type and I also added a 4TB Crucial MX500 SSD to replace the original WD 750GB spinning rust at the same time) This not only meant that all of the memory was now running in dual-channel instead of only the first 4GB, but there is 16GB of it. :)

      It worked so well, I bought another set for my Dell Latitude E6540 that had only a single 4GB. It runs them at 1.35V (DDR3L) so it too now has has 16GB and now runs in dual-channel.

      The generically-branded SODIMMs that I'm using, so I know that they work are currently available on Amazon for $18.44 USD [amazon.com] or $27.99 CAD [amazon.ca], etc. and is new production, not some random, used pull from Ebay. Mine came with Elpida chips on them and are working fine with no issues.

      Newer CPUs will usually expect DDR4 or DDR5 but the memory controller is now usually on the CPU, so memory style support is dependent on the CPU itself and the physical sockets present on a given motherboard.

  • (Score: 2) by VLM on Monday May 13, @11:39AM

    by VLM (445) on Monday May 13, @11:39AM (#1356798)

    No one has mentioned the obvious, interesting idea of Raspberry Pi memory upgrades. They can ship one board and plug in however many GB you feel like.

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