Goodbye, SO-DIMM: Memory overseer JEDEC will formally adopt the “CAMM Common Spec” as the next RAM module standard for laptops. JEDEC, the memory group that homologates RAM standards, is in the process of hammering out the new spec to replace the basic SO-DIMMs that have been in use for 25 years.
CAMM Design Created by Dell
Tom Schnell, a Dell Senior Distinguished Engineer and JEDEC committee member, actually created the original CAMM—or Compression Attached Memory Module—design for Dell last year. JEDEC’s CAMM standard will be based on that CAMM design but is likely to be somewhat different as companies hammer it out.
Unanimous Approval of the 0.5 Spec
While the adoption of new hardware standards can be fraught, with hand-wringing, foot-dragging, and all the friction of a negotiation among co-workers over where to get lunch, JEDEC seems to have managed it fairly easily. In fact, Schnell said, the acceptance went over quite well with the 20 companies or so in the task group voting for it. “We have unanimous approval of the 0.5 spec,” Schnell told PCWorld. Schnell said JEDEC is targeting the second half of the 2023 to finalize the 1.0 spec, with CAMM-based systems out by next year.
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Benefits of CAMM
CAMM’s main appeal is that it enables higher memory density while also scaling to ever higher clock speeds. Some of the motivation for expediency likely comes from the fast-approaching “brick wall” facing laptops when SO-DIMMs hit at DDR5/6400. Schnell said the CAMM spec is far from finalized, but the first JEDEC CAMM modules should take over right where SO-DIMM ends at 6400.
Future Possibilities of CAMM
With CAMM being hammered out now, Schnell did lay out some possible paths for CAMM as it replaces SO-DIMM. DDR6 is an obvious road, he said, but CAMM even enables the possibility of LPDDR6 on a replaceable module. LPDDR, or low-power DDR RAM, has long been preferred for smaller and thinner laptops as well as phones for power savings. It’s also long been implemented only as soldered-on. Schnell foresees a version of CAMM enabling the performance and power benefits of LPDDR, but in a replaceable and upgradeable module. With JEDEC adopting CAMM now, that future gets closer.
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Frequently Asked Questions
JEDEC is the Joint Electron Device Engineering Council, a global industry group that homologates RAM standards.
The CAMM Common Spec is a new RAM module standard for laptops that JEDEC is in the process of adopting to replace the basic SO-DIMMs that have been in use for 25 years.
The original CAMM design was created by Tom Schnell, a Dell Senior Distinguished Engineer and JEDEC committee member.
CAMM enables higher memory density and can scale to higher clock speeds. It may also enable the possibility of LPDDR6 on a replaceable module, which is preferred for smaller and thinner laptops and phones for power savings.
JEDEC is targeting the second half of 2023 to finalize the 1.0 spec for CAMM, with CAMM-based systems expected to be released by the next year.