If there’s one thing PC users hate about it, it’s the inability to upgrade their systems. The recent trend towards soldered RAM and storage has been annoying and now Dell has a new (old) twist on the scenario: proprietary RAM modules. We’ve never seen this type of product on the market before, but it’s something Dell is said to be cooking up.
The news broke when iGPU Extreme He posted a picture of him on Twitter. Dell calls it CAMM, which stands for Compression Attached Memory Module. The company describes the new unit as being designed with modularity and flexibility in mind. It goes on to say that it is thinner, lighter and smaller than its predecessor while still providing more power. We won’t argue with this part, because SO-DIMMs take up a lot of space. But the old SO-DIMM allows you to swap out RAM modules as you wish. You can also buy these memory cards from a variety of manufacturers. It seems that Dell designed this system so that if you want to upgrade, you’ll need to buy the sticks from Dell. That is, unless other memory vendors offer their own CAMMs.
As Tom’s Hardware notes, it appears that Dell’s solution will replace the traditional two-slot design with a single unit. This is where the “thinner and lighter” part comes in, as it appears to achieve a reduction in system memory space. So far, this new system is only coming to the upcoming Precision 7670 workstation. Leaked Photo Notes This laptop will support up to 128GB of DDR5-4800 memory. The photo (on top) shows a wide PCB with two separate areas, with each area having eight memory chips.
In addition to CAMM, Dell also offers another proprietary design: the Dell Graphics Form Factor (DGFF). If the mere mention of a Dell GPU socket gives you PTSD, you’re not alone. Dell and Alienware were notorious for offering an “upgradeable” GPU socket back in the day, but it was too limited in upgrade options to be worthless. However, there is no indication that a similar situation. This is likely to be the company’s next iteration of PCI Express mobile. The leaked specs suggest that the GPU will be an Nvidia RTX A5000 or an Intel 90W card. We assume that means it’s an Arc GPU, as nothing else from Intel has this power rating.
For the record, we’re all in favor of new designs that make things smaller yet more powerful in theory. But we love having options, so it’s doubtful anyone would welcome this news from Dell. It’s also possible that Dell has done their research and found that workstation customers don’t upgrade their RAM often. However, it’s one of those situations where you can’t help but think that the company might expand CAMM’s presence to other laptop lines. We definitely prefer an interchangeable unit over one that’s welded, but these situations usually lead to expensive upgrades.