Skip to main content

Dell's Proprietary DDR5 Module Locks Out User Upgrades

Compression Attached Memory Module
Compression Attached Memory Module (Image credit: iGPU Extremist/Twitter)

Twitter user iGPU Extremist recently shared photographs of Dell's upcoming Precision 7670 laptop. Unfortunately, it would seem that Dell has developed a proprietary form factor for DDR5 memory, which the company has baptized as the Compression Attached Memory Module (CAMM). So the upgrade path is still there, but only through Dell.

The objective behind CAMM is probably to provide a compact alternative to replace two SO-DIMM memory slots. The image reveals what appears to be a single-sided module with 16 integrated circuits (ICs). The module features two zones with eight ICs on each side. The design should run in a dual-channel configuration and would indicate that CAMM is Dell's substitute for two SO-DIMM memory slots. In addition, the marketing material for the Precision 7670 shows support for up to 128GB of DDR5-4800 memory via CAMM.

CAMM helps Dell simplify designs for its laptops while also contributing to a thinner and possibly lighter body. At first glance, it sounds like a better implementation than soldered memory. However, CAMM would effectively blockade users from memory upgrades unless they purchase directly from Dell. Pickings will be slim since consumers only get to pick from what Dell has to offer. For the time being, it's unknown if Dell will open the form factor to third-party memory vendors. If no one else hops on Dell's CAMM bandwagon, consumers will have no choice but to pay the Dell premium.

Dell Precision 7670 (Image credit: iGPU Extremist/Twitter)

The whole CAMM thing aside, the Dell Precision 7670 will be a robust workstation machine. The laptop will tap Intel's 12th Generation Alder Lake-HX processors that presumably deliver desktop-class performance at 55W. The leaked photograph points to a Core i5 to a Core i9 chip with eight Golden Cove cores.

Being a workstation-class laptop, Dell will pair the Alder Lake-HX chip with Nvidia's RTX A5000 or Intel's Arc Pro 90W graphics card. Which model it may be, the graphics card will arrive in the form of the Dell Graphics Form Factor (DGFF), Dell's unique take on Mobile PCI Express Module (MXM) that debuted with the Alienware Area-51m.

Dell will equip the Precision 7670 with a beautiful 16-inch display with a 16:10 4K HDR500 OLED panel. It features a narrow bezel design and flaunts specifications, such as a brightness level of 500 nits and 100% DCI-P3. The Precision 7670's other noteworthy attributes include three M.2 slots for PCIe 4.0 SSDs up to 12TB with RAID support, a Pro 2.5 keyboard with a larger trackpad, camera shutter, proximity, and ambient light sensors, and Intel Wi-Fi 6E connectivity.

Precision 7670's official launch date and pricing are unknown. However, given the feature set, the workstation laptop will likely cost a small fortune.

Zhiye Liu
Zhiye Liu

Zhiye Liu is a Freelance News Writer at Tom’s Hardware US. Although he loves everything that’s hardware, he has a soft spot for CPUs, GPUs, and RAM.

  • hotaru251
    And a new reason to avoid a Dell machine.

    Removed
    Reply
  • Kamen Rider Blade
    Screw Dell & creating another Proprietary Standard.

    There needs to be laws / regulations preventing companies from making "Proprietary Standards".
    Reply
  • escksu
    No big deal actually. Most thin/light laptops don't even have RAM slots today. The RAM modules are soldered directly onto the mainboard. Some even solder their SSD to the board instead of putting it on a "gum stick".

    Btw, for those who don't know, DEll precision are workstation laptops. They are not intended for home users.
    Reply
  • ezst036
    Kamen Rider Blade said:
    Screw Dell & creating another Proprietary Standard.

    There needs to be laws / regulations preventing companies from making "Proprietary Standards".

    The last thing that got politicized, it got worse. I don't see how politicizing it will make it better.

    Anybody remember the definition of insanity and doing things over and over again?
    Reply
  • InvalidError
    Kamen Rider Blade said:
    There needs to be laws / regulations preventing companies from making "Proprietary Standards".
    You won't have to worry about memory standards anymore 6-8 years from now: by the time DDR5 is no longer fast enough to keep up, the first 8-32GB of system memory will be built into the 3D stack and memory expansion may get delegated to 6.0x4/8/16 PCIe RAM now that it has been downgraded to victim cache status.
    Reply
  • Giroro
    escksu said:
    No big deal actually. Most thin/light laptops don't even have RAM slots today. The RAM modules are soldered directly onto the mainboard. Some even solder their SSD to the board instead of putting it on a "gum stick".

    Btw, for those who don't know, DEll precision are workstation laptops. They are not intended for home users.
    Be you rest assured, the models with soldered RAM will continue to have soldered RAM.
    This is so Dell can have the cost savings of configurable RAM, combined with revenue boost of forcing customers into an overpriced upgrade at time of purchase.
    Dell almost certainly will not sell these modules to end users, but if they do they will be many times more expensive than the industry standard.

    I'm really getting sick of all the extreme anti-customer monetization that tech companies are allowed to get away with. Duopolies/oligopolies aren't any better than Monopolies, and price-fixing/anti-trust laws are never enforced.
    Reply
  • TerryLaze
    InvalidError said:
    You won't have to worry about memory standards anymore 6-8 years from now: by the time DDR5 is no longer fast enough to keep up, the first 8-32GB of system memory will be built into the 3D stack and memory expansion may get delegated to 6.0x4/8/16 PCIe RAM now that it has been downgraded to victim cache status.
    LOL..no.
    Some 60Mb of cache already causes so many problems and so much increase in price, just imagine that for 8Gb...let alone the space required.
    Look at a 8Gb ram stick, all of these chips would have to fit on a CPU die.
    Reply
  • teodoreh
    Every time a major company makes something stupid, it's bad for the consumer. This thing reminds me of Apple creating a propientary m.2 slot that couldn't accept usual m.2 drives.
    I've seen all sort of <Mod Edit> things - PSUs with propientary size or cables, motherboards with different pins that cannot be placed on standard ATX case, etc. It's all idiotic and destroys the very essence that made PC technology shine over all other 500 standards: Compatibility and expansion potential.
    Reply
  • mdd1963
    Best to get one with enough RAM to start with then, as typically , one can anticipate /calculate Dell pricing on any additional item by taking a fair price for an object like a RAM stick or SSD, double that figure, and, for good measure, double it again. Eventually, you will see /reach Dells price for a RAM module. :)
    Reply
  • danger007
    When will companies stop their own preferred standards and get it together to where, especially with laptops/notebooks/tablets, that by having the same standard across all companies they would sell many more laptops as people wouldn't have to worry about proprietary connections. I would be great to see them agree on the "case design even" so that users can have the chance to repair or replace boards, but of course the companies don't want you to do that as they depend on the after market (meaning after you buy their laptop) sales of batteries, various parts like in this case memory and so on.d I wish one day they follow their desktop brethren so we can make choices about the build and features and can assemble the parts in a notebook case because they have standards that are the same across all notebook and laptops
    Reply