Building PCs is often based on the idea that most parts are compatible and generic. There are some restrictions when it comes to pieces working together, but in a broad sense, things are pretty interchangeable.
This is due to things like widely accepted and commonly used port types and connections. This helps ensure that consumers have choice in the more granular steps of building a PC, which in turn encourages competition.
Sometimes companies go the proprietary route, creating their own unique technology that only works with other specifically made things. This can often lead to a strong ecosystem of specific products working together, like Apple. However, it can also lock users into a brand, drive up costs, and just limit options, like Apple.
Recently noticed by Twitter user Extreme iGPU (by Tom’s Hardware) that Dell appears to be going the proprietary route on some of its new laptops. They shared images of the upcoming Precision 7670 laptop that shows a unique-looking replacement for typical DDR5 memory.
More updated? not at the moment. Don’t think they’ve been published yet pic.twitter.com/PtsmBrHIKrApril 16, 2022
Dell called this memory the Compression Attached Memory Module or CAMM and it uses a different format than typical generic DDR5 RAM.
There are reasons for the move besides money. This single piece of RAM seeks to replace two SO-DIMM memory slots and seems to save a fair amount of space. It likely helped the company make a laptop smaller and lighter than before, but it also locked users into their new CAMM system. So, without a doubt, money is a pretty big factor.
When purchasing pre-built laptops or computers, it is common to be able to choose the level of RAM installed on your machine. Buying a cheaper laptop and upgrading the RAM later is a great way to help extend the life of a machine. While these options are likely to be available for the Precision 7670 laptop, Dell will be able to decide the price.
For people who like to buy a laptop and leave it sealed, this probably won’t make a difference. In fact, they can benefit from proprietary systems integration. For all we know, this new form factor could also be the next step for generic laptop RAM formats, if Dell opens up its designs to other tech companies. Smaller, lighter laptops and portable gaming seem to be the trend for 2022, so why not RAM too?