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Replaceable and upgradable LPCAMM2 laptop memory is here and it’s a big deal

The big picture: Laptop memory was once easily upgradable, but the advent of soldered-down DIMMs in recent years has made RAM upgrades almost impossible in modern notebooks. That, however, is set to change with the arrival of LPCAMM2, which promises to make laptop memory upgradable once again.

Right-to-repair advocates and DIY enthusiasts are hailing the new technology as a step in the right direction. Popular how-to-repair website and spare parts seller, iFixit, has unsurprisingly praised LPCAMM2, calling it a “big deal” that will help consumers future-proof their notebooks without overpaying. In a blog post celebrating the new memory standard, the company said it will enable consumers to purchase laptops based on their current needs and then install more RAM in the future if necessary.

According to iFixit, traditional LPDDR modules are often soldered directly to the motherboard to preserve signal integrity between the CPU and memory. This is largely because the low voltages at which these chips operate demand shorter track distances on the circuit board to work without signal degradation. LPCAMM2 addresses this issue by putting LPDDR onto a circuit board module designed to be mounted right next to the CPU with “very short traces to help maximize signal integrity.”

As demonstrated by iFixit, LPCAMM2 modules in an upcoming Lenovo laptop can be easily replaced by simply removing a cover, loosening three screws, and pulling them straight up. Once the older module is removed, users can install a new one, replace the cover, and then tighten the screws to hold it securely in place. The process is almost as easy as replacing RAM sticks in a standard desktop tower and should make laptops much more upgradable – and sustainable – in the future.

Micron announced its first LPCAMM2 modules at CES 2024 in January, a month after JEDEC published the CAMM2 standard. Following the announcement, Lenovo appears set to ship the first laptops with the new technology. The company is expected to launch the ThinkPad P1 Gen 7 “AI PC” with up to 64 GB of LPDDR5x LPCAMM2 memory later this month.

According to Lenovo, the new memory technology consumes up to 61 percent less power and has a 64 percent smaller footprint compared to traditional DDR5 SODIMM, giving OEMs yet another reason to embrace it with open arms.

That being said, replaceable memory might make it difficult for companies to upsell customers on higher-end models at inflated prices, so it will be interesting to see how they react to this change.

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