James Sanders of TechRepublic has confirmed that 16 GB SO-DIMM modules are now starting to become generally available from multiple vendors.
“[This] eases RAM constraints in devices that have a limited number of slots for RAM modules,” he explained.
“However, due to hardware limitations, these RAM modules do not work with all systems that are able to utilize lower density modules.”
According to Sanders, processors compatible with 16 GB modules include:
* Intel Skylake (6000-series) or Broadwell (5000-series)
* Intel Atom Avoton and Rangeley
* AMD processors that accept DDR3 RAM (except embedded G-Series)
* Tilera, Freescale, and Cavium processors that support DDR3 RAM
“Certain notebooks are thinner than previous generations by soldering components onto the main system board, rather than include slots for user-replaceable RAM. Among these include the ThinkPad T450s, which has 4 GB of DDR3 RAM onboard, but leaves one user-replaceable DDR3 slot,” he continued. “Because of this design choice, users of those laptops have been limited to a maximum of 12 GB RAM. With the availability of 16 GB modules, these systems can be configured from the factory (or modified by the end user) to use 20 GB RAM.”
In addition, says Sanders, servers such as the ARM-powered HP Moonshot m700 are good candidates for expanding RAM availability.
“Although the m700 can use four DDR3 modules, RAM use on a server can become particularly heavy, depending on the application — 64 GB would certainly be a welcome upgrade for many workloads,” he concluded.
Commenting on the above report, Loren Shalinsky, a Strategic Development Director at Rambus, told us that the increased adoption of 16 GB SO-DIMM modules illustrates just how far Moore’s Law has benefited the semiconductor industry over the years. Indeed, the IBM PC 5150, which was sold from 1981-1987 supported 16 kB ~ 256 kB of RAM, quite a world away from 16 GB SO-DIMM modules.
Image Credit: Engelbert Reineke, Wikipedia
“The memory capabilities of common computers available to the masses have increased by 1 million times in a period of 24 years, or a ‘doubling’ in capacity about every two years,” Shalinsky told Rambus Press. “Moore’s Law, or maybe more accurately, the industry’s desire to make Moore’s Law a reality, has been proven once again. We continue to see the switchover from DDR3 to DDR4, indicating industry requirements for higher capacity, higher performing memory has not yet been satisfied.”