Technology

Compression-mounted laptop RAM is fast, efficient, and upgradeable

The first laptop with LPCAMM2 memory is finally here. The People at iFixit have gotten our hands on the Lenovo ThinkPad P1 (Gen 7), which uses LPDDR5X memory in an LPCAMM2 module that you can upgrade or replace by simply unscrewing it from the laptop’s motherboard.

This is a significant change from the existing LPDDR memory in most modern laptops. This type of memory is usually soldered onto the motherboard, making it much more difficult to upgrade. LPCAMM2 – or Low-Power Compression-Attached Memory Module – offers modularity without losing the power efficiency of LPDDR.

Image: iFixit and Image: iFixit

Traditional DDR RAM uses SODIMM sticks that plug into the motherboard, similar to desktop PCs. As iFixit points out, LPDDR is much more power efficient, but must be soldered directly to the motherboard, as close to the processor as possible. Previously, manufacturers had to choose between upgradeable RAM and energy-efficient RAM. LPCAMM2 attempts to split the difference by attaching to the motherboard with screws instead of solder. And unlike SODIMM sticks, each LPCAMM2 module is dual-channel, so you only need one, not two.

As shown in iFixit’s handy video, you can replace the LPCAMM2 in Lenovo’s new ThinkPad P1 by removing the back of the laptop and then taking out the battery. From there you can remove the LPCAMM2 by removing three Phillips screws.

In addition to Micron, Samsung and ADATA are also joining LPCAMM2. Hopefully this means you can upgrade your storage if it’s running on poor storage 8GB RAMbut we probably can’t count on every manufacturer making the switch.

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