Generally speaking, we're not at the point where we need 32GB of memory or more for gaming, or even for most tasks outside of content creation chores. That might not always be the case, however, and for users who game on the go, Samsung is now mass producing the first-ever 32GB DDR4 SO-DIMM memory modules.
As pictured above, SO-DIMMs (small outline dual in-line memory modules) are shortened memory sticks used in laptops and mini PCs like Intel's Next Unit of Computing (NUC). Before now, the largest capacity single SO-DIMM module was 16GB.
Samsung has doubled that by moving to a 10-nanometer class process technology, the "class" qualifier meaning it could be anywhere from 10nm to 19nm (and not likely 10nm, or Samsung wouldn't bother using the term "class"). With these new modules, Samsung is specifically targeting enthusiast gaming laptops.
"Samsung’s 32GB DDR4 DRAM modules will deliver gaming experiences on laptops more powerful and immersive than ever before," said Sewon Chun, senior vice president of memory marketing at Samsung Electronics. "We will continue to provide the most advanced DRAM portfolios with enhanced speed and capacity for all key market segments including premium laptops and desktops."
The 16GB SO-DIMMs it replaces are based on 20nm-class process technology, and were introduced four years ago. In addition to doubling the capacity, Samsung's 32GB modules are 11 percent faster and 39 percent more energy efficient.
Samsung is making its 32GB SO-DIMMs available in up to DDR4-2666 speeds. What this means is you'll see high-end laptops advertised with 64GB of DDR4-2666 memory. Some mobile workstations could even go with four SO-DIMMs for 128GB total RAM.
"A 64GB laptop configured with two 32GB DDR4 modules consumes less than 4.6 watts (W) in active mode and less than 1.4W when idle. This reduces power usage by approximately 39 percent and over 25 percent, respectively, compared to today’s leading gaming-oriented laptops, which are equipped with 16GB modules," Samsung says.
Of course, memory pricing has been anything but cheap for a long while now. We don't expect that to suddenly change with the introduction of 32GB DDR4 SO-DIMM modules (and 64GB laptops), hence another reason it's probably a good idea for Samsung to target premium gaming laptops.