Desktop memory hasn’t seen a big change in the last couple of years due to platform stagnation. There’s nothing very exciting about DDR3 these days and DDR4 is coming up in the next two months thanks to Intel’s Haswell-E launch. But it seems that Apacer has something that could change all that and they’ve gone out and done something really wacky – repurpose memory DIMM slots for flash and SSD storage! Hit the jump to find out more.
To make the memory market that much more interesting, Apacer has designed and is currently sampling specialised memory modules designed for server and consumer use, one with a M.2 SSD connector and the other with a CompactFlash reader. Both just use the DIMM slot for power, relying on SATA for the actual connectivity.
The awesome thing is that the M.2 SSDs on the module end up only adding a tiny amount of height to it. This means that ITX motherboard owners could one day buy this module and have system memory and a SSD in the same package, allowing them to pick a motherboard more suited for their enclosure, or giving them more options if they want to move to newer storage technologies in the future. The module does, however, need to be connected up via SATA for now, which limits its usefulness somewhat.
It’s not possible, for example, to fit a bunch of these DIMMs into a 1U or 2U server chassis and increase your storage while not changing any of the other hardware, not unless you fit in another RAID card. Still, if your SATA port supports hot-swapping, you could have this in your system and simply switch between M.2 SSDs without shutting down the computer.
The CompactFlash module has a few more limitations, one of them being height. Still, if you needed a reason to keep a CF card in your system for any length of time where you don’t need immediate access to it again this could be a nice solution. Being on SATA, this would also help with transfer speeds, pushing up and above what USB 3.0 is capable of. It’s a lot more niche than the already-niche M.2 Combo SDIMM, but it has its uses.
Apacer will be sampling these Combo SDIMMs to suppliers, partners and reviewers starting this month and it remains to be seen if the computer market really needs one. I don’t have a M.2 or mSATA port on my system, so I could already think of a few things I could do with one of these. What about you readers? Any takers?