32GB DDR4 UDIMMs are hitting the mainstream: Here's what you need to know

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Vendors are preparing to release 32GB DDR4 UDIMMs for wide availability, bringing higher RAM densities to desktops and laptops.

Video: How to detect bad RAM with the Windows Memory Diagnostic tool Bill Detwiler shows you how to use the Windows Memory Diagnostic tool to test for RAM chips that might be failing or defective.

Unregistered 32GB DDR4 DIMMs will be widely available later this year, as manufacturers ramp up production and vendors prepare to release their products, according to reports from Tom's Hardware and Anandtech. While 32GB DDR4 ECC DIMMs have been available for servers for over a year, supply of 16Gb DRAM chips—which are integrated to create 32GB memory modules—have been largely monopolized by the higher-margin server market.

32GB UDIMMs from ADATA were spotted at Computex 2019 in Taipei. As ADATA does not produce their own DRAM chips, Anandtech posits that these use Micron's 16Gb DRAM chips, as the company has a longstanding relationship with Micron. Although ADATA did not confirm the source of the chips, Anandtech notes that "the company did confirm that these were not Samsung chips." Similarly, ASRock was seen demonstrating Micron's own-brand DIMMs. Both are expected to hit retail later this year.

Samsung offered very limited quantities of 32GB DDR4 UDIMMs under their own brand, with this module appearing last summer at SuperBiiz though remaining mostly out of stock—before reappearing briefly earlier this month—according to Tom's Hardware. That report notes that Samsung is readying their second-generation A-Die chips for servers, freeing up supply of first-generation M-Die chips for consumers.

The availability of 32GB UDIMMs will benefit designers, particularly photo and video editors, as well as users of CAD software, which often quite RAM-hungry. 32GB SODIMMs have been inconsistently available over the last year—the availability of standard DIMMs will ease supply constraints for that form factor as well, which will benefit users of small form-factor PCs and laptops limited to 1 or 2 SODIMM slots.

SEE: 16 top laptops for business users in 2019 (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

2019 has been a tumultuous year for the DRAM market, as shipments have fallen sharply in Q1 due to protracted shortages of Intel CPUs following difficulties transitioning from a 14nm to 10nm manufacturing process, with 10nm Intel CPUs not coming to desktops until at least 2022, according to leaked roadmaps. Prices are falling as a result, a situation that is expected to continue throughout the year due to Intel CPU shortages, and further reduced demand as a result of Huawei's blacklisting by the US government, impacting their smartphone, server, and consumer-facing notebook PC businesses.

Before upgrading, check Intel's website to ensure your system is compatible with higher speed and density RAM. While Intel's documentation covers theoretical limits, Some older motherboards may not support higher density RAM, or may require a BIOS update to enable support.

For more, check out "DRAM chip prices plummet due to Intel CPU shortage, prompting retail sales" and "Why HPE sees memory-driven computing as an answer to Moore's Law" on TechRepublic.

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