Do Frost Canyon’s RAM Numbers Add Up?

Like many other NUC fans I was excited to see The NUC Blog’s recent article about specs for the upcoming Frost Canyon. Whenever a new NUC is on the horizon I’m excited to see what Intel has done to improve the design. While going through the specs, however, I noticed something odd in section 1.1.1 under “Memory”:

Ok, so Frost Canyon has two SO-DIMM sockets. And it supports 8 or 16 gig sticks of RAM. But it says the system supports up to 64 gigs of memory? That math doesn’t add up, does it? If it only supports 8 or 16 gig sticks, the max should be 32 gigs, right?

Actually, not right. I reached out to the NUC team for clarification and they replied, as engineers tend to, with a lot of words:

“The spec table below is technically correct, however we need to do a better job in calling out “xxGb memory technology” as Giga-bit, referring to the memory capacity inside each memory IC of which there are multiple in an SODIMM. As you probably know, converting from “Gb per chip” to “GB per SODIMM” requires multiplying [IC memory capacity x number of chips per SODIMM] while dividing by 8 (to go from bits to byte), so in order to determine the max memory capacity of a NUC one would assume the maximum capacity memory technology the CPU can handle, the maximum number of  ICs per SODIMM (16 chips, like the dual-sided SODIMMs pictured below) and of course dual SODIMM slots.

In this case, that would mean 16 Gbit/IC x 1Byte/8bit x 16 IC/SODIMM x 2 SODIMM = 64GBytes… “

That’s quite an answer.

You’re takin’ the long way around the barn, son.

But I do get what he’s saying and it makes sense. The specs aren’t saying Frost Canyon supports 8 or 16GB RAM sticks. They’re saying it supports 8 or 16Gb (little b) technology ON the RAM sticks. It makes perfect sense if you, unlike me, pay attention to the “GB” and “Gb”.

So the math does actually work. Frost Canyon will support 64GB via dual 32GB modules that use 16 chips.

Clear as mud?

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I'm a self-described technology nut, as well as a writer. That means the only thing I love more than learning about and playing with new technology is writing about it! Techster means "one who techs", and that's me!

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