IBM patents external DRAM box

  • Chicago (IL) – IBM has been granted a patent to a technology, which could allow users to expand system memory via an external box.  

    IBM is pitching the invention as a technology that could provide a cheaper and more flexible way to temporarily upgrade the available memory in computing systems ranging from PDAs to servers. According to the description of the patent, the technology includes three separate parts - a connector, a container to hold RAM as well as a cable that couples the connector to the container.

    IBM says that the connector can be inserted into a DRAM slot just like a common memory module, allowing the memory installed in the external box to be addressed by the motherboard as another bank or DRAM. When there is no external RAM module plugged in, no memory is recognized by the motherboard's memory addressing unit, the patent claims.

    IBM does not describe the invention as a replacement for typical memory upgrades, but as an option to increase the available memory temporarily and allow users to share RAM upgrades, simply by switching the module from one computer to another – especially in devices where RAM is not easily accessible, such as notebooks. According to the patent, the RAM box can provide up to four memory slots for every DRAM slot within a PC case.

    It was unclear which type of cabling IBM intends to use for connecting the connector with the external box.

    IBM has not announced an actual product that makes use of this technology.