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Intel's Haswell May Be Last Interchangeable Desktop CPU?

By - Source: Xbit Labs | B 113 comments

Mainstream CPUs in LGA packaging will supposedly be phased out in 2014 for embedded Broadwell SoCs.

Japanese website PC Watch claims that Intel's Haswell processors may be the last desktop-based CPUs with LGA packaging for the mainstream market.

Starting with the Broadwell line that's expected to launch in 2014, all desktop processors built for the mainstream market will reportedly cease using land grid array (LGA) and micro pin grid array (µPGA) packages, and be served up in ball grid array (BGA) packaging instead. That means these Broadwell chips will be just like Intel's Atom processors, soldered into the motherboard and not replaceable like the current Haswell processors and prior generations.

As of late Intel and AMD have provided two separate desktop platforms, addressing the mainstream desktop and the high-end powerhouses. On the Intel front, it's possible for the general consumer to pull out the CPU and replace it with a meatier upgrade. However replacing those LGA-based CPUs will seemingly eliminate that mainstream DIY option altogether unless the user is handy with a soldering iron.

If the news proves true, this will have a huge impact on the PC industry, especially the DIY upgrade market. Users of mainstream desktops won't be able to manually swap out one processor for another if the original CPU fails or the user wants to upgrade. Instead, mainstream consumers will be stuck with whatever they bought, forced to upgrade the entire desktop at a higher price.

Xbit labs points out that because the Intel chips will be soldered into the motherboards, OEMs will be required to stockpile a large number of different mainboards with various features and dissimilar processors just to provide adequate choices for customers. This not only increases business risks for smaller desktop makers, but decreases the ability for motherboard manufacturers to differentiate themselves from their rivals.

The PC Watch report also claims that Intel will provide Broadwell in various multi-chip modules containing Broadwell CPU cores, GPU cores, an integrated memory controller and Wildcat Point input/output controllers. These MCMs will be offered in various thermal design power envelopes including 10W, 15W and 47W/57W.

The move to offer BGA MCMs is reportedly fueled by the market trend towards low-powered CPUs and ultra-thin form factors. However there's speculation that Intel will still provide CPUs in LGA packaging for high-end desktop platforms only.

 

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Top Comments
  • 80 Hide
    spentshells , November 27, 2012 1:03 PM
    AMD didn't even need to make up its own comeback strategy.
  • 53 Hide
    steve360 , November 27, 2012 1:16 PM
    If this is true, Intel is shooting itself in the foot with a rocket launcher.
  • 52 Hide
    v90k , November 27, 2012 1:08 PM
    xpehI wonder who thought this was a good idea? If I wanted a console I'd buy a PS3 or an Xbox 360 or something.


    Some idiot who just graduated from Harvard with a Master's in tardology.
Other Comments
  • 80 Hide
    spentshells , November 27, 2012 1:03 PM
    AMD didn't even need to make up its own comeback strategy.
  • 41 Hide
    azathoth , November 27, 2012 1:05 PM
    This is just another rumor, that will end up being false.
    At most, it will be used in the mobile sector, that is the only case I can see it being remotely truthful.
  • 48 Hide
    xpeh , November 27, 2012 1:06 PM
    I wonder who thought this was a good idea? If I wanted a console I'd buy a PS3 or an Xbox 360 or something.
  • 52 Hide
    v90k , November 27, 2012 1:08 PM
    xpehI wonder who thought this was a good idea? If I wanted a console I'd buy a PS3 or an Xbox 360 or something.


    Some idiot who just graduated from Harvard with a Master's in tardology.
  • 29 Hide
    osamabinrobot , November 27, 2012 1:10 PM
    hahaha theres no way this will happen
  • 45 Hide
    the great randini , November 27, 2012 1:16 PM
    this would be the best thing to happen for amd in a long time...
  • 53 Hide
    steve360 , November 27, 2012 1:16 PM
    If this is true, Intel is shooting itself in the foot with a rocket launcher.
  • 37 Hide
    cats_Paw , November 27, 2012 1:16 PM
    spentshellsAMD didn't even need to make up its own comeback strategy.


    my thoguhts exactly. It would basicly mean they want to start diggin their own grave.
  • 26 Hide
    g00fysmiley , November 27, 2012 1:17 PM
    i tend to buy one chip and stick with it, till upgrading the machine, but it is nice to have the option... also very enthusiast and gamer unfriendly, if amd doesn't go this way and they can keep price to performance competative i agree with spentshells amd will get my buisness
  • 24 Hide
    guru_urug , November 27, 2012 1:22 PM
    Tomorrow's news,
    AMD: No plans to stop competing in the Desktop CPU market.

    The only way this might help is by making it easier to optimize the performance of the board with the CPU. But would it really be worth it leaving the consumer no upgrade path?
  • 23 Hide
    yeesh , November 27, 2012 1:23 PM
    The impact wouldn't be about upgrading. With the pace at which the tech in mobos evolves (and the limitations of support for newer CPUs), I figure most of us buy a new CPU and a new mobo together. But the impact in that purchasing would be enormous. How many variations of a CPU would your preferred maker offer with the mobo you want? How many different varieties would a vendor carry? The change would vastly narrow everyone's choices when it's time to build a new PC, not just the minority of people who actually upgrade CPUs independently.
  • 34 Hide
    shafe88 , November 27, 2012 1:29 PM
    spentshellsAMD didn't even need to make up its own comeback strategy.

    Agreed, If Intel does do this, they just automatically handaded AMD the torch.
  • 30 Hide
    bunz_of_steel , November 27, 2012 1:30 PM
    AMD response with a cheshire cat grin and sideways glance at parnters: really?! hmmmm
  • 14 Hide
    frombehind , November 27, 2012 1:31 PM
    although this *may* make sense for applications where space is at a premium and high-end performance is not as important as the tiny form factor (ultra-books, other "mobile" devices, and maybe integrated "appliance" solutions) This simply does not make any sense for desktop computing where form is irrelevant and pure horsepower (various benchmarks, and game frame-rates) is the most common unit of measurement.
  • 26 Hide
    billgatez , November 27, 2012 1:35 PM
    This is obvious BS. Intel would never do this. The revolt from the PC makers would be crazy.
  • 22 Hide
    bucknutty , November 27, 2012 1:40 PM
    The biggest problem I see with this is what happens to the motherboard manufacturers. For example right now I want an i5. I have like 250 boards to choose from starting at $50 and going all the way up to 350. Are all those now going to come with a cpu attached? How many different board and cpu options will there be on the market? It just seems from a inventory and manufacturing view it would be much more difficult to have as many options. Right now there are like 10 i3s and 10 i5s and 5 i7s that will all fit in the same 1155 board. So to have as many options in a basic $50 mobo the manufacturer would need to have 25 skus instead of only 1.

    Think about an e-tailer like newegg. Right now they have 250 1155 boards and 25 1155 cpus. Thats 275 inventory items for them to stock and it allows the customer a million options. If they had to carry every board with each of the 25 cpus they would need to stock 6,250 different boards (with CPUs) to give the customer the same amount of options.

    Thats just not realistic. If Intel does move to the ball packaging I have a feeling many manufactures will stop making mother boards, and many e-tailers will offer much fewer options.
  • 21 Hide
    mrmaia , November 27, 2012 1:42 PM
    Dell, HP, Acer, all other OEM manufacturers and mostly AMD salivate at this news. What a horrible idea.
  • 16 Hide
    nbelote , November 27, 2012 1:42 PM
    Good for the mobility market, bad for the desktop market. Maybe they think that, by 2014, desktops will be phased out and we'll be using nothing but laptops? Sorry, that's just not going to happen.
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