Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in

AMD Says It Is Not Abandoning Socketed CPUs

By - Source: The Tech Report | B 50 comments

AMD has chimed in on the Intel rumor by stating it will continue to offer socketed CPUs despite fears of a BGA-only market.

Last week Japanese website PC Watch claimed that Intel's Haswell processors may be the last desktop-based CPUs with LGA packaging for the mainstream, off-the-shelf PC market. Starting with the Broadwell line, Intel will supposedly switch over to ball grid array (BGA) packaging, preventing the mainstream consumer from upgrading only the CPU because it's soldered into the motherboard itself much like Intel's Atom processors.

But the report only addressed processors for the mainstream market, and didn't mention high-end desktop platforms. There's speculation that Intel is moving to BGA multi-chip modules for the general PC shopper to address a market trend towards low-powered CPUs and ultra-thin form factors, but will likely still produce LGA-based CPUs for the DIY system builders looking for maximum power and performance (high-end gaming rigs, etc).

So far Intel hasn't confirmed nor denied the report, and in its silence CPU competitor AMD has decided to come forward to reveal its own plans for socketed CPUs. In a two-paragraph statement to TechReport, AMD's Chris Hook clarified that the company has no plans (at this time) to move to BGA-only packaging, and will continue on with its offerings of socketed CPUs and APUs in 2013 and 2014 with the "Kaveri" APU and FX CPU lines.

"As the company that introduced new types of BGA packages in ultrathin platforms several years ago, and today offers BGA-packaged processors for everything from ultrathin notebooks to all-in-one desktops, to embedded applications and tablets, we certainly understand Intel's enthusiasm for the approach," Hook stated. "But for the desktop market, and the enthusiasts with whom AMD has built its brand, we understand what matters to them and how we can continue to bring better value and a better experience."

But as TechReport points out, it's hard to predict what AMD's portfolio might look like in two years given its recent struggles. Will AMD even offer socketed CPUs for enthusiasts in 2014? Just last month AMD reportedly hired J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. to explore options for generating additional revenue. The company has been laying off engineers left and right, cutting costs, and is looking for new markets to generate money as the levels of cash reserves continue to fall.

Reuters reports that the company is even selling its Austin campus and then leasing it back just to free up some cash. "There are favorable economic conditions in the part of Austin where the campus is located," company spokesman Drew Prairie told Reuters. "Contingent on finding an investor who wants to do a multiyear lease-back, it's a good opportunity for us to unlock the value of the real estate to fund operations."

This won't be the first time AMD has sold off its assets. Prairie said that AMD has already sold its headquarters in Sunnyvale, California, and a building near Toronto, and is currently leasing them back to generate extra cash.

It will be interesting to see the CPU market in two years. Will socketed CPUs be a thing of the past? As Nvidia once told use back in April 2011, there will always be a market for the high-end, enthusiast PC, so don't expect to see LGA-based CPUs to end up in the back yard with wind-up cars and 3DFX GPUs any time soon.


Contact Us for News Tips, Corrections and Feedback

Discuss
Ask a Category Expert

Create a new thread in the News comments forum about this subject

Example: Notebook, Android, SSD hard drive

This thread is closed for comments
Top Comments
  • 26 Hide
    killabanks , December 5, 2012 4:14 PM
    another reason to go AMD
  • 23 Hide
    DSpider , December 5, 2012 5:04 PM
    I think it's a bad idea either way (either for the DIY market or for the low-end market). I have had several motherboards give out because of the PSU, but the CPU always survived, probably because of a surge protection or something. Anyway, I was able to move it to another motherboard, along with the RAM and HDD, and eventually give it away to someone who needed a PC. It would've otherwise ended up on a landfill somewhere.

    If Intel wants to be like Apple, where they're soldering everything to the motherboard so that repairability is out the door (forcing you to get a brand new one, so that they squeeze some more $$$$ out of you), then I'm never buying another Intel product ever again.
  • 20 Hide
    Anonymous , December 5, 2012 5:35 PM
    If Intel goes socket-less, I go AMD. Simple as that.
Other Comments
    Display all 50 comments.
  • 20 Hide
    mouse24 , December 5, 2012 4:13 PM
    Wouldn't this require motherboard manufacturers to have more production lines as they would have to add different cpus for each mobo they make?
  • 26 Hide
    killabanks , December 5, 2012 4:14 PM
    another reason to go AMD
  • 2 Hide
    ph1sh55 , December 5, 2012 4:21 PM
    I would think the xeon based high end desktop will stay LGA regardless since they are based on server parts ( i.e. i7-3970x 6c parts), so that may become the new focus for enthusiasts in the future.
  • 4 Hide
    mikenygmail , December 5, 2012 4:40 PM
    Excellent!
  • 6 Hide
    SuperVeloce , December 5, 2012 4:49 PM
    no, they are saying that processors like sandy-E will stay LGA, cpus like i7 3770 will be BGA.
  • 23 Hide
    DSpider , December 5, 2012 5:04 PM
    I think it's a bad idea either way (either for the DIY market or for the low-end market). I have had several motherboards give out because of the PSU, but the CPU always survived, probably because of a surge protection or something. Anyway, I was able to move it to another motherboard, along with the RAM and HDD, and eventually give it away to someone who needed a PC. It would've otherwise ended up on a landfill somewhere.

    If Intel wants to be like Apple, where they're soldering everything to the motherboard so that repairability is out the door (forcing you to get a brand new one, so that they squeeze some more $$$$ out of you), then I'm never buying another Intel product ever again.
  • 4 Hide
    Anonymous , December 5, 2012 5:21 PM
    That is your opinion superVeloce. I don't think that is what it says. I don't think anyone is putting a 3770 in an "ultra thin platfor" or a low powered device.
  • 6 Hide
    ddpruitt , December 5, 2012 5:22 PM
    It would be really interesting if Intel limits it's LGA offerings over the next few years. It may mean AMD may be the better choice, not because of performance but for upgradability and overall choice. Though I doubt that Intel will really cut back too much.
  • -6 Hide
    milktea , December 5, 2012 5:33 PM
    AMD says it will continue to offer socketed CPUs and APUs in 2013 and 2014. But what about 2015 or 2016? It's not far from now. No plans for BGA in next year, doesn't mean it won't in the later years. Sooner or later, AMD will have to follow Intel's foot steps, because that's where the market is heading.
    *haha*
  • 2 Hide
    yeesh , December 5, 2012 5:33 PM
    DSpiderI think it's a bad idea either way (either for the DIY market or for the low-end market). I have had several motherboards to give out because of the PSU, but the CPU has always survived, probably because of a surge protection or something. Anyway, I was able to move it to another motherboard, along with the RAM and HDD, and eventually give it away to someone who needed a PC. It would've otherwise ended up on a landfill somewhere.If Intel wants to be like Apple, where they're soldering everything to the motherboard so that repairability is out the door (forcing you to get a brand new one, so that they squeeze some more $$$$ out of you), then I'm never buying another Intel product ever again.

    Of course nobody wants the Intel BGA-only rumor to be true. That said,

    1. Manufacturers aren't too invested in what you do with the old computer parts, and would probably prefer that you throw them out.

    2. Yes, the last thing Intel wants is to end up like Apple, the largest, richest, most successful company of all time. I'm sure Intel executives have nightmares about going down THAT path.

    3. But would you really ditch Intel? I prefer AMD myself, but as of today it's clear whose chips are faster. AND (I'm sorry to say) it looks like Intel's lead should be even more pronounced if AMD basically sits out 2013. Will people like us who care enough about PC performance to frequent sites like this REALLY choose a significantly slower AMD CPU rather than submit to Intel's BGA scheme? How much speed would the average enthusiast give up for principle and the ability to upgrade CPU and mobo separately (which I never seem to do, I don't know about everyone else)? What if the Intel chip is 20% faster? 30%? 50%?

    This is a site where a 20% difference in FPS is a slam dunk trouncing. How many of us would REALLY opt to buy the slower CPU just to have a socket?

    I'm just sayin'.
  • 8 Hide
    stickmansam , December 5, 2012 5:34 PM
    If the LGA 1155 equiv. is going to be soldered, I will go AMD. Won't ever have enough money to spend to get the high end 2011 stuff.

    EDIT: Another issue I see is that if my motherboard fails, my CPU has to get replaced as well and if I'm not in warranty, it'll cost me a lot more to replace the cpu+mb. I can't just buy a new board and reuse the CPU I've had 4 motherboards fail on me in the past 6 years and no CPU failures yet. One of the failures was a cheap AMD Duron CPU that was soldered so I ended up having to throw both the mb+CPU away. (Stupid ECS decided to solder the CPU into the socket)
  • 20 Hide
    Anonymous , December 5, 2012 5:35 PM
    If Intel goes socket-less, I go AMD. Simple as that.
  • -2 Hide
    CaedenV , December 5, 2012 5:39 PM
    So here's my 2 cents:
    Sandy Bridge, architecture improvement
    Ivy Bridge, die shrink
    Haswell, architecture improvement
    Broadwell, die shrink

    Seriously, I don't get what all the buzz is about. Just as Ivy was only ~5% faster than Sandy, we can expect Broad to be ~5% better than Has. If you are building a desktop rig in 2014-15 when Broadwell comes out, you will not be 'behind the times' to get a Haswell chip that still runs in a socket.

    There is another interesting thing brought up by the Anandtech podcast last week:
    Intel currently only has 3 chip designs on the market, and they get amazingly good yields on their chips. On the low end you have your base model chip which covers all Atom CPUs. On the midrange you have a chip design that covers all Pentiums, i3s, i5s, and consumer i7s. Then on the high end you have the Xeon based i7's and server processors. If you have a Pentium G CPU today, it is very likely you have a fully functioning i7 that has been artificially 'broken' so that it functions as what you purchased.
    So the idea is that you buy a motherboard with BGA CPU integrated into the board. Need an upgrade from that i3 that you could afford when you bought it? Send Intel some money, and they send you a code to enter in to upgrade the system to an i5 or i7. Personally, I am not a huge fan of this idea as it makes repairs a major pain, but from an upgrade standpoint there is potential for this to be much more user friendly than mucking about with doing a little bit of surgery with your system mucking about with thermal paste and potentially having to reformat the OS to recognize the changes properly.

    Lets not forget the even more concerning stuff that was announced over a year ago: Intel does not want to simply get rid of chip choice. They are huge proponents of moving to a fully SOC style architecture in the future where the CPU, iGPU, NB, SB, Audio feature chip (note their recent dealings with Creative), networking chip, and possibly even RAM all on a single chip on the motherboard. This would mean that Mobo manufacturers would have to focus on this like... the color of the motherboard, or the type of capacitors, and that's about all that they would have to differentiate themselves from their competition. In all seriousness it would mean that the competition would be on BIOS/UEFI POST times and features, and extra gimmicks like over-volting USB ports to charge devices faster, which would be great to see. But there is no way that most mobo manufacturers survive that transition.

    So, on the one hand. Yes, I am a little disappointed because as a power user this means less choice for me. On the other hand I see it simply as a sign of the times; I mean honestly, other than for gaming and video editing (2 things I have less and less time to do these days now that I have kiddos), my big rig is used more and more as a home server rather than a client desktop. In 3-5 years from now when it becomes time to upgrade again I expect my desktop to become a dedicated server. whatever I replace it with as a client will probably be a physically small device with a lot of connectivity. Think of something like a dockable tablet capable of standing alone, but when docked can game on a 4K display with ease.
    That is the direction things are moving in, and while it is very different, it is not altogether a bad thing.
  • 13 Hide
    robthatguyx , December 5, 2012 5:43 PM
    im an intel guy,but more and more i see myself leaning twords amd as my next build platform when my 2500k is to out of date
  • 2 Hide
    CaedenV , December 5, 2012 5:48 PM
    milkteaAMD says it will continue to offer socketed CPUs and APUs in 2013 and 2014. But what about 2015 or 2016? It's not far from now. No plans for BGA in next year, doesn't mean it won't in the later years. Sooner or later, AMD will have to follow Intel's foot steps, because that's where the market is heading.*haha*

    Good point! Intel's Broadwell chips will not be here until 2014 at the earliest, and likely not until 2015. We have Sandy for now. Q2 2013 Haswell mobile launch, Q3-4 2013 Haswell desktop launch, and then Broadwell desktop is likely going to be a bit over a year after after Haswell desktop which pushes it into Q42014, or H1 2015.

    So who cares if AMD is not going BGA before 2015? Intel isn't either.
  • 6 Hide
    DRosencraft , December 5, 2012 5:49 PM
    I'm not sure I understand what upside Intel sees here. It would seem that if they simply wanted to expand their line of embedded CPUs, or even negotiate with the likes of Dell and HP to facilitate sales of such boards with CPUs on them to the general public, they could very well do that. I thought we had moved away from the days of having all our parts stuck into our systems so we can't change them out. I was hoping that there would be some way on the horizon for us to be able to swap out North/South bridges. Intel seems to be focusing on going the opposite direction.

    I'm not an Intel fan, but still, this seems like a bad idea. Or maybe we just don't understand their genius? Perhaps they're on the right track and we haven't realized it yet? I doubt that, but we'll have to see. The one thing that AMD's statement does is put a little more light on the subject, and a little bit of pressure on Intel to answer these rumors one way or another before too long.
  • -5 Hide
    loops , December 5, 2012 6:06 PM
    I wounder what he stats are about a few things. If I have a 2500k now when will I really need a new CPU? Will I need to get a new MoBo? Every time I have upgraded it has come with a new chip/mobo as the socket has not been the same. For Example, my last set up had a q9300 chip. What chips today are worth the money to plug into that 93300 mobo vs an i5 and new mobo?

    AMD is a bit different but if I had to pick from an i5 vs FX range of performance with the con of getting stuck with no upgrade past with the i5...I am still thinking that I'd go with a i5 glued to the mobo. Why? The perfromance is worth the con imo.

    If AMD closes the performance gap, then it is a no brainier...AMD. Unless....unless...I get a Surface type of computer that lets me plug in a discrete GPU. Then I can take my gaming rig and the quality with me. That would make me ok with a glued on cpu.
  • -2 Hide
    JDFan , December 5, 2012 6:17 PM
    Figure with the way they change the socket with every generation of CPU anyway how much real difference would there be if the CPU was a part of the MOBO - esp. if they could make the interconnects perform faster and give better performance.

    To me having the CPU\MOBO as a single piece makes more sense than having the CPU\GPU on a single die for desktop systems -- since most MOBOs are going to be fairly similar in offerings much more so than the various discrete GPU performance levels !
  • 8 Hide
    atminside , December 5, 2012 6:20 PM
    BGA packages.......i think of xbox 360 red ring. I don't care if BGA has come a long way....I will never trust it.
Display more comments