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Intel Reveals the End is Near for its Desktop Motherboards

By , Marcus Yam, and Chris Angelini contributed to this report. - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 57 comments

Intel has released a statement in which it announces that it will be leaving the design and manufacturing of desktop motherboards, leaving the field open for other motherboard manufacturers to fill in the gaps.

Intel just announced that, over the next three years, it will slowly ramp down its motherboard business, shuttering it completely before the rest of the industry shifts to Broadwell-based platforms.

As the company pulls away from the motherboard market, it says it will divert resources elsewhere, focusing on other aspects of the PC industry, such as reference designs for Ultrabooks and all-in-ones, along with its Next Unit of Computing (NUC), which it showed off prominently at CES. Engineering talent previously dedicated to motherboard design will shift to those other form factors, which the company believes represent bigger growth opportunities.

This process is scheduled to wrap up between the Haswell and Broadwell processor generations. After that, Intel won't be selling any more branded desktop motherboards, but will continue to support existing products throughout their warranty periods.

What about the integrators who put a lot of faith into Intel processors, platforms, storage, networking, and chipsets all working together? According to a conversation we had with company representatives, Intel has enough confidence in third-party board vendors to facilitate the stability expected from its own motherboards. It's also seeing rapid uptake of technologies as soon as they're available. This used to be an issue, compelling Intel to speed adoption through its own designs. Today, PCI Express 3.0, USB 3.0, SATA 6Gb/s, and now even Thunderbolt are integrated as soon as they emerge. 

Surely, all of this is going to feed further into speculation about Intel's commitment to the enthusiast desktop space. In our meeting with Intel at CES, however, the company reaffirmed the popularity of its K-series CPUs and socketed platforms (even if we were able to confirm that there won't be any LGA-based Broadwell chips).

Intel made clear that its desktop motherboard plans do not affect the launch of Haswell in 2013, and it expects support (firmware, drivers, and so on) of complementary platforms to continue through the normal life of those products (about 18 months from introduction). Intel will continue to design and engineer chipsets; it is the development of new desktop boards that will cease after Haswell.

 

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Top Comments
  • 23 Hide
    anxiousinfusion , January 22, 2013 10:58 PM
    caskachanThat means not producing Motherboards and lettign third parties take care of it right?

    Yes, and most builders don't seem to buy Intel boards anyway so this isn't such a blow to the community.
  • 23 Hide
    caskachan , January 22, 2013 10:54 PM
    That means not producing Motherboards and lettign third parties take care of it right?
  • 18 Hide
    Anonymous , January 22, 2013 11:00 PM
    Always went with Asus or MSI anyway.
Other Comments
    Display all 57 comments.
  • 23 Hide
    caskachan , January 22, 2013 10:54 PM
    That means not producing Motherboards and lettign third parties take care of it right?
  • 3 Hide
    TheBigTroll , January 22, 2013 10:56 PM
    their boards werent that good anyways. wont miss it
  • 23 Hide
    anxiousinfusion , January 22, 2013 10:58 PM
    caskachanThat means not producing Motherboards and lettign third parties take care of it right?

    Yes, and most builders don't seem to buy Intel boards anyway so this isn't such a blow to the community.
  • 16 Hide
    festerovic , January 22, 2013 10:58 PM
    There was a time when Intel motherboards represented high quality, great business solutions. Running business software on NT on pentium 3 boards, it was usually a lot easier to stick with intel for full compatibility. I haven't experienced anything like that in a while, so I might agree with them that their value as a board maker has declined. I think they are right, 3rd parties can make equivalent products, probably better too.
  • 18 Hide
    Anonymous , January 22, 2013 11:00 PM
    Always went with Asus or MSI anyway.
  • 1 Hide
    dragonsqrrl , January 22, 2013 11:00 PM
    This shouldn't be that big of a deal. I'm not sure I'm aware of anyone who actually used their motherboards. The design and performance of the products from their top board partners are almost always superior, especially recently.
  • 6 Hide
    festerovic , January 22, 2013 11:00 PM
    anxiousinfusionYes, and most builders don't seem to buy Intel boards anyway so this isn't such a blow to the community.

    most companies buying workstations would likely choose intel over cheaper manufacturers like ECS, foxconn, jetway, etc. Businesses account for the big slice in the market, not system builders.
  • 4 Hide
    Anonymous , January 22, 2013 11:01 PM
    not a big deal for the enthusiast market, dont think Ive ever purchased an Intel branded MB.
  • -5 Hide
    Onihikage , January 22, 2013 11:07 PM
    No doubt they'd get back into the market if they felt there was a need, but since there currently isn't, it's smart of them to devote those resources to other departments.
  • 2 Hide
    Anonymous , January 22, 2013 11:08 PM
    it seems like intel boards were notorious for being overpriced compared to other manufacturers
  • -5 Hide
    WithoutWeakness , January 22, 2013 11:15 PM
    So much for all of the people that were whining at the rumor about Intel going BGA and cutting out 3rd party motherboard manufacturers completely.
  • -5 Hide
    bigdragon , January 22, 2013 11:17 PM
    My experience with Intel motherboards is that they are overpriced and missing features that competitors provide on their products. Most egregious is an Intel motherboard I bought last year that lacked virtualization support in the BIOS. Intel promotes that feature yet left it off several key motherboard models. Inexcusable. Nothing of value is lost by Intel leaving the business.
  • 14 Hide
    bak0n , January 22, 2013 11:19 PM
    Now if they said "Intel will stop making chipsets" I'd be a little more concerned.
  • -9 Hide
    Tmanishere , January 22, 2013 11:21 PM
    Sounds kinda familiar...

    2008: Ron Fosner, an Intel Graphics and Gaming Technologist, claims that there will "probably be no need" in purchasing a dedicated graphics card in a short while.

    Bwahahahahahahahaa! Wake me up when they stop exaggerating.
  • -1 Hide
    bustapr , January 22, 2013 11:27 PM
    oh toms writers, you scared the shit out of me with that title. Those old rumors of embedded CPUs flew through my head.
  • 5 Hide
    A Bad Day , January 22, 2013 11:30 PM
    I think one of the reasons why Intel is pulling out because they plan on shrinking the motherboard into a die small enough for a standard CPU package.

    Heck, they already added voltage regulators to their CPU die, and plan on incorporating the southbridge chip into the successor of Haswell.
  • 7 Hide
    A Bad Day , January 22, 2013 11:33 PM
    TmanishereSounds kinda familiar...2008: Ron Fosner, an Intel Graphics and Gaming Technologist, claims that there will "probably be no need" in purchasing a dedicated graphics card in a short while.Bwahahahahahahahaa! Wake me up when they stop exaggerating.


    Intel also claimed that Haswell's IGP will rival Nivida's GTX 650M, according to Anandtech...
  • -2 Hide
    Soda-88 , January 22, 2013 11:40 PM
    Good. Their motherboards were up to par with their brand in price but not performance/features.
  • -2 Hide
    cpatel1987 , January 22, 2013 11:52 PM
    Author commentary = amusing: "leaving the field open for other motherboard manufacturers to fill in the gaps." Their mobos never made a significant dent in the market to begin with.
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