Report: Intel Haswell Causing Concern Among Mobo Makers

Digitimes reports that features (such as power phase control) that will be moved into Intel's Haswell processor could prompt "several second-tier" motherboard makers to "exit the market in late 2013".

It is critical for motherboard makers that they are able to differentiate their products from rival products and an SoC strategy that collects more features into the CPU will take away choices from the motherboard industry. The result could be competition that will only happen on a price level, which would make the market segment much less attractive than it is today or even several years ago. Digitimes wrote that motherboard makers have already shifted their focus and try to be unique in the implementation of USB, and Thunderbolt, as well as BIOS features.

However, there is also the note that Intel is unlikely to "destroy" the motherboard industry and may let the industry live for another three to five years. Still, that expectation is pinned on hopes such as declining yield rates caused by the integration of the northbridge and southbridge into the SoC.

  • jimmysmitty
    There are other features that can be used. Honestly, anything on the CPU becomes more reliable and one of the things that goes first on mobos is phase regulators as they run pretty hot.

    I don't think it will kill of mobo makers but it sure will help make them last a bit longer.
  • A Bad Day
    Innovation always come with a price.
  • thecolorblue
    which manufacturers are we talking about exactly?

  • halcyon
    As long as we have Asus, Asrock, Gigabyte, and Intel we should be just fine, eh?
  • k1wi
    I'm sure they will still find a way to market boards based on 1000+1000+2 phase power regulators.
  • belardo
    For a computer, there is always a need for a place for connectors, expansion and more...

    Hmmm... the traditional mobo may become something for workstations and servers. With more and more people going to tablets (simply add a wireless keyboard) or notebooks, the need for mobo's reduces.

    I'm about to build a new PC for myself. I have a choice of two Gigabyte Z77 boards in which one is ATX and the other MATX. Same features for the most part... a few more slots on the bigger board and more USB 3.0 ports... But I like the flexibility of a smaller board to put into a smaller case. Both the same size... I can live with 4 USB 3.0 ports compared to 8 of them.
  • memadmax
    Can't stop progress.
  • Shin-san
    halcyonAs long as we have Asus, Asrock, Gigabyte, and Intel we should be just fine, eh?Though Intel I think used to be Foxconn.
  • CaedenV
    1) Yes, some mobo makers will be killed off, but for reasons other than SoC style integration: we all saw this coming as PCs last longer and longer, and the role of a traditional 'home PC' is being taken over by game consoles, and dock able tablets. SoC style integration will just hasten this progression.

    2) Want to make your mobo stand out? How about some more interesting UEFI setups! UEFI was promised to have capabilities well beyond normal system control, including the ability to run a stripped down linux, complete with widgets and web browsing capabilities. But instead of this we still have UEFIs being designed that are set up for 4:3 monitors and a limited color pallet. At the very least we should be able to select (or auto-detect) the aspect ratio of a monitor, and have a bit of color other than black and blue.

    3) How about some integration on the UEFI end of things? When I turn my computer on it must POST, then run the Intel RAID Rom, and then must POST a 2nd time before finally entering the boot cycle. What if we could run/control the Intel RAID Rom within UEFI? That way it just has to POST, and boot. My boot time on my machine is only 5-6sec, but the POST/RAID/POST time is an additional 7-8 seconds. I am not going to give up my RAID, but I will pay a premium for a faster POST time.

    4) Focus on extra features. I am not just talking about a feature chip that has a few extra USB or SATA ports on it (those those are a plus), but much simpler stuff. How about more fan headers? My system has 7 fans (2 CPU, 5 case), and I would love to see a board that could control them accurately and easily on a system level and remove the need for a separate fan controller. Built in 5GHz Wireless n/ac would be a step in the right direction as well.

    5) Better audio packages are always a plus, and not just the onboard audio chip; add things like xFi MB2 software which lets users have a premium audio feature experience without the need for a dedicated card. Really push digital output. Better support for 192KHz is a plus as well.

    6) Make boards that make sense! There is a market for motherboards that have limited, but modern connectivity. We do not need 2-3 video connectors, 6 audio connectors, and a mess of USB ports on everything. Pair it down and give us some options that simply have HDMI, optical, integrated wireless, 4-8 USB ports, and perhaps an eSATA. It would make for a beautiful and clean HTPC layout with everything that you need, and nothing that you don't.
    We do not need line and mic inputs anymore, as most products are USB, and most software requiring an input requires digital microphones now. We do not need 2 digital options, plus VGA; a single digital connector would fill most people's needs, and while occasionally useful I think it is safe to start dropping VGA now. We also do not need PS/2 connectors on everything anymore, and they make USB adapters for those who still use a PS/2 keyboard or mouse.
    Sure, there are some people who would appreciate these legacy ports so please continue offering them on some boards, but they are in the minority these days and should not really be on every mainstream board made.
  • soccerdocks
    halcyonAs long as we have Asus, Asrock, Gigabyte, and Intel we should be just fine, eh?MSI makes pretty good motherboards too.