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Intel Killing Off Desktop/Enthusiast PCs?

A post on SemiAccurate breaks down some information from PC Watch (translation) suggesting that Intel's upcoming Broadwell CPUs will be soldered to the motherboard, rather than socketed, a detail they have now confirmed with a pair of OEMs. They offer the distressed opinion that this will be a death knell to the desktop PC and the enthusiast market, and though they add that they've received information indicating there's a "good chance" that the Sky Lake processors that will follow Broadwell will be socketed for one or two generations to follow, they conclude: "By then the last remaining overclockers and experimenters on the PC front will be gone, and for good technical reasons." Thanks Ant via Slashdot.

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101 Replies. 6 pages. Viewing page 4.
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41. Re: Intel Killing Off Desktop/Enthusiast PCs? Nov 27, 2012, 13:23 Topevoli
 
I also agree that it is unlikely to be the ONLY option but I'm sure it makes sense for reasons other than making everyone upset:

1. Chip placement. The actual processor is only a fraction the size of the "Chip" that we have in socekted boards. I don't think they will be taking an LGA socketed chip and soldering it down. More likely the CPU will be directly on the Mainboard along with all the other vital components.

2. Better architecture. I will never claim to be an engineer but it seems like having the CPU on a socketed board just creates unnecessary layers between components. In an age where Moore's Law is being challenged, every bit helps.

3. For the masses. As much as we like to think we are the majority. 95% of Intel's market either buys OEM or would prefer as simple an upgrade path as possible. Granted enthusiast boards and CPU's may have the highest profit margin, but in terms over overall revenue and profit, we barely make a dent.

4. Cost. It seems like the Bill of Materials would be much smaller if there was no Socket, chip and the 100's of pins that connect the CPU. Soldered pins could be made smaller and much less likely to be damaged. When you're producing these parts in the millions, every penny counts.
 
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40. Re: Intel Killing Off Desktop/Enthusiast PCs? Nov 27, 2012, 13:22 McSterls
 
Oh, the Humanity!

This is the kind of "in the box" thinking that has ruined corporations.
 
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39. Re: Intel Killing Off Desktop/Enthusiast PCs? Nov 27, 2012, 13:18 jdreyer
 
Beamer wrote on Nov 27, 2012, 12:17:
There are reasons why most chip companies don't bother much with the boards. There are reasons why everyone mocked 3dfx when they bucked that trend. Yes, some of this is just getting more product out there, and those issues disappear when you're as large as Intel, but that manufacturing infrastructure, and that enormous amount of depreciation, is not really worth the added revenue stream.

Making it a weirder decision.

Beamer,

If Intel goes this route, cutting out all 3rd party mobo makers, and AMD tanks (as is looking more probable), how likely is it that DOJ will step in and break apart Intel? They would be the only player in the desktop/laptop/server market for procs and mobos.
 
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38. Re: Intel Killing Off Desktop/Enthusiast PCs? Nov 27, 2012, 13:17 Mashiki Amiketo
 
Slick wrote on Nov 27, 2012, 12:43:
as usual, the knee-jerk bluesnews reactionary brigade is out in force today...

can i assume that NONE of you posting here are microprocessor engineers? no? probably not.
Peh. I used to write and program PLC's for a living back a decade ago, so I've got some idea of where this is going. This is back when Siemens was in their *glorious* phase of trying to tell us that integrated and locked IO module would help us. Never mind that to reprogram it, you'd need to have someone on site who knew what they were doing, or have access to reprogram the PLC, or send someone out to do it for them. Yeah good plan.

Lasted 6 months. Then they went back to replaceable IO modules because of the failure rate, and people switching to Mitsubishi.

You know what the problem is in PC gaming though and 7 year old hardware? Developers. They don't take risks, they'd rather suck at the tit of consoles, and all the rest. But let's be realistic, the PC industry isn't dying. Though I've been hearing that once since before I was in highschool.
 
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37. Re: Intel Killing Off Desktop/Enthusiast PCs? Nov 27, 2012, 13:13 Jraptor59
 
I was once a Mac fanatic, from the 128 all the way to the plus. Then I finally could no longer ignore the expandability of the PC. Soundcards, videocards, processors; virtually every component could be swapped for something better. I said goodbye to the Mac and went PC. It seems now that first Windows wants to lock you into one company for everything, and now Intel follows suit. I hope that much like the Windows 8 debacle, this greedy decision will kill off Intel instead. If Intel does what they are planning it would be a great time for AMD or another processor to come to the forefront. I am also praying that Linux will take its wonderful chance to become user friendly and unseat Windows.  
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36. Re: Intel Killing Off Desktop/Enthusiast PCs? Nov 27, 2012, 13:12 Fion
 
That most definitely sucks, but I'm sure that space will be filled by a different company. Some actual competition would only lead to good things. Same with the greedy fucks at M$ with Windows 8. If someone made a user friendly (and highly supported) Linux platform it could come to dominate the market and MS would either adapt or die.

This comment was edited on Nov 27, 2012, 13:18.
 
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35. Re: Intel Killing Off Desktop/Enthusiast PCs? Nov 27, 2012, 13:11 jdreyer
 
Verno wrote on Nov 27, 2012, 11:55:
Prez wrote on Nov 27, 2012, 11:47:
This doesn't seem to make much sense on th surface, but honestly I am not the system builder I used to be, so I can see at least a small measure of appeal in what they are doing. I still like picking my own parts, but maybe not having to worry about which proc is compatible with which mobo isn't such a bad thing? I tend to upgrade my motherboard and cpu much less frequently than my memory and videocard anyway.

This isn't really a problem anymore though, old chipsets and CPUs are aggressively sunset nowadays. The little you gain does not offset the potential problems and removal of choice.

With Intel that has been true, but not with AMD. Until Bulldozer came out, all the procs were compatible with AM2 sockets going back to 2006. And it looks like they'll keep AM3+ around for several more years through iterations of their new architecture.
 
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34. Re: Intel Killing Off Desktop/Enthusiast PCs? Nov 27, 2012, 13:02 jdreyer
 
Prez wrote on Nov 27, 2012, 11:47:
This doesn't seem to make much sense on th surface, but honestly I am not the system builder I used to be, so I can see at least a small measure of appeal in what they are doing. I still like picking my own parts, but maybe not having to worry about which proc is compatible with which mobo isn't such a bad thing? I tend to upgrade my motherboard and cpu much less frequently than my memory and videocard anyway.

Yeah, I somewhat agree with what you say, but if the proc or MB dies, a $200 repair becomes a $400 one. And even though I always keep my procs so long that at upgrade time I have to upgrade both any way, I do like the having the option of upgrading just the proc if I want to.
 
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33. Re: Intel Killing Off Desktop/Enthusiast PCs? Nov 27, 2012, 12:55 Verno
 
The idea that you need to be an engineer to determine what sorts of purchase options you want available to you is amusingly flawed. Intel can make whatever business or technical decisions it likes, it doesn't mean everyone has to accept it. Personally I don't feel like the idea of integrating the CPU and motherboard, this isn't the first time it's been attempted either. I think it makes a lot of sense in certain markets but I dislike the idea of it becoming the standard.  
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32. Re: Intel Killing Off Desktop/Enthusiast PCs? Nov 27, 2012, 12:54 theyarecomingforyou
 
PropheT wrote on Nov 27, 2012, 12:51:
I just don't see them going from one generation where they release locked and unlocked processors to the next where they solder them directly to the motherboard
This. It would be a bizarre move if it's true and it would have a devastating effect on the enthusiast market. If AMD was to finally produce a decent CPU - and unfortunately that's a long shot at the moment - then people would quickly switch.
 
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31. Re: Intel Killing Off Desktop/Enthusiast PCs? Nov 27, 2012, 12:51 PropheT
 
I just don't see them going from one generation where they release locked and unlocked processors to the next where they solder them directly to the motherboard, nor do I see how confirming it with OEM's, who always get something different than the retail market, tells the entire story.

I'll wait for the followup on this one because all the pieces don't fit.
 
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30. Re: Intel Killing Off Desktop/Enthusiast PCs? Nov 27, 2012, 12:51 Beamer
 
Again, I can't get into the article, but no one here has articulated any true technical reasons.

I'm assuming "for good technical reasons" means that the enthusiast will be gone because he can't tinker anymore, meaning he left the platform for technical reasons. I didn't take it to mean that Intel cut him out for good technical reasons.
 
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29. Re: Intel Killing Off Desktop/Enthusiast PCs? Nov 27, 2012, 12:51 NegaDeath
 
Slick wrote on Nov 27, 2012, 12:48:
blah blah holier than thou rant

Enjoy your higher prices in your monopoly.
 
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28. removed Nov 27, 2012, 12:48 Slick
 
* REMOVED *
This comment was deleted on Nov 27, 2012, 13:31.
 
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27. Re: Intel Killing Off Desktop/Enthusiast PCs? Nov 27, 2012, 12:47 NegaDeath
 
eRe4s3r wrote on Nov 27, 2012, 12:32:
It can also be a huge advantage for performance and stability... but let's not pay too much heed to this story, because first comes the Haswell and if indications are true, it is going to be a game changer.

Last story I read had Haswell pegged at a minor 10% performance boost and a decent GPU boost (still not comparable to discrete though). Or did you mean power savings?
 
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26. Re: Intel Killing Off Desktop/Enthusiast PCs? Nov 27, 2012, 12:43 Slick
 
as usual, the knee-jerk bluesnews reactionary brigade is out in force today...

can i assume that NONE of you posting here are microprocessor engineers? no? probably not.

we know NOTHING about how this will impact the end user, all we know is "BOOOOOO HISSSSS"

take a step back, relax, remember to breathe.

for all we know this could bring system build prices down, maybe a cpu and mobo will now be the price of just a cpu by today's price reference. maybe there is a serious thermal or electrical advantage to one unit being soldered to another. and the most obvious possible enhancement is that this cuts down on MILLIONS of potential PC combinations when trying to code for a game. the enemy of the PC is the API as any educated PC gamer knows. the fact that the xbox performs 10x better for it's specs than a modern PC should be a HUGE wake up call. there is a big advantage to coders who have a more unified pipeline to code for. Or else you have a million possible PC configs, and you scratch your head as to why a $2000 direct x based PC struggles to push out 80 FPS in starcraft 2.

is no one else sick of this? i'm EMBARESSED that 7 year old console hardware is able to play the same games that my built-this-year 3770k w/ 7970 can. maybe i get a better framerate, and higher resolution, but they're the same goddamned games. PC gamers seem fine paying $2k for that a $200 can do. but i think it's bullshit, and we deserve better.

i for one am ALL for more unified builds of PCs, it's the only thing that will save the PC industry imo. but one thing i can tell you for sure is that no one has any idea how this decision will actually impact ANYTHING, and if they tell you they do know, i've got a bridge to sell ya

This comment was edited on Nov 27, 2012, 12:50.
 
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25. Re: Intel Killing Off Desktop/Enthusiast PCs? Nov 27, 2012, 12:32 eRe4s3r
 
It can also be a huge advantage for performance and stability... but let's not pay too much heed to this story, because first comes the Haswell and if indications are true, it is going to be a game changer. And in the end, if you are upgrading you are gonna need a new mainboard anyway, the cpu on it or not is irrelevant for 99% of all customers.

To me, the Haswell platform will be my last upgrade target for at least 7+ years, so I don't really care what comes 2 or 3 years later. That is assuming AMD doesn't come out with something incredibly better than what they announced so far.
 
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24. Re: Intel Killing Off Desktop/Enthusiast PCs? Nov 27, 2012, 12:17 Beamer
 
NegaDeath wrote on Nov 27, 2012, 12:04:
Beamer wrote on Nov 27, 2012, 11:50:
Yes, that's the benefit for Intel, but typically decisions like this aren't made without at least being able to justify, even if loosely, a benefit for all involved.

Plus Intel doesn't have the scale for mobo manufacturing, which is why they allow those 3rd party mobos - it's much better for them to forego that revenue than to build and maintain that manufacturing capability.

Well Intel already makes mobo's so I assume your talking about quantity. If they can successfully absorb the sales of all the other mobo manufacturers it might justify increasing production levels, neither of us have access to the numbers to confirm that. PC sales are also slowing which reduces demand. As for a benefit for all involved it sounds like they are only concerned with themselves if they didn't even bother to tell the 3rd parties about this until recently. Again if all of this is even true.

I don't think you understand the quantity we're talking about here. The amount of capital needed to scale up a production that large, to keep it maintained, etc., is astronomical.

There are reasons why most chip companies don't bother much with the boards. There are reasons why everyone mocked 3dfx when they bucked that trend. Yes, some of this is just getting more product out there, and those issues disappear when you're as large as Intel, but that manufacturing infrastructure, and that enormous amount of depreciation, is not really worth the added revenue stream.

Making it a weirder decision.
 
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23. Re: Intel Killing Off Desktop/Enthusiast PCs? Nov 27, 2012, 12:12 Cutter
 
First off this isn't a sign of the Apocalypse. It's actually a smart move by Intel for the majority of the market which are the emachine types that just want a PC that runs. Most of the people around here have always built their rigs and we've always been a minority. This sort of thing can also be advantageous for business. I seriously doubt the sky is falling and that this signals the end of socketed CPUs however. Chicken Little articles exist to drive traffic.

 
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22. Re: Intel Killing Off Desktop/Enthusiast PCs? Nov 27, 2012, 12:11 PHJF
 
"By then the last remaining overclockers and experimenters on the PC front will be gone, and for good technical reasons."

Excuse me, but what the fuck is this supposed to mean? Good technical reasons? Like wanting to force me into buying a $1,000 CPU instead of cooling/overclocking a less expensive one on my own terms? My case doesn't have six fucking fans on it for no reason.

I know what vdroop is. I know what FSB strapping is. I don't need Intel telling me how to run my system.
 
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101 Replies. 6 pages. Viewing page 4.
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