Remember last week's rumor about Intel ditching socketed desktop CPUs in favor of BGA chips soldered onto motherboards? AMD responded a couple days ago, making a committment to offer socketed APUs and CPUs through 2014. Now, Intel has made a similar pledge... sort of. Here's the scoop from Maximum PC:
"Intel remains committed to the growing desktop enthusiast and channel markets, and will continue to offer socketed parts in the LGA package for the foreseeable future for our customers and the Enthusiast DIY market," Intel spokesman Daniel Snyder told Maximum PC. "However, Intel cannot comment on specific long-term product roadmap plans at this time, but will disclose more details later per our normal communication process."
How far can Intel see into the future? Hard to say. Snyder's statement suggests Intel won't completely abandon socketed chips anytime soon. However, it also leaves the door open to transition some desktop processors to BGA packages. Notebook-style packages would make sense for certain kinds of systems, such as thin all-in-ones and small-form-factor designs like the NUC. At least for the foreseeable future, those types of machines seem likely to increase in popularity at the expense of traditional desktops.
Intel could move a big chunk of its processor lineup to BGA packages while still retaining socketed chips for PC enthusiasts. After all, it already has a high-end enthusiast platform based on the LGA2011 socket, which is shared with workstation and server products. Enterprise-oriented platforms are likely to retain socketed CPUs for longer than desktop systems, and I expect enthusiasts will be able to tag along for the ride. If desktop PCs are to become more like notebooks, it would only make sense for enthusiast machines to resemble workstations more closely. That's kind of the way things have been for a while.