news trusted source confirms soldered on broadwell cpus

Trusted source confirms soldered-on Broadwell CPUs

Back in November, PC Watch claimed that Intel would ditch socketed CPUs for Broadwell, the 14-nm successor to Haswell. Intel denied the rumor, pledging to offer socketed CPUs "for the foreseeable future." However, its statement didn’t close the door on making some Broadwell chips available in BGA packages soldered onto motherboards. We now know why.

According to a trusted source in the motherboard industry, select Broadwell chips will indeed come soldered onto desktop motherboards. Lower-end models might not be available in socketed configurations at all, it seems. Our source did, however, reaffirm Intel’s position that socketed CPUs aren’t being dropped completely. We were told socketed processors are on the roadmap until at least 2016.

Interestingly, our source said selling motherboards with soldered-on CPUs gives larger board makers an advantage over their smaller rivals. Intel’s higher-volume customers will be able to pull processors from larger pools of chips, allowing them to cherry pick parts for higher-end products. Motherboard makers may be able to sell boards with pre-overclocked CPUs—or at least with chips that have proven clock speed headroom.

RMAs will be more complicated with soldered-on CPUs, and it sounds like the details are still being worked out on that front. Our source said mobo makers may have to handle replacing damaged CPUs themselves, even if they’re eventually reimbursed by Intel. Again, that could favor larger producers whose service facilities have the BGA soldering equipment required for the task. Those manufacturers probably have better RMA service anyway, though.

Moving some desktop processors to BGA-only packages makes a certain amount of sense, especially considering the increasing popularity of slim all-in-one systems and other small-form-factor designs. The lifespan of modern sockets has also shortened in recent years, with upgrades paths often limited to one or two generations before a new motherboard is required. It seems likely that whatever socketed chips remain in Intel’s lineup will be higher-end offerings targeting gamers and enthusiasts.

0 responses to “Trusted source confirms soldered-on Broadwell CPUs

  1. Thanks for replying. It seems it’s easier to thumbs down rather than provide input.

    I think the motherboard warranty issue could be valid. I’ve never had one go bad though. Of course, I don’t try to push clockspeeds to the extreme or starve a system for cooling.

    Any idea how often this is a factor? 1:10, 1:100, 1:500?

  2. It’s not common anymore because of a shift in the direction of the CPU/PC business- one that AMD has been missing on multiple levels. You’re actually benefiting in that regard, though, because AMD stuck with AM2/3 for so long.

    Intel hasn’t been great about pushing ahead with everything- they took forever to get USB3 and are still offering fewer SATA3 ports- but they’ve also pushed ahead with things like including integrated video on everything as well as pushed into lower maximum power envelopes while maximizing performance per watt.

    As AMD tries to catch up, they’ll have to do more the same socket switching.

  3. This idea is just not possible for high end desktop / workstations and servers.

    Look at Gigabyte.
    Are they going to order all high end i7, or a mix of i5 and i3 and only a few i7, or maybe all celeron?
    How do they pay Intel upfront to buy and solder the parts?
    And what if people really wanted i7, but they built a majority of i5 models ?

    a) No more choice in what your motherboard offers. You will get what OEM think you want and that its
    b) OEM wont be able to guess the market and pre-order CPU when they cost 100 to $900 a piece.

    So its not about upgrade, its about choice and logistics.

  4. This will probably apply to Pentiums and Celerons, not anything that enthusiasts tend to look at.

  5. On my current PC I upgraded a Phenom II X3 to a Phenom II X6. I recently won 16GB of DDR3, and when I get it I’ll upgrade my DDR2 MB to a new one but continue to use the same CPU. (I just had RAM fail for me yesterday, so I’m running with only 4GB.)

    So it’s not like the upgrade scenario doesn’t exist. That said, I imagine it’s not very common. Most people don’t upgrade the CPU alone, because in most cases it’s not possible. Sockets change, and even when they don’t the MB makers don’t update the BIOS to support the new CPU’s.

  6. [url<][/url<] I will repeat it after the Saturday shortbread gets posted.

  7. Yup especially since switching from DDR2 to DDR3 brought nearly no performance increases at all with AMD’s memory controller.

  8. In the Socket 7 (and before) days they had no choice, since they were intentionally pin compatible with Intel’s offerings.

    Intel introduced LGA packaging in 2004. AMD still uses PGA for their desktop CPUs (though they have indeed moved to LGA for their server platforms).

    Intel didn’t even invent LGA packaging; MIPS and HP (PA-RISC) were using it nearly a decade earlier.

  9. Calm down dude, no one even mentioned AMD. You either don’t understand the phrase or can’t see the writing on the wall. Going highly integrated is the first step toward moving decidedly into a lower-end market.

    Besides, the phrase “race to the bottom” is used to describe how capitalism often rewards those who cater to the lowest common denominator. So if anything, Intel is playing their part as capitalist for-profit corporation with aplomb. ;D

  10. A good test of Charlie’s credbility, then. A specific prediction he’s very sure about which can easily be contradicted.

  11. What about people who want a budget board paired with a high end CPU? I dont need all the features of a $200 board when others cost half that, but if i want to drop a $300 CPU into it i can. With them being matched up i’m going to end up paying more for a motherboard with lots of features i dont need just bwecause i want a decent CPU in there.

  12. I can’t stand that “race to the bottom” phrase since it is just a stupid propaganda talking point that is never used in an honest manner. Case in point: What if I said that AMD has been engaged in a race to the bottom by pricing (some) of its chips below Intel’s? Would all the AMD fanboys that accuse Intel of being in “race to the bottom” have enough integrity to apply their own standards to themselves? No, didn’t think so.

  13. Oh, yes, because saying that Intel CPU being cheaper than ever isn’t a joke. Gotcha. I’ll try to remember that.

  14. Maybe this is what Intel needs to make their cpus upgradeable via soft|firmware a reality.

  15. Issue is more of the motherboard failing just out of warranty, also taking your expensive CPU along with it

  16. Issue is more of the motherboard failing just out of warranty, also taking your expensive CPU along with it which is perfectly fine and likely still in warranty.

    It doesn’t limit upgrade options much I usually save it to the get what I want instead of incremental upgrades.

  17. Count me among those that don’t see this as a big deal. I buy a motherboard/processor pair anyway and have upgraded a CPU once in 25 years of building my own systems. Not only do sockets change, but I generally want other features along with a faster CPU. So, I typically upgrade the motherboard, CPU and memory and part the old one out on eBay. I paid for about 25% of my latest motherboard/CPU/Memory combination doing just that.

  18. This looks like a response to market demand for low TDP parts that fit in thin enclosures, not unlike all of the non-Intel SoCs I know of. The demise of AMD didn’t see Intel stop making CPUs with unlocked multipliers, I don’t think the death of the netbook or potential death of the traditional laptop will see Intel stop making socketed CPUs.

  19. True, but that bottom the barrel $450 laptop people buy will be a little less of a dog then what it is.

  20. Remember back a few years with the intel / nvidia feud? Remember when nvidia said the CPU will eventually become like just another motherboard component like the north/southbridge and the GPU is what really matters heading into the future? Remember how intel scoffed at the very notion? Well here we are in 2013 and intel is moving to BGA and when they are releasing new sku’s they are now prompting the graphic capabilities on new chips more then ever. Seems nvidia was right after all.

  21. OTOH, Google runs infrastructure that can benefit from massive parallelism, so maximum performance-per-CPU is not necessarily as beneficial as adding more CPUs. Consumer computation loads aren’t quite the same.

  22. What about a heatsink retention mechanism? BGA packages don’t like having a lot of pressure applied, and motherboards typically use fewer layers than GPU cards, so some sort of structural assembly may be required.

  23. AMD already does this with their low power E-350 Zacate CPU’s. Not a big deal. Especially the point about upgrading. I get the upgrade itch every 3 – 4 years, and I don’t even remember the last time I bought a CPU by itself. It seems that the motherboards are the parts that really go obsolete.

    Just recently, I looked at my trusty Core 2 Quad with a board supporting up to 8 gig DDR2 memory and SATA2 support. Bleh. It’s not worth upgrading the CPU in that thing. I dropped an SSD in there and hardly noticed any improvement. Time for a MB with up to 32 gig DDR3, SATA3 support, and USB3. DDR2 is probably the main drawback. Slow and expensive. The other drawbacks could be helped with add-in cards, but not worth the expense IMO.

    Edit: Although… It would suck if you found a really sweet MB on sale, but it didn’t have the CPU you wanted. The good CPU/MB combos could go for a premium.

  24. I had a K6-2 333MHz die… long long ago. That’s the grand sum and total of every processor I’ve ever seen or heard of dying. And I worked retail for about 3yrs fixing computers.

    Processors dying just isn’t an issue.

  25. It is the beginning of the end. This will significantly limit our motherboard/cpu choices, unless a third-party is allowed to assembly custom MOBO/CPU combinations.

    Next step will be soldered on RAM, then soldered on solid state hard drives.
    The PC will be just like a cell phone at that point.

    On the other hand, the scrappers are going to love it. (where did I put my solder vacuum?)

  26. Also significant savings from not having to deal with the idiots who bend pins and then try to RMA the product claiming “it came that way”. Even if the RMA is eventually rejected, the time and effort is pretty high for each one.

  27. Chances are if you’re buying a Dell you’re not aware that sockets even used to be a choice

  28. It hasn’t happened to anything I’ve personally owned, but I did see a tech replace a bad CPU in a server about four years ago.

  29. Indeed. I’m holding out for 4G+ of on-die RAM though.

    What do you think about a getting a death pool going for new non-SOC systems from the x86 ODM(s?)?

  30. It doesn’t really matter where they are saving money, it should help make the standard Dell desktop cheaper. And “dude” if your buying a Dell chances are you aren’t upgrading the CPU.

  31. I didn’t say significantly less. The cost savings from a BGA package is in the same order as the signal integrity improvement. I.e., insignificant. The main savings come from nixing the socket itselt (and the packaging that comes with retail CPUs)

  32. [quote<]But with a low-end CPU will anyone really care?[/quote<] Probably, yes. Anything that can get a little bit more performance out of cheap low-end chips is probably a good thing. It makes them a better value, especially on a massive scale. Google is known for picking the most power efficient chips and motherboards to run it's software on, not the fastest. 1w may not seem like much, but when you start thinking about how many servers can be packed into a a given rack with a finite amount of power, that 1w can be a lot. You're a programmer, so you know RAM access is slow. If the manufacturers can do anything to cut that down, even just a little bit, that's a win. RAM access is one of few remaining bottlenecks that needs to be addressed. Disk IO used to be the big one, but SSDs have helped.

  33. This is evil Intel marketing, trying to make you buy a Haswell mobo with the false hope that you can later upgrade to Broadwell

  34. Yeah, I know, that’s why I’m concerned. I don’t like this model in the consumer space. There are reasons it works reasonably well in the large datacenters, but I don’t see it working as well in home PCs.

    For one, each chip would have to test out as capable of the maximum feature set. So, if you’re going to sell that as a low end part, you have to do all the testing and validation for a high end part (and lose all the chips that fail), but you will only get paid (up front) for the value of a low end part. Then you *hope* to make the money back later.

    That means a few things. Either Intel is sure that a large chunk of people will upgrade, their yeilds are amazing, the price of even the low end chips will go up, or Intel is going to shrink their margins. I don’t see 1, 2, or 4 being likely.

    1 is problematic as the price to upgrade has to pay for all of the testing for that functionality even for the people who don’t upgrade. This leads us to a difficult balance–the fewer people who upgrade, the more other people they have to pay for meaning they have to pay more for the upgrade which decreases the chance that people upgrade, raising the price, etc.

    2 is just living in a fantasy land.

    4 means Intel doesn’t like money which seems unrealistic.

    So, basically, we’re looking at the cost for low end chips to increase. Then we have to consider the price differential between base chips and ‘upgraded’ ones at time of purchase vs doing it later. If it costs 2x the difference to upgrade ‘later’ vs buying a chip with the ‘upgrade’ already done, not many people will upgrade. And, if you think this means that consumers are going to suddenly gain the ability to do long term planning, see the problem with #2.

    The situation boils down to this: In a store, the computer comes at the base configuration and the sales person offers a series of upgrades (they love to upsale) which are way cheaper now than they would be later, so they get the buyer to pile on a bunch of them (save now!) at time of purchase. The net result is that the price of the machines will increase over what we have now.

    If anyone sees this in a different light, I’d really like to see a silver lining in this cloud.

  35. XDR is banned here, because it’s a Rambus product.

    Or should I say “XDR doesn’t exist because Rambus is just a patent troll and doesn’t actually design anything”?

  36. Not many honestly. Most people would like PCs to be disposable appliances.

    I’ve did it to create a Frankenserver about a year ago, and back in the day, I would collect old PCs people were getting rid of then mix and match parts to create the best systems I could.

    Now that I think about it, I would probably still do this, but my wife has squashed any attempt at PC creep. 🙂

  37. Intel will get more money if they cut out the middle men, and everyone buys directly from them.

    This is traditional Intel.

    Competing x86 firms were killed off, except for AMD, because Intel would get more money by being the only source for x86 chips.

    Alternative chipsets for Intel CPUs are extinct because Intel decided they could make more money by being the sole provider of Intel CPU chipsets.

    Next, the motherboard manufacturers will be getting squeezed out because Intel needs growth to keep the shareholders happy, and the only way to do that is by being the sole source of motherboards with Intel CPUs and chipsets. This also allows them to pickup design services that normally would be handled by Pegatron or Foxconn as well.

  38. This is how mainframes work, so the precedent is there.

    Mainframes all come maxed out with RAM, processors, etc., but the users are limited to the resources they have licenses for.

  39. I have. The egg has some good deal from time to time on old P4 era chips and I’ve got some pizza box servers that have been slowly speeding up as deals on faster chips show up.

  40. Just think a little bit further ahead then ‘oh Intel will make money off of this’.

    AMD on sockets: [url<][/url<]

  41. Or, the chips will all be the same and you will be able to buy upgrades to them which unlock features (cores, hyper-threading, AESNI, AVX, VT-whatever, etc.) by buying upgrade cards at your local big box computer store.

  42. [url<][/url<] They promised sockets for 2013 and 2014 and worded it in a way that made it seem like they didn't have any plans of switching to BGAs at all. Instead of playing it 'loose' to avoid a PR BS storm AMD worded it in a way that definitely would make it seem bad if they converted everything to BGA. "AMD has a long history of supporting the DIY and enthusiast desktop market with socketed CPUs & APUs that are compatible with a wide range of motherboard products from our partners. That will continue through 2013 and 2014 with the "Kaveri" APU and FX CPU lines. We have no plans at this time to move to BGA only packaging and look forward to continuing to support this critical segment of the market. 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. 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." 'Enthusiast' for Intel is $250+ motherboards and $300+ chips with little performance increases over their cheaper variants.

  43. I’ll take a wait-and-see attitude on this one. However, for everyone that says “how often do you change your CPU, anyway?” I think that’s an unfair question, at least at the high-end. I went through four Socket 755 processors, I’ve gone through two Socket 1155 processors. Before that, I went through four Socket 939 processors.

    I can understand this approach for consumer-series computers at some level; though I’ve often helped people by upgrading their systems to get more life out of them, how many people do this? However, when an enthusiast-grade mainboard is $150-300, this isn’t a great option. As I said though, “wait-and-see”; I can’t see Intel doing this at the enthusiast level. I also wonder if it’s worthwhile on the mid/high-end from a cost analysis perspective, it’s cheaper to build one board and change around chips at that end.

  44. Yeah, I know. But with info like this seeping out, someone somewhere else in the industry (AMD?) is bound to react and open their mouth.

  45. Actually Bensam123, Intel was the one who said that it would have sockets into the ‘foreseeable future’. AMD just promised that it would have socketed solutions available in 2013 (meaning the same chips you can buy now) and 2014 (they mentioned Kaveri but made zero mention of any future upgrades or replacements for the AM3+ platform). Basically, AMD put on a big dog & pony show of repeating its pre-existing roadmap and crowing about how it comes in sockets. Of course, there is zero evidence that Broadwell is exclusively a BGA product either, but that hasn’t stopped you from jumping to conclusions.

  46. While I agree that the [i<]socket[/i<] is probably one of the more expensive components on a motherboard, I don't see why a BGA [i<]chip[/i<] should cost significantly less than an LGA one. Mechanically they are very similar. If we were talking about AMD desktop CPUs (PGA package) then I would agree -- BGA package will probably save cost on the CPU.

  47. You guys are disregarding all the details – ALL OF THE DETAILS – in this article. Most importantly that we’re talking about lower-end CPUs here.

  48. If the memory controller has support for it I don’t see why not. But then you’d also be stuck with the stock RAM configuration for the life of the board (just like with graphics cards).

  49. Only by Intel. AMD confirmed they weren’t going to do such things and planned on having sockets into ‘the foreseeable future’.

  50. It’s the entire personal desktop-as-cheapened-workstation market, actually, and it’s being replaced by the desktop-as-embiggened-tablet market.

    Which means that the enthusiast market will likely move to actual workstations (as in, Xeons) running Linux, I suspect.

  51. Whenever old one blew up. It would be really nice not having to buy the CPU along with the motherboard just because VRM bought a farm.

  52. This was going to happen sooner or later once we entered into the age of SOCs.

    I don’t see why enthusiast are making such a whole fuss over it. When was the last time you actually upgrade a CPU on a motherboard and vice versa? For the vast majority of enthusiast, it was during Socket AM2 era and some can go back as far as Socket A/478 era. These day, by the time you want to upgrade your CPU, you usually end-up getting a newer motherboard that offers a more current feature suite.

  53. Graphics cards don’t use faster ram per se, they have multiple banks of ram and data is spread between many chips.

    It’s kinda like having a raid 0 array with 8 hard drives in it.

  54. Depends what you mean by faster. GDDR has more bandwidth but worse latency than the equivalent DDR.

  55. Umm, did you think maybe that the board the CPU is soldered to could be modular?

    Most of the complainers on this topic do not have much imagination. We have been living with suitcase sized computers for too long, the end is near. Don’t bother mentioning SFF, that is just a suitcase sized computer crammed into a smaller box.

  56. AMD already does it with Brazos. (Intel does with Atom soo…) But with Kabini taking the lower end of the APU lineup it might end up being comparable.

  57. This is a true, theoretically. In practice, the main effect is lower cost, as this doesn’t require a socket or a socketable chip package that cost extra money and motherboard area

  58. That intel guy on the ask-me-anything on Reddit said Skymont doesn’t exist. It’s probably one of those fake codenames SemiAccurate was using to try to expose plagiarists at the expense of confusing their readers

  59. Like that, yes. For a vast majority who don’t overclock, the stuff used was perfectly fine, and the part was a little bit cheaper.

  60. Na on average about 3 different processors per board for me. I buy one high end board in the beginning, buy a lower priced processor that isn’t demanding premium prices and as that CPU families higher end processors become cheaper or on sale I put the higher end processor on the premium board and then take the older processor and buy a lower end board to put in on which usually get cheaper as well as the socket family gets older. I’ve already upgraded the i3-3225 to a i5-3570k and again bought a lower end board for the i3-3225 and repurposed the machine else where and that is within 6 months. If I see a good deal on an i7-k series I will probably do the same thing.

  61. This is more likely…

    (1) Desktop version (LGA1150 socket): [b<]Broadwell-D[/b<] (2) Mobile/Laptop version (PGA socket): [b<]Broadwell-M[/b<] (3) BGA version: (a) 35W and 55W TDP classes: [b<]Broadwell-H[/b<] (For "All-in-one" systems, Mini-ITX form factor motherboards, and other small footprint formats.) (b) Less than 15W TDP class (SoC): [b<]Broadwell-U[/b<] (For Intel's UltraBook platform.) (c) Less than 10W TDP class (SoC): [b<]Broadwell-Y[/b<] (For Tablets and certain UltraBook-class implementations.) ...Skylake (2015) and Skymont (2016) will still offer socket versions for Enthusiast/Performance markets.

  62. the same cost saving measures that led to a sub-par adhesive put on Ivy Bridge IHS’s, that when removed and replaced with standard materials, resulted in massive heat dissipation gains?

    Like that?

  63. If they would also solder the RAM onto the board, could they use faster RAM usually used on graphic cards?

  64. [quote<]charging a premium on any chip that they deem better then avg.[/quote<] You just succinctly described how every semi company in the industry has priced parts since at least the 1980's. Whether or not those parts come in sockets is irrelevant.

  65. sounds to me like the price is going to go up. charging a premium on any chip that they deem better then avg.

  66. While we’re mulling over unsubstantiated rumors, here’s another unconfirmed roadmap showing socketed desktop Broadwells: [url<][/url<] [Edit: and by "socketed" I mean using the same socket 1150 as Haswell]

  67. What do you mean? This is a cost-saving measure that’ll reduce the price of stuff. You should be happy about this.

  68. Things like this don’t become a reality with rivals. Intel needs competition, and I don’t mean in smartphones.

  69. That’s an unusual case though. I think the most I’ve ever done on the same motherboard was 3 times. (And congrats on picking an older AM2 mobo that was upgradeable all the way to 1090T — you really lucked out there!)

  70. There’s nothing stopping AMD from doing this either. Then again, I’m firmly in the ‘this is overblown’ crowd.

  71. It may facilitate a small performance bump. A socket introduces an impedance discontinuity in high speed signal traces, which messes with the signal integrity. Without the socket, it might be possible to use more aggressive memory timings. But with a low-end CPU will anyone really care?

    There could be an effect on power efficiency as well, since socket contacts introduce a small amount of electrical resistance. But again, if we’re talking low-end CPUs the overall effect is probably negligible, since power consumption will be on the low side to begin with.

  72. Yeah.. so Intel wants to kick smaller manufacturers who buy its products out of the market because it doesn’t like money or something. Typical Bensam123 logic there.

  73. How many people actually do this? Unless you count me moving CPUs around between systems to do “trickle down” upgrades between family members I’ve never done it; and even then, I typically move the motherboard and CPU as a unit. And corporate IT types tend to just replace the entire box…

  74. Your example with number of motherboards and CPUs is exaggerating things. Asus wouldn’t put out 6-series motherboards with Ivy Bridge CPUs, or 7-series motherboards with Sandy Bridge CPUs. They would be paired by similar release at least. It still comes out to a fair number if there is no software unlock, but it’s not near as bad as your example.

  75. Article is wrong. Charlie said [i<]all[/i<] Broadwells are BGA, and Charlie's OEM sources confirmed it.

  76. Yeah, that would be a bummer. Even budget motherboards typically have a pretty decent feature set these days, it would be a shame to limit them to only budget CPUs.

    That said, I think there will still be enough choices to keep us happy, at least for a few more years.

  77. I’m not sure why this is such a concern. Am I one of the few that focuses on the motherboard and CPU pairing as the foundation for my build? I don’t buy a $300 motherboard and throw the entry level chip into it with the hopes of someday dropping a the matching $300 cpu someday. If you are going to skimp on something that you plan on updating later, the CPU is my last choice. (I wouldn’t put a $300 cpu into an $80 board either) Video cards, RAM upgrades, or even SSD’s are reliable upgrades that bridge the performance gap as technology moves along and their prices drop like rocks compared to CPU’s. By the time I “have to have” a new CPU, it’s usually because my board and OS are long in the tooth anyway,

    If you want to go mild, mid, or extreme, the board makers are going to put together matched packages for your needs.

    If your build is well planned for growth, what is the situation where a CPU upgrade becomes the critical bottleneck in your system? Seriously, do you have some good examples?

  78. Sounds like this would be the one of the few intermediary steps towards a total SoC. This would be a good way to ‘warm’ us up to the whole motherboard with everything installed, all on 1 die.
    It also sounds like a good way to sell a lot of crappy Intel motherboards in the mean time.

  79. I just upgraded my old ASRock Extreme 3 board with a newer MSI X58A-GD65 because my i7-920 @ 3.8 GHz is basically as fast as any thing out for sale right now. Was nice to add USB 3 and SATA 6 to my rig without having to buy a new proc, cooler, & ram when my old board died.


  80. Your missing the point about upgrades from Intel. Intel already has upgrade cards for selected CPUs, you could buy them in store at the time of purchase or at a latter date. Intel will use a similar (but probably more secure) method to unlock features / specifications you want.

    For example: You will buy a $250 motherboard with a CPU (what would today be $100 motherboard and $150 CPU). That gets you the base model e.g. i5-4350 that can be upgraded to any CPU up to a certain limit e.g. i7-4770, the only difference is you will be paying Intel for the unlock not the retailer.

    PCs bought from OEMs will of course be unchanged.

  81. I have to agree. This only means bad things for consumers and smaller mobo manufacturers. If they keep it solely to low end stuff or HTPC type stuff that is already high integrated, then much likely wont change. As stands right now lots of stuff in that arena is already soldered on because its so highly integrated. But I doubt that it will stay that way. Intel will likely start to creep this soldered on BGA style garbage all the way up the food chain till we are stuck in a situation exactly like you described. This is how it starts. They do it with only a few low end things like i3’s and stuff that people don’t care much about, then start working their way up the line. Then suddenly a couple years later we are all having conversations about the good ol’ days when you used to be able to pair any low end cpu with any high end board or vice versa.

  82. Why do you believe your choice in motherboards wont change when CPUs will be soldered directly to models? Do you believe Asus is going to custom solder every variant of Intel CPUs to every variant of their motherboard just for you? So lets use that as an example.

    Looking at Newegg 1155 Asus motherboards, Asus currently has 69 variants. Looking at Intel 1155 processors there are currently 49 being sold… So Asus would have to make a variant of each one of it’s 69 motherboards for each one of those 49 processors… Or 69*49… So Asus would have to produce 3,381 different motherboards in order to keep the current selection. That’s just to have the option of purchasing a motherboard that you want with the processor you want.

    Obviously they aren’t going to do this and obviously smaller motherboard manufacturers can’t AFFORD to do this. So you’ll see them offering very limited models based on performance of the chips, rather then features in the motherboard. In order to get different features or different performance you’ll have to pay a premium to get them, rather then simply being able to buy a cheap motherboard from ASrock or ECS that has all the features of a $200 one without the platinum plated heat sinks. Or if you want to buy a faster processor, you’ll have to buy the platinum heatsinks.

    As you said, Intel will then also start using micro-transactions for their processors. Microtransactions aren’t there to help the average joe out, it’s to wring as much money as possible out of them. They’ll simply make you pay more for what you’re currently getting.

    Since manufacturers then will be limited to producing a limited selection, unless they can sell sufficient quantities, which a lot of makers don’t have the volume of Asus, they’ll go out of business.

    “I don’t see what everyone is afraid of.”
    “…whats not to like from Intel’s POV?”

    This isn’t about what Intel wants, this is about what you want as a consumer. Don’t bend over because it seems logical from Intels perspective.

  83. I don’t see what everyone is afraid of. Your choices in CPU and motherboard wont change (much), only the time of purchase and who you purchase from will. This change will not really effect consumers.

    Intel will start selling upgrade codes for all BGA CPUs, you buy a motherboard with a CPU that is ranged from i5-4350 to i7-4770. You setup the PC, go to the intel website, download a piece of software that gives you a list of options, pick what you want, enter your credit card details, pay and the software changes the microcode on your CPU to enable the features.

    Intel’s yields are more than good enough for this scenario, and we all know the headroom available on the current CPUs will allow this. Intel will probably also allow motherboard makers to sell unlocked CPUs overclocked, as long as someone pays for Intels overclockers insurance on that CPU.

    Retailers will get less money since they only sell the base configuration and Intel will get all of the money from the upgrades. Motherboard makers will get stuck with the RMAs, whats not to like from Intel’s POV? Its not like there is any competition…

  84. Does soldering the CPU directly increas performance somehow? Or power efficiency? Or is the only notable difference the lack of upgradability?

  85. That’d be when I upgraded from a Core 2 Duo E6300 to a Core 2 Quad Q6700 in what is still my primary PC.

    Before that when I upgraded from a single to a dual-core Athlon 64 in a Socket 939 board.

    Before that when I upgraded from a 1 GHz Athlon Thunderbird to an Athlon XP 1800+.

    Actually virtually every motherboard I’ve owned has seen two CPUs.

  86. Yeah, that’s what I’m thinking. Stuff that competes with Brazos and Kaveri like the current BGA Celerons, although I don’t know how Intel will do that at similar prices when Atom is the current equivalent, rather than i3-level and up.

  87. So that means it will always be shared? No. I suspect it will be even lower-end than that, and could be special platform systems like thin and light or sub-35W TDP as someone else mentioned.

  88. How does that help Intel any more? Someone will just buy a used CPU+mobo instead of a used CPU.

  89. Another plus for Intel, not mentioned in the article; no secondary market of cpu pulls that enable users to upgrade with a pull rather than buy a whole new board.

  90. i am hoping we will only see this for the thin and light laptop/tablet/handheld segment of the market only. for all desktop boards we will hopefully still see sockets. makes much more sense than the doomsday scenario everyone paints this out to be. but you never know…

  91. Not with BGA’s. You need special and expensive hardware in order to de/re-solder them. Very few will be able to afford it ever. Even to have someone else do it for you is pretty expensive too.

  92. Yup… and kicks a bunch of smaller manufacturers out the door, rings in consumers and forces them into a structure in which they have to purchase pre-rated chips (overclocking headroom disappears) and certain combinations, and allows Intel complete control over the motherboard. I’m sure the socketed models will be limited to socket 2013 or whatever their next ridiculously high end ‘enthusiast’ product is.

    As I said before, if you value your sockets and your freedom to build a system the way you want to it’s time to change to AMD (I’m sure tons of people will scoff at this). The performance landscape may change immensely if you’re limited in your ability to OC and are being forced into buying a motherboard at a certain cost.

    And yes, I do understand for Intel this makes sense and will save them money. It’s not always about what the big corporation that wants to nom your dollars wants. Soldered on chips should be limited to ultra low end, integrated, disposable solutions… Like Atoms.

  93. I’m interested to see what the motherboard makers do with the soldered-on option and overclocking. This may be my next upgrade.

  94. The i3 desktop platform has been shared with Pentiums and Celerons for a while, so I wouldn’t bet on that.

    They could drop i7s from this range and add an i5 option to the LGA2011 platform of the day.

  95. Guy’s guy’s guy’s, and gals! Caaaaalm… Modders, and enthusiast’s always find a way, right?

  96. If they keep this limited to the future equivalent of Celerons and Pentiums going forward I’m kind of ok with that even though it was nice having that super cheap CPU option. If it starts creeping up to i3-level CPUs then I’ll get bothered.

  97. This was exactly my conclusion after the Intel statement was issued.
    When reading company statements, I always assume that they are truthful and disclose at little as possible.
    It doesn’t seem like a big deal to me and makes good business sense.

    The biggest problem I see is that it may become impossible to buy a cheap low end motherboard and use it with a high end CPU.
    For instance, a cheap H81 based motherboard would be enough for my needs, but I would use it with a quad core not a cheap Celeron.

  98. So because people won’t buy that, it’s all the OEMs will sell? ***DOES NOT COMPUTE***

    The reality is the opposite. Expensive motherboards will go away, as everything will be built into the CPU package.

  99. First, that might not be covered under warranty anyway. Second, chances are still 99.9% that it’s the motherboard. CPUs just don’t go bad any more within reason. I suppose there are some super1337xtreem overclockers who have killed CPUs but it’s extremely rare for normal enthusiasts.

  100. Alternatively, they could create yet more dedicated platforms for unjustifiable markets and sell them at a loss.

    If only AMD had tried that!

  101. When was the last time you bought the most expensive motherboard and most expensive CPU together? Because that will be the only way you can get either if CPU’s have to be soldered on.

  102. When was the last time you upgraded your motherboard with another of the same socket? Really?

  103. I find this totally ackward, not only you won’t be able to get a nice motherboard and upgrade the cpu, you will be forced to choose a cpu+motherboard combo.
    I know that usually you buy a cpu+motherboard together anyway, but for me, this is going too far, and I don’t like at all this lack of flexibility that once was one of the greatest appeals of the PC market.

  104. I don’t know that RMA will be an issue people can complain about. When was the last time anyone had a CPU die on them? Between CPU and motherboard the latter is 99.9x more likely to fail or have an issue in which case you RMA to the vendor anyway. this particular aspect isn’t that big a deal.

  105. I’m not sure this is quite the End Of The World event some are making it out to be. Especially for the lower-end systems, this makes a lot of sense. Most motherboards have basically the same set of core features anyway, and virtually all peripherals are now USB devices.