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Is Intel Planning To Kill Enthusiast PCs? 1009

Posted by samzenpus
from the have-someone-do-it dept.
OceanMan7 writes "According to a story by Charlie Demerjian, a long-time hardware journalist, Intel's next generation of x86 CPUs, Broadwell, will not come in a package having pins. Hence manufacturers will have to solder it onto motherboards. That will likely seriously wound the enthusiast PC market. If Intel doesn't change their plans, the future pasture for enthusiasts looks like it will go to ARM chips or something from offshore manufacturers."
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Is Intel Planning To Kill Enthusiast PCs?

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  • by gentryx (759438) * on Monday November 26, 2012 @04:33PM (#42097433) Homepage Journal
    why would any "enthusiast" go for an ARM CPU with about one tenth of the power a current Intel CPU has? I call this story b/s.
    • by Kenja (541830) on Monday November 26, 2012 @04:39PM (#42097507)
      The ARM CPUs are aimed at more of the low power consumption model that the old VIA CPUs targeted with the mini-ITX form factor. Which you may recall, used CPUs soldered to the motherboard. Its a different market space, where the motherboard and CPU have been combined for many years now without any world shattering consequences.
      • by Joce640k (829181) on Monday November 26, 2012 @04:44PM (#42097593) Homepage

        Not to mention that ARM chips use a different instruction set, so .... you can't go from x86 to ARM. If you're going anywhere you're going to go AMD.

        Whoever wrote the summary needs a quick dose of clue-by-four.

        • by h4rr4r (612664) on Monday November 26, 2012 @04:50PM (#42097709)

          Why can't you go to ARM?
          Lots of linux distros have ARM support.

        • by jeffmeden (135043) on Monday November 26, 2012 @05:22PM (#42098221) Homepage Journal

          Not to mention that ARM chips use a different instruction set, so .... you can't go from x86 to ARM. If you're going anywhere you're going to go AMD.

          Whoever wrote the summary needs a quick dose of clue-by-four.

          Yes, because tinkerers and enthusiasts are famous for their staunch reliance on a single architecture. I can picture them now, refusing to abandon Intel due to their reliance on Office 2007 and the native drivers for their Canon Pixma Pro.

          It used to be that every other story on Slashdot was about how Linux would/could run on anything. And then I see comments like this and wonder how many of slashdot's users even remember back that far... Or were even alive then?

      • by maz2331 (1104901) on Monday November 26, 2012 @06:18PM (#42099109)

        ...there is nothing stopping the motherboard makers from soldering their own socket to the board, then soldering the chip to a carrier PCB that plugs into the new socket.

      • by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@NOspaM.gmail.com> on Monday November 26, 2012 @06:21PM (#42099159) Journal

        Exactly, which makes me think these chips are gonna turn out to be their replacement for the Atom. After all the Atom was soldered and nobody cared right? but if they think they can force the lucrative server market to spend many thousands of dollars on a board with soldered CPUs, so if you need to boost performanje later you have to just throw the whole thing on the garbage heap and start over? Think again, it would give AMD the biggest Xmas prezzie because nobody is spending that kind of money for a soldered chip.

        But is anybody else looking at "the future" and thinking its gonna be a giant black box assraping corporate circle jerk? They are trying to force us onto platforms that aren't suitable for purpose like the tablets, simply because they can make a mint with lock in and appstores, and now trying to make everything a locked down mess hardware wise, so your only choice will be to throw away and buy more.

        And where the fuck is antitrust in all this? Hello EU, they will be wiping out a half a dozen companies to capture the market for themselves, just as they did with IGP by slitting nvidia's throat, and I know we here in America lost control to the corps but you have generally frowned on this kind of shit, so WTF?

        As for me this is all the more reason to continue buying AMD, as all my games play fine, I went from a single to a dual to a quad on my last board and on this one I can go up to the latest 8 cores if I want (although those $100 6 core Phenoms are nice enough for me) and most importantly I'm not having to throw the whole damned thing out if I need more speed down the road. if this kind of bullshit had been in place I'd be on my fifth board now instead of my second, and when you figure in how much higher the boards would be if you were stuck with whatever CPU they soldered in? NOT a smart buy. I have a feeling the big board companies like AsusRock and Gigabyte will be pushing AMD, not like they've got a choice as Intel would be doing to them what they did to Nvidia.

        But I have no desire to get stuck on some locked down ARM wannabe playing Angry Birds, I want AAA gaming, I want to be able to transcode, I want to be able to build up my system as time goes on, and if this is true that just means Intel won't be coming near any of my computers, the loss of choice won't be worth the increased IPC.

        • by marcosdumay (620877) <marcosdumay&gmail,com> on Monday November 26, 2012 @09:34PM (#42100967) Homepage Journal

          but if they think they can force the lucrative server market to spend many thousands of dollars on a board with soldered CPUs, so if you need to boost performanje later you have to just throw the whole thing on the garbage heap and start over? Think again

          Came-on. Everybody do replace their entire servers already, nearly nobody upgrades.

          Besides, Intel changes the sockets of their chips every generation anyway.

        • by smash (1351) on Monday November 26, 2012 @11:23PM (#42101803) Homepage Journal

          I don't believe soldered CPUs are a problem for businesses. We simply do not upgrade CPU on our boxes ever. We buy appropriate spec for workload - if need more CPU, split task onto multiple boxes.

          The box is retired after 3-5 years, and the CPU/RAM/board/etc. is all replaced as a unit. I'm sure we're not alone.

          Generally CPU upgrades suck anyhow. Bus speed increases, RAM speed increases, etc. all conspire against you. By the time the new CPU is out that gives a significant benefit, you'll get just as much or more benefit from upgrading the board anyway.

        • by im_thatoneguy (819432) on Tuesday November 27, 2012 @06:42AM (#42103749)

          I have a question for the Slashdot audience. In fact it would make a great poll:

          I have upgraded a CPU and kept my mother board:

          10% or less of the time.
          11-25% of the time.
          26-50% of the time.
          51%-75% of the time
          76-100% of the time

          For me it would be 10% of the time. Usually when I upgrade CPUs motherboards have improved so much as well that it makes sense to pick up a brand new one even if the socket is the same.

    • by jedidiah (1196) on Monday November 26, 2012 @04:41PM (#42097529) Homepage

      Never mind enthusiasts. There's still a large market for business machines both on the desktop and in the server room. Any thing that makes those machines less standardized and less modular is leaving a lot of money on the table.

      Even in the heyday of proprietary RISC systems, they didn't pull nonsense like that. If anything, they were more modular rather than less allowing for hot swapped components.

      This is about more than just whether or not hard core gamers can replace their CPU.

      • by sl4shd0rk (755837)

        less modular is leaving a lot of money on the table.

        Nope. Modular leads to alternative solutions. The last thing Intel wants is Modular. Look at some of the proprietary lock-in that goes on with riser cards, power supplies and form factors (Hi, Dell).

        Even in the heyday of proprietary RISC systems

        No, there was plenty of premium pricing for RISC based gear. A 400Mhz Sun Ultrasparc was well over $12k refurb back in the mid 90s. You could build a great (at the time) Pentium system for 1/10th the cost back then. That's a big difference. That's how Linux got in the server room.

        Intel would love to have the de

    • by lgw (121541) on Monday November 26, 2012 @04:43PM (#42097563) Journal

      I've bult my own PCs for 20+ years, and I can't remeber ever really caring about moving the CPU from one motherboard to another. I shop for them as a matched pair, and assuming they work when I get them, I've alays replace both if problems developed later down the road (because a few years later, when you're on the far side of the failure "bathtub curve", you might as well replace both).

      I don't see having to buy the CPU soldered to the motherboard as an impediment really - as long as I can swap out the heatsink and other components.

      • by harrkev (623093) <<kfmsd> <at> <harrelsonfamily.org>> on Monday November 26, 2012 @04:46PM (#42097643) Homepage

        I certainly agree with this. If the CPU/Mobo are a pair, it WILL make it a little bit more expensive to upgrade, but then again, that is what craigslist is for. Want a new processor, sell the old mobo/CPU pair for a good price and go ahead and upgrade. I only upgrade every couple of years. By the time I am ready for a new CPU, it already has a new socket associated with it.

        This might hurt the guys who upgrade every 3 months. For the rest of us, not a big deal.

        • by Billly Gates (198444) on Monday November 26, 2012 @04:58PM (#42097829) Journal

          My AMD systems from 2007 are Athlon64 and can still be upgraded to the latest PhenomII black editions fine after a bios update. So I do not know what you are talking about.

          Both of you must be those Intel users I keep hearing about where different sockets and chipsets are made on purpose to limit compatiblity so you have to upgrade everything. Oh and boy Windows activation wont like that either. Better buy another copy of Windows for that board as well.

          • by harrkev (623093) <<kfmsd> <at> <harrelsonfamily.org>> on Monday November 26, 2012 @05:14PM (#42098095) Homepage

            Yes, this is technically true. AMD has done a fairly decent job of sticking with a socket longer than AMD.... BUT.... Most "enthusiasts" want the latest shinies: latest USB, lasest SATA, PCI flavor, etc. I suspect that the person who pops a new processor in a three-year-old MOBO are a tiny minority.

            Also, soldering the CPU directly on the board saves the rather complicated (and I assume expensive) socket. I do not know what the cost difference is between LGA and BGA, though. I would suspect not much.

          • by batkiwi (137781)

            As for your AMD systems:
            -you CAN upgrade, but you haven't. He wasn't saying that you can't, but that no one winds up doing so.
            -Why would you do so while still running DDR2?
            -the top phenom II will run in a degraded mode due to lack of power from an AM2+ motherboard

            I've always built my own PCs, and had the intention of upgrading my processor later. I've never done so. Right now I have an i5 ~3ghz system I built 14 month ago. I got the i5 with plans in a year or so to upgrade it to an i7. I haven't done

        • by tchuladdiass (174342) on Monday November 26, 2012 @04:58PM (#42097833) Homepage

          The only problem is that when I buy a motherboard / CPU, there are usually a dozen or so variations on which CPU will work in a given motherboard. Right now it makes sense to mix & match to get exactly what you want, but if the CPU is attached to the motherboard at purchase time, you are stuck with one of the 2 - 3 choices that the motherboard manufacturer decides to sell.

          • by AdamBv1 (1382569) on Monday November 26, 2012 @05:10PM (#42098019)
            Oh boy, I hadn't thought of that. I can just see a situation where you need to buy an i7 to get any motherboard with decent overclocking ability or other features when you would be far happier with an i5 and an extra $100 in your pocket. Intel and motherboard manufacturers working together like this could mean terrible things for home builder.
          • by ngc3242 (1039950) on Monday November 26, 2012 @05:57PM (#42098775)

            You made an excellent point. It made me realize that economically tying the motherboard and the CPU will necessitate less choice.

            Right now if there are X motherboards and Y CPUs compatible with those motherboards, a seller needs to stock X + Y items to provide buyers all possible combinations. In the new system if the same degree of flexibility is to be offered a seller would have to stock X * Y items.

            There is no way that will happen. We will get less choice if this change becomes a reality unless as others point out someone offers CPU's soldered to something that's socketable that would then be put into a motherboard with a socket (assuming that this is possible and there aren't signal integrity reasons that are forcing Intel to solder the chip to the motherboard).

      • by peragrin (659227) on Monday November 26, 2012 @04:50PM (#42097705)

        Not only that but CPU sockets usually only work for one CPU family and aren't interchangeable. You can't but AMD's chip into Intels motherboards.

        So at best you can normally replace to an equaviant CPU maybe a couple of clock cycles faster but that's it.

        If your upgrading you have to replace both

        • by jeffmeden (135043) on Monday November 26, 2012 @05:28PM (#42098323) Homepage Journal

          Not only that but CPU sockets usually only work for one CPU family and aren't interchangeable. You can't but AMD's chip into Intels motherboards.

          So at best you can normally replace to an equaviant CPU maybe a couple of clock cycles faster but that's it.

          If your upgrading you have to replace both

          This is it exactly. Hell, the last time I even considered this approach (replacing just the CPU) the cost of a compatible CPU (since they were long past their prime) was more than the cost of a new, faster cpu+mobo. I dropped $40 for some ram (4x of what was in the old rig) and I was on my way. Why anyone but a MHz/GHz chaser would want to replace just a CPU is beyond me (and it's beyond Intel, too; this move is totally understandable and probably was predictable by anyone who really pays attention to such things). I can totally see "Enthusiasts" not really giving a crap about this for the most part; the ones that used to buy CPU after CPU just to stay on top of things are far more likely to just spend their money on GPUs these days, since the CPU wars are all but over.

          • by Dishevel (1105119) on Monday November 26, 2012 @05:54PM (#42098751)

            The real problem is not the upgrading.
            The real problem will be getting what you want in the first place.
            Life is good now. I can get exactly what I want. I do not have t over buy my CPU because I want RAID and dual gigabit NICs.
            I can get a decent CPU and put money into a board that will give me good OC capabilities.
            Once this becomes the norm you know and I know the number of choices is going to go WAY down.
            You will have the Super Expensive, Top CPU and what MB they thick is best, a kinda nice duo, a normal can do almost everything in a not annoying way and a low power cost saving set.
            Fuck that noise.

      • by Rich0 (548339) on Monday November 26, 2012 @04:53PM (#42097765) Homepage

        While I have never upgraded one without upgrading the other, I do make a decision on which CPU/motherboard I buy.

        What if I want a 4-core system, but the motherboard I want is only sold with more expensive 6-core CPUs? Or, vice-versa? Motherboard manufacturers are already selling to a bit of a niche market - will having to further reduce their selection by only pairing certain CPUs with certain motherboards push them over the edge into unprofitability?

      • by jythie (914043)
        I had a similar thought. I suspect this will have about the same impact as things like not being able to install the FPU separately... true it is one less thing that can be swapped out easily, but 'enthusiasts' will still have fun building stuff anyway.
      • by mcrbids (148650) on Monday November 26, 2012 @05:33PM (#42098379) Journal

        The problem here is for the vendors, not the consumers. As a consumer, I, too have always purchased CPU/MB in a pair and I've never upgraded the CPU without upgrading the motherboard. A motherboard's meaningful market life is probably a year, while most upgrades occur at least 2 or 3 years apart. So that's moot.

        But the problem is for smaller vendors. Once having been one myself, I'd usually keep a week's stock of motherboards on hand, and somewhat more CPUs on hand, confident that I could meet consumer demands simply by putting the appropriate CPU with the motherboard and hand them something useful.

        By soldering CPUs directly to the main board, this modularity is compromised and the cost of delivering numerous options for CPU combos goes up considerably. Now, instead of 10 motherboards and 20 CPUs to offer up to 20 different CPU speeds, a vendor needs to increase inventory overhead in order to maintain a similar selection.

        No, not the end of the world, but it may well result in an increase in the desirability of AMD inventory.

      • The implications for model management mean that, for example, if you want a top end i7 but recognize that the 'business' chipset suffices for IO needs, today you can do that. In the future, even if possible you have to find a board vendor that shared your view, and stuck the top end i7 into a 'low end' chipset. Instead, they'll likely forever marry it only to overpriced chipsets that rarely deliver real value.

        I never found the top end cpu part compelling myself, but I can easily see the implications for c
      • by spire3661 (1038968) on Monday November 26, 2012 @06:04PM (#42098893) Journal
        I disagree. Motherboards are far more likely to die then a CPU. I have had CPUs go through 3 motherboard changes (Q6600). It is one of the few very rock solid parts in the computer.
      • by citylivin (1250770) on Monday November 26, 2012 @06:16PM (#42099085)

        In 20+ years you never had a motherboard fail 1 or two years after your bought it? hell i had one fail at 5 or 6 months! so then I have to desolder the chip? uh no thanks..

    • by mcgrew (92797) * on Monday November 26, 2012 @04:45PM (#42097607) Homepage Journal

      What kind of "enthusiast" are they talking about? I've been building my own PCs for 25 years and only changed one CPU, and that's because the fan went out and fried it. And guess what? The only CPU to fit in its socket was the same type of CPU that fried.

      I agree, this story is BS. It doesn't matter to me if the CPU is socketed or soldered, and in fact I'd prefer soldered (as long as it had a good fan), since besides heat, the enemy of electronics is corrosion and bad connections.

      • What kind of "enthusiast" are they talking about?

        Having just watched the Burning Man sting operation episode of Reno 911, I can say with certainty that they're talking about LSD enthusiasts.

      • by batkiwi (137781) on Monday November 26, 2012 @05:33PM (#42098391)

        I agree, I've built PCs for ages and never upgraded a CPU, despite planning to.

        The thing I can see this effecting, though, is diversity of price.

        Right now you can spend $75-$350 on a motherboard, and $75-1000 on a processor. There are X motherboards, and Y compatible processors, for X * Y price/feature/etc points.

        When USB3 came out is when I upgraded, so I got a low-to-mid spec motherboard (only cared about USB3, don't need dual video card capability etc) and then a mid-high spec processor (fastest i5 that wasn't the enthousiast factory unlocked ones).

        With this change I won't have that choice. It'll be buy one of two models of this motherboard with processor A and B. OEMs won't make hundreds of combinations, and vendor's wouldn't stock them if they did.

      • by Dahamma (304068) on Monday November 26, 2012 @05:57PM (#42098781)

        So far the most interesting argument I have seen against their new approach is that no manufacturer will want to make dozens of motherboard SKUs to support the ridiculous range of chips Intel always introduces to cover all price points, features, etc. You may not change the CPU, but you probably had to decide between a bunch of different models.

        Not the point of the article, though (which is BS, I agree). But if Intel wants mobo manufacturers to sell boards with the chip soldered on, they better consolidate their offering a bit. According to this [wikipedia.org], Intel has released over 50 desktop models based on Sandy Bridge in the last 18 months.

      • by DigiShaman (671371) on Monday November 26, 2012 @06:04PM (#42098889) Homepage

        Everyone (including you) is missing the entire point. The purpose of installing your own CPU isn't for the ability to upgrade later. It's to find the market sweet spot among current CPUs sold at the time. Then, as a secondary consideration do you choose the MB with the features you want. When you purchase a fixed soldered combo, you can no longer make that market decision. I take serious issue with that!

      • by Znork (31774) on Monday November 26, 2012 @06:07PM (#42098955)

        On the AMD side the sockets have stayed compatible for quite some time over the generations, and I can say that I've upgraded CPU's many, many times. Usually the server side has gotten to inherit CPU's from faster desktops, leading to multiple upgrades as servers then inherit eachother. Old socket AM2 boards that started out running cheap sempron CPU's end up running dualcore X2 chips.

        You could, of course, move the whole MB instead or recommission a machine, but frankly there's a lot more specificity of purpose in the MB than in the CPU leading to bad fits and significant price differences to get something that will work well for any purpose. A whole lot of flexibility would be lost.

      • by spire3661 (1038968) on Monday November 26, 2012 @06:11PM (#42098999) Journal
        Wouldnt it be great if everyone was you? My experience greatly diverges form yours. Motherboards are flaky and die easily, CPUs are rock solid. Their durability alone makes it unwise to meld them across the board.
    • by kheldan (1460303) on Monday November 26, 2012 @05:01PM (#42097871) Journal
      There are sockets available for CPU packages that don't have pins. I work with one type of them every day.
  • AMD (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Hatta (162192) on Monday November 26, 2012 @04:35PM (#42097453) Journal

    AMD is down, but not out yet. A boneheaded move like this for Intel could be a boon for AMD.

    • Re:AMD (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Billly Gates (198444) on Monday November 26, 2012 @04:38PM (#42097495) Journal

      A plan when AMD goes out of business which should happen anyday now if rumors are true sadly.

      Why should Intel care then? They have no competition anymore and can do whatever they want.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Joce640k (829181)

      The article mentions that the CPUs will be sold attached to motherboards. Enthusiasts will be able to build PCs just fine, just not separate motherboard/CPU.

      • Re:AMD (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Rich0 (548339) on Monday November 26, 2012 @04:55PM (#42097787) Homepage

        Yes, but what if the motherboard you want only comes sold with a CPU you don't want, or vice-versa? This bundling will in practice reduce choice, as I doubt every combination will be offered.

  • Just as planned (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sydin (2598829) on Monday November 26, 2012 @04:37PM (#42097473)
    Such an idiotic move will only serve to drive the enthusiast market towards AMD, which might keep AMD's head above water. Intel wants nothing less, because a world without AMD is a world where Intel gets to face some fun monopoly suits.
  • by crazyjj (2598719) * on Monday November 26, 2012 @04:37PM (#42097481)

    Between the increasing popularity of tablets and laptops, I suspect the days of building your own desktop PC have been numbered for a long time now.

    Besides, how can you geeks be forced to upgrade your whole computer every few years if you keep stubbornly refusing to play ball by doing things one component at a time? Not to mention the fact that self-built PC's can't be locked down behind a software walled garden and saddled with god-knows-what mandatory crapware, spyware, advertisements, etc. Shit, I even hear some of you are installing other OS's besides Windows and OS X on some of those goddamn contraptions.

    You geeks need to be taught to conform better, obviously.

  • Well (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Richy_T (111409) on Monday November 26, 2012 @04:37PM (#42097483) Homepage

    Weren't all those slot-X processors pretty much just pinless processors soldered to a small PCB? Seems like it could be something of an opportunity to me.

    • Re:Well (Score:5, Interesting)

      by slashmydots (2189826) on Monday November 26, 2012 @05:04PM (#42097911)
      For the record, all current Intel desktop CPUs are pinless. The pins are on the board. So saying it ships without pins doesn't really say much. That's why I have a sneaking suspicion that the author might just be a clueless dumbass talking out their ass.
  • by HornWumpus (783565) on Monday November 26, 2012 @04:38PM (#42097491)

    WTF does sockets have to do with PC enthusiasm?

    When was the last time you upgraded a CPU and didn't get a new motherboard? Never?

    If a soldered on chip allows the bus to run faster, I for one am enthusiastic.

    • by Hatta (162192) on Monday November 26, 2012 @04:40PM (#42097523) Journal

      When was the last time you upgraded a CPU and didn't get a new motherboard? Never?

      Always. I have never owned a PC in which I have not upgraded the CPU at least once.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Liquidretro (1590189)
        I would agree here for the most part. They change sockets so often that very few people switch processors and keep the same MB. Most people upgrade both at the same time. So you will buy the MB at the same time as the Processor as one piece. Ya not ideal but makes sens. I don't see this happening for a while.
      • by AmiMoJo (196126) * <mojo@NOspaM.world3.net> on Monday November 26, 2012 @04:52PM (#42097737) Homepage

        Was it an Intel? AMD have always been much better, making their sockets last through a few generations. Intel seem to have a new one every time I look at CPUs, but I keep getting suckered in by their performance and AES acceleration instructions.

      • by vlm (69642) on Monday November 26, 2012 @05:20PM (#42098207)

        Always. I have never owned a PC in which I have not upgraded the CPU at least once.

        Post-PC AT era, about the same here for my main machines. Side / secondary machines are not upgraded, treated as appliance. I'm guessing we do about the same upgrade protocol... and the average /.er is getting VERY confused how this works.

        Example. Go back about a decade. My old P-2 or P-75 or whatever was feeling slow and AMD's mainline socket at the time was the 939. Not new, but not obsolete either.
        That year I buy a decent 939 mobo and the cheapest slowest POS 939 CPU that is available.
        A couple years later, they release the 940 socket probably purely to segment the market or whatever. Anyway, 939 CPUs get CHEAP and I buy the fastest one ever made for like $100, which actually performs pretty well compared to a cheap 940.
        A couple years later the Worlds Fastest 939 CPU was getting a tad slow, so ... I don't remember but it was the strategy above, a decent mobo with the cheapest compatible CPU, years later to be upgraded to the fastest CPU in that socket ever made...

        Yes, I have run into exciting problems like the mobo BIOS needs to be upgraded to the newest version to even recognize the "worlds fastest X" cpu which didn't even exist as a cpu revision number when the mobo was made. Been there, had to reinstall the old cpu, upgrade the bios, and re-re-install the new cpu.

        No, you can't really afford to do this with cutting edge CPUs and always buy the most expensive one available every 3 months or whatever, that would be quite an expensive hobby, or at least a waste of time WRT optimization of fun per $. But if you pay attention to the market, you can maintain a spot above average for practically no money.

        1) Never upgrade unless its slow. The CPU I mean, not the graphics card or whatever else.
        2) Never buy a mobo with anything but the cheapest possible CPU
        3) When that socket expires, wait until the fastest CPU for that socket ever made is about $99 then upgrade
        4) Repeat for about 20 years (so far). I've been doing something like this since the 386 era.

    • by jedidiah (1196) on Monday November 26, 2012 @04:44PM (#42097581) Homepage

      I don't have to upgrade my machine to benefit from modular standardized parts. I benefit from that as soon as I buy a machine as I can mix and match the components that meet my requirements. I can get as little or as much of something as I want and I can mix that with anything else that suits my fancy.

      Lack of modular parts means lack of choice when building or buying systems.

      It's like being stuck at the Apple Store.

      • by MrEricSir (398214) on Monday November 26, 2012 @04:55PM (#42097789) Homepage

        Lack of modular parts means lack of choice when building or buying systems.

        Are you one of those people who pines for the old days when you had to buy a separate coprocessor and cache memory along with your CPU and motherboard?

      • by Rich0 (548339) on Monday November 26, 2012 @05:01PM (#42097865) Homepage

        This is what everybody seems to be missing. You're giving up options when you start bundling and don't allow mix/match.

        Suppose I'm building a cluster, and I just need REALLY fast CPUs with good memory/LAN benchmarks, and I could care less whether it even has a PCIe slot in it at all. However, all the fast CPUs get bundled with expensive motherboard with 14 slots, 6 SATA ports, and so on. Or, suppose I'm building a data acquisition box that needs 6 PCI slots but not much CPU - again I'm stuck buying the i7 or whatever since that got classed as a high-end board.

        That is what frustrates me about things like cell phones - I can't pick the CPU/RAM/flash combo I want, but only what some marketer decided I should have. So, getting the extra 1GB of RAM isn't an option - at most you might get some choice with flash.

    • by tyrione (134248)

      WTF does sockets have to do with PC enthusiasm?

      When was the last time you upgraded a CPU and didn't get a new motherboard? Never?

      If a soldered on chip allows the bus to run faster, I for one am enthusiastic.

      The last time I bought AMD. Keep sucking down that new Intel kool-aid each release of a new chip requiring a new motherboard.

    • Multiple times. And, more importantly - about 6 months ago, my motherboard decided to go south. Not wanting to spend the money to upgrade everything, I found a cheap new board, moved everything over, and called it a day. Had the CPU been soldered on, I'da had to buy both a new board and a new processor, along with the possibility of my RAM no longer being compatible with the new board. Big difference between a $50 board and several hundred dollars worth of new hardware.

  • ARM chips? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by david.given (6740) <dg.cowlark@com> on Monday November 26, 2012 @04:39PM (#42097511) Homepage Journal
    I don't think I have ever seen an ARM processor in a socket (discounting my old Archimedes, that is).
    • I don't think I have ever seen an ARM processor in a socket (discounting my old Archimedes, that is).

      or run anything useful let alone anything useful to an "enthusiast" as they put it.

  • by onyxruby (118189) <onyxruby@@@comcast...net> on Monday November 26, 2012 @04:43PM (#42097571)

    He's got a spotted history of being right with previous work whilst rallying haters like no other tech journalist I've ever read. To the best of my knowledge he's never been sued successfully and he's pissed off some of the biggest names in the business. Here's hoping he's got this wrong or it's bad news for all of us....

  • by rubycodez (864176) on Monday November 26, 2012 @04:44PM (#42097579)

    why this guy whines the PC would be dead by such a move? those that change CPU are a very very tiny niche and there is no money to be made pandering to them for any multi-billion dollar corporation. just a bunch of troublesome warranty voiders from Intel's point of view. The desktop PC is an appliance to most. soldering in the CPU cuts cost and makes for easier modular replacement with less troubleshooting if something goes wrong. I'm surprised its 2012 and this wasn't done a decade ago.

  • 4004 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Maximum Prophet (716608) on Monday November 26, 2012 @04:44PM (#42097591)
    Legend has it that when Intel first showed the 4004 to the Navy, one of the Admirals said something like, "A computer on a chip is nice, but how do you repair it?" He was thinking that you'd use micro-tweezers and soldering irons to fix bad chips, instead of just replacing them wholesale.

    There are many CPUs that are only available as a PC board with several chips. I can envision a day when the whole motherboard is the unit of replacement.
  • by Raven42rac (448205) * on Monday November 26, 2012 @04:46PM (#42097633)
    "Any headline which ends in a question mark can be answered by the word no"
  • by Lisias (447563) on Monday November 26, 2012 @04:48PM (#42097671) Homepage Journal

    Don't underestimate the cost of hanging all of that golden plated little pins under your costly chip. Not to mention the cost of the socket itself on the motherboard. My cheap Atom330 MB has the processor soldered in it.

    It's a calculated move. They know they will loose some market to the competition, but they bet they will expand their business enough to compensate.

    Since the current PC market are already reaching saturation, it appears to me that they also wants to reduce the current life span of the computers as well.

  • by StripedCow (776465) on Monday November 26, 2012 @04:58PM (#42097827)

    Bah. Real enthusiasts use discrete transistors.

  • by Chas (5144) on Monday November 26, 2012 @05:13PM (#42098083) Homepage Journal

    Why in the name of The Flying Spaghetti Monster would enthusiasts move to ARM?

    Yeah. ARM is fine for mobile devices. And might be fine for small form-factor HTPC setups.

    But for the power-gamers? They wouldn't deign to wipe their asses with an ARM chip.

    This is what leads me to believe the author may be smoking something.

    We already see systems with discrete CPUs and systems with soldered CPUs. The current LGA format allows for either.

    So why would this change to solely soldered in the next generation?

  • Bad title (Score:5, Insightful)

    by roc97007 (608802) on Monday November 26, 2012 @05:19PM (#42098185) Journal

    Should be: Is Intel Planning To Kill Enthusiast Intel PCs?

    From TFA: "Unfortunately Intel doesn’t care about the enthusiast, and unsurprisingly they have moved on." Can I getta Like Duh? "Like, Duh!"

    I woudn't expect enthusiasts, whatever the author means by that, to be much of a percentage overall, but this does seem to be a business opportunity for someone.

    A technical question to which I didn't see the answer in TFA: Even chips that are intended to be soldered to the board (probably some variation of current surface mount techniques) can be mounted in (sometimes specialized) sockets. This raises the question, is something in Intel's business agreements requiring MB manufacturers to solder the chips to the board?

    And finally, I don't see where this makes much difference to the rank and file. Computer components have gotten cheap enough that it's fairly common to put the fastest or near-fastest currently available proc in the board to start with, as upgrade protection. And then, when you need more grunt, you'll increasingly find that no new procs were ever developed for that chipset, so you need to upgrade the motherboard again anyway. Besides, other than gamers and specialized applications (photo and video manipulation for instance) most people have more resources than they can really use even with the cheapest currently available motherboard/cpu combo.

  • by CanHasDIY (1672858) on Monday November 26, 2012 @05:34PM (#42098403) Homepage Journal
    As someone who regularly repairs laptops (including a lot more processor swaps than you would think), this sucks. It will inevitably increase the cost of every service, thus shrinking my customer base and causing what little profits I have to dry up, forcing me to either get rid of overhead (since I do this on my own, in a home-based shop, there isn't a whole lot to cut), or just shut down the operation completely.

    I will use, as an example, a recent proc-swap I did for a friend on his older Dell 1545:

    Labor is about $30/hr.
    Intel Core 2 Duo T4200 = ~$30, installed in an hour.
    Inspiron 1545 motherboard = ~ $200 (used), installed in about 2 hours.


    So, a $60 job now becomes a $300 job, enough to make most of my customers, with their older machines, say, "Fuck that, I'll just go to Wal-Marx and buy a new one for 100 bucks more!"

    Thanks for doing your part to destroy small business, Intel.

    I hope you fuckers rot.
  • by ameline (771895) <.ian.ameline. .at. .gmail.com.> on Monday November 26, 2012 @06:07PM (#42098943) Homepage Journal

    I'm more concerned about this trend to solder RAM onto boards (Apple, I'm looking at you here.) -- RAM goes bad over time -- a shockingly short time. (google the papers (by google) about RAM failure rates, and what they do after 18 months). After a couple of years error rates go up -- way up. (ECC would very definitely be your friend here, but intel only makes it available on xeon series chips (the circuitry is there but fused off in consumer grade chips) )

    My experience has been that after 24 months, you should just toss the ram dimms in the trash and start with new ones -- and you might as well max out the ram at that point. Otherwise the machine starts getting flaky as soft and uncorrected errors happen with increasing frequency.

  • by slew (2918) on Monday November 26, 2012 @06:34PM (#42099319)

    I saw this rumor over here [xbitlabs.com].

    The way I read it is that they are going to offer BGA packaging to satisfy the large OEMs (e.g, dell, lenovo, etc). Now that most desktop PC are commodities, offering chips in BGAs reduces motherboad cost by eliminating the cost of the socket, improving yield (can sell kits of chips that just barely work together rather than requiring every component to satisfy the maximum electrical margins), and maybe reduce power (better electrical interface to memory).

    My guess is that they will probably still offer a socket for servers and high-end enthusiast PCs, etc, but that means that it will be only specific enthusiast PCs that will support upgrades (e.g, you will not be able to upgrade a commodity desktop PC). So instead of outright killing the enthusiast PCs, I'm guessing Intel is simply going to make dabbling in enthusiast PCs a very expensive hobby (like it was in the old days).

    In the old days, basically Intel was "forcing" all the computer vendors to have this latent ability to upgrade which enabled a custom motherboard industry that didn't need to sell-through (buy/resell) expensive CPUs. With this new change, only high-end motherboard companies will remain, and the computer vendors will just JIT motherboards the same way they purchase CPUs and memory. Undoubtly this will force even more consolidation in smaller motherboard form factors (although ATX/BTX/ITX was pretty standard, you saw some variations in the mini-ITX area) and the jellybean components on them (e.g., audio, power-regulators, etc).

    What this might do, however, is kill is the desktop motherboard repair small businesses (mom/pop computer repair shops), not the enthusiast PC business. They won't be able to afford to stock motherboards anymore (since they will have CPUs mounted on them). On the other hand, the car repair business evolved around similar issues, most auto repair shops need to same-day order most of the parts need to repair cars from centralized parts distributors (they couldn't afford to stock things), so maybe mom/pop computer repair shops could evolve too... Maybe...

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