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Intel Technology

Intel Leaving Desktop Motherboard Business 219

Posted by Soulskill
from the retiring-the-pace-car dept.
An anonymous reader writes "As soon as its next-gen Haswell CPUs ship, Intel will start to leave the desktop motherboard business. It will be a lengthy process, taking at least three years, and the company will continue to produce chipsets. The company will be focusing instead on smaller and newer form factors. For one, it will be working on its Next Unit of Computing (NUC) boards, which are 4" by 4". Legacy support for old motherboards and the new Haswell motherboards will continue through their respective warranty periods. 'Given the competitive landscape, it's not a big surprise that Intel is refocusing its efforts on areas that have greater potential impact on future growth. All segments of the PC business are under extreme pressure, with sales slipping and users gravitating toward tablets and smart phones. Focusing on reference designs for all-in-one PCs, Ultrabooks and tablets will enable Intel's partners to more rapidly ship products that appeal to the new generation of mobile users.' AnandTech points out that one of the reasons Intel put out motherboards for so long was to assure a baseline level of quality for its CPUs. Now that the boards coming out of Taiwan are of good quality, Intel doesn't need to expend the effort."
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Intel Leaving Desktop Motherboard Business

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  • by Quakeulf (2650167) on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @09:13AM (#42668203)
    I really need my high-end desktop computer to do my job. How long until something will happen to this market segment will disappear as well? I cannot, for the life of me, see me doing my graphics, game development and 3D on a tablet unless it gets powerful enough for my needs.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @09:20AM (#42668255)
      Get serious, a GameBoy is powerful enough for your needs.
    • This market segment won't disappear anytime soon, if it will at all.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @09:54AM (#42668515)

        I'm a professional photographer. I need vastly more processor power, storage space and screen real estate than any tablet or laptop could ever offer me. So yes, the desktop computer market still makes sense, maybe not for everybody, but at least for specialized groups.

        If anyone will ever come up with a 2x eight core, 64Gb RAM, 9.3Tb RAID5, Quadro 6000 and 30" + 24" IPS screens, I'll gladly switch. Until then, you can pry my desktop from my cold, dead fingers. (yes, those are the actual specs of the machine I just built last month, minus the screens which were transferred from the outgoing computer to the new one)

        • 2x eight core, 64Gb RAM, 9.3Tb RAID5, Quadro 6000 and 30" + 24" IPS screens

          You dropped $2200*-$4200** on CPUs, but only put 64G ($500) of RAM in the machine? Cheapskate.

          • * Xeon E5-2650 = $1107
          • ** Xeon E5-2960 = $2061
    • by Ami Ganguli (921)

      There's still a need for the "gamer" PC, and that niche will continue to exist.

      But for most of us, there are better alternatives. I just bought one of the Intel Next Unit of Computing [intel.com] systems a couple of days ago. I'm thrilled with it so far. It's totally quiet, mounts discretely on the side of my desk, supports two monitors, and is plenty fast enough for my software development needs.

      I don't develop games, but I imagine that most users will be playing games on tablet-like devices in the near future, so

      • by laffer1 (701823) <luke&foolishgames,com> on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @09:45AM (#42668433) Homepage Journal

        That system only has a core i3 in it. There are reasons some of us need CPU power besides gaming. My desktop spends a great deal of time compiling software. Intel and AMD have made it clear they don't want me as a customer, but the problem is that I have no where else to go.

        Intel's on a race to the bottom with ARM. AMD is on a race to extinction.

      • by h4rr4r (612664)

        My year old Air stomps all over this thing.

        If I want a real PC I don't care how big it is, if I want something tiny I am willing to pay enough to get something better.

      • I want to like Intel's NUC, but I just can't find a reason for it that isn't better served with other hardware (sometimes cheaper considering all you have to buy for it) and very seldom is form factor the primary concern. Why not just get a mini tower? It needed to come out 2-3 years ago and the Mac Mini beat them by a long shot, plus it needs USB 3.0 instead.
        • Yep. Intel NUC is overpriced, underpowered and spec'd badly. I really wanted to like it, as it would be perfect in my wiring closet, but IM not paying $300 for a gimped barebones that has overheat issues and no power cord. For what it would cost me to build a NUC i could jsut as easily build another i5 powered Antec 310-150. Sure its a bit bigger, but its vastly more flexible and powerful.
    • by SuricouRaven (1897204) on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @09:57AM (#42668531)

      There will be a need for high-power professional and enthusiast machines for a long time. You'll still be able to get them - but as they become a niche product and volume goes down, there may be a corresponding rise in price.

      • by CastrTroy (595695)
        The again, the price of server class machines have been coming down quite a bit, so at some point it might just make more sense to have a server on your desk if you need some serious power. The advantage of using a server is that you get serious room for expansion. Many server models support int the hundreds of gigabytes of RAM, and you also have the ability to have multiple CPUs. Plus you get a real RAID controller, and things like redundant power supplies.
      • by Sockatume (732728)

        An example: once upon a time if you wanted to use a computer you'd sit down at a dumb terminal that talked to whatever monster your institution had in the basement. Then "personal computers" came, and they were slow, riotously expensive per unit computing power, and used this horrible mouse thing to operate, but the big smart machines didn't go away. They just receded to the people that actually needed them, where they remain to this day.

    • Desktop systems won't go away, since they're used by Intel et. al. to design motherboards and processors, so they know what's up.

      They'll just get more expensive as the demand goes down, and they'll only be sold by vendors of professional gear.
    • Here's what I see happening:

      In the post-desktop future you'll pay $200 for a physical terminal you can plug into a keyboard & mouse and into your HDMI jumbo OLED TV (e.g., a Mac Mini running VNC), and then pay a fee per month to log in and develop on a remote machine with 100-10,000x more compute speed than any desktop you can buy or build today.

      The future is distributed computing. Let someone else pay to maintain the TFLOP hardware.

      Amazon already offers this service. I can rent time on linux compute se

    • by tlhIngan (30335)

      I really need my high-end desktop computer to do my job. How long until something will happen to this market segment will disappear as well? I cannot, for the life of me, see me doing my graphics, game development and 3D on a tablet unless it gets powerful enough for my needs.

      It'll always be around. Just like most people don't need pickup trucks to do the grocery run, but we still have 'em for the jobs that often do require them, or for the people who feel they want them.

      There will always be a need. The "pr

    • I really need my high-end desktop computer to do my job. How long until something will happen to this market segment will disappear as well?

      Nobody is saying that it will disappear. What they're predicting is that this segment will get smaller. And because of that, some manufacturers will pull out.

      We have been lucky over the last two or three decades (especially the last two) in that everyone (Joe Schmoe) needs a computer much like yours and mine. The resulting economy-of-scale allowed many manufacturer

  • by Compaqt (1758360) on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @09:26AM (#42668291) Homepage

    For a while, it seemed like Intel would dominate the mboard market.

    After all, everything was being integrated onto boards (sound, network, Intel good-enough graphics, etc.). Add to that the processor itself, and you've got great vertical integration.

    It's hard to believe Intel would give a better deal to an outsider (Gigabyte, MSI, etc.) than to its internal mboard division, no matter what accounting system is used.

    So it's hard to figure this out.

    • by Dcnjoe60 (682885) on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @09:50AM (#42668477)

      It's quite simple, really. Intel, monopolist or not, can make more money by utilizing its resources elsewhere than in the the desktop market. All of the hype is in the tablet/phone/ultrabook market and that is where they are shifting their resources. It's quite simple, really. The cost to design and produce a board for a tablet is not significantly different than that of a desktop. On the other hand, a tablet board will probably out sell a desktop board 100 to 1 if not more. As such, the ROI on the tablet board is far greater than on the desktop.

      For most users, particularly those that are simply consumers of content, the modern PC is overkill, at least in the world of online services where even the fastest consumer internet connection is a bottleneck for the underlying hardware.

    • by alen (225700)

      PC's as a market segment are losing money

      Intel spent a few years hiding in its margins. PC components have a higher dollar profit than mobile ones. but few people are buying the traditional type of computer these days and so the costs of R&D/Production and other costs outweigh the profits

      • by TopherC (412335)

        The motherboard and chipset don't have to be sold with a profit margin since they support CPU sales. It may not even have to do with the profitability of the desktop market. Investors play a large role in steering public corporations. Investors are interested in growth potential, almost to the exclusion of all else.

        They don't see growth potential in the desktop market therefore they declare it to be "dead" (meaning saturated). They see instead, and mostly with hindsight, growth potential in the tablet and s

    • by Sockatume (732728)

      Almost everything you described is going into the CPU these days to cut down power and size.

    • by Kjella (173770)

      Between laptops, tablets and AIOs the ratio of custom to standard motherboards has been going more and more in the direction of custom boards, while Intel is moving more and more of the functionality onto the chip itself. If the leaks are correct both the lowest power versions of Haswell (ULT and ULX) will be system-on-a-chip. More importantly, since Intel is now the only supplier of chipsets to Intel CPUs they effectively control the features and prices of motherboards anyway, while giving the illusion of

  • This is a long told story (updating announcments made 3 years ago). It's the equivalent of GMC saying they will leave the pickup truck market to focus on sedans due to strong competition from Ford and Toyota (watch for Hyundai to enter the market). It's unlikely Intel would return to PC boards as the market competition becomes more suppliers in a shrinking market, but just as Volkswagon can change its mind and make Beetles again, Intel is not barred from returning except for the decline in volume of deman
  • by crazyjj (2598719) * on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @09:46AM (#42668443)

    I have a Terminator-like vision of a dark future where everything is a all-in-one, laptop, or tablet--and all are walled gardens.

    • by Osgeld (1900440)

      there were homebuilt desktops before intel started "making" motherboards, they will still be around after ... intel isnt the only one making mobo's for intel chips

    • by jader3rd (2222716)

      I have a Terminator-like vision of a dark future where everything is a all-in-one, laptop, or tablet--and all are walled gardens.

      I struggle to see how having a major player break up its presence in a market, to multiple competitors, the sign that it's going to be harder to purchase individual parts.

  • Awww (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @09:52AM (#42668495)

    Aww. I loved Intel boards. They were the only ones where there were no spelling mistakes in the manuals or bios. =(

  • I agree with a lot of you that the Intel boards are Rock Solid and Stable; I have a P2 here with an Intel D865PERL that works like a charm. But Intel it seems are trying to completely remove itself from the Desktop market by using CPUs already attached to the Motherboard (Less Options, bad for Hobbyists) and now removing its own boards. I use AMD now, with a Rock Solid M5A97. It was in my price range and I don't regret it.

    And here's AMD in the background waving at all of you that they're dedicated to DIYers

  • tablets need more storage space and bigger screens to replace pc's.

    Also need a real keyboard and not a mini slide out one.

    And no the Cloud can not replace storage space due to a mix of things like slow ISP speeds , wifi interference, the low caps on 3g / 4g as well the gaps in coverage.
    Also the SUPER HIGH roaming fees. And the lag can be high on 3g / 4g as well.

  • by SpaceManFlip (2720507) on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @12:04PM (#42670005)
    So many things are going in the wrong direction with the computing world nowadays, with the proliferation of Facebooking dumbasses.
    Apple sold lots of iPhones and iPads, so M$ decided to jump on their gravy train (again) and turn Windows 8 into iPad-bizarro-land...
    PC sales declined because of tablet/pad sales, so OEM's decide they're in the wrong business and start to kill the Real Computer market...
    Now I hear rumors that AT&T is planning to kill their land-based Internet services (DSL etc) in an attempt to move to all 3G/4G service plans. This is terrible for anyone who understands what latency is and how it makes your Internet suck. 3G connections usually have about 1000ms latency vs DSL sitting pretty at 40-50ms latency. But even worse, many rural areas still have no 3G service and some can actually get DSL or similar terrestrial lines.
    All these trends look like a push by big bizness to retract the last few years of progress in the PC/Internet world. It's time for some new ass-kicking innovations to start, rolling in to bust up these lame trends like The Dude's holy bowling ball towards a bunch of lame duck bowling pins of lametardness.
    • by oodaloop (1229816)

      It's time for some new ass-kicking innovations to start, rolling in to bust up these lame trends like The Dude's holy bowling ball towards a bunch of lame duck bowling pins of lametardness.

      For a second there, I thought you were BanAnalogyGuy.

  • by Dcnjoe60 (682885) on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @12:11PM (#42670095)

    The real reason the desktop pc is on the decline is that it can be upgraded and made to last a very long time. Contrast that with a laptop, ultrabook, tablet or phone which are all disposable devices. Most of them, now, you can't even replace the battery, let alone any of the internals. /.ers like car analogies, but I think stereos are a better one. Back in the day, the best stereos were all components. You had an amplifier, a separate tuner, turntable, tape deck, etc. You could purchase the best components your wallet and audio needs dictated. If something new came out, like CDs or a component broke, it didn't require replacing the entire system. That is how it is with desktop computers.

    On the other hand the new mobile market devices like tablets and phones are like the mass marketed all in one stereos that started to dominate in the late 70s. They were a marketer's dream, and the accountants loved them, because there were no user serviceable parts inside. If something new came our or something broke, the consumer went out and purchased a new one. Great for the bottom line.

    The typical desktop PC can be made to last far longer than its expected useful life (how many computers are still running XP out there?). That is not an option with tablets, phones, ultrabooks and the like. Eventually the battery will fail to hold a charge and since it is not user serviceable, the consumer will have to choose to pay the vendor almost as much to put a new one in or to buy a new device. Easy choice, buy the new device, even if you didn't need the new capabilities. All of those back lit displays also start to dim with time and again are cheaper to replace the device than to send off to have serviced. At least with a desktop, it would involve replacing just the monitor, not the entire computer.

    The average consumer convinces themself that the tradeoffs are worth it, but for many of them, they are wrong and they get frustrated and convince themself they just need to upgrade to a better model (Is the iPad X really that much better than the iPad X-1?). The vendors are counting on that! It's all about the marketing.

    How many people do you see who would scoff at a $200 netbook, but walk around with a $600 iPad plus keyboard? Both are underpowered, so that can't be it. The iPad does have a touch screen, but is that a $400 advantage, and if so, then why the keyboard? You'll even hear the argument that well, I can leave the keyboard behind and only take it for the times I truly need it -- which is true, but then why do they always have the keyboard with them? Because, they can't admit that a tablet solution wasn't the right solution for their needs and not only did they spend too much, they had to purchase additional pieces to make it work.

    Because the average life of the desktop PC can be extended relatively easily and inexpensively, vendors, who depend on ever increasing sales volume as a measure of performance have to switch to a product that allows them to meet that goal, even if it isn't in the best interest of anybody but the shareholders. After all, companies no longer exist primarily to meet a public need, the exist to keep the shareholders happy. If the shareholders are happy, the board is happy. If the board is happy, the executives are happy, etc., etc.

    The world has changed and the game is no longer about producing what people need, but instead producing what they will buy, particularly if you can get them to buy it over and over again.

    • Companies never existed to meet a private need. That is the foundation of a free market society: To achieve a situation in which parties act only in their own best interests, but in doing so incidentially provide a benefit to wider society.

      • Public need, rather. Isn't it annoying when you mistype one word and it completly reverses the meaning?

      • by Dcnjoe60 (682885)

        Companies never existed to meet a private need. That is the foundation of a free market society: To achieve a situation in which parties act only in their own best interests, but in doing so incidentially provide a benefit to wider society.

        Actually Capitalism and the whole concept of supply and demand is predicated on meeting the public (not private) need. Until recent times, if the public didn't need something, the public didn't purchase it and the demand was low. As such, nobody sold it or sold it so low that it wasn't profitable. Think of buggy whips, once the automobile was established.

        The other extreme is an economy based on a centralized group (usually the government) determining what will be produced. There the goods are sold, not bec

        • Supply and demand does meet the public need. What I meant is that it doesn't depend on altuism. No manufacturer needs to think 'There's a hammer shortage, I'd better make some more before we have a crisis on our hands.' All the manufacturer does is seek to maximise their own profit, entirely selfishly and greedily. They don't care about the public good - but the laws of supply and demand serve to focus them indirectly into providing the goods and services society needs, because that is where the money is to

    • Fact is, most pedestrian users have realized they don't need a machine that could crunch FEA or render an entire building when all they will ever do is email and surf. No longer needing a dedicated desk big enough for a keyboard, mouse and chair (or not having the space to begin with) has also been a big factor; get a laptop or tablet and have a seat on the far-comfier couch.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Which blithely ignores the fact that most of the PC market never "upgrades" anything except perhaps memory.

      My company purchases these cheapass HP tower PCs for ~$300 each. They have three drivebays and three expansion slots. Huge wasteful powersupply. They will never be upgraded, the expansion slots will never be used, they will never get an additional drive installed.

      WHY is an overkil tower the cheapest corporate PC option? Only because the PC market is a fucked-up dinosaur, completely stuck it's ways.

  • If desktop computers just go away, how will we develop the apps for those half-baked non-self-contained computers? It's not like you can run Eclipse on Android, or XCode on iOS.

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