PC enthusiasts which like to buy separate processor and motherboards are in for a surprise from Intel, the microprocessor manufacturer. Newer versions of the Intel “Core” Processor will be soldered onto the motherboard. This means that 2014’s Broadwell chip, the successor to 2013’s Haswell, will be sold only in a non-socket version. Although Intel has not confirmed this story, motherboard OEMs have confirmed the story. What we don’t have is a complete picture of Intel in 2014. This means that the story has properties of a rumor.
In a piece called Intel kills off the desktop, PCs go with it SemiAccurate reports that Japan’s PC Watch has reliable, but unidentified reports that Intel has told OEM’s that Intel will decline to offer pluggable processors for the Broadwell architecture (which will appear after 2013’s Haswell architecture.) Instead OEMs will recieve ball grid array multi-chip modules (BGM MCM). These modules will be installed onto the motherboard by soldering, effectively making the CPU part of the motherboard.
Readers please remember that this isn’t an Intel press release. This news is only off-the record reports from manufacturers who have been talking to Intel. Intel also has a history of changing their plans.
It could all be speculation because it would be silly to solder a very expensive processor onto a cheap motherboard. What’s more likely is that in 2014 Intel will focus on delivering hi-frequency Haswell chips for the desktop, while it reserves the next-generation Broadwell chips for low-power applications. This would explain the rumors of why there will be no socketable Broadwell chips. So, Intel simply skips a single generation for the Desktop sockets. No more, no less.
It’s also possible that this rumor signals a move from Intel into motherboards and vertical integration. We could expect a lot of pressure from Intel against motherboard companies that don’t agree with Intel’s plans for desktop graphics, or that produce AMD motherboards. Right now enthusiasts can put newer processors on more economical motherboards, or even upgrade an old motherboard with a new CPU. What we know from OEMs, is that Intel has been telling OEMs that this won’t be possible for 2014’s low-power Broadwell. Most likely it will be possible for 2014’s clock boosted Haswell. Only Intel knows if Intel will be moving completely away from socketed processors.