Intel’s upcoming Broadwell processors will be soldered to the motherboard. This could signal the beginning of the end for desktop PC’s, and the end of the consumer market of computer upgrades.
Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) will be releasing its upcoming 14-nanometre Broadwell architecture processors as a ball grid array (BGA) rather than a land grid array (LGA).
The rumors have been circulating for months, but the news broke out earlier this week by Japanese tech site PC Watch; English translation here. This means that consumers will no longer be able to upgrade their CPUs – potentially limiting the lives of their computers.
Processors in desktop computers are usually mounted to the motherboard in a way that allows them to be removed and replaced, while the processors in tablets and notebooks are usually soldered to the motherboard. Intel, at the moment, uses the LGA package design. This allows the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) down the line options as to how to mount the processor to the motherboard.
Intel’s switch to BGA means that the processor will not be fitted to a socket where it can be removed or replaced and it will instead be soldered to the motherboard in a way similar to that of notebooks and tablets.
The news was confirmed by a number of OEMs who have now verified that Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) has briefed them of the switch from LGA to BGA for the Broadwell processor. The new Broadwell architecture processor is expected to become available next year.
Although this move by Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) won’t register on many consumers’ radars, for OEMs and computer enthusiasts, however, it is a significant change.
OEMs will face something of an inventorial nightmare because of the move – hiking up replacement costs as both the motherboard and the CPU would need to be replaced in the event of a fault.
Computing enthusiasts, who often appreciate having a wide range of choices when it comes to which processor they install, will not be able to switch out the Broadwell, or perhaps future processors, for their preferred equipment. This also means that these enthusiasts will not be able to upgrade their computer’s processing power as it ages.
LGA processors won’t be fully dead and buried for some time yet; but they are going that way. Broadwell’s successor, known as Sky Lake, will be a socketed CPU. However, this will only last for a generation or two before the demise of desktop computers continues.