Intel says it remains committed to user-replaceable CPUs for "foreseeable future"

Intel says it remains committed to user-replaceable CPUs for "foreseeable future"

Summary: Not so fast, the chip giant says about rumors that it will abandon the LGA socket in the future.

TOPICS: Intel, PCs

The Internet has been abuzz this week over a report that Intel would cease using the land grid array (LGA) socket package with the release of its future Broadwell processors, with ZDNet's Adrian Kingsley-Hughes getting confirmation of the decision from an Intel system OEM and a pair of motherboard manufacturers. Even rival AMD weighed in, pledging its allegiance to socketed CPUs.

The result was that Intel felt necessary to address such concerns, which would gravely disappoint the enthusiast community that thrives on being able to replace a processor in its builds. Company spokesman Daniel Snyder spoke with Maximum PC, and he said that Intel had no intention of abandoning the LGA socket for the "foreseeable future." Completely shifting to soldered-on CPUs made no sense from the outset, as Chipzilla would be ceding the enthusiast market to AMD at a time when its rival is reeling.

However, that doesn't mean that Intel wouldn't use ball grid arrays (BGA) for a segment of the desktop market. While being able to upgrade parts is sacrosanct to DIY types, budget buyers might care less if they can replace the CPU on their $300 Pentium desktop. And as more people switch to all-in-one PCs, the use of BGA packaging in that form factor makes sense as a space-saving technique. 

In other words, don't be surprised if support for the "foreseeable future" means the enthusisast realm of replaceable chips is safe for now, even if other market segments get the LGA socket phased out. But when gaming PC companies start shipping systems with BGA packaging, then you'll know to be worried.

[Image Source: Intel]

Topics: Intel, PCs

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  • no kidding D'oh

    when I read on cnet in the past I did not give the information any question. but as of late I have had to go to secondary sources to confirm what I have read. but when it came out with Intel no longer supporting do it your selves I laugh. come on folks you need to do do diligence on your reporting. before putting this stuff out and keep your selves from having to put the fire out after you have lit the match. Intel will know when you can replace or upgrade your computer's . I can tell you now when that will happen when the pc really become so small you can no longer pull a cpu. till then don't get your panty's in bunch and check more than one source for you information like any reporter.
    • To be fair...

      ...Even AMD thought it was true enough to release a statement.
  • Oh yes

    lest I forget thank you for getting this out Sean.
  • Yes, and no

    Intel knows that they need more soldered-on chips in the low-end, where AMD is eating their lunch with their E-series APU's. Intel's response will likely be Atom SoC designs. As these low-end chips get better and better, average consumers will gobble them up, so Intel will eventually take their low-to-mid-range chips to BGA.

    Honestly, I could see AMD going to BGA with their A-series APU's, since even these chips don't see a big upgrade market. AMD is marketing A-series to "mainstream" systems in the sub-$600 price points, and consumers just aren't upgrading their machines. We're in gen2 A-series APU's and have seen just as many incompatible sockets, so there's no reason why AMD wouldn't just turn around and use another new socket for gen3. I would rather see decreased manufacturing costs in motherboard+APU prices by having them soldered on. Customers just aren't changing these. Even when you look at Intel, their sockets change every chip revision. AMD is a bit slower on their high-end platform (AM3/AM3+), but if you buy an Intel system this year, when next years platform comes out with a new socket, the old chips don't drop that much in price, but availability becomes slim, and I can't fathom why anybody would advocate for upgradeable CPU's. Honestly, there are Core i5 chips from LGA 1156 that are still available that haven't dropped much in price, wherein there are identically-priced chips from the Ivy Bridge platform that can easily outpace them by 30-50% in performance. Why would anybody upgrade their aging system like this? (This seems to be a problem in Intel's lack of price reductions more than anything - but it's still a major part of the problem)
  • Has anyone...

    heard whether the BGA chips are going to be pre-soldered to a motherboard or will they beavailable as loose chips to manufacturers? Because I can foresee a future where someone takes the soldered chips and attaches them to the equivalent of a plug in carrier that will be able to mount in a standard socket.
    • Wouldn't make sense to do that.

      The reason for going with BGA in the first place would be to direct solder them. It is cheaper (sockets are expensive) easier assembly (pick and place), electrically simpler and thermally superior (board can be designed to help with heat dissipation). To solder them to a carrier would defeat all of that and actually add more expense and electrical complexity.
    • Like P-III cartridges.

      Remember the good old time when several manufacturers released cartridge adapters to use Socket 370 CPU with motherboards designed for Slot 1 cartridges.