AMD 'committed' to CPU upgrade path

AMD makes it clear that it is committed to socketed CPUs and APUs and has no plans to move to BGA only 'soldered' CPU packaging.
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor

While reports suggest that Intel could be preparing to put a stake in the heart of user-upgradeable CPUs, AMD remains committed to socketed processors.

In an email to ZDNet, an AMD spokesperson said that the company has "a long history of supporting the do-it-yourself and enthusiast desktop market with socketed CPUs and APUs that are compatible with a wide range of motherboard products from our partners," and that this will continue through 2013 and 2014 with the "Kaveri" APU and FX CPU lines.

"We have no plans at this time to move to BGA [ball-grid array] only packaging and look forward to continuing to support this critical segment of the market," the spokesperson said.

AMD was also keen to point out that as the company that introduced new types of BGA packages in ultrathin platforms several years ago, and today offers a wide range of BGA-packaged processors for devices such as ultrathin notebooks and all-in-one desktops, the company understood "Intel’s enthusiasm for the approach."

See alsoIntel 'preparing' to put an end to user-replaceable CPUs

However, for the desktop market, and specifically PC enthusiasts, AMD stresses that it understands what is important to its customers and will "continue to bring better value and a better experience."

Traditionally, the processors in desktop systems are fitted into a socket on the motherboard that allows them to be removed and replaced, while systems such as notebooks and tablets have the CPU soldered onto the motherboard.

The rumor that Intel was planning a switch from land-grid array (LGA) to BGA has been circulating for months, but last month Japanese tech site PC Watch was the first to break the news that Intel has informed OEMs of the change.

At present, Intel uses the LGA package design, which allows the processor to either be fitted into a socket or soldered directly to a motherboard. This gives the OEM down the line options as to how to mount the processor onto the motherboard.

A switch to BGA would mean that the processor could no longer be fitted into socket where it could be removed or replaced, and instead would be soldered to the motherboard much like processors for notebooks and tablets are nowadays.

The repercussions of a move like this would be felt far and wide. While not many people bother to upgrade their PCs, instead choosing to buy a new one, the market is large enough to support countless manufacturers and vendors. A move like this by Intel would be the final nail in the coffin for this industry, taking down a number of players. This, unfortunately, would have a corresponding knock-on effect on jobs.

Modularity made the desktop PC, and removing this key feature will bring this to a close. 

Editorial standards