by Anton Shilov
12/05/2012 | 09:45 PM
Intel Corp. said that despite of the recent rumours, it will continue to produce and sell interchangeable microprocessors in land grid array packaging and will not transit to soldered chips in ball grid array (BGA) only in the foreseeable future. At the same time, Intel did not comment on longer-term future, which may easily indicate that CPU sockets are going away in case of certain market segments.
“Intel remains committed to the growing desktop enthusiast and channel markets, and will continue to offer socketed parts in the LGA package for the foreseeable future for our customers and the Enthusiast DIY market. However, Intel cannot comment on specific long-term product roadmap plans at this time, but will disclose more details later per our normal communication process,” said Daniel Snyder, a spokesman for Intel, in a conversation with Maximum PC magazine.
Intel did not exactly specify what does “foreseeable future” means. Moreover, it is obvious that Intel will continue developing server-class processors in LGA packaging, which automatically means that the company will continue to offer high-end desktop platforms with CPU sockets. In the meantime, at least in case of the low-end and/or low-power platforms, it makes sense to sell microprocessors with mainboards. For example, both Intel and its arch-rival AMD already sell low-cost/low-power Atom-series and Fusion E-series products in BGA package that are soldered directly to mainboards.
Recently it was reported that the code-named Haswell microprocessors may be the last mainstream desktop chips in LGA packaging, which enables easy switch of CPUs on mainboards. Starting from Broadwell chips, which are due in 2014, all mainstream desktop processors will be available in BGA packaging only, which means that they will have to be soldered to mainboards, something that can be done in relatively sophisticated manufacturing facilities.
The BGA MCMs [multi-chip modules] should provide advantages to makers of high-performance tablets, ultra-thin notebooks as well as all-in-one desktops as ball grid array packaging ensure small footprint. However, when it comes to fully-fledged desktops, BGA means that system makers will have to keep a large amount of different mainboards with various features and dissimilar microprocessors in order to provide the right choices for their clients. Such stockpiling increases business risks to smaller makers and decreases abilities to differentiate for mainboard makers.