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It is not a secret that code-named Haswell micro-architecture central processing units (CPUs) have tremendous importance for Intel Corp. What is interesting is that as Haswell processors integrate more features than its predecessors, it will also seriously affect the market of mainboards, which may essentially kill smaller manufacturers of motherboards.

In a bid to enable new low-power modes, new ways of gating unused logic, independent frequency domains and other innovations designed to reduce power consumption, Intel Haswell-based micro-architecture processors integrate numerous things, such as power phase control, that previously were enabled by external components. As a result, in many cases mainboards makers will have less opportunities to differentiate themselves.

Considering weakening market of desktop computers, reduced abilities to compete and some other factors, several second-tier mainboard manufacturers will have to exit the market in late 2013, reports DigiTimes web-site, citing market rumours.

The situation on the motherboards market will get even worse in 2014, when Intel plans to start promoting Rockwell/Broadwell-based desktop-class system-on-chips with integrated input/output features. Moreover, eventually Intel plans to physically integrate I/O controllers (south bridges) into microprocessors, thus, decreasing importance of advanced design of mainboards.

All-in-all, as more platform functionality migrates from mainboard into CPUs, motherboard makers will have less opportunities to compete and will either have to consolidate their businesses or just quit the market. In fact, the number of more or less-known branded mainboard suppliers have dropped from around 21 in 2007 to approximately 11 in 2012, that trend will only continue in the future.


Tags: Intel, Core, Haswell


Comments currently: 14
Discussion started: 09/27/12 10:32:12 AM
Latest comment: 09/30/12 08:16:19 PM
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Haswell's power phase control has nothing to do with the reduction of Asian mobo makers - which has been in process for some time.

The fact that AMD/Intel mobos have become a commodity, a worldwide economic depression, big mobo makers offering 4,000 iterations of a basic AMD/Intel mobo to fleece the sheep, is why smaller mobo makers are having to close their doors. The fact that Intel plays favorites and doesn't provide full technical disclosure to many smaller mobo makers would also be a contributing factor, but not the power phase control of Haswell per se.

Few people now days buy one brand of mobo over another based on the CPU chipset involved. Those days of Nvidia vs. ATI vs. VIA, etc. have been gone for quite some time.
4 1 [Posted by: beenthere  | Date: 09/27/12 10:32:12 AM]
- collapse thread

You are right but there is a reason WHY its become a commodity, and its because when the MHz wars ended and the multicore wars took over computers went from "good enough" to "insanely overpowered" for the vast majority.

Look at what I was selling on the low end FIVE years ago..A Phenom I X3 or X4 with 4Gb of RAM and a 300Gb+ hard drive.

Now what does the average user do that wouldn't be curbstomped by that chip? Nothing, that's what. Heck I'm gaming on a 3+ year old Phenom II X6 and see no reason to upgrade as I have more cycles than any game can use.

So people just aren't buying because the PCs they've bought within the last 5 years are so powerful they can easily run them a decade. The same goes for laptops, where all these AMD and Intel dual cores are more powerful than any job the average mobile user has for it. So there just isn't a point in buying before the previous one dies. PCs aren't going anywhere, but there isn't enough business for the little guys to keep going with just X86 desktops.
0 0 [Posted by:  | Date: 09/30/12 08:16:19 PM]

Good article that makes many good points, as does the other poster.

It's not just the cpu integration, but also ddr4 and form factors.

DDR4 will create a set amount of DIMM slots. NUC could conceivably eat away at sff/htpc markets like micro ATX and itx, which I think has been a big market for some companies.

What will basically be left is I/O (ala thunderbolt or if certain companies use external chips for a differentiated feature set or configuration) and a scarce amount else. Considering the chipset proliferation in that regard (how many really use more than 14 usb, two 8x pci-e ports...or just can't stand generic hd mobo audio?) the situation indeed starts to look, for the most part, pretty dower.
4 0 [Posted by: turtle  | Date: 09/27/12 12:28:40 PM]

I'm worried the integrated voltage control will mean poor overclocking if it isn't very good off the bat. Think about it...if mobo makes can no longer do "50 phase plutonium capacitance" power, then won't everyone be able to buy whatever mobo and get the exact same overclocks?
2 0 [Posted by: AnonymousGuy  | Date: 09/27/12 07:04:51 PM]
- collapse thread

They'll have to differentiate themselves with different extra functionality instead of stupid things.
I'd like more USB ports, more slots, more DIMMs, more state LEDs and DIPs, and all that sort of things.
1 0 [Posted by: Filiprino  | Date: 09/28/12 02:56:58 AM]
IME most mobos these days have enough DIMM slots and USB ports. It would be nice if they still offered an IDE port for legecy devices that some of us still own. Why you'd want LEDs or DIPs is beyond me unless you use LEDs for troubleshooting?

Integrated voltage control shouldn't mean less overclockability if properly implemented. More adjustments doesn't always equal better OC'ability.

Right now there is no tangible difference in mobo OC'ability as long as the VRM circuit has sufficient current capacity. Mobo became commodities years ago and since they almost always use the same chipset now days for a brand of CPU, then the OC'ability is going to be virtually the same. Many PC enthusaists have no clue that a few Hz increase in CPU frequency makes no real improvement in system performance with real applications. These minute changes only show in synthetic benches. If you're worried about +/- 50 Hz. in CPU frequency, you're chasing windmills.
0 1 [Posted by: beenthere  | Date: 09/29/12 11:58:02 AM]

Mobo makers have been into useless gimmicks for years now. Christ when a reviewer starts telling you how pretty the box is that the mobo (or PSU, or DRAM or whatever hardware), ships in and that it has a handle for convenient carrying, you know the target market is 13 year old hormone crazed boys who can't get enough T&A watching Lara Croft... Do these kids buy a new mobo with mommy's money and carry it off to school to show their friends or something? It's pethetic.

Instead of actually delivering better quality mobos say with proper VRM circuits that don't overheat and throttle the CPU frequency or a proper BIOS that actually makes the correct changes desired or a nice Owner's Manual printed in ENGLISH and written by a talented mobo Engineer who's NATIVE LANGUAGE is ENGLISH, that properly describes the BIOS adjustments and what they actually do... instead we get pretty boxes with plastic straps.

BTW - ignore the AMD haters. They suffer from hate and denial syndrome. They need professional help for their mental illness because they simply can't handle reality. They falsely believe that they can change reality by constantly posting lies and hating on AMD. This of course will never happen. They really do have a serious mental illness.
1 1 [Posted by: beenthere  | Date: 09/29/12 11:43:48 AM]
- collapse thread

i used to be an AMD favorite fan but after some BIG feature name and less than expect performance leave me out of AMD camp. one of such is the AMD FX-8150 with 8 cores and 3.6ghz but plug it in and it perform like a monster fat dog with the result falling behind INTEL i5 which is not even consider to be the top performer. when the top AMD apu failed to compete with the competitor´s secondary series of performance chip. it drove me away from AMD camp. i´m waiting to see the next iteration of AMD 8 cores. so i might go back to AMD depends on the next iteration, BUT instead of buying right away when the APU is available in the channel this time i will wait for those dozens of reviews and benchmarks posted.
1 0 [Posted by: idonotknow  | Date: 09/29/12 03:54:50 PM]


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