Intel Haswell Processor May Force Smaller Mainboard Makers to Exit Business

Intel Haswell May Disrupt the Market of Mainboards

by Anton Shilov
09/27/2012 | 09:09 AM

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.