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November 29, 2012

Will Desktop Computer Technology Go the Way of Manual Typewriters?

By Ed Silverstein, TMCnet Contributor

There is renewed speculation that the current form of desktop computers may soon go the way of manual typewriters: a relic of a bygone era.

One report from SemiAccurate goes as far to say that, “there won’t be a desktop PC chip in a bit over a year.”

The latest reason for this technological evolution relates to how Intel (News - Alert) connects processors to a circuit board, according to news reports.

Currently, desktop processors are likely to attach to the motherboard through a socket.

But there is another option with mobile processors, which are soldered directly to the circuit board. One drawback is that by soldering processors to a desktop board, it would impact DIY gamers who select processors based on which best meets their needs.

One of the key reasons for this trend is Intel's Broadwell chip, designed for mobile uses. The chip will be seen in 2014. Most desktop PCs come with a 22nm chip, but the Broadwell CPU will lower the number to 14nm, according to TMCnet.

The “enthusiast” is likely to be impacted by these changes. “Intel doesn’t care about the enthusiast, and unsurprisingly they have moved on,” SemiAccurate said. “ARM (News - Alert) chips are now the focus for that crowd.”

Yet, SemiAccurate says “there is a very good chance” Intel will "bring back" the socketed central processing unit approach with the future Skylake design. It may only last for one or two generations, however, SemiAccurate predicts.

“It appears that Intel is trying to limit selection for motherboard partners and consumers,” adds a report from  “People will obviously not be able to swap out CPUs and mix and match motherboards.  Motherboard manufacturers will be forced to buy CPUs from Intel to integrate into their motherboard products.”

That will lead to fewer choices for consumers and higher prices.

It is noteworthy that PCPer predicts Intel will not completely abandon land grid array (LGA)-based desktops and enthusiasts – given that Intel’s Haswell, which is the successor to Ivy Bridge, will still be available in LGA.

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Edited by Brooke Neuman
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