The familiar desktop, complete with processors and components that are replaceable and upgradeable, may still remain in existence for at least a few more years. In the long run however, desktops with replaceable processors will most likely be a thing of the past.
In computing, the largest trend these days is increasing integration. The first ones to show such trend are the smartphones and tablets where the GPU, CPU, memory, and other parts are integrated and cramped in the space available with windows having a tight power usage. The move has eventually arrived in laptops such as ultrabooks wherein lighter and thinner systems have caused OEMS to trim some millimeters off wherever possible. Small form factor PCs and AIOs have joined the bandwagon as several of them actually utilize mobile CPUs and not the desktop CPUs. It’s only a matter of time before we see the good old desktop joining the march.
Furthermore, most PC users hardly upgrade their desktops. If their PC becomes too slow, stops giving them what they want, or gets broken, it’s either they seek help from a licensed repair shop or they replace the whole system instead of digging and upgrading it by themselves.
Rumors have it that Intel is planning to have their Broadwell processors soldered to motherboards. CPUs being soldered to motherboards are not really a novice idea. For one thing, Intel-powered PCs normally utilize an LGA (Land Grid Array) package which is OEM and end-user upgradeable. On the other hand, laptops, AIOs, and other higher systems utilize CPUs that are soldered-on in a BGA (Ball Grid Array) package. Such limitation would be used for the first time on standard desktop processors.
While Intel’s move may not have that much effect on the loyal desktop users, it may have to face a disapproving nod from power users who think that their upgrading and system building skills would be in trouble. However, understanding that Broadwell is not really meant for traditional tower PCs may just be the explanation needed for all these.
Intel has been annually upgrading their processor line for the past few years in a predictable fashion. New architectures are made to improve a processor’s performance and increase its power-saving capacities. Broadwell processors would eventually require new motherboards so users would have to contend with a more expensive hardware upgrade.
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