The end of desktop PC started with the rise of cheap yet powerful ultraportable laptops and tablets. The undisputed king of the processor industry, Intel, is preparing a coffin for the desktop PC industry. Reports suggest that chip-maker has decided to put an end to upgradeable CPU packages. Future desktop processors will be soldered with motherboards, just like in mobile devices and recent laptops.
Multiple reports confirmed, Intel has briefed its OEM vendors to prepare to switch to land grid array (LGA) from ball grid array (BGA) packages. That means, Intel will stop delivering current socket-based (BGA) processors, and the future processors will be soldered onto the motherboards.
The new packages will start to appear with Intel’s upcoming Broadwell architecture. However, Broadwell won’t mark the end of upgradable CPUs. The successor of Broadwell, named Skylake, will bring back the socket-based CPU for a short-time, possible for a generation or two. And, thus, Intel plans to put an end to BGA based processor packaging.
So, what will be the implications of the decision on consumers? People who want cheaper PCs would be the benefactor. People who are making existing hardware last longer through upgrades would be at loss. Especially, PC gamers who resort to periodic upgrades of their hardware would have a heart-burn.
The desktop PC industry may get a boost through higher sales, as consumers will be pushed to go for a new machine instead of an upgrade. The PC upgrade industry that accommodates countless vendors would be the ‘causalities of war.’ And, certainly, Intel will make more money, as it will have more control over the ecosystem.
Although, many analysts are proclaiming this as the end of desktop, in its original form, I think the desktop industry will live for a longer period than expected. Because, it is just not the CPU and motherboard that makes a desktop PC. And, Intel is yet to revoke upgradation of those modules. If it does, sometime in future, then that will certainly be the end of desktop PCs.