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Chicken Little strikes again as Intel BGA CPUs show up in Haswell Roadmap.

by on08 April 2013 2888 times
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After creating quite a stir a couple of months ago the specter of Intel BGA CPUs for the “Desktop” has risen from the internet again. This time the new is in a form that many would see as confirmation that Intel will be phasing out the traditional socket in favor of the non-upgradable BGA package. According to information posted over at VR-Zone Intel already has three BGS CPUs on the map that could launch with Haswell in the next few months. As you might expect there are already articles claiming that this is (or could be) the beginning of the end for the desktop socket. Fortunately for the DIY market even a quick look at the CPUs listed rules out that chance. From the specifications Intel will be sticking to the lucrative desktop socket for a while.

The reason we feel this way is pretty simple; all of the BGA CPUs are heavy on the GPU side of the game yet still have fairly low TDPs compared to their desktop counter parts. As an example let’s take a look at the Core i7 4770R (the R is used to denote the BGA flavor CPUs). It has a GT3 HD 5200 GPU under the thermal shield with a clock speed of 1.3 GHz. That puts it out ahead of the GT3 HD 4600 on the 4770K (LGA 1150 CPU).  This would seem to indicate that these parts are destined for systems that require a little more GPU, but can maintain lower temps. Our best guess here is that these parts are for a new class of All-In-One desktop. Looking around at the current crop we find a ton of Core i3 models and a few with Core i5’s, but on the high-end there is not much there and the ones that are running a Core i7 are using a mobile CPU to power things. The lower CPU power is one of the leading… we won’t say complaints, but requests for this class of device. I recently sent some time looking for touch enabled, high-resolution All-In-One products and was more than a little disappointed with what I found so we can see these heading right for that space.
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Intel is could also be planning an update to the NUC and even talked a little about this during our visit to the Intel Booth at CES. So you have two places where these BGA CPUs are destined and neither of them replaces existing “desktops”. Intel knows that they would lose quite a bit of money if they ever completely get rid of the desktop socket. It would kill the DIY market entirely and that is one of their most lucrative segments (in the consumer arena). However the BGA package is something that is inevitable. Many in the consumer market are going to want smaller, cooler yet more powerful systems yet are not looking for a laptop or ultrabook. The NUC and All-In-One systems are perfect for many of these people. Intel is adapting to meet that need with the R version of Haswell. So you can feel safe that you will be able to buy the motherboard you want and drop in your choice of CPU in the future; how long into the future we are not sure, but we are guessing it will be a few years before things really start to change.

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Last modified on 16 April 2013
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