Two weeks ago, we reported that Intel would be moving to the BGA package for its Broadwell 14nm CPU architecture, Haswell’s successor. Since BGA is designed to be soldered onto the motherboard and hence won’t be socketed, the strong implication is that Intel would be moving to kill the enthusiast market, a depressing thought for PC enthusiasts everywhere.
Since then, this issue has raged around the internet with enthusiasts everywhere voicing their disappointment about this. Well, it seems that Intel won’t be abandoning socketed CPUs and hence the enthusiast sector after all, since they made the following statement:
“Intel remains committed to the growing desktop enthusiast and channel markets, and will continue to offer socketed parts in the LGA package for the foreseeable future for our customers and the Enthusiast DIY market,” Intel spokesman Daniel Snyder told Maximum PC. “However, Intel cannot comment on specific long-term product road map plans at this time, but will disclose more details later per our normal communication process.”
Note how the above statement doesn’t categorically deny a move to non-upgradeable processors at some point however, so it’s best to keep this in mind.
Another factor suggesting that the initial BGA-only rumor was wrong is the fact that Intel played up the many new enthusiast-friendly features of the upcoming Haswell CPU, specifically the many innovations that have gone into it to help with overclocking. Why would Intel invest in all this time, effort and money only to scrap it all a generation or two later?
Making any kind of public announcement about unreleased products, especially those which are so far away in terms of time and architectural generations is very unusual for Intel and shows that it does care about upsetting the enthusiast sector, at least for now. Also, it was probably spurred on a bit to make this announcement by AMD saying that they won’t be abandoning socketed CPUs and the enthusiast sector, which would give AMD a significant advantage over their bitter rival.