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Intel to close branded desktop motherboards group

Posted: 24 Jan 2013 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:motherboards? reference design? desktop?

Intel has disclosed its plan to gradually cease production of branded desktop motherboards in three years' time. The complete shutdown will coincide with end of the board life cycle of Haswell, Intel's 4th generation core processor, which will make its grand debut this year. (See Haswell in a tablet? Intel says yes.)

The move is set to shift allocated resources to reference design development, mobile and emerging PC form factors and the company's Next Unit of Computing (NUC) initiative. Intel, however, will continue to provide support to manufacturers like ASRock, Asus, Gigabyte, MSI and Sapphire for future desktop board development. Intel desktop motherboards supporting Haswell will be the last batch of retail-level desktop motherboards ever released.

Product lines that will be phased out include all ATX motherboard models but independent system builders still have the option to purchase stand-alone NUC boards and kits. Intel CPU lines such as LGA 2011, LGA 1155/1150 and BGA for entry-level platforms will remain in production.

"Intel's roadmap includes 227 desktop [CPU] SKUs at 34 different price points, offering desktop solutions for a wide range of customers" said Intel spokesman Dan Snyder.

It's not so surprising that Intel decided to pull the plug on its motherboard group. It is evident that majority of consumers place a high premium on mobility, preferring laptops, tablets and even smartphones, thereby diminishing the value of desktops. Intel has been aggressively pursuing other market segments. Intel unveiled the latest modification to its 22nm tri-gate SoC enabling it to provide product support to high-performance servers down to cell phones. (See Intel tweaks 22nm tri-gate SoC for ultra-low leakage.)

Back in October, Intel CTO Justin Rattner said in an interview that its experimental 48-core processor, which operates at about the clock speed of Atom-based chips and built on a mesh architecture, could be commercially available sooner than the initial 10-year plan. (See Intel sets sights on 48-core mobile processors.) The semiconductor giant also unveiled Clover Trail which claims to provide smartphones and tablets twice the CPU and graphics performance of single-core Atom chips. (See Intel set to debut its next-gen Atom processor for tablets.)

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