Intel to exit motherboard business after Haswell, focus on Next Unit of Computing

Autore: ExtremeTech


After 20 years, we’ve learned that  Intel plans to exit the motherboard business. This announcement won’t impact Haswell — Intel motherboards will be available in normal volumes and quantities for the fourth generation Core i7 products. After that, Chipzilla will rely on boards from third parties like Asus, Gigabyte, and MSI.

If you like Intel’s own motherboards, there’s no reason to avoid buying one for Haswell; Intel has confirmed that the next-generation boards will carry the same warranty and support for BIOS updates as previous hardware. On the manufacturing side, however, this announcement could shake up the entire motherboard business.

Why’s the company getting out? Changing times.

In the beginning…

20 years ago, Intel launched its first commercial motherboard. Codenamed “Batman”, the Socket 4 Baby AT motherboard used the 430LX chipset and supported a 60MHz front side bus. Before Batman, Intel had built exclusively for whitebox builders and OEMs. Selling commercially gave the company greater brand presence and allowed it to market its own boards as higher-quality alternatives to products from other vendors. It also gave the company a way to ensure that at least some motherboards could support new processors from Day 1 of launch.

Intel Batman motherboard

Intel’s Batman motherboard

Intel dominated the early Pentium chipset market, but the advent of Socket 7 brought competing designs from ALI, VIA, and SiS. If you ever owned a board based on one of the alternative chipsets, you know that they were always something of a mixed bag. These boards tended to offer more overclocking support and better CPU upgrades for non-Intel products, but they were less stable than other options.

By way of example, my first from-scratch system build was based on an MS-5169 precisely because I could drop a K6-2+ 550MHz into it — but the ALI Aladdin V chipset was always a bit wonky. I had RAM that would only work in the third DIMM slot and USB support was dodgy.

That’s not to say Intel’s chipsets were free of bugs. The disaster around the i820 chipset gave VIA the opportunity to gobble a huge chunk of the Pentium 3 market. And Intel’s i815 motherboards couldn’t address more than 512MB of RAM. But Intel’s motherboard manufacturing business was extremely successful and gave the company a stick with which to threaten troublesome third party vendors.

Intel NUC kitWhat’s changed?

Intel is exiting the motherboard manufacturing business because it doesn’t need to build its own desktop products anymore. There’s no competitor offering cut-rate prices and better features. The market has shrunk to two companies: Intel and AMD. There hasn’t been a cross-compatible motherboard for the two since Socket 7. Other motherboard manufacturers have stepped up to fill the gaps in product families and now offer a full range of options across multiple price categories.

What Intel plans to do now is redirect this business segment into pushing designs for the Next Unit of Computing (NUC), all-in-one designs, tablets, and notebooks. The company is still committed to desktop products, but doesn’t see the need to be in the manufacturing chain.

This is a complex move that will have repercussions across the market as companies line up to seize the space Intel vacates. Intel’s decision to invest in different areas of computing could also spark new evolution of products and form factors.

Intel has been quick to refute claims that this move is a sign that they are no longer committed to desktop products. I think that’s true. Not wanting to build motherboards isn’t the same as not supporting desktop hardware. What it does reflect, however, is the fact that desktops are increasingly one component that ties computing together rather than serving as the form factor through which all computing is done.

7 thoughts on “Intel to exit motherboard business after Haswell, focus on Next Unit of Computing

  1. vorrei passare da un HP pavilion dv9500 a un macbook pro intel 2core (stesso processore del mio HP). mi conviene? HEEELPPP

  2. Come ho detto prima vorrei che qualcuno mi spiegasse chi è meglio tra Intel e Amd, in fatto di velocità di clock visto che da quello che visto in rete la migliore è intel con un massimo di 3.8 (in turbo boost) GHz ma se l’amd fx 8150 ha un totale di 4.2 ghz anche se viene paragonato solo all’intel i7 2600k.
    E poi mi potete dire come mai i processori dell’intel sono anche più costosi???

  3. A parità di prezzo è meglio un Amd quad core o un Intel i5 ( penso che quest’ultimo sia dual core ).
    Devo acquistare un notebook e sono indeciso nella scelta.
    10 punti al migliore.
    Stavo guardando un notebook Hp pavilion e c’è scritto amd quad core quindi non so se sia phenom II o athlon II.

  4. Ciao a tutti.

    Ieri ho letto i requisiti consigliati di un gioco di pronta uscita e sono sobbalzato quando ho letto è richiesto un Intel Quad Core 2.3 GHz, mentre nei requisiti minimi è sufficiente un datato Intel Pentium 4 da 2.5 GHz.

    Ora mi chiedo (anche se a logica suppongo che la risposta sia negativa) ma quando si parla di Intel Quad Core ci si riferisce anche ai nuovissimi Intel i7 Quad Core? Mi rifiuto di credere che il mostro che ho appena comprato, un vaio F22 che, tra le varie specifiche da urlo che ha (tra cui 8 GB di RAM), ha un processore Intel i7 2,0 GHz qm (quindi Quad Core), non sia sufficiente per far girare al massimo questo gioco.

    Credo quindi che il Quad Core richiesto nei requisiti raccomandati del gioco, si rifersica ai vecchi Quad Core e non a un i7 d’ultima generazione!

  5. Sono anni che spero in una terza stagione di questo magnifico telefilm, tuttavia mi sembra di aver capito che ormai non c’è più speranza quindi ho deciso di leggermi i due libri sequel della serie. Tuttavia sono stati pubblicati solo in inglese perciò mi rivolgo a voi nella speranza che qualcuno li abbia tradotti e possa passarmeli!!!!
    I libri sono Skin Game e After the Dark di Max Allan Collins.
    Se qualcuno li ha in italiano o sa dove posso trovarli per favore fatemi sapere…

  6. allora ragazzi è urgente, esiste un programma in italiano simile a adobe after effects.almeno deve avere o funzione keyligth (Non so kome si scrive) o (cosa piu utile) che sovrapponga i video. cioè se io ho 2 video di nome A e voglio spezzare e mettere spezzoni di A e spezzoni di B tale da formare un solo video in formato avi o wmv 100 PT AL MIGIORE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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