Intel are set to release a slew of new processors in the second half of this year, culminating in the release of the next-generation 14nm Broadwell chips. Intel CEO, Brian Krzanich, spoke at the Maker Faire in California to guarantee that after last year's delay (due to a "defect density issue"), Broadwell CPUs would be released in time for the holidays, “and not the last second of holiday” either.
Amidst rumors that the 2012 apocalypse would be caused by Intel discontinuing production of socketed CPUs, causing thousands of system builders and overclockers to cry out in anguish, our friends over at Maximum PC have given the all clear. Intel has no plans to begin welding their processors inseparably to motherboards to the exclusion of producing the removable kind we've all come to know and love. Life as we know it, so it seems, will go on.
There have been rumours floating around for the last couple days that Intel is going to end the traditional socketed CPU once the Haswell chip is out of the door. Based upon a supposedly leaked processor roadmap, Japanese site, PC Watch, is claiming to show that Intel will be calling time on the CPU upgrade market.
What they are saying is that the Broadwell CPU, the next-generation chip to follow Haswell, will be sold soldered into the motherboard, doing away with the LGA socket altogether. As the Broadwell lineup will represent the die-shrink down to 14nm from the 22nm Haswell variant, it's possible there may be an architectural need for these CPUs to be permanently attached to the motherboard.
I often get emails asking for advice on upgrades, most of which I try to answer as quickly as I can, but one that came through the other day struck me with a problem that I imagine is more common than you'd think.
The writer wanted to know what the best graphics card would be for his motherboard, and proceeded to list all the bits and bobs inside his PC. Some of them were nearly ten years old. Two things were immediately obvious from his mail. Firstly, that a graphics upgrade alone wasn't going to get Crysis 2 running at full speed. Secondly, that he'd obviously made a mistake identifying his components. According to the email he was running an Athlon FX chip from the middle of the last decade with a Pentium 4 motherboard circa 2001.
Since he also reckoned he was using two GeForce graphics cards in SLI configuration, I surmise that the writer is probably right about the chip, wrong about the mobo (since that predates SLI technology). Or that it was someone deliberately being silly and trying to catch me out.
The serious question the story raises, though, is how do you know what motherboard is inside your machine, and what its compatible with when you come to upgrade?