Intel Planning On Leaving Desktop Motherboard Business

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by nycmi, Feb 11, 2013.

  1. nycmi macrumors member

    Jan 5, 2013
    Apologies if there is a already a thread on this subject, I had a look around but wasn't able to find anything.

    "As soon as its next-gen Haswell CPUs ship, Intel will start to leave the desktop motherboard business. It will be a lengthy process, taking at least three years, and the company will continue to produce chipsets. The company will be focusing instead on smaller and newer form factors. For one, it will be working on its Next Unit of Computing (NUC) boards, which are 4" by 4". Legacy support for old motherboards and the new Haswell motherboards will continue through their respective warranty periods. 'Given the competitive landscape, it's not a big surprise that Intel is refocusing its efforts on areas that have greater potential impact on future growth. All segments of the PC business are under extreme pressure, with sales slipping and users gravitating toward tablets and smart phones. Focusing on reference designs for all-in-one PCs, Ultrabooks and tablets will enable Intel's partners to more rapidly ship products that appeal to the new generation of mobile users.' AnandTech points out that one of the reasons Intel put out motherboards for so long was to assure a baseline level of quality for its CPUs. Now that the boards coming out of Taiwan are of good quality, Intel doesn't need to expend the effort.


    Any thoughts on how this will affect Apple and the Mac Pro? Assuming that Apple does resume work on powerhouse computers, how feasible it for Apple look at other motherboard makers?
  2. GermanyChris macrumors 601


    Jul 3, 2011
    Intel was never really in the motherboard business to begin with..sure they made some but they weren't all that popular.

    MP's Motherboards are built by Foxconn to Apple Spec. the only thing intel in the are the processors.
  3. Macsonic macrumors 65816


    Sep 6, 2009
    From what I understand from the article, Intel will stop making motherboards so I am assuming they will continue to manufacture processors. For now it's hard to speculate how this affects Apple products.
  4. maxosx macrumors 68020

    Dec 13, 2012
    Southern California
    This is a long overdue decision. It's completely separate of their chip business.
  5. Umbongo macrumors 601


    Sep 14, 2006
    It isn't hard as Apple don't use Intel's boards :)
  6. 1934hotrod, Feb 11, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2013

    1934hotrod macrumors regular


    Jan 27, 2013
    Although these hand held devices are the current fad, I believe that and hope the desk top stays. I do not have prissy little hands and fingers an like a full size key board. Also like the display standing on its own for viewing without pinky scrolling to read, as for the machines size the Mini works well and see the need for machines the size of the Mac pro.
    Not everybody wants a watch that is a computer, phone and play toy. If the industry thinks this is what we ultimately desire they could not me more wrong.
    Not a luddite by any stretch, but the thought of only being able to buy some gadget the size of my palm is not what I would wish for. Have also noticed with humor the new accessories that hold the iclipboard up for viewing and freedom of the other hand, say sounds like a display donut.

    The hype and fad driven cool look @ me market is all good here, keeps the $$$ rolling in. Just hope that very market will not attempt to force me and others to down size so to speak. Should that come true guess I will stick with what I have just my $0.02.

  7. Mr. McMac Suspended

    Mr. McMac

    Dec 21, 2009
    Far away from liberals
    My thoughts exactly. I hope other motherboard manufacturers don't follow Intel's lead. I like building my own PC's. I like real keyboards and a mouse. I hate touchpads and touchscreens. And I don't care what anybody say's, the iPad can't do what a Mac or PC can do. I owned one, and sold it after a year trying to convince myself I could get by on it..
  8. nycmi thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 5, 2013
    Thanks for differentiating the two, I didn't realise Intel only made the chips.
  9. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Mar 10, 2009
    This article skews the scope of desktop. The NUC boards can be used for Mac Mini type desktops.

    I'm sure that will spawn arguments about how those are not 'real' desktops, but:

    1. intended to sit on static flat surface ( i.e., desktop). Check.

    2. modular Display needed. Check (for the AIO are evil crowd ).

    There is not much here to not fall into the desktop classification.

    Is this a tinker with my trusty screwdriver box? No. However, that isn't "desktop".

    Some of these NUC boards will get mutated into AIO designs. AIO are not mobile users.

    Besides on a more related Mac Pro point. Intel can keep doing boards and references design for its growing and more profitable server line business. Super large customers like Google don't even buy motherboards from the Taiwan/Chinese chop shops any more. At least not "off the shelf" designs.

    Finally, Intel will likely still be doing reference boards, even for the standard "box with slots" models for at least another iteration or two afterwards.

    As the Intel CPU package designs get to the point that the voltage regluation is inside the package. The IOHUB functionality is also inside the package. The SATA controller is inside the package. USB .. inside the package. HD Audio .. inside the package. Wifi-Bluetooth ... inside the package. ... a decent mid-range GPU is inside the package.

    What exactly is going to be left for the motherboard vendors to do variance around ?

    Motherboard vendors used to do their own North/Southbridge chipsets. Those got sucked into the Intel/AMD blackhole.

    Then there was stuff that wouldn't fit in a Southbridge ( very fast SATA, very fast FW , higher quality I/O, gigabit Ethernet , etc.). Again most of this is being sucked into either the AMD/Intel southbridge or into the CPU package itself. There is even fancier Ethernet and Audio but the freight train is coming every time Intel does a process shrink and now has more "extra" transistors to throw at the problem.

    Since the 70's computers in general have been moving toward having fewer and fewer discrete components in them. Transistors to intergrated circuits and now to super massive integrated circuits. Going the other direction is swimming upstream against Moorse Law and double digits billions in R&D.

    Apple already does. Apple needed to quick turn the initial 2006 Mac Pro out the door so the 2006-7 design is a minimal change Intel reference design but since then they have drifted away from stock Intel reference designs. (e.g., Processor/RAM daughtercard ).

    There is a debate as to whether Apple does it with primarily contractors ( Apple just givesthem a bill-of-materials and some layout parameters: daughter card socket ... slot placement... board dimensions. ) or the design is done by Apple internally but it is already there. Doubtful that would be different one way or the other into the future.

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