Intel motherboards are soon to be a thing of the past, as the company is to close down that segment of its business following the launch of Haswell later this year.
Intel has announced plans to cease manufacturing own-brand desktop motherboards, exiting the market in order to better concentrate on new form factors like the Next Unit of Computing (NUC) and Ultrabook-derived systems.
The company's exit from the market comes as a shock: it has been manufacturing own-brand motherboards, which serve as reference designs for its processor chipsets as well as being commercially-available products in their own right, for nigh on two decades. Its boards are regularly chosen for reasons of compatibility and build quality, but rarely on features: manufacturers licensed to produce Intel-compatible motherboards typically offer significantly more capability including additional ports, more overclocking features or support for non-Intel technologies. While some boards - including the Intel Desktop Board D5400XS 'Skulltrail,' which supported two LGA 771 processors - were more exciting than others, it's clear that Intel feels its efforts would be better concentrated elsewhere.
Thus far, there has been no formal announcement from Intel on why or when it is exiting the motherboard market, but Intel spokesperson Dan Snyder confirmed to PCWorld
that the exit is both very real and very imminent: following the release of Intel's Haswell chips later this year, the company will begin the process of winding down its motherboards efforts over the following three years.
With the resources freed up by no longer having to produce full-size motherboards, Intel is reportedly to shift its efforts onto new form factor products including the Next Unit of Computing
, an ultra-compact desktop-class product which packs a dual-core 1.8GHz Core-i3 processor into a board measuring just 100cm².
Those with existing Intel motherboards needn't worry, though: Snyder has reportedly confirmed that all warranties will be honoured in full, while Intel-manufactured Haswell motherboard will continue to be available for 18 months after they ship alongside the processors later this year.
Intel has confirmed its plans to phase out manufacturing of own-brand motherboards for the traditional desktop market, with Haswell to be the last processor family to receive Intel-branded desktop boards. However, the company has provided the following statement: 'It is important to note that Intel will be maintaining its server motherboard and server systems (integrated board, chassis, and accessories) business. Intel’s Enterprise Platforms and Services Division (EPSD) produces server building blocks for resellers, integrators, and OEMs world-wide,
' the statement reads, noting that the work of Intel EPSD will continue as normal even as the desktop motherboard business is wound up.