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Intel to abandon the motherboard market

Intel to abandon the motherboard market

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.

UPDATE:
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.

39 Comments

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cave_diver 23rd January 2013, 12:17 Quote
"it's clear that Intel feels its efforts would be concentrated elsewhere"

"would be better" or "should be"?
Gareth Halfacree 23rd January 2013, 12:22 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by cave_diver
"it's clear that Intel feels its efforts would be concentrated elsewhere"
"would be better" or "should be"?
Better. I seem to be dropping words left, right and centre at the moment - fixed, ta!
bowman 23rd January 2013, 12:24 Quote
It's our fault, apparently 'no one' buys real computers any more.
Lance 23rd January 2013, 12:32 Quote
Is this really a bad sign? Companies concentrating their efforts to what they do best is what keeps businesses alive, the companies that haven't are the ones now dying.
Gareth Halfacree 23rd January 2013, 12:34 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lance
10cm or 100mm..... 100cm is quite a large board.
Note the little superscript two: 100cm² = 10cm x 10cm, which is the precise size of the NUC board.
Lance 23rd January 2013, 12:45 Quote
No. You're thinking of "100 square cm" not "100 cm squared".

10cm² does that for you. Feel free to delete this post once you've read it, sorry to be a stickler.
Gareth Halfacree 23rd January 2013, 12:49 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lance
No. You're thinking of "100 square cm" not "100 cm squared".
Damnit, you're right. I *always* have a blind spot for "square centimetres" and "centimetres squared." Fixed, ta!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lance
Feel free to delete this post once you've read it, sorry to be a stickler.
No need to delete anything: when I'm wrong, I'm happy to hold my hands up to it.
Lance 23rd January 2013, 12:56 Quote
No worries.

I am interested to see how this plays out for them. Company evolution can often be a really good thing, stagnation in a boom leads to losses in the future. Doesn't bode well for AMD though that Intel are still keeping a close eye on the ball.
NethLyn 23rd January 2013, 12:58 Quote
It'll be more interesting to see who Dell picks as its main Intel motherboard supplier when the time comes, they're the only PC firm I can remember that nearly always took the Intel mobo to go with the chips.
TheDodoKiller 23rd January 2013, 12:59 Quote
Did anyone actually buy Intel boards? From what I remember, they generally have less features, yet cost more than other manufacturers.

But yeah, Intel sticking to what they do best isn't a bad thing. It's stupid not to.
RichCreedy 23rd January 2013, 13:06 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDodoKiller
Did anyone actually buy Intel boards? From what I remember, they generally have less features, yet cost more than other manufacturers.

But yeah, Intel sticking to what they do best isn't a bad thing. It's stupid not to.
Quote:
Its boards are regularly chosen for reasons of compatibility and build quality, but rarely on features
did you miss this
Xlog 23rd January 2013, 13:17 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDodoKiller
Did anyone actually buy Intel boards? From what I remember, they generally have less features, yet cost more than other manufacturers.

But yeah, Intel sticking to what they do best isn't a bad thing. It's stupid not to.

I bought a few. The thing is, if you need an atom board for anything but multimedia, your choice is either Intel or Supermicro (expensive). I still haven't seen anything like D2500CC (dual intel NIC, mini PCIe, multiple com ports, LVDS, LPT) for the same price from other manufacturers.
rollo 23rd January 2013, 13:22 Quote
No main company buys boards from them to begin with.

Apple and Dell the 2 biggest users of this board type do not buy them from Intel Shockingly enough.

They are basically a stable board test platform for most manufactures. But from what ive read elsewhere they will stop manufacturing of boards for public use but still supply OEM boards for the manufactures of the new cpus.
TheDodoKiller 23rd January 2013, 13:28 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by RichCreedy
did you miss this

Yep. And I went on the basis that I'd never bought one because of the lack of features, and I don't know anyone that has.
KayinBlack 23rd January 2013, 14:04 Quote
I had a BadAxe II for quite a while, most excellent board. Would pick it again.
yogev_ezra 23rd January 2013, 14:29 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lance
No. You're thinking of "100 square cm" not "100 cm squared".
10cm² does that for you. Feel free to delete this post once you've read it, sorry to be a stickler.
Hate to ruin it for you, but it's 100cm², not 10cm². When you multiply units, you multiply both number and dimension. So 10cm x 10cm = 100cm². If you want it to be 10cm², then it has to come from 1cm x 10cm
Gareth Halfacree 23rd January 2013, 14:43 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by yogev_ezra
Hate to ruin it for you, but it's 100cm², not 10cm². When you multiply units, you multiply both number and dimension. So 10cm x 10cm = 100cm². If you want it to be 10cm², then it has to come from 1cm x 10cm
Wait, so I was right all along? My brain hurts...
yogev_ezra 23rd January 2013, 14:46 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
Wait, so I was right all along? My brain hurts...
It's ok, you are usually wrong - this was just an exception :D
SchizoFrog 23rd January 2013, 15:17 Quote
.
RichCreedy 23rd January 2013, 15:36 Quote
I used to buy intel boards, but, finding suppliers for the boards you want, is a pain
jrs77 23rd January 2013, 16:39 Quote
Too bad really, as no other company covers HTPC-boards like the DQ77KB. miniITX with onboard PSU, full size mSATA and a PCIe x4 for your DVB-S/T tuner-card. Get a 35W i3-3220T, an Impactics passive-cooler set and some aluminum-profile and voilá... say "Hello!" to your fully passive (i.e. no moving parts) 30mm high HTPC ;)
SleepyMatt 23rd January 2013, 21:05 Quote
If they aren't looking to sell motherboards, is there any chance they'll stop changing sockets every two minutes?
BurningFeetMan 23rd January 2013, 23:07 Quote
I always considered buying Intel boards, especially after the drama my ASUS board gave me back in the day, but ~5 years ago I started buying Gigabyte, and never looked back. When going through the researching process, I would always start with Intel boards, and end with EVGA boards, only to find the Gigabyte sweet-spot somewhere between the two. :)
mute1 24th January 2013, 02:05 Quote
100cm² as 10 cm x 10 cm is right. Even if you wrote '100 cm squared', most people understand that to be '100 of a centimetre squared' (or '100 square centimetres') not '100 centimetres, then squared'.
Lots of people get confused about it so don't feel bad.
greigaitken 24th January 2013, 11:22 Quote
good, intel leaving mb market means gigabyte, msi, et all can each pay one engineer a little more overtime.
Lance 24th January 2013, 11:45 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by mute1
100cm² as 10 cm x 10 cm is right. Even if you wrote '100 cm squared', most people understand that to be '100 of a centimetre squared' (or '100 square centimetres') not '100 centimetres, then squared'.
Lots of people get confused about it so don't feel bad.

No it isn't.

A 10cm² box has an area of 100 square cm. Don't confuse the writers.
Gareth Halfacree 24th January 2013, 11:54 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lance
Don't confuse the writers.
Words to live by. I'm generally confused enough as it is...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lance
A 10cm² box has an area of 100 square cm
This, however, is wrong: I've been doing some reading, and it turns out I was right all along: 100cm² refers to an area equal to a square 10cm on a side. 10cm² would be the area of a rectangle 1cm x 10cm, or 2cm x 5cm, and so forth. See here, or here. Or here.
Snips 24th January 2013, 13:18 Quote
I always liked the look of the Intel boards. The colour schemes and layout always look crisp and fresh. The only thing stopping me from picking one up was the features missing that other boards had. It was never a cost issue as the quality was clearly there and warranted the price. It's a shame really but whatcha gonna do?
rollo 24th January 2013, 13:36 Quote
People are a bit confused here.

Intel will no longer sell consumer motherboards aka to joe public.

They will still supply Oems boards for there CPUs as test beds for the mainboards.
ArcAngeL 25th January 2013, 04:03 Quote
I wonder if they will still release chipsets then.
Gradius 25th January 2013, 04:31 Quote
LOL @ cm2 debate.
blackworx 25th January 2013, 08:34 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gradius
LOL @ cm2 debate.

+1

10cm x 10cm is categorically 100cm² - I think this is a perfect example of Muphry's Law in action. None of it gets away from centimetres being awful SI units though - their mere existence causes confusion, lol!

Regarding the actual subject matter, it's not unsurprising but still a pity to see Intel stop making motherboards. Since Abit went the way of the Dodo Intel have been the only ones with really good onboard fan control suitable for proper silencing of air-cooled PCs straight out of the box. Despite other manufacturers (most notably Asus) making a big noise* and designing lots of logos and graphics for their boards' temp/fan control abilities, Intel has just quietly* gone about showing them how it's done.

* puns not intentional, honest
BennieboyUK 25th January 2013, 10:10 Quote
The company's exit from the market comes as a shock

Really? If you read about Intel's drop in profits due to tablet and competing devices it comes as no shock at all that they will change the business model to adapt to the current market trends - a trend that is now establishing itself and the new norm.

I for one and pleased that they are exiting, rightly or wrongly this shows that the top dogs at Intel are reacting to a profit dip, changing their global business model and attempting to adapt to the changing consumer needs.

I guess you just need to look at Comet and HMV to see that even though the markets are different, change in any sector is required.

Good stuff.
do_it_anyway 25th January 2013, 13:23 Quote
This immediately struck me as good news.

Were we not discussing very recently Intel's plan to do "non-swappable" CPU's? Where the cpu was soldered to the motherboard?
One of the arguments was whether intel would use their own boards or a thrid party board.
My thoughts are this question has just been answered.
faugusztin 25th January 2013, 13:46 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by do_it_anyway
My thoughts are this question has just been answered.

That question was answered at start of December when rumors of all-BGA lineup was denied by Intel itself :
http://www.bit-tech.net/news/hardware/2012/12/06/intel-denies-bga/1
do_it_anyway 25th January 2013, 15:05 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by faugusztin
Quote:
Originally Posted by do_it_anyway
My thoughts are this question has just been answered.

That question was answered at start of December when rumors of all-BGA lineup was denied by Intel itself :
http://www.bit-tech.net/news/hardware/2012/12/06/intel-denies-bga/1
Thanks!
[/embarrassed face]
Gradius 27th January 2013, 19:25 Quote
Took too long for them to get out the market.
Speed 27th January 2013, 21:10 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDodoKiller
Did anyone actually buy Intel boards? From what I remember, they generally have less features, yet cost more than other manufacturers.

But yeah, Intel sticking to what they do best isn't a bad thing. It's stupid not to.

I've had a few, they are generally rock solid in reliability terms, 3 year warranty on the retail versions matches anything the other manufacturers put out and in my experience better customer service if something did go wrong. As for less "features" it depends what you are looking for in a board, overclocking sure but their media boards are excellent.

Frankly while this is a wise move business wise, I'll miss their boards. Although it should be noted (as per the article) that it could be a good while before they stop producing them. I suspect we might even see Intel branded boards for the next generation if they are already in the pipeline.
dynamis_dk 27th January 2013, 21:14 Quote
Personally I'll miss Intel boards if they go. A lot of the kit I deal with at work is based on Intel motherboards and having worked with many brands over the 10 years I've worked in desktop support, I've always found Intel to be one of the most stable and low failure rate board manufactures available.
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