A CPU separated from its motherboard may soon be a thing of the past.

We’re still waiting on Intel’s next-generation Haswell CPUs to launch, but details and rumors are already swirling about processors that are even further down the company’s roadmap. The latest scuttlebutt is that Broadwell, the follow-up to Haswell due in 2014, will forego standard socketed desktop processors. If the rumors are true—and both ZDNet and SemiAccurate report that they’ve received confirmation from PC OEMs—Broadwell desktop CPUs will need to be soldered directly to motherboards, and won’t be easily swappable or upgradeable by users and system builders.

CPUs soldered to motherboards aren’t anything new. While Intel-powered desktops normally use a land grid array (LGA) package to allow for OEM and end-user upgrades, laptops, all-in-ones, and other more highly integrated systems already often use soldered-on CPUs in a ball grid array (BGA) package. However, this would be the first time that this limitation would be imposed on standard desktop processors.

While this move wouldn’t have much of an impact on the vast majority of desktop users, most of whom simply don’t perform their own processor upgrades, there’s been quite a bit of hand wringing among power users who feel that their ability to upgrade and build their own systems is in jeopardy. But are the desktop-as-we-know-it’s days really numbered, or is all of this worrying much ado about nothing?

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via Ars Technica » Technology Lab http://feeds.arstechnica.com/~r/arstechnica/technology-lab/~3/BVr2Md-uXAk/