Intel Strategy Shuts Out PC Enthusiasts

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Kinitawowi:

Boris Goodenough:
-- This is because Intel needs to be more competitive in the tablet market

This is it, people. As much as I hate the things, tablets (and by extension smartphones) are where the next few years are heading, and if you're not in that market then you're not in the market. Microsoft figured that out (hence Windows 8) and Intel are catching on - show me a Samsung tablet where you can swap out the processor. No, on-board is the norm now, to be closely followed by off-chip - the raw clock speed of the die will stop being the thing when they realise that they can lower the heat overhead and thus raise the power output by pulling the GPU out.

Tower machines? Enthusiasts still swear by them, but you can't run a company aiming only for the enthusiasts. Sad but true. And towers are done, as far as the mainstream is concerned.

What people like you don't understand is that you can't do any sort of programming/work/typing/designing/encoding/rendering CG/any sort of research/scientific work and basically everything that big companies require on a "tablet", the entirety of other markets like PC Gaming, CAD, SAP, CGI etc. are also based on the PC architecture and it will not go away as much as some people and companies seem to desire it.

Tablets and similar devices are fine for reading something, browsing the web a bit and maybe reading E-Mails... I've got like 2-3 of them around the house in their various forms (most of them because I didn't have to pay), but anything that gets more serious than that requires and will continue to require a PC till there is something equivalent or better.

Just like "smart phones" you can keep in your pocket that do a lot of things tablet devices do didn't "kill the tablet market" or the other way around because they are a different form factor and do different things, they won't be going anywhere.

And this article is sensationalist hogwash.

Oh and regarding Microsoft:
http://www.vanityfair.com/business/2012/08/microsoft-lost-mojo-steve-ballmer
http://semiaccurate.com/2012/11/14/microsoft-has-failed/

They do the same shit they've often done before from a "marketing" standpoint and some planned "market strategies" by their higher ups instead of what makes sense. Without really understanding the market, while throwing lots of money at it and hope that it sticks.

Man, I am so glad I went for an AMD board XD

Its unlikely to happen for a number of reasons. First of all is that Broadwell, Haswell and many of Intels other architectures show a reaction to the changing market, i.e. a massive spike in the demand for low power, ultra mobile chipsets for mobile devices such as phones, tablets and even household appliances such as all-in-one control centers. This field is dominated by ARM holdings at the moment but Intel is and has been trying to get an upper hand in this market. What they are attempting to do is create a single processor that works across all fields, mobile (laptop}, ultra mobile, desktop and server. However since each market has different requirements and picks processors for a variety of reasons its more likely that in the future Intel will move to not only having different processing "family's" (for lack of a better word) but even different iterations of its x86 instruction set for different areas. Admittedly though they wouldnt want this, but its inevitable since a single all encompassing processor for each market makes no sense and would lose Intel a lot of market share to a variety of competitors.

The biggest thing keeping me from thinking that this will be the case is the server space. Server customers of course take power and cooling into consideration when making a decision, but by far the biggest requirements are processing capabilities and expansion, neither of which would be handled well by an integrated solution. If their customers arent able to buy new motherboards and drop in more RAM and processors as needed then Intel would likely lose major business to competitors that would be more than happy to take their server and super computer customers away, competitors like IBM, Nvidia and AMD just to name a few. And seeing as the market for servers is going to grow exponentially withing the next few years (thanks in part by the push to cloud computing) Intel would lose a lot of money by ignoring this space.

I mention the server space for this reason, modern desktop processors are essentially re-binned server processors, case in point Sandy Bridge-E. It would be easy for Intel to charge a premium for a re-binned server cpu and sell them as desktop processors.

Of course the desktop market is shrinking, but its not going to go away for a long time, and this brings me to a point of another major part of their revenue, OEMs like dell, HP, lenovo, sony, etc. who make computers and sell them to the public. As this article points out AMDs market share is only about 20%, but if intel were to go to an integrated solution many of these companies would likely jump ship not only to AMD but likely Nvidia as well. Nvidia has long been trying to replace traditional processors with its GPU parts and something like this would allow them to begin making GPUs that can be dropped into a motherboard like processors.

Of course what makes this all possible is Microsoft finally moving away from supporting x86 exclusively and and supporting other instruction sets with Windows 8 and this is likely to continue. Nvidia has enough money and influence they could likely get Microsoft to consider adding CUDA support to Windows, and even if not Nvidia does have a license to use ARMs instruction set (or if they dont unlike x86 ARM does license it out to other companies). They could easily create one that runs on ARM.

What we have here, in my opinion, is intel trying to serve many markets with one chip, bit its just not going to work in the end. Intel finally has a lot of competition on the horizon (not just AMD anymore) and a move like this would hurt them in more places then it would help them.

I seriously doubt that Intel would shoot themselves in the foot with a .50cal hollow point exploding round filled with acid like that.

Huh, that sure would help AMD out. Course, it'd only effect people who actually are going to change there CPU, which I assume is not the majority of all PC owners and thus it's hard to say what's gonna happen.

using amd already so w/e

Dexter111:

Kinitawowi:

Boris Goodenough:
-- This is because Intel needs to be more competitive in the tablet market

This is it, people. As much as I hate the things, tablets (and by extension smartphones) are where the next few years are heading, and if you're not in that market then you're not in the market. Microsoft figured that out (hence Windows 8) and Intel are catching on - show me a Samsung tablet where you can swap out the processor. No, on-board is the norm now, to be closely followed by off-chip - the raw clock speed of the die will stop being the thing when they realise that they can lower the heat overhead and thus raise the power output by pulling the GPU out.

Tower machines? Enthusiasts still swear by them, but you can't run a company aiming only for the enthusiasts. Sad but true. And towers are done, as far as the mainstream is concerned.

What people like you don't understand

Whoa, dude. As a person like me, I understand it fine. No need to be so condescending.

is that you can't do any sort of programming/work/typing/designing/encoding/rendering CG/any sort of research/scientific work and basically everything that big companies require on a "tablet", the entirety of other markets like PC Gaming, CAD, SAP, CGI etc. are also based on the PC architecture and it will not go away as much as some people and companies seem to desire it.

Tablets and similar devices are fine for reading something, browsing the web a bit and maybe reading E-Mails... I've got like 2-3 of them around the house in their various forms (most of them because I didn't have to pay), but anything that gets more serious than that requires and will continue to require a PC till there is something equivalent or better.

Just like "smart phones" you can keep in your pocket that do a lot of things tablet devices do didn't "kill the tablet market" or the other way around because they are a different form factor and do different things, they won't be going anywhere.

I work in PC retail and I call it as I see it. Any of the significant rendering, scientific work and a couple of other applications you mentioned are done on an entirely different server-based architecture rather than an old-school tower PC. The vast majority of what we sell is laptops - where CPUs are soldered in as a matter of course - followed by all-in-ones (which are frequently based on laptop architectures), then iPads and Nexus 7s and such. Tower desktops are low, low, low on the list. We get far more people coming and asking about the Nexus 10 than we do about the i7-3770K and liquid cooling setups.

I'm very aware of the limitations of tablets - like I said, I personally hate the things and they're designed to fill a hole between the smartphone and the laptop that simply isn't there in my life. (Partly because there's no space for the laptop either, unless I finally manage to pin down a cheap second hand top end Vaio P.) But you can't target a niche market. Most companies make their money by aiming for the mainstream (or the lowest common denominator, call it what you will), and until it shakes down, right now that means laptops and tablets. Reading something, browsing the web a bit and maybe reading e-mails is all that a hell of a lot of people ever do with their computers.

Even Nintendo realised a while back that their competition in the handheld market wasn't coming from the PSP and the Vita. It's coming from the iPhone. Tablets and smartphones are all that matters right now. I hate them, they're limited, they're completely wrong for a lot of specialist applications (and some not-very-specialist - the reason laptops still thrive is mainly the fact that they've got a proper keyboard and access to a familiar version of Microsoft Office). But they're selling by the millions. Our store manager recently struck a business deal to supply 8,000 tablets to one company. That's not even lightweight personal stuff, that's an actual business that's aiming that way now. Manufacturers simply cannot afford to ignore that market.

And this article is sensationalist hogwash.

Oh and regarding Microsoft:
http://www.vanityfair.com/business/2012/08/microsoft-lost-mojo-steve-ballmer
http://semiaccurate.com/2012/11/14/microsoft-has-failed/

They do the same shit they've often done before from a "marketing" standpoint and some planned "market strategies" by their higher ups instead of what makes sense. Without really understanding the market, while throwing lots of money at it and hope that it sticks.

Nobody ever said Windows 8 was a good idea. But there was a point a couple of years ago when some variant of Windows was installed on some 85% of the computer systems on the planet. That number is falling fast, and it's not OSX that's eating it, it's Android - for much the same reason that ARM dominates the global processor market right now, not Intel. Windows 8 is a blatant marketing grab, a reactionary play to get into a market where they have practically zero presence. It's all wrong for anything other than a tablet or an all-in-one touchscreen. But those are where the wind is blowing right now. As Jarvis Cocker once sang, "It stinks, it sucks, it's anthropologically unjust. But the takings are up by a third; c***s are still running the world."

I guess I'll just continue using AMD like I always have.

Chances of intel doing this: <10%.

They already have a non-socket solution, so changing the main line of CPUs to this makes very little sense.
Not that it'll matter if they do - people will just stick with the old generation of CPUs until Intel quickly reverse their position, much like MS will do with Win8 once they realize 90% of people call bullshit on it.

The Sandy Bridge stuff made me switch from AMD to Intel and that will make me switch back again, meh. Nothing of value is lost if they die (apart from their excellent driver support for Linux / the reason I went with Intel for my laptop)

...architecture present in Intel's Core series of CPUs, none of which is particularly relevant to anyone but the most die-hard PC nerds.

Am I the only one who thought "...the fuck?" when I read this?
Pretty much every kid and their mother is running an Intel Core chip or has used one at some point. The Core2Duo, Core2Quad, Core i5, Core i7 (both in SB and IB flavors), etc etc...all those series fall under that naming scheme.

Aaron Sylvester:

...architecture present in Intel's Core series of CPUs, none of which is particularly relevant to anyone but the most die-hard PC nerds.

Am I the only one who thought "...the fuck?" when I read this?
Pretty much every kid and their mother is running an Intel Core chip or has used one at some point. The Core2Duo, Core2Quad, Core i5, Core i7 (both in SB and IB flavors), etc etc...all those series fall under that naming scheme.

That's true, but your average Joe doesn't know or care about the differences between a Core 2 Duo and all 3 flavours of a Core i7. Haven't you ever tried to explain something about computers to a non-technical person and watched their eyes glaze over? If your are lucky they will know what version of Windows their computer runs. If you are really lucky they will know if it has an Intel or AMD CPU and NVidia or AMD graphics.

I'll be sure once I make the jump to PC gaming I support AMD. I don't understand why Intel feels the need to do this.

AMD's 20% will grow among those who care about controlling every part of their system, if Intel puts the squeeze on as described above. What percentage of the total market those people comprise is another question. I have to suspect it's small enough that Intel is willing to let them go in order to get a larger return on the business and casual consumer markets. If the tablet invasion has shown us anything, it's that people will buy whatever hardware happens to be inside a device, as long as it has a slick feature list and good marketing.

Eri:
I'm confused. Why does this end custom built PC's? Sure, you might not be able to upgrade the cpu, but beside that, there is effectively no difference? Or am I missing something?

People are assuming either that Intel will leverage their market share to partake of either serious wallet rape or to limit the choices we have now by supplying fewer versions hence saving itself a ton on development/manufacture.

Personally i think it will probably pan out a bit different. its a bit too early for the MS move i suspect this first round of integrated core bundles ie the welded chip to mobo + integrated stuff will actually be extremely good and not to highly priced. getting both the high and mid ends to flock adoringly to them. this will kill the ailing AMD off and do about the same to the motherboard makers. and it will be the generation after that actually drops the belt buckle.

But im also not overly worried, i do not see this happening outside of the states for legal reasons. i just dont see the EU allowing it on legal terms or Intel will at least be forced to still supply its chips to other parties as it does now as well as running thier own "intergrated bundles"

Hey, another "Doom and Gloom" prediction for PC Gamers.

You'd think after Origin, 30FPS Lock, and Windows 8, PC Gamers would learn that every time they declare something to be a dangerous to PC Gaming, they always end up looking like melodramatic lunatics. So Intel is going to solder the CPU to the motherboard now, eh? Explain to be how this is an issue? I don't know about you guys, but my processor is already locked to my motherboard with screws, the heat sinks, and the fan that I'm afraid to remove it. And why would I want to?

And my laptop (the computer I use for gaming) has most of it's parts made by AMD/ATI anyway.

A soldered cpu should make your PC shopping more in-depth. Ask youserlf the following questions:

Is it at least 2.4 GHz?
Does it have at least 4 cores?
If yes to both, you're fine for the next few years.

Yes, people will always love having pre-packaged computers, and love getting 'what you see is what you get' machines. Tablets and consoles prove this point. But even people that want a pre-packaged computers aren't happy with the inability to swap parts out down the line. At the risk of getting all libertarian on this, I don't think the market will play this out in Intel's favor. This has already been done. People didn't want it. If you want proof, look to Apple or Gateway.

Presuming any of this doom and gloom 'all your components will be soldered together forever and ever!' stuff is even true.

TheEndlessGrey:
AMD's 20% will grow among those who care about controlling every part of their system, if Intel puts the squeeze on as described above. What percentage of the total market those people comprise is another question. I have to suspect it's small enough that Intel is willing to let them go in order to get a larger return on the business and casual consumer markets. If the tablet invasion has shown us anything, it's that people will buy whatever hardware happens to be inside a device, as long as it has a slick feature list and good marketing.

The problem here is that, the desires that drive the tablet market aren't necessarily the desires that drive the PC market. Because a lot of people who own PCs also own tablets. I know a lot of guys that wouldn't even DARE to not make their own machine, and still own tablets. Because their portable or casual gaming desires don't have the same demands as their 'hardcore' desires. It's a mistake to believe that because somebody might be willing to fire up Angry Birds while on the toilet they would be OK with that level of processing power for their main gaming rig, or be against gaming entirely.

Yes, there are some (many) who only ever play casual games. Yes, there are some who won't touch that stuff with a 20 foot poll. But there is plenty of overlap.

If Intel believes that there is not, then it's making a big mistake.

Bhaalspawn:
Hey, another "Doom and Gloom" prediction for PC Gamers.

You'd think after Origin, 30FPS Lock, and Windows 8, PC Gamers would learn that every time they declare something to be a dangerous to PC Gaming, they always end up looking like melodramatic lunatics. So Intel is going to solder the CPU to the motherboard now, eh? Explain to be how this is an issue? I don't know about you guys, but my processor is already locked to my motherboard with screws, the heat sinks, and the fan that I'm afraid to remove it. And why would I want to?

And my laptop (the computer I use for gaming) has most of it's parts made by AMD/ATI anyway.

A soldered cpu should make your PC shopping more in-depth. Ask youserlf the following questions:

Is it at least 2.4 GHz?
Does it have at least 4 cores?
If yes to both, you're fine for the next few years.

I'm not sure how 'I'm not personally comfortable opening up my machine' really relates to PC enthusiasts though.

I'm sure my grandmother isn't willing to open up 'My Computer' and look at the C drive at all and runs everything through the Start Menu or My Documents. Does that mean having a directory or control over where and how things are saved is a moot point too?

Damien Granz:

TheEndlessGrey:
snip

The problem here is that, the desires that drive the tablet market aren't necessarily the desires that drive the PC market. Because a lot of people who own PCs also own tablets. I know a lot of guys that wouldn't even DARE to not make their own machine, and still own tablets. Because their portable or casual gaming desires don't have the same demands as their 'hardcore' desires. It's a mistake to believe that because somebody might be willing to fire up Angry Birds while on the toilet they would be OK with that level of processing power for their main gaming rig, or be against gaming entirely.

Oh I totally agree that's the flaw in the idea, and I myself am one of those guys who has never once bought a pre-built computer but still has a tablet. The conflicting needs and usage patterns is why I hope Microsoft is smart enough to leave PC Windows alone while they pursue the tablet market with WinRT, but if they can start to merge the spaces to squeeze a few percentage points of market share, why would Intel not try to do the same? We're seeing the old giants starting to lose their grip, and fear drives irrational decisions.

So Intel is going to give the PC market back to IBM?

Considering that Semiaccurate also said that PC enthusiasts moved on to ARM, yeah, I have some doubts regarding the validity of this article.

Also, to those that say AMD will move into this market, how many executives had that this horribly mismanaged company that layed off between 30-40 percent of their work staff, gone through? How about the fact that it is in such financial straits they it is expected that thy will either be bought out or close doors before the end of fiscal year 2014 with 2013 looking very sketchy? A company that the investors feel has no value and what value it has is all from the money in the bank (to anyone that doesn't understand investing, that is the sign of a company dying).

Semiaccurate.com makes shit up on a regular basis and hides behind their conveniently "anonymous sources". I'll believe it when I se it.

Damien Granz:

I'm not sure how 'I'm not personally comfortable opening up my machine' really relates to PC enthusiasts though.

I'm sure my grandmother isn't willing to open up 'My Computer' and look at the C drive at all and runs everything through the Start Menu or My Documents. Does that mean having a directory or control over where and how things are saved is a moot point too?

There is a large range between 'I'm not personally comfortable opening up my machine' and swapping out CPU chips. I have no problem replacing RAM, video cards, hardrives, DVD drives, power sources and even a motherboard but it never really occurred to me that I would need to replace a CPU chip. When I do a computer upgrade I am guaranteed to replace my motherboard while I might keep a lot of the other components if they are compatible.

I always considered myself a 'PC enthusiast' but apparently I am only another one of the 'unwashed masses' now.

I don't want a monopoly in favor of AMD or Intel... we need competition => better products, decent prices. Yes, I'm ignorant like that... I should know better.

In later news AMD releases it's "fuck Intel" package plans for the future.

If Intel want to wall themselves into a corner, so be it. We aren't going to need anything more powerful than an i7 for a long time anyway, By that time I trust AMD to have caught up.

So whats the point of this? I cant come up with any logical reason for this expect for laptops and such... Like is Intel just going to give up the market on workstations and servers?

In other news, AMD stock jumped nearly 5% today...

I'm probably going to upgrade very soon anyway, either to an Ivy Bridge i7 or more likely a top of the line Haswell CPU early next year. Considering my upgrades are about 4-5 years apart I won't have to worry about this nonsense till such a time as this silly approach has been seen to suck and rolled back.

Saying that, this is exactly the sort of thing companies like Dell and HP will be all for. A single board that contains everything except the RAM? They'll be all up in it.

Mmh, Well that sucks, as another one who sticks with an old-fashioned tower PC because that does everything I want it to (Thus, ironically, negating the need to pick up a shiny new smart-phone or tablet that does... Well, everything my PC does, but far, Far worse), but can't blame them for following where the money is. The way fashions have gone have tried their damnedest to kill off the old tower PC for years anyway - the current console generation takes care of the gaming side, and for everything else, you've got the hyper-advanced Etch-a-sketch that's called a tablet or a smart-phone (Or E-readers which seem to quickly fill the half-way-house between them)
And also, hasn't "Build everything ourselves + then ship it" essentially been IBM's strategy since time immemorial? Amazed they haven't tried to cash in on this trend...

Interesting concept. However, I think Semi-accurate is mostly Semi in this case.

I would suspect that Intel is moving a market segment or creating a market segment for this case. Broadwell is the 14nm part they are talking about. It is well known that Intel is starting to bet big on SoC, System on a chip. These require being soldered on. The markets that SoCs inhabit do not normally have the space for sockets and massive heat sink attachments. But in under two years they will have room for a 2+GHz multi-core CPU (got that) with embedded memory controller (got that), GPU (got that) and the North Bridge (got that) and then what little else is required to get the unit functional. Intel wins, they sell virtually the entire silicon and by adding their own Infineon IP they now have a phone/tablet SoC that is kick ass solution for ultra-ultra laptops, tablets and their holy grail a smart phone. I seriously doubt the smart phone will win but a tablet and the others seem very likely.

Expect to hear from Intel, at some undisclosed time in the future, about the new super-ultra-tablet-notebook-laptop-premium market that just happens to use a 14nm part with 1/3 the power draw (or less) of the current 65w Ivy Bridge and it will idle under 1 watt. Then add SoC concept into the mix and then it might make more sense. As the tablet and smart phone market it taking a lot of extra computer functionality for people on the go or just in the other room then buying yet another PC is making less sense.

The absolute funniest solution to my way of thinking is would apple want this? You bet. Some of the Silicon Industry pundits have speculated that apple should have Intel fab their parts and just dump Samsung altogether for their core IP. This would be an ideal way to have that happen. And you heard it first, on the Escapist.

grigjd3:
So Intel is going to give the PC market back to IBM?

IBM is out of that market and isn't never going back. No profit margins.

Bhaalspawn:
I don't know about you guys, but my processor is already locked to my motherboard with screws, the heat sinks, and the fan that I'm afraid to remove it. And why would I want to?

Mine is held in place with a latch for zero force.

The fan has these twist-able pin things that pop into place.

Now... why would PC builders want less options? I agree this is by no means alarming, all it means is the business would go to AMD, but how would this be good?

Competition.

If Intel is really going to solder all their chips into their own motherboards in the future, the competition will no doubt swoop in and take over that part of the market. If not, zero shits are given.

The future of PC gaming isn't threatened, let alone dead.

TheEndlessGrey:
AMD's 20% will grow among those who care about controlling every part of their system, if Intel puts the squeeze on as described above. What percentage of the total market those people comprise is another question. I have to suspect it's small enough that Intel is willing to let them go in order to get a larger return on the business and casual consumer markets. If the tablet invasion has shown us anything, it's that people will buy whatever hardware happens to be inside a device, as long as it has a slick feature list and good marketing.

Except AMD is moving away from this market as well. They are moving into ARM and mobile. The current board and CEO are not silicon technology people. They want to be in a market that is expanding and the chip industry is watching the PC market be flat to shrinking while the mobile market is skyrocketing.

The AMD you knew and love doesn't exist anymore. They have no fabs, they are dependent on others developing processes to compete with Intel, the have bet most of their own PC efforts into the weakly received APU and now they are expanding into ARM server parts probably mixed with Opteron either on the same chip or tightly coupled. The only PC initiative they have exhibited recently has been to provide a middling copy of Intel's middling copy of apple's MacBook Air, the poorly received and over priced ultra-books. If people want to pay that amount of money for that level of hardware then they will by the Air. Not a copy that doesn't have the high level of integration that apple provides. Ooh, Windows 8 is just a natural for the market. [/snark]

Well if true... its not something I personally look forward to. I like having the freedom to select the type of mobo/processor combo I want to work with. All I can see this accomplishing is create less variety overall.

This also sort of guts the "spare build" arena where you can frankencomp old working components from broken systems together.

If either part goes out... your replacing both regardless if the other works or not.

Hypothetically it does make system building slightly more accessible and god knows ever build I ever did, the greatest fear was ALWAYS connecting the processor to the MOBO for the first time, but really to take it out of our hands? And for what? market dominance? Yeah, no thank you. I loathe AMD... but this will likely force me to look past that

I guess it is time to part ways then. Thank you for offering me a service I was never even mindful of, Intel. I wonder how your competitor is doing...

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