Monica Chen, Taipei; Joseph Tsai, DIGITIMES [Thursday 27 September 2012]
Intel is already set to launch its next-generation Haswell-based processors, comprehensively designed for IT products such as tablets, notebooks, ultrabooks, desktops and servers, in the second quarter of 2013; however, since Haswell is designed to integrate functions such as power phase control, which is mainly used for overclocking, into the CPU, sources from motherboard players are concerned that the new processor and weakening desktop market demand will cause several second-tier motherboard players to exit the market in late 2013.
Although Intel will adopt a system on chip (SoC) form factor for Haswell processors used in ultrabooks, the Haswell processors for the desktop segment will not adopt the same strategy until 2014; instead, Intel will gradually integrate more chipset functions into the processor and such a move could cause motherboard designs to become less differentiated.
Motherboard players have already turned their focuses to added functions such as USB and Thunderbolt interfaces as well as BIOS firmware features and new software applications to differentiate their products.
However, some motherboard players are still optimistic about the motherboard industry's future and believe Intel's work in integrating northbridge and southbridge functions will create a strong challenge in yield rates. Meanwhile, they also believe Intel is unlikely to look to destroy the motherboard industry and should leave some room for motherboard players to survive over the next 3-5 years.
Intel Haswell processor design may cause motherboard players to exit market