In previous Intel processor roadmaps, there was indication that Intel was planning on releasing future generation processors such as Broadwell and Skylake only in an integrated SOC, BGA format, making it impossible for user-upgradeable processors. This move, naturally alarmed many (particularly PC hardware enthusiasts), as the ability to swap out processors from motherboards gave users the flexibility to upgrade to new or different processors without having to swap out motherboards.
However, Xbit Laboratories is reporting that Intel has changed it’s mind and will be releasing processors in LGA format, up until 2015:
[quote]According to unidentified sources from Taiwan-based mainboard manufacturers cited by DigiTimes web-site, Intel will retain LGA packaging for 95% of desktop central processing units until, at least, the first half of 2015, when the company rolls-out chips powered by code-named Skylake micro-architecture. There will be entry-level chips for desktops based on Broadwell and Skylake architectures in BGA packaging, just like there are various Atom and ultra-low-power chips in BGA form-factor today. Still the majority of mainstream desktop chips will come in LGA packaging, which allows interchangeability of chips for OEMs and upgradeability for the end-user.[/quote]
While this may relieve PC hardware enthusiasts for the time-being, it still brings to question exactly how long will x86 processors be user-upgradeable. With x86 processors becoming more increasingly SOC, given that traditional motherboard functionality (i.e. memory controllers, system bus controllers, voltage regulators, and integrated graphics) have been integrated into processors in recent years, it may be inevitable that it will be no longer possible to have user-upgradeable processors in the near future.
X-Bit Laboratories – Intel Changes Plans: Set to Continue with Upgradeable LGA Platforms Even with Skylake Chips.
Ars Technica – Like it or not, nonreplaceable CPUs may be the future of desktops