Intel Confirms Desktop CPU Socket Support for “Foreseeable Future”

PC enthusiasts, rejoice! After several days filled with rumors, speculation, hair pulling and heavy drinking, MaximumPC is reporting that Intel will stay committed to CPU sockets…for the time being.

MaxPC spoke with Intel Technical PR Manager Daniel Snyder, who offered some comforting words for PC enthusiasts everywhere. “Intel remains committed to the growing desktop enthusiast and channel markets, and will continue to offer socketed parts in the LGA package for the foreseeable future for our customers and the Enthusiast DIY market.” While Daniel could not comment on Intel’s long-term desktop strategy, this seems to bode well for Intel’s next round of CPUs.

If you’re amongst the uninitiated, and have no idea what a socket is, what’s all the fuss about?

Traditionally, desktop CPUs connect to a motherboard via a socket. Like any other piece of hardware on a desktop PC (RAM, graphics card, etc) the CPU effectively “plugs” into the motherboard, and it can be unplugged without the need for a soldering iron or fancy equipment — all you need is your hands, a screwdriver (if your CPU fan requires one) and about ten minutes of free time. If you want to keep the bulk of your computer hardware – motherboard included – but want a more powerful CPU, this socket setup allows you to remove the processor with minimal effort.

Both AMD and Intel use sockets in their current CPU and chipset designs, although both also use soldered CPU designs for smaller computers (laptops, Small Form Factor, etc). ARM processors, which are found in virtually every smartphone currently on the market, also use a soldered design, as it helps minimize on key issues like space, heat, and power consumption.

News of a socket-free Intel future broke on PCWatch in November, and carried over to SemiAccurate, which called such a move a death blow for desktops and PCs alike. AMD was quick to point out that it wouldn’t be abandoning the socket anytime soon, which may have spurred confirmation from Intel as well.

So for the time being, sockets aren’t disappearing, and DIY desktop enthusiasts can rest easy. Intel’s next line of CPUs, codenamed Haswell (due out in the first half of 2013), will use a socket, and its successor, Broadwell, will likely do the same. Beyond that, it’s still a bit murky, but we can put the panic off for at least another year. Game Front has a renewed dedication to hardware reporting, so we’ll be sure to let you know if and when more Intel socket updates arise.

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1 Comment on Intel Confirms Desktop CPU Socket Support for “Foreseeable Future”

Roy Batty

On December 5, 2012 at 4:34 pm

I had a feeling this was bogus or at least blown out of proportion. It does not make much sense; you would be forcing certain component sets and cost channels (i.e. best motherboard married to the most expensive processor). In my builds I prefer to get the best motherboard but a mid level chip (then over clock as needs be – liquid cooled). Heck in my current buid I am pushing 5 years now and still maxed out Skyrim HD.

I was amazed by the vitriol I saw on ZDNET when this news broke. People seemed to hate people that customized their builds. It reminded me of the Sneetches…sheesh.