Intel to wind down desktop circuit board business

The chipmaker says it will leave the traditional desktop PC circuit board business. As a result, the venerable tower PC will likely begin to fade.

Intel desktop motherboard. Intel is getting out of the traditional desktop motherboard business.
Intel desktop motherboard. Intel is getting out of the traditional desktop motherboard business. Intel

Intel will get out of the traditional desktop motherboard business, as it focuses its resources on mobile products.

"We disclosed internally today that Intel's Desktop Motherboard Business will begin slowly ramping down over the course of the next three years," Intel said in a note to journalists today.

What does that mean exactly? Think of the PC tower systems that used to populate the Best Buys of the world. That's what Intel is winding down as it devotes more resources to ultrabooks, tablets, and phones.

"The internal talent and experience of twenty years in the boards business...is being redistributed to address emerging new form factors," Intel said.

Those designs will be mostly mobile, though Intel will also address "emerging" desktop designs. But even those -- like the tiny Intel NUC board and the all-in-one -- have their roots in the mobile world.

The end of development will come with Intel's upcoming "Haswell" chip generation, due to launch in the summer. "Intel will stop developing new Desktop boards once Haswell launch is completed," the company said.

Of course, that doesn't mean the demise of the desktop altogether, as motherboard makers like Asus and Gigabyte are expected to continue to participate in the market.

"Intel expects the broad and capable [desktop] motherboard ecosystem...Asus, Gigabyte, MSI and many others...to fully support Intel's growing roadmap and large worldwide customer base," Intel said.

Those board makers cater to do-it-yourselfers, like gamers. Intel will continue to make high-performance chips for these extreme-performance systems.

"We are making significant investments in the enthusiast platform with our K SKU portfolio and new 3rd Gen Intel Core Extreme Processors," Intel told CNET, in response to query.

This official disclosure by Intel follows rumors that Intel would stop making board connectors -- the so-called Land Grid Array (LGA) socket -- for desktops when a future generation of processors arrive after Haswell, under the code name Broadwell.

Intel declined to comment on these rumors.

HP tower: maybe it's not the end of the traditional tower system but they're not a priority anymore for Intel.
HP tower: maybe it's not the end of the traditional tower system but they're not a priority anymore for Intel. Hewlett Packard
About the author

Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.

 

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