After hearing about intel potentially moving to Ball Grid Array (BGA) CPUs instead of Land Grid Array (LGA) CPUs, I have siphoned through the harsh comments and lamenting modders, possibly coming out of it a bit sad, but mostly optimistic.
I have been building desktop PCs since I was 15 years old. With this experience I have come to love the modding/desktop community, but I have also realized the potential for a better desktop. This does not mean I fully support the move to BGA, but it does mean I support what it could mean for the microprocessor market: a greater wealth of competition.
Intel has come to dominate the CPU market, and it is largely due to their push into mobile chips, where the status quo is BGA. The major downfall of BGA is the inability to upgrade. BGA chips are soldered to the motherboard, whereas LGA chips are mounted. This means you can replace an LGA chip, but replacing a BGA would require both a new chip and motherboard.
While this technique does not concern me, since my norm is to upgrade both my MoBo and CPU simultaneously, it seems that most of the feedback is what it could lead to. Desktops were made to be modular, and with the announcement of intels potential change in design, and with Apple soldering RAM into MacBooks, the community is concerned it could lead to less customization and the potential death of the desktop elite.
One thing to keep in mind, and I strongly suggest it, is intel is not the sole entity in the game. If they choose to go only BGA, that opens up the market to manufacturers. It comes down to a simple question. Do you want a dedicated, almost cult following of computer builders and modders? I would say yes.
Another example is the integration of BGA CPUs in the market. There is a ton of stipulation that intel plans to slowly integrate BGAs and then switch to only BGAs. That seems like a longshot. One, if intel slowly integrates this plan it will give them the data they need to decide if they only produce BGA chips. If the market still wants LGA, and they are selling them in good quantity, I cannot see why they would stop producing them. A major argument is for greater control of the market, but in my opinion, and possibly blind optimism, a manufacturer will realize the market potential and capitalize on both communities. Be that modders, enthusiasts or regular desktop consumers.
Two, if intel goes into only producing BGAs, I am confident there will be backlash. People will be upset, and someone else will step into the game. It’s hard for me to imagine the desktop truly dying. Sure, some of the industry players change, but most change is good and can lead to better ways of building and producing. What is important to remember is this is all speculation. Most reports are coming from rumor mills, and until an intel press release, we cannot be sure.