It is ironic that I would be reading about the end of upgrading CPUs in home PCs a week after doing just that. Over at Ars Technica, there is an article about how Intel is planning to move to soldered on the motherboard processors and probably abandoning sockets.
To those few remaining hobbyist builders who do buy a low end CPU to be upgraded later this is something of concern. Unfortunately for them, this is no longer the norm in home building PCs. Instead we see most people swapping out the entire guts of a system when they upgrade, so this isn’t a big deal to them.
For me, I have always operated on the cheap side of computing and have upgraded processors on most rigs I have had. The three PCs in the house all have had more powerful CPUs dropped in that have extended their lives out considerably. The real world performance gains have been nothing to sneeze at either.
So I’m a little sad to see this kind of change to the industry being talked about. It is far from the first computer component category to implode with dedicated sound cards and video cards becoming niche products made only by a few manufacturers. With most PC users content with the onboard gear, only gamers have kept those two items afloat.
Combine this with the talk of AMD being in serious trouble and we have a recipe for returning to the bad old days of computing where PCs cost two to four grand to buy. Maybe ARM can start making inroads as an architecture against x86, but…