Originally Posted by tpi2007
Disclaimer: I actually read the article.
With that out of the way
, I have to say that, if this were true, it does not make much sense for some of the mainstream market. Of course many form factors already have the CPUs soldered, smartphones, tablets, some laptops, motherboards with Atom CPUs, etc. In the case of the first two I mentioned, it's mainly because of a need for the highest integration possible in the least amount of space, besides you couldn't upgrade the CPU even if you wanted. In some laptops it makes sense, also because of space constraints, ultrabooks, for example, and because of thermal issues - a faster CPU might use more power and the cooling solution wasn't designed for it, not to mention it can be difficult to disassemble the laptop to replace it. Thermal issues in general are a valid reason to not have replaceable CPUs in laptops. With the Atom motherboards I think it's a question of cost - the motherboard is not that expensive, and neither is the CPU, so if either one of them fails, the OEM won't lose much to replace the whole thing. Not to mention that Intel doesn't provide much of an upgrade path for Atoms, so the prospect of upgrading if virtually zero.
For common desktops though I have my doubts that this makes economic sense. There is no space constraint, and anything better than a dual Core Pentium (more than $ 100) is probably already too expensive to afford having the motherboard fail and having to desolder the CPU, risking damaging it, not to mention that it takes time to do that. PC repair shops for example would have a headache, and people would have to wait longer to have the PC repaired, as the motherboard would likely have to be sent in to the OEM instead of just replacing the motherboard in the store. The lack of choice and the nightmare that it would be having to pair different motherboards with different features with a set of different CPUs would also narrow choice and make the whole thing a logistic nightmare for many people in the industry.
Of course, the high-end will remain, we are still a few hundreds of thousands around the world and we are also part of what makes a brand desirable, and we will always be a niche, we always have, we will always be, and that is actually a good thing. Heck, in the beginning the whole owning a PC was niche, so there is no need to be alarmist just yet.
Besides, the general people who up until a few years ago loathed computers and thought of themselves (in a cool way, of course) as computer illiterate, now that PCs are mainstream, just want one to socialize, and basically have it behave like a kitchen appliance, that is what happens when a set of technologies enters the mainstream. Having said that, for people who buy a desktop, even if they don't ever open the case, I still have my doubts if soldering the CPU to the motherboard, provided we are not talking about very cheap components (including the CPU, like the Atom), makes any economic sense for all parties involved.