Originally Posted by BWinmill
The upgrade bit is probably true for most people, even people who build their own systems. On the other hand, choosing a separate mainboard and processor at the time of purchase is important to at least some of us. Different mainboards have different configurations for memory, expansion slots, ports and so forth. Compatibility with alternative operating systems and the firmware is also an issue for some builders.
Bear in mind I have been part playing devils advocate - having "some" choice available has been important to me too, so don't think by my post that I am advocating that the market get reduced to only one CPU being available per motherboard/manufacturer combination
However the point I didn't add above is that just how "important" it is to have that CPU choice is debatable for 99.99% of users and continues to diminish. Our bottlenecks stopped being the CPU for just about every application many years ago. If you want a fast PC, your money is far better spent on the likes of SSDs, graphics cards, faster internet connections etc. In fact as a consumer it can frequently be a case of paralysis by analysis and having "too much" choice is not a good thing. I don't buy into the "upgrade your CPU a year later" argument being one that many people would really get any real world benefit out of, particularly given that "real" jumps in CPU performance or power usage have usually resulted from die shrinks, new architectures and hence new motherboard sockets. If thats the way someone chooses to upgrade their PCs then good luck to them, we all have our own opinions but I just don't believe it is more than a teeny minority who will do that.
It is getting more and more effort every 3 years I upgrade to go through the days of research, reviews, forums, magazines etc to "get up to speed" with choosing components. Manufacturers of PC components have frankly gone over the top in my opinion with their product ranges being so large which makes it utterly confusing and intimidating for the consumer. It is absolutely no wonder the vast majority want the simplicity of a "it comes in a box" solution. So even if this does all come to pass for which I have yet to see anything definitive that it will, then as a hobbyist PC builder it really isn't that big a deal to me. I'm certainly not attempting to say that every custom builder falls into the same category as me, but I am willing to bet the vast majority either do or would not be significantly disadvantaged if forced down this path.
But then again I am getting older/more jaded every time I go through this upgrade cycle, and the willingness to spend those hours choosing and building a PC versus spending them on other things reduces. I'm still not quite yet at the point of trusting a PC manufacturer to make "all" those decisions for me with an off the shelf PC, but maybe I will be in another three years time...