Intel pushes SBA bloat in Haswell to counter AMD

Sure it is an unacceptable security risk, but it is free!

Intel - logoIntel isn’t launching Haswell until next year, but the chipset lineup gives some interesting clues. The most important bit is not how Intel positions the blown fuses, but what it bundles.

There are seven variants of the chipset called Z87, H87, H81, B87, B85, Q87, and a Z88 thrown in for good measure. Most are coming in Q2/13 but the Z88 will likely follow a bit later to milk the enthusiast once again. Potential buyers beware, these are all the same silicon with different fuses blown and different features removed. The high end Z88 is, for example, going to allow for two 8x PCIe3 slots, lower variants like the Z87 will not allow this to be split in to a second slot unless you pay more.

The biggest change however is the bundled software blight called Small Business Advantage (SBA). This security nightmare masquerading as free stuff is not just anti-user, but it is downright dangerous to install. Intel sees this as a way to position their boards against AMD in the business world, and so many of the Q and B series boards get this intruder welcome mat.

This time around though, Intel is pushing the SBA bundle farther in to the H series boards as well, specifically the top end H87. They are worried about AMD having a superior offering on price/performance for the small business world, so this is the riposte. Since Intel won’t budge on price, what else can they do, Trinity is a vastly superior product for the end user in this particular space. While SemiAccurate would like to think that consumers are smart enough to realize that a free security hole is not necessarily something you want to put in to place, most likely will. Caveat emptor.S|A

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Charlie Demerjian

Roving engine of chaos and snide remarks at SemiAccurate
Charlie Demerjian is the founder of Stone Arch Networking Services and is a technology news site; addressing hardware design, software selection, customization, securing and maintenance, with over one million views per month. He is a technologist and analyst specializing in semiconductors, system and network architecture. As head writer of, he regularly advises writers, analysts, and industry executives on technical matters and long lead industry trends. Charlie is also available through Guidepoint and Mosaic. FullyAccurate