Asus (TPE:2357) and Gigabyte (TPE:2376) have been duking it out for the last two years in the motherboard segment, with the latter vendor taking the lead in Q1 2015.
Gigabyte is said to have sold 4.7 to 4.8 million motherboards in Q1 2015, with Asus netting 4.5 million sales. Both vendors accounted for over 80% of all motherboard sales in China. MSI and ASRock (TPE:3515) are set to have far fewer sales in this category, with 2.3 to 3.2 million sales projected for the first half for both organizations.
In what may be a sign of things to come in 2015, DigiTimes (which has a reliable track record for this, unlike its rumors) revealed that overall motherboard shipments would be far lesser than last year, with both Asus and Gigabyte not expected to cross 20 million unit sales in 2015. The PC segment witnessed a decline in markets like China, where mobiles and tablets continue to be on the rise. The Euro’s depreciation led to lukewarm sales in Europe.
To counter slowing sales, ASRock is said to target the server segment, as evidenced by the vendor’s launch of a Skylake board earlier this year. Meanwhile, MSI will be shifting its efforts toward the gaming notebook segment after barely breaking even in 2014.
One reason for slow sales this year could be attributed to the fact that there isn’t a Broadwell CPU for the desktop yet, and with Intel set to launch Skylake later this year, it is likely customers are just waiting for the next-generation CPU to arrive before upgrading their hardware. Broadwell is estimated to launch in June, and Skylake is rumored to make its debut in October, with the CPU featuring the LGA1151 socket. The architecture will accommodate both DDR3 and DDR4 memory modules, and is said to usher in a host of changes with relation to energy utilization.
We should be seeing Z170/H170-based boards by vendors in time for the launch of Skylake, which will possibly lead to an increase in sales in the final quarter of 2015.