According to reports published by DigiTimes, 2015 has proven to be a disappointing year for motherboard sales, and the downward trajectory is expected to continue well into 2016.
Major hardware players like GIGABYTE and Asustek have shipped 17 million self-branded motherboards in 2015, down 10% from last year and lower than annual sales forecasts. Both companies originally planned to move 20 million motherboards in 2015, but that projection was scaled down to 18 million in light of early-year earnings reports. Despite the sales slump, ASUS saw impressive sales in November with an month-over-month revenue increase of 21%. GIGABYTE, on the other hand, saw a dip in revenue with an on year sales drop of 13.6% during the same period.
While the sales slump isn't expected to crush either tech titan, smaller-scale companies won't be so lucky. Elitegroup Computer Systems (ECS), MSI and Biostar are getting hit by the dip, and Chinese motherboard supplier Onda is expected to pull out of the market completely in 2016.
A recent press release issued by ASUS outlined some research conducted by Hardware.fr, explaining that this co-company of LDLC is the biggest component seller in France and draws up RMA statistics every six months. With a minimum simple size of 500 devices, ASUS took the top spot for minimal RMAs between October 1 2014 - April 1 2015.
Joe Hsieh, the ASUS Corporate Vice President and General Manager, Motherboard and Desktop System Business Unit, says that this win is due to "our dedication to perfection and tireless efforts, leading to the development of advanced such as 5X Protection II," beating down other large players like ASRock, GIGABYTE and MSI this time around.
ASUS also attributes its win to reliability and safety testing, claiming complete a marathon "total validation time amounting to over 7000 hours," resulting in a total 1.89% failure rate across the board.
MSI is partnering with Ubisoft to release a new version of its Z170A Krait motherboard. Dubbed the Z170A Krait Gaming R6 Siege, it features a black and white design and includes a copy of Siege. The free copy also applies to the regular Z170A Gaming M5 version of the board. It's not clear if this applies retroactively, but you can always try.
If you're not familiar with the motherboards, they support 6th gen Intel Core processors, DDR4-3600+(OC) memory, and USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-A and Type-C.
MSI is launching its second generation of environmentally-conscious and power-efficient ECO motherboards. Based on the 100-series Skylake chipset and an optimized PCB and circuitry design, the new models -- H170M ECO, B150M ECO, and H110M ECO -- are said to lead in power efficiency without hurting capability in any way.
Included software offers in-depth control over power consumption (even case fans and LEDs can be turned off) and features. If you don't want to do all the tinkering yourself, presets are included.
ASUS is adding two new pieces to its Pro Gaming motherboard lineup: the B150 Pro Gaming/Aura and the B150 Pro Gaming.
The two boards are identical except for illumination, present only in the Aura. Described as "multi-color LED lighting effects", illumination can be customized with various effects, shades, and rhythms (if desired, they will pulsate in time to the movie, game, or music you're playing).
Biostar's Z170Z5 motherboard revealed last month targets high-end gamers that aren't on a tight budget. If you still want strong performance but are looking to shave costs where you can, that is where the company's H170S3H motherboard comes in.
The H170S3H is built on Intel H170 chipset, thereby supporting 1151 6th generation Intel Core processors. It supports DDR3, 4K, Crossfire via 2x PCI-E X16 slots, and includes plenty of USB ports; capacitors feature an "ultra low" ESR design said to double lifespan.
Today MSI launches the final motherboard in its PRO series line with the Z170A SLI PLUS, the "sequel" of sorts to the X99A SLI PLUS.
The big ticket items are USB 3.1 Type-C, SLI and Crossfire support, Steel Armor PCI-E slots for heavy video cards in multi-GPU configurations, Military Class 4 components (Hi-c Caps, Super Ferrite Chokes and Solid CAPs) for stability, and 4K UHD support. And then of course there's the very welcome minimalist all black design.
Pricing or availability are not yet known.
PAX Australia 2015 - ASUS always impresses us at trade shows, and PAX Australia 2015 was no different. The company was teasing its new super-tiny, ROG-powered Maximus VIII Impact - powered by the new Z170 chipset from Intel and ready for the Core i7-6700K processor.
The ASUS Maximus VIII Impact features the company's SupremeFX IMPACT III sound card, which will provide crystal clear gaming audio all day and night long.
Aimed at high-end gamers, ASUS' ROG Maximus VIII motherboard series launched a few weeks ago, and today the latest entry makes its way to retail: the ROG Maximus VIII EXTREME flagship.
Features include Z170 chipset support, quad-GPU setup support, 4x DDR4 (3866 OC, 64GB) slots, thermal backplates, 24-bit ESS Hi-Fi Sabre DAC, HDMI/DisplayPort 1.2 ports (max resolution 4096 x 2160 @ 24 Hz / 4096 x 2304 @ 60 Hz), Bluetooth V4.0, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (dual band 2.4/5 GHz), and the ROG SupremeFX 2015 8-Channel High Definition Audio CODEC, to name several. For the full spec list, head to the product page here.
The board will set you back a whopping $499.99.
Biostar is about to launch its Z170Z5 motherboard.
As you can tell from the name, it's based on the Intel Z170 chipset. What you can't tell from the name is it supports both DDR3 and DDR4 (2-DIMM DDR3L-1866(OC)/1600/1333 for 16GB maximum capacity and 2-DIMM DDR4-2133/1866 for 32GB maximum capacity), so if you want the benefits of Z170 without giving up your DDR3 for some reason, this could be the board for you.
Other selling points include allegedly quicker charging of smartphones and tablets, "Super Durable Solid Caps" for a doubled lifespan, and built in overcurrent protection, among others.
The board will launch "soon" at an MSRP of $129.90.