Motherboard makers expect weak holiday demand from enthusiasts

By on September 25, 2012, 4:00 PM

Motherboard makers are adjusting outlooks to reflect weaker-than-expected demand for the second half of 2012, according to DigiTimes. Unnamed industry sources said that unit shipments in the latter half of this year will fall below the figures recorded during the first half, despite the approaching holiday season, a period that traditionally stimulates demand -- especially during years when Microsoft releases a new operating system.

If we understand the report, the sources spoke specifically about DIY hardware such as the name brand boards you'd buy on Newegg for a new PC, which suggests that perhaps sales of OEM boards used in retail desktops are doing fine. The sources offered several reasons for DIY segment's slump, with strong sales of the iPad, notebooks and pre-built desktops supposedly accounting for a significant portion of the weakened demand.

The strong performance of tablets and other such machines are projected to result in a sales drop of up to five million branded motherboards this year. With demand slipping, the sources note that players will be forced to compete against increasingly cutthroat pricing, particularly in the entry-level and mid-range markets. Manufacturers unable to endure such tight margins will naturally lose sales and even the major names are feeling the heat.

Although DigiTimes didn't mention this, it would be interesting to know how much the longer-than-usual console generation has affected enthusiast hardware sales. With the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 so far behind the horsepower of modern PC hardware, there have been relatively few highly demanding games in recent years, so it would stand to reason that many enthusiasts have simply felt less pressure to open their wallets.




User Comments: 20

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Lurker101 said:

This isn't exactly a huge surprise. The majority of enthusiasts don't seem to be all that stoked over Windows 8 and there isn't exactly a plethora of hardware tasking games out there. Even less if you include those that are actually worth playing.

TorturedChaos, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I agree with Lurker101. I still run a C2D with 2 gigs of DDR2 ram, and a 8800gt graphics card and I can play pretty much all the new games. Might not be max settings but at least mid settings. So why run out and build a new computer?

TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

"With the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 so far behind the horsepower of modern PC hardware, there have been relatively few highly demanding games in recent years, so it would stand to reason that many enthusiasts have simply felt less pressure to open their wallets."

That's it in a nutshell IMNHO. There hasn't been a game released (or any potential future releases) that has taken advantage of even 3 year old PC technology. No point in upgrading (other than possibly video cards) if you're not going to gain anything by it.

Lurker101 said:

Just like to add that I don't have any plans for big purchases in any part of the foreseeable future. Just a hard drive replacement and a new SSD. My three year old i7 920 and GTX 295 don't even struggle with the current gaming crop.

dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

Hardly surprising. The DIY market should be relatively static- the only new CPU release in the next six months is AMD's Vishera (Piledriver) which will soldiering on with the two-year-old 990FX/X/970 series of boards. Anyone likely buying the enthusiast parts already has one of these boards.

Desktop Trinity (FM2 socket, Hudson D4 chipset) seems-much like it's Llano predecessor, a non event for DIY'ers. A lack of distinguishing characteristics leads to a lack of mobo models.

Motherboard vendors seem reluctant to pour R&D into AMD chipsets, and without any compelling new feature set there's little reason to upgrade. That cycle might indicate why there is a lack of enthusiast mATX and ITX chipset based AMD boards.

As for Intel, the situation is just as straightforward. Anyone who was going to upgrade likely already has. P67/Z68/Z77 uptake was rather rapid mirroring Sandy/Ivy Bridge sales. It would be surprising if there were any great change until Haswell/LGA 1150 makes it debut in the second half of 2013.

2 people like this | MrBungle said:

I surprises me that things have continued on as long as they have. It has been my intention to upgrade GPU's pretty much yearly and do a platform overhaul every other year but I haven't really noticed any tangible benefit over the last couple upgrades so I've been letting my upgrade cycles slip... The OC'd i7 2600K made no tangible difference in any games over the OC'd Q9450, and the GTX 680 didn't really do anything special that the GTX 480 couldn't do just fine... The system I have now will already push the console-port-cookie-cutter-crap-games that they keep cranking out to retarded levels above the refresh rate of my montitor why drop another grand next year on a new Mobo/CPU/RAM or another 600 on a new GPU?

Intel, AMD, and nVidia should all co-invest in a PC gaming development house that unappologetically puts out nothing but games that push the limits of what is possible with highend PC hardware. Release something on the order of the first Crysis every 6 months to a year and you would see PC hardware sales start to pick up.

1 person liked this | slh28 slh28, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Does the holiday season really create more demand for motherboards? I mean a mobo is not exactly something you gift to someone... unless you were buying yourself a present.

Scshadow said:

If prices are competitive this year, I might do a MB/cpu/SSD upgrade this year. I never got around to seeing if my i7-950 cpu could be exchanged. I got it working by underclocking my ram to 1066 which is all they technically claim its integrated memory controller can handle although we all know thats not really true. I might just toss a little money at an upgrade and not worry about it since I've gotten by these past 2 years.

Guest said:

To the guy above with the 950, I don't know why your running your ram at 1066. The motherboard for the 1366 can handle 2100+ ram If your ram can actually handle it. You should look into that it's not the integrated memory controller slowing you down its either your ram or your ram settings in your bios.

Scshadow said:

To the guy above with the 950, I don't know why your running your ram at 1066. The motherboard for the 1366 can handle 2100+ ram If your ram can actually handle it. You should look into that it's not the integrated memory controller slowing you down its either your ram or your ram settings in your bios.

I'm running my ram at 1066 because thats the only way it would pass POST. I set it to XMP profile (and I've set it manually) and it won't pass POST. Its ram rated for 1600MHz, 7-8-7-20 timings, 1.65V. I should be able to overclock the ram to at least 1833 if I wanted, especially if I loosened the timings. I've replaced the ram and got better ram(because my POST lights indicated bad ram), I replaced the motherboard with a better one. And when I finally got the computer to boot at 1066, I left it there and kept putting off dealing with it(you actually can't imagine the relief of just getting a build to run stable even if underclocked after having the issues I had getting it to POST). But yeah I definitely SHOULD be able to run timings alot higher but unfortunately, the advertised specs says I7-950 doesn't support anything above 1066 ram.

SPECS: [link]

I've read that they determined the had issues with the integrated memory controller and so as to avoid warranty, they reduced the max supported spec to 1066. But normally, its a beast that overclocks extremely well.(or at least a beast 2 years ago)

So I appreciate your help but I've definitely.... definitely checked my bios settings. And its definitely not my ram. I just can't think its anything but a bad IMC. And so now that so much time has passed, I'm almost certain I'm better of just looking forward to my next upgrade.

dennis777 dennis777 said:

Does the holiday season really create more demand for motherboards? I mean a mobo is not exactly something you gift to someone... unless you were buying yourself a present.

Merry xmas son!! heres a mother board! I think not :P

1 person liked this | Scshadow said:

Merry xmas son!! heres a mother board! I think not :p

I think so. I actually really think its far better of a gift then just handling them a ready to go toy. Instead every little boy gets a magical little box that just works and they have no understanding of how it works and nothing to stimulate their young minds to be technologically and mathematically literate. Every middle schooler and up should be tech literate enough to assemble a computer.

1 person liked this | dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

Instead every little boy gets a magical little box that just works and they have no understanding of how it works and nothing to stimulate their young minds to be technologically and mathematically literate.

Please keep the Apple Customer Demographic observation to the appropriate forum section. Thank You.

Guest said:

It's still last year's technology... show me some significany improvements and then I will "cautiously" open my wallet.

Benny26 Benny26, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Motherboard I'm looking at getting has dropped £35 in the past 2 week on Amazon which is interesting. I'm still going for the January sales though...

9Nails, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I'm not ready to jump out of my rig just yet. Its still chugging along on games, but showing its age. (Core 2 Duo E8400, GTX 570, 2 Gigs RAM)

I don't have USB 3 or SATA 6 ports which has me considering an upgrade. I'd love an i7 3770 CPU, however my current one is ok. But there's no real rush since few (none?) games require these ports and not much is maxing out my processor. I'm giving this box 1, maybe 2 more years of life then I'm ready for an upgrade unless something comes along that I'm missing.

ddg4005 ddg4005 said:

I bought some new parts to upgrade my boxes recently (motherboard, CPUs, etc) but that will be it for awhile (aside from the occasion video card purchase).

slh28 slh28, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I'm not ready to jump out of my rig just yet. Its still chugging along on games, but showing its age. (Core 2 Duo E8400, GTX 570, 2 Gigs RAM)

I don't have USB 3 or SATA 6 ports which has me considering an upgrade. I'd love an i7 3770 CPU, however my current one is ok. But there's no real rush since few (none?) games require these ports and not much is maxing out my processor. I'm giving this box 1, maybe 2 more years of life then I'm ready for an upgrade unless something comes along that I'm missing.

I'd give it until Haswell comes out next year. Intel never drop prices on their CPUs so just upgrade when Haswell arrives. I have the same C2D E8400 at work and the speed is pretty much unbearably slow.

amstech amstech, TechSpot Enthusiast, said:

I'd love to do an Ivy Bridge build, but its just not that much of an upgrade yet for my old beater build. http://www.3dmark.com/3dm11/3870604

The 3D transistors have always caught my eye.

LinkedKube LinkedKube, TechSpot Project Baby, said:

I'm not ready to jump out of my rig just yet. Its still chugging along on games, but showing its age. (Core 2 Duo E8400, GTX 570, 2 Gigs RAM)

I don't have USB 3 or SATA 6 ports which has me considering an upgrade. I'd love an i7 3770 CPU, however my current one is ok. But there's no real rush since few (none?) games require these ports and not much is maxing out my processor. I'm giving this box 1, maybe 2 more years of life then I'm ready for an upgrade unless something comes along that I'm missing.

How did you wind up with a 570, but only have 2 gigs of ram :smh:

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