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In a nutshell: Graphics card prices and availability finally returning to (somewhat) normal levels is excellent news for consumers, but motherboard manufacturers are unlikely to be as pleased. Asus and Gigabyte, who combined make up 70% of the mobo market, have warned that they expect sales to fall by around 25% compared to last year. And it seems much of the decline is due to people not needing to buy a new motherboard just to get the bundled GPU.
According to DigiTimes (via Tom's Hardware), Taiwan PC industry sources say the two big motherboard—and other hardware—makers are expecting the market to shrink by around a quarter this year compared to 2021. It's a prediction already seen in the Q2 2022 shipment figures, which experienced a larger-than-expected reduction.
|Year||Asus motherboards||Gigabyte motherboards|
|2022 (projected)||14 million||9.5 million|
|2021||18 million||13 million|
Two factors are being blamed for the shrinking motherboard sales volumes: cooling demand in the Chinese DIY market and the end of GPU/mobo bundles.
We all recall the height of the graphics card crisis when GPUs were in such short supply that, in the case of Ampere, they were priced three times higher than MSRP. It led to desperate gamers buying other items, including pre-built PCs, just to get their graphics cards. Purchasing a motherboard with a bundled card was also a popular alternative.
But as shown in our research, some Nvidia graphics cards are now under MSRP for the first time since Ampere's launch—EVGA is even shuttering its virtual queue system—partly due to crashing cryptocurrency prices making mining unprofitable. As such, motherboard makers can no longer take advantage of the situation by bundling GPUs with their mobos.
Interestingly, DigiTimes' sources say that the launch of AMD's AM5 and Intel's 700-series motherboards is unlikely to give the market a considerable boost. They believe some other scenarios—easing inflation, the end of the Russia-Ukraine war, another cryptomining boom—could send motherboard sales skyrocketing again.