Rumor: Asus might snatch ASRock

Further consolidation may be afoot in the motherboard market. According to SemiAccurate’s Charlie Demerjian, Asus has made a takeover bid for smaller mobo vendor ASRock. Word is that Pegatron, ASRock’s parent company, is "fine with the terms"—but the news isn’t yet official.

ASRock is hardly a small player. In 2010, the company slipped ahead of MSI to become the world’s third-biggest motherboard maker. Its shipments totaled eight million units, compared to 18 million for Gigabyte and 22 million for Asus. MSI and ECS, which didn’t make the podium, both shipped around seven million boards that same year.

Purchasing ASRock could substantially increase Asus’ presence and cement its status as top dog in the industry. SemiAccurate’s Demerjian even fears the consolidation could force smaller players out of the ring, leaving only Asus and Gigabyte standing.

ASRock actually started out as an Asus subsidiary. According to a Taipei Times story from 2007, ASRock was established in 2002, "targeting entry-level products to avoid competition with its parent company." As I understand it, ASRock was subsequently spun off, along with Asus’ manufacturing operations, into Pegatron. ASRock still offers cheap budget motherboards, but its lineup also includes decked-out high-end offerings with lofty price tags. Example: the Z77 Extreme9, which sells for a whopping $349.99 at Newegg.

Comments closed
    • moose17145
    • 7 years ago

    oh man the comments in this thread are making me miss the “glory days” of computing bad. Back when there was more companies and options than you knew what you could do with. When there was actual innovation in the industry.

    Totally off topic… but you know what I miss… Those Radeon All-in-Wonder cards! Whatever happened to those? If AMD made a 7950 AIW I seriously would buy one.

    Seems like a lot of things have died off. Sound cards apparently no longer matter… I remember when Ageia came out with their PhysX card. I thought that was an extremely original, innovative, and cool idea. Then NVidia bought it and ruined it like almost everything they buy out. The Bigfoot killer NIC. Even if it didn’t make a huge difference, it did help a LITTLE, had some seriously neat features that were normally reserved only for way more expensive commercial level NICs, and was at least trying to do something innovative and different. Anymore it just seems like no one wants to try anything new or innovative, and the second someone does the giants of the industry immediately buy them out to kill the idea before it can even get on its feet. And i am in desperate need of innovation from the industry right now. Just marginal speed bumps every cycle for the major components while everything else is dying off is getting extremely boring and depressing to say the least.

      • torquer
      • 7 years ago

      With most cable companies moving away from QAM HD and analog cable channels to a full digital stream, the appeal of the integrated cable tuner has waned a bit, I think.

      I had an AIW 9600Pro and loved it back in the day.

    • cjava2
    • 7 years ago

    Am I the only one that reads the company name like “Ass Rock” in my head?

    • Bensam123
    • 7 years ago

    Weird… well browsing on Newegg recently there is definitely an absence of low end Asus boards price wise… I’ve seen ASrock around for quite a few years, but I never imagined and I don’t know why they would be such a big company. People generally don’t talk about ASrock. Brands like ECS are better known in the low end area then ASrock too. Do they sell a lot of OEM boards or something?

    And I agree with the nostalgia below. I do miss Abit… My number one board choice for many years. They all served me well.

    • destroy.all.monsters
    • 7 years ago

    This can only be bad.

    Asrock has been both innovative and affordable – sometimes much more so than Asus. Also the only other UEFI vendor on AMD’s boards when I last bought a board. I hope this isn’t true.

      • loophole
      • 7 years ago

      MSI’s 900 series boards have UEFI based firmware as well. It was pretty bad initially, but firmware version 11.4 overhauled the interface and brought it up to date with “Click BIOS II” which was a lot better.

      Some smaller players like Biostar also use UEFI on their 990FX boards but I’m not sure how good their implementations are…

        • destroy.all.monsters
        • 7 years ago

        That’s something I wasn’t aware of. I bought my board back in May/June. I take it these boards were out prior to that and I missed it.

          • loophole
          • 7 years ago

          The 990FXA-GD80 came out in mid-2011 but may have been hard to find depending upon what part of the world you’re in.

      • mnecaise
      • 7 years ago

      I guess you missed the part where ASRock started out as a subsidiary of Asus to begin with… They filled in the low end niche with innovative products then as they do now.

        • destroy.all.monsters
        • 7 years ago

        They were a subsidiary of the larger company Asustek – that is true. To the best of my knowledge they always had their own corporate structure.

        We’ve gotten into off-topic territory though. As a general rule mergers are bad for consumers and this is more likely to be disadvantageous to consumers than a positive and appears more to be them removing competition for the sake of it.

        There is no guarantee whatsoever that things will remain the same.

        Starting off with “I guess you missed” is unnecessarily caustic.

    • derFunkenstein
    • 7 years ago

    mmmsnatch…

    I owned one ASRock board and I was thoroughly unimpressed. Then again it was a P35 socket 775 board and maybe they got better afterwards. I haven’t even considered them since. I’d rather go full-fat ASUS or maybe Gigabyte.

    • oldog
    • 7 years ago

    Just the beginning…

    SoC makes all motherboard manufactures except the big three obsolete in five years.

    • Delphis
    • 7 years ago

    And here I was deciding between an ASRock and an ASUS board for my latest build. I didn’t know they were so related.

    I ended up getting the ASRock Z77 .. works great.

    • Philldoe
    • 7 years ago

    No.. please no…

    • cynan
    • 7 years ago

    I just hope that if this goes through, Asus doesn’t try to re-establish ASRock as a budget brand only. The more variety in the enthusiast sector, the better, and over the last year or two ASRock has really started to up their game in the enthusiast sector – generally known for offering more features per $ than most of the competition.

    • indeego
    • 7 years ago

    [i<]ASRock attempts to shape stock price with staged release of info to enthusiast media[/i<]

    • SPtheALIEN
    • 7 years ago

    ASRock is the only motherboard I know of that supports modern technologies but still support legacy components (IDE is the one I am most interested in – Blackbird 002 has a slot loading IDE DVD-ROM drive with a proprietary eject mechanism). They were also the first one to bring USB 3 headers onto a microATX form factor last year. It helped out my HTPC build which had front USB 3 ports and the only way to support it was to get this motherboard. Also, I like how the cooler holes support the fans from a socket 775–that allowed me to reuse the liquid cooler on my Blackbird.

    I really hope they don’t dissappear.

      • crabjokeman
      • 7 years ago

      The first ASRock board I remember was a PCIe chipset (edit: was ULI1695 chipset: [url<]http://www.asrock.com/mb/ULI/939Dual-VSTA/[/url<] ) with an AGP slot. No one else was doing that at the time. IIRC, they also had CPU add-in boards where you could choose between S754/S939/AM2.

        • loophole
        • 7 years ago

        They did indeed. You could get a socket 754 board that had a yellow “Future CPU Port” like this:
        K8SLI-eSATA2 (http://www.asrock.com/mb/ULI/K8SLI-eSATA2)
        and then use a 939CPU Board (http://www.asrock.com/mb/spec/upgrade.asp?Model=939CPU%20Board) to use socket 939 chips, and finally with the AM2CPU Board (http://www.asrock.com/mb/spec/upgrade.asp?Model=AM2CPU%20Board) you could upgrade to AM2 chips as well.

        It was pretty cool!

          • darjeeling
          • 7 years ago

          Sure was! I had an ASRock 939Dual-VSTA which lasted me between 2006 and 2012. Started off with a cheap Duron processor on the original board, using DDR 1, and around 2008, bought the Future Port board, which let me go up to an Athlon X2 5600+ and DDR2. Technically, the daughter board only supported up to the 5400+ processor, but a fella at OCWorkbench wrote a BIOS update to unofficially support the better processor. Good times.

    • tootercomputer
    • 7 years ago

    I hate it when geezers like me long for the “good old days”, but geez, I long for the days when there were so many motherboard companies with lots of interesting boards, and some real classics. There were so many choices. Personally, I was a Soltek fan, they had terrific customer service, hated to see them go. Albatron was another, it had a great nf2 mobo.

    My last build was an ASRock z68 system with an i5 cpu. Terrific system. I hope if this happens, Asus keeps ASRock as an autonomous entity to some degree. Keep up the creativity.

      • Deanjo
      • 7 years ago

      I was a huge Abit fan. Best BIOS implementation bar none. I also like how they didn’t slap a bunch of Windows only oem rebrand feature/crapware with their boards.

        • crabjokeman
        • 7 years ago

        Abit’s fan control options put the competition to shame.

          • clone
          • 7 years ago

          Abit’s motherboard failure rates made all of their interesting features worthless while killing any chance for them to gain a stable foothold in the market.

          I miss Abit in theory, not in practice.

            • Kougar
            • 7 years ago

            My first DIY was an Abit IS7… the board was ten years old and was still going fine without cap issues until I sold it a few months back.

            Abit unfortunately bore much of the bad cap incident along with many others at the time, if they had issues beyond that I wasn’t aware of it.

            • Cyco-Dude
            • 7 years ago

            their older boards suffered from the bad cap plague, but their newer boards were solid. i have an abit an8-ultra from a system i originally built in 2004 that i was using until a month ago; it works flawlessly.

            • Deanjo
            • 7 years ago

            I had many many many ABIT boards both at home and in corporate environment and their failure rate was lower then the others. The only exception was during the bad caps scandle and that effected pretty much everyone.

          • Cyco-Dude
          • 7 years ago

          abit’s fan controls on their uguru boards [i<]still[/i<] put everything to shame. not even the fan controls on the asus sabertooth board i have now are better.

      • crabjokeman
      • 7 years ago

      I liked Epox for bang/buck factor. They made solid midrange boards and cut off what 90% of potential buyers would consider frills to undercut the competition in price. Some of their midrange stuff would OC almost as good as high-priced Abit or DFI stuff (I don’t OC anymore).

        • loophole
        • 7 years ago

        Agreed Epox made good boards back in the day.

        I remember reading that Epox essentially became Supox (http://www.epox.cn/) and refocused on the Asian markets.

      • k00k
      • 7 years ago

      Does it make me a geezer when the names you listed are the same ones I associate with decent brands? But I’m just in my mid twenties! Abit, Albatron, Soltek, DFI, EPoX, Iwill… Heck, throw Supermicro in, apart from MSI, ASUS, ECS, Biostar/PC Partner, Shuttle, and Gigabyte.

      Man, I miss those days when websites used to run comparos of different boards with the same chipsets and seeing which ones offer the best performance, value, and features. (Remember the VIA KT/VIA Pro days?) I haven’t seen those in quite a while.

      Nowadays, since boards perform almost similarly with very small performance deltas, as well as having similar options for BIOS/UEFI tweaking, I only look at features and price now. Builders of today are a spoiled lot 🙂

        • clone
        • 7 years ago

        here is what I remember of the brands mentioned.

        Abit, fantastic overclocking support, very high failure rate.
        Albatron, buggy and weak bios support.
        Soltek, fantastic bargain, high K7 overclocking value with an equally high failure rate.
        DFI, a lot like Asus except never quite like Asus… forever a never was Asus.
        Epox, inexpensive, short lifespan.
        Iwill… no info.
        Asrock, bought a lot of them during the end of the K7 era, many of them failed after a year for a variety of reason most were swollen cap related and mildly annoying to boot was their “upgradeable Athlon 64 mobo via an add in card that cost as much as another motherboard!!!!!!! ….. I walked away from Asrock at that point.

        I was always under the impression that Asrock was a cheap line of Asus anyway, thought Asus owned them all along.

        • tootercomputer
        • 7 years ago

        I had an albatron kt-600 mobo that ran a mobile barton that ostensibly ran at 1.83GHz or something like that that I was able to run at 13 X 200 = 2.6GHz stable and cool. Amazing, this was back in 2004. That was a fun mobo, and it still may be running (though with a different chip at a slower speed) as I had donated it to my son’s school like I did a lot of my builds as I upgraded to newer stuff.

        Yes, I guess you don’t have to be a geezer to have known some of those brands (but I can’t speak for myself).

    • BIF
    • 7 years ago

    I knew about them being separate. I don’t like mergers and consolidations in ANY industry. More than half the time they result in a worse product, worse service, and they DO NOT result in better value to the shareholders.

    Examples: Gateway, Dell, HP. All having been merger-happy. General Motors throughought the 70s and 80s. Chase and Bank of America. Need I say more?

    I hope this deal falls through. Asus and ASRock should succeed or fail on their merits. But SEPARATELY, please…

    • Kurotetsu
    • 7 years ago

    Huh, and here I thought ASUS still owned ASRock…

      • kyboshed
      • 7 years ago

      You’re not alone! I always thought it was Asus’s budget brand.

        • Flying Fox
        • 7 years ago

        Me too! This is weird but I suppose it is one of those corporate structure games that they are playing.

      • albundy
      • 7 years ago

      hah i see what you did there!

        • Grigory
        • 7 years ago

        Actually no, you don’t.

        • crabjokeman
        • 7 years ago

        Go back to 4chan and leave those of us with brain cells alone.

    • Arclight
    • 7 years ago

    Quote
    Asus herp derp
    Unquote

    • just brew it!
    • 7 years ago

    Yup. Sounds like ASRock got too successful, and Asus decided “well that’s enough of that!”

    Wonder why they spun them off in the first place? I’m with drfish – I didn’t realize they were fully independent.

      • Ryhadar
      • 7 years ago

      If I remember correctly, one of the board members/presidents/original owners of Asus branched off and started Asrock to do budget and niche boards (think DDR1 + DDR2 boards).

      Then Asrock got the go ahead to run independently from Asus. For awhile, Asrock followed the same formula (budget, niche boards) but then people realized they were actually a pretty decent alternative and they branched out to more mainstream/enthusiast parts.

    • ronch
    • 7 years ago

    Guess they shouldn’t have spun off Asrock in the first place.

    • drfish
    • 7 years ago

    Headline surprised me, I thought ASRock still belonged to Asus. New thing for the day = learned. Now what am I going to do with the next 17 hours?

    [i<]Edit: Oh yeah, play FTL that's right. ;)[/i<]

    • Ryhadar
    • 7 years ago

    I would much rather this didn’t happen.

      • riviera74
      • 7 years ago

      Well, if things go the wrong way, ASRock might go the way of EpoX or Abit. Better that Asus reacquire ASRock because Pegatron wants to cash out.

        • entropy13
        • 7 years ago

        Why would Pegatron cash out ASRock? Focus on competing with Foxconn as an OEM motherboard maker?

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