Report: mobo market crunch puts the hurt on ECS and Biostar

Update, July 12: Biostar reached out to us to let us know that the company is not leaving the consumer motherboard market. The original DigiTimes report we linked to has been amended, too. Our original story remains below.

The PC market has long been suffering from a move away from traditional desktops and laptops. According to DigiTimes, major motherboard makers are now feeling the pinch of that segmentation. The site says that many of those manufacturers are projecting sequential drops in shipments as deep as 20% to 30% for the second quarter of 2016. DigiTimes attributes these anticipated market trends to a long-running slump in demand, exchange rate fluctuations, political uncertainty, and what it describes as a delay in the arrival of Intel's Kaby Lake CPUs and their associated platforms.

For 2016 as a whole, DigiTimes' sources say that Gigabyte and Asus will experience a 5% year-on-year drop compared to last year's totals. DigiTimes says those companies expect to ship 17 million motherboards each in 2016. The site further estimates that MSI will ship 4.5 million units, while ASRock expects to sell 4 million mobos. As for the smaller players, DigiTimes claims that Colorful expects to ship 1.9 to 2 million boards, ECS will move two million units, and Biostar less than one million.

The site further believes that some smaller motherboard makers are planning to leave that market so they can focus on other businesses. DigiTimes says Biostar and Elitegroup Computer Systems (best known as ECS) have already thrown in the towel. The site says Biostar shipped 1.71 million motherboards in 2015, a 44% decrease from the year before. DigiTimes expects that the company's sales will shrink by half again this year. For those reasons, Biostar will purportedly change its primary focus to "[developing] embedded solutions." (No more Type-R-branded mobos almost makes us sad.) ECS, on the other hand, has apparently stopped releasing motherboards under its own name entirely.

Asus and Gigabyte are expected to pick up any standing orders from the bailing manufacturers. Those orders include mainly entry and mid-level motherboard models. Should this happen, DigiTimes thinks the big two can expect to maintain their 2016 shipments at the same level as last year.

 

Comments closed
    • End User
    • 3 years ago

    [quote<]With motherboard demand estimated to remain weak in the second half of 2016 and issues including exchange rate fluctuations, political uncertainties and delay of Intel's Kaby Lake platform.[/quote<] I'm waiting for Kaby Lake before I pull the trigger on a new build. Primarily for the feature set of the motherboard.

    • Litzner
    • 3 years ago

    Does anyone else think this may be more related to the fact the the companies floundering also (in my experience with both of their products) manufacturer some of the most failure prone and buggy motherboards produced?

    • strangerguy
    • 3 years ago

    Sad to see both go but that is more or less inevitable.

    Intel has been dragging their heels forever on mainstream CPUs, most people have no good reason spending more than $60 on a mobo for a no-frills non-OC gaming box and ironically, the sheer amount of integration and all-time low power consumption on CPUs and chipsets are making mobos last longer than ever which means less people buying replacements.

    • anotherengineer
    • 3 years ago

    Maybe this will get biostar back in the game πŸ˜‰
    [url<]https://www.techpowerup.com/223955/biostar-announces-tb85-motherboard-made-for-mining[/url<]

      • biffzinker
      • 3 years ago

      That’s old news, [url=https://www.techpowerup.com/202354/biostars-tb85-ready-for-work-play-or-bitcoin-mining<]TechPowerUp - Sunday, June 22nd 2014 - BIOSTAR's TB85 Ready for Work, Play or Bitcoin Mining[/url<]

    • JMccovery
    • 3 years ago

    While I wasn’t a true fan of Biostar’s boards, especially after the horrid nature of their M7VK* line of Socket A boards, the T-Force 570SLI I purchased along with a Brisbane G1 3600×2 changed my opinion of the company. That board was one of the few AM2 boards that could handle a 250MHz base HT clock without freaking out.

    Most of my experiences with ECS were painfully crap Socket 7 boards; purchased a ECS Black 780g board for a second system with a x2 5000, couldn’t adjust CPU multiplier because the board didn’t ‘fully support’ G2 Brisbane chips. Add in that the board wasn’t happy with more than two SATA devices…

    • just brew it!
    • 3 years ago

    Yeah, I miss Abit too. And FIC; they actually had a few decent (and affordable) motherboards way back in the day. And Micronics; best Super 7 board I ever owned was a Micronics C200. My first Slot A board was a Soyo. DFI was also decent. And Tyan (which still makes server boards, but left the consumer market a long time ago).

    Jeez, all these brands that have disappeared over the years…

      • biffzinker
      • 3 years ago

      You mean the Diamond Micronics C200, and thanks for stopping by I somehow forgot about FIC motherboards. Wonder what makes Supermicro think they have a better chance were Biostar/ECS are failing.

        • Concupiscence
        • 3 years ago

        Biostar and ECS targeted the low end commodity end of the scale, where their higher margin competitors were able to move in and outmaneuver them. Supermicro’s targeting the higher price brackets in the workstation and server communities, where paying a little extra buys you a lot more peace of mind.

          • biffzinker
          • 3 years ago

          If Supermicro’s targeting the higher price brackets what are these boards then?
          [url=http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&N=100007627%20600567581%2050001655&IsNodeId=1&bop=And&Order=PRICE&PageSize=30<] Newegg - SuperMicro, Intel Z170 Series[/url<] [url=http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813182866<]SUPERMICRO C7Z97-OCE Gaming ATX Motherboard [/url<]

    • just brew it!
    • 3 years ago

    Who the heck is Colorful?

    • One Sick Puppy
    • 3 years ago

    When it comes to reliability and failure rates, ECS ranks on the top of my list. It’s so high on the list that it should be it’s own list.

    • tipoo
    • 3 years ago

    That’s quite a surprising report.
    Biostar is still a thing?

    • Paine
    • 3 years ago

    When Asus, Gigabyte, Asrock, etc have cheap boards, why take a chance with something like ECS?

    • alternety
    • 3 years ago

    I think Epox may still be around. I believe they left the consumer MB market and only do servers.

    I had one of their boards a long time ago. As I recollect, their boards were ahead of others then. Which was, of course, why I had one. Probably somewhere in the house to this day.

    Regarding driving the market today. I thought there would incentive because of new I/O types and newer processor features. But I am waiting for the next Intel line before I update my machine. But for my wife, I am doing it now to an i6-6600 to skip some of the hassle with installing Win10 on the current MB and then switching MBs. So I am trying to get the old Win 7 install to be operable on the new board long enough to install Win10.

      • blahsaysblah
      • 3 years ago

      Any recent Win 10 install off microsoft.com will let you use Win 7 key directly.

      • Krogoth
      • 3 years ago

      EpoX is defunct.

      Most of its employees went to China and formed SuPOX which only manages that market.

    • south side sammy
    • 3 years ago

    too many people don’t have expendable income anymore. no surprise there.
    \ keep your eyes peeled. the incoming global slump will be blamed on brexit instead of the economic holocaust forced upon us.

    • Bensam123
    • 3 years ago

    Still miss Abit and DFI.

      • biffzinker
      • 3 years ago

      I thought EPoX was a good brand as well along with Abit, and DFI.

        • Sam125
        • 3 years ago

        Yes, EPoX was also another good brand, but they simply faded away in the US market to be replaced by the likes of Gigabyte and MSI.

        • Sargent Duck
        • 3 years ago

        I still have my Epox mb from the P3 days.

        Celeron 1.1Ghz (Tulatin core) on the Via Apollo Pro 133A chipset. Overclocked that to 1.4Ghz and owned my friends P4 Willamette core. Ah, good times…

        • Pez
        • 3 years ago

        I loved my EPoX boards – their nForce 2 boards were brilliant back in the old Athlon days… 8RDA+ was one of my favourite boards

        **whimsical look of remembrance**

      • Sam125
      • 3 years ago

      Two of my favorite motherboard brands. I really enjoyed overclocking with Abit’s quality bios controls. Although I never got more than 10% extra performance with their better overclocking controls though. I also liked ECS and Biostar as well, too bad they’re leaving the market. :\

      • derFunkenstein
      • 3 years ago

      My Abit KT7A-RAID system was the bomb!

        • biffzinker
        • 3 years ago

        I had that Abit board along with two P-ATA drives in RAID0, and the EPoX EP-8RDA3+ was the bomb as well.

          • derFunkenstein
          • 3 years ago

          I had mine paired with a 600MHz Duron that would run at 1GHz. I miss those days thanks to rose-tinted glasses, but no way you could get me to actually use that system today. πŸ˜†

          It wasn’t the first system I ever built (A Gigabyte motherboard with power connectors for both AT and ATX power supplies and an ALi chipset get those honors) but it was by far the coolest. Paired that bad boy with an OG Radeon.

            • biffzinker
            • 3 years ago

            I had mine paired up with a Athlon XP 1800+ if I remember right.

            I see TR called the board “half-baked” when they reviewed it (flaky USB controller.)
            [url<]https://techreport.com/review/2249/tr-reviews-abit-kt7a-raid-motherboard[/url<]

            • derFunkenstein
            • 3 years ago

            [quote<]flaky USB controller[/quote<] Some things never change. I didn't have a problem with it but all I ever plugged in was a keyboard, mouse, and printer.

            • biffzinker
            • 3 years ago

            I wonder how much of fault was the USB controller on the VIA southbridge chipset?

            • derFunkenstein
            • 3 years ago

            The VIA south bridges were pretty problematic, for sure. There’s a well-known issue with IDE and specific PCI cards, especially the [url=http://www.realworldtech.com/via-soundblaster-2/<]Sound Blaster Live[/url<].

            • JMccovery
            • 3 years ago

            Oh man, the memories: ALi Aladdin V Super 7 chipset. I had an ASUS P5-A; I feel that board has over clocked more CPUs than any other motherboard I’ve ever owned.

            Started with a 75MHz Pentium, ended with a 450MHz K6-2 that would do 600MHz with a TT Volcano 7.

      • tootercomputer
      • 3 years ago

      There were a lot of good mobo makers. I had two Albatrons and two Solteks (both AMD) and was happy with all of them.

        • biffzinker
        • 3 years ago

        Chaintech had some good boards

      • blastdoor
      • 3 years ago

      BP6!

      is it even possible to do something like that again, or has Intel thoroughly prevented it?

      • Prion
      • 3 years ago

      Abit was incredible, I still have an Athlon 64 machine kicking with one of their boards. They are sorely missed. Where did all of their engineers end up?

        • Voldenuit
        • 3 years ago

        I had the original BH6 or BX6; got a 66% overclock on my celeron sandwich with that…

      • Waco
      • 3 years ago

      I miss DFI the most. I literally [i<]blew a hole[/i<] in my board by overdriving the VRMs. Big gouts of flame shooting off the board and arcing all over the place. They not only accepted my board in an RMA, they explicitly stated that overclocking was supported and would not void their warranty as what happened should have shut the board down, not destroyed it. πŸ™‚

    • Anovoca
    • 3 years ago

    What? People aren’t buying biostar mobos? Even after such quality advertising?

    [url<]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6HWznc8bLP8[/url<]

      • Anovoca
      • 3 years ago

      IF ONLY THEY RELEASED MORE EPISODES!!!!!

      • Sam125
      • 3 years ago

      Gamer girls like her are probably all married with a family now and don’t really have time to play PC games these days; I’m sure a new generations of gamer girls will emerge though… once the economy picks back up.

        • derFunkenstein
        • 3 years ago

        My gamer girl is only seven but she prefers the Wii U to anything else we have.

          • Sam125
          • 3 years ago

          She must be a passionate little gamer girl.

      • PrincipalSkinner
      • 3 years ago

      What utter junk.

    • brucethemoose
    • 3 years ago

    AMD’s chronic lack of competitiveness means Intel isn’t innovating as much.

    Intel’s stagnation slows down big software changes, as consumer CPUs just aren’t getting much faster or getting game changing new features.

    The software stagnation slows motherboard sales, as desktop consumers don’t feel a need for new hardware.

    And that makes ECS and Biostar exit the market.

    So, we can blame all of this on AMD… I’ll see myself out now.

      • anotherengineer
      • 3 years ago

      I’d blame it on everyone having 5 desktops. How many does a person need? The market is saturated.

      Or maybe blame software developers for lack of multi-threaded software, and even 64-bit software. Half way through 2016 and I’m still surprised how many single thread and 32-bit programs I see. IIRC AMD’s x64 came out around 2003? And first quad-core were somewhere around 2006, so 10 years ago.

        • brucethemoose
        • 3 years ago

        You can blame OEMs for the 64 bit issue. Shipping 32 bit Windows PCs in 2016 should be a crime.

        Does that mean we’ve come full circle?

        • meerkt
        • 3 years ago

        My mom doesn’t have 5 desktops.

          • Rikki-Tikki-Tavi
          • 3 years ago

          That’s cuz 5 desktops and jo momma wouldn’t fit in a house. πŸ˜‰

        • UberGerbil
        • 3 years ago

        You know, a lot of existing software would not be noticeably faster if it was multithreaded; it would just take longer to ship and have more bugs. The software that does strongly benefit from threading — mostly server stuff — has long been multithreaded. Most consumer software is gated by serialization, usually because it’s waiting on the ultimate single-threaded component, the user. (Heck, Microsoft Word has been multi-threaded for years, but it only uses it to do stuff like background repagination and spell-checking; where exactly could they find more opportunities to make Word higher performance by spinning off more threads?)

        Having four cores available doesn’t mean with “smarter / less lazy software developers” all your tasks could be four times faster, any more than getting four women pregnant means it’s possible for you to get one child in 2ΒΌ months, as much fun as it might be to try.

        • Eversor
        • 3 years ago

        64bit software is not necessarily faster (and it can be slower) but it necessarily uses close to 60% more memory due to bigger pointers. The OS itself should always be shipping 64bit, as you don’t lose much useful memory, but memory hog apps running 32bit by default is quite important for all those PCs that only ship with 2GB of RAM – though 4GB should be minimum for years now.

      • tipoo
      • 3 years ago

      Intel looks uninnovative from the perspective of gamers or other high end users seeking high performance. I think people take for granted though that just 5 years ago we would have had 6 pound bricks with 3 hour battery life for the performance that is now bested by sleek packages you barely feel the weight of, some approaching a workdays battery life. And then there’s how much those integrated GPUs in such systems have come forward.

      So really, what we mean by Intel is not innovating, is that Intel isn’t focused on what we want.

        • localhostrulez
        • 3 years ago

        And I rather like this. Most PCs aren’t getting much faster, so an older one doesn’t get outdated (assuming battery life doesn’t matter, which for some it doesn’t). And on the new end, we now have nice quad-core laptops that get reasonably good battery life (ex. XPS 15, 9 hours in some configs). OEMs just have to stop shrinking batteries so that battery life doesn’t stagnate too much, and we’re set.

        • slowriot
        • 3 years ago

        Did Core 2 Duo ULV processors like the SU9600 not exist in your world back in 2009? Because they did in mine. There were low voltage options before then too. Pentium M anyone? And we’ve had them every generation since.

        Intel hasn’t been “uninnovative” but you don’t need to grossly exaggerate tech differences from 5 years ago to prove your point.

          • tipoo
          • 3 years ago

          So 10W TDP which Core Ms are ~3x faster than now at ~5W, does a 6X spread in efficiency sound like I’m “grossly exaggerating” the gain over 5 years to you? And then further consider how much of the transistor budget increase over that 5 years was spent on making iGPUs not crap, and that the Core 2 Duo with its 10W TDP was the processor alone and not the GPU. So realistically it would have been paired with something that more than doubled its TDP, while Core Ms TDP is the entire package.

            • slowriot
            • 3 years ago

            I’m not denying improvement, lots of it in fact. What I’m denying is that “6 pound bricks with 3 hours life” were all you could get or expect. My 6lb brick 5 years ago could go 12+ hours on battery life. That wasn’t even an especially low power option in a T420 Thinkpad with a dedicated GPU inside.

            You don’t have to make it out to be like we were carrying bricks around to get usable battery life 5 years ago. That’s not at all accurate…

          • localhostrulez
          • 3 years ago

          Yes, they do. We had a laptop with an SU7300. But here’s the thing – that SU7300 was MUCH slower at web browsing than a P8700. On the other hand, a 4200/6200U doesn’t feel slow at all for the average user.

          And on the higher-end side, workstation stuff used to get 2 hours if you were lucky. Now, I’m seeing 5 hours easy, and sometimes 8-9 hours – still with a powerful CPU.

            • slowriot
            • 3 years ago

            Weird how I bring up an SU9600 and you go with a SU7300 for your comparison and then compare it to a P8700. You can’t be fair now, no doubt I won’t trust your memory to be…

      • wingless
      • 3 years ago

      We also lack demanding software that forces us to upgrade. A 2600k and a good GPU will still get the job done. Sure, you’re giving up some frames but we’re talking about differences like 90FPS and 70FPS with max settings. Also the GPU matters more at higher resolutions so we can just keep upgrading those. When a game requires a new gen CPU just to stay above 60FPS, it’ll start to matter.

        • jihadjoe
        • 3 years ago

        This. I’ve actually stopped overclocking my i7-3820 because I feel it handles my stuff fine at the stock clock of 3.8GHz.

    • Waco
    • 3 years ago

    There just hasn’t been much reason to upgrade recently. Intel CPUs have been good enough for about half a decade now…

      • Takeshi7
      • 3 years ago

      Even old Core 2 PCs are enough to do the things normal people do on computers. There needs to be a new killer app that every mainstream person needs a more powerful PC for.

        • LostCat
        • 3 years ago

        Even gamers haven’t really needed an upgrade for the most part until recently.

          • anotherengineer
          • 3 years ago

          And I would like to blame monitor makers for that. Making 120Hz panels back in 2009, and 7 years later they are still no mainstream and have quite a bit of a premium mark up on them.

          Need more GPU HP to push 120 fps vs. 60fps.

            • Takeshi7
            • 3 years ago

            Microsoft should have made 4K 120Hz monitors the minimum for Windows 10. Problem solved.

            • Prestige Worldwide
            • 3 years ago

            That certainly wouldn’t interfere with their objective of getting as many people as possible to adopt Windows 10 at all……

            • LostCat
            • 3 years ago

            I still haven’t been arsed to get a mon over 60. Trying for a Freesync mon soon, though.

          • Waco
          • 3 years ago

          I have a 2700K that’s serving me more than well enough. I only want to upgrade to fix my aging motherboard.

        • OneShotOneKill
        • 3 years ago

        It’s called battlefield 1.

          • Prestige Worldwide
          • 3 years ago

          Somehow I do t see it being much more demanding that. BF4

      • travbrad
      • 3 years ago

      Yep you don’t need a new mobo if you don’t need a new CPU. By far the most common thing that requires CPU power is gaming and even in that case you are often better off upgrading your video card. [url=http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/2015/08/05/intel-skylake-review/7<]3-4 generations of CPU improvements basically amounts to nothing if you overclock[/url<], and unless Kaby Lake comes with eDRAM it will be another "meh" CPU for enthusiasts. That's not even mentioning the "mainstream" users who haven't really needed a faster CPU for the last decade. I still have an old core2duo laptop and with a SSD it feels almost as snappy as my main desktop system for normal use (browsing, youtube, skype, etc)

      • ronch
      • 3 years ago

      For years now, the desktop CPU that I’ve owned and used for the longest time has been my Pentium 4 2.8C, clocking in at 1,302 days. Just yesterday my current FX-8350 reached that figure, and today it’s officially the desktop CPU that I’ve owned and been using for the longest time. By 1 day.

      In the past, I’ve felt the itch to upgrade several months before doing so and my CPUs felt old after about 2 years of use, but with this FX CPU I’m using now, the upgrade bug is yet to bite me and the FX feels as strong and able as the day I bought it back in Dec. of 2012. At this point I see no reason to upgrade. And if a guy like me with an FX that has much slower single-threaded performance isn’t feeling the need to upgrade, I’m sure Intel i5 and i7 owners from Sandy Bridge onwards have even fewer reasons to upgrade unless they have some really demanding apps.

      • wingless
      • 3 years ago

      My 2600K just keeps chugging along. Recently my ASUS P8Z77V-Pro has developed a problem with the primary PCIe slot, but my GTX 980 is working fine in the secondary. Games still play so well with my 1080p G-sync monitor that I’m having a hard time justifying an upgrade….

      When will the monstrously demanding games with mind blowing graphics force me to upgrade like the olden days?! WHEN?!!!!!

        • Waco
        • 3 years ago

        Agreed. My motherboard actually died yesterday (it started randomly shutting down) after 5 years of 4.7 GHz operation. Thankfully, the wife’s backup board was still around so I’m back up with a USB sound card since SLI killed the onboard sound.

        But yeah, even at 4K, I’m not hurting for CPU power. It just hasn’t been a need in the past half-decade…

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