(Photo: PCMag)Time to break out the violins folks, because the world’s largest motherboard manufacturers have a tearjerker of a tale to tell. Both Asus and Gigabyte are projecting significantly lower motherboard shipments for the rest of 2022. In fact, the companies will likely ship 25 percent fewer mainboards this year than in 2021. The big disruptor here isn’t the chip shortage. It’s due in part to the fact they can no longer bundle motherboards with formerly-hard-to-find GPUs. Now that the GPU crisis is effectively over, nobody in their right mind would pay for a bundle like that if they only wanted the GPU. The same goes for pre-built PCs as well.
This unnecessary bundling was what fueled things like the Newegg shuffle last year. People would buy the bundle, then sell the motherboard, or monitor, or AIO. Some people even went so far as to buy an entire system. Then they would take out the GPU, motherboard and CPU, and sell the rest. We won’t name names here, but your humble author is very close to someone who did exactly this. Cough. The report says Asus shipped 18 million motherboards in 2021, but projects it’ll only ship 14 million this year. Gigabyte is expecting a similar decline, going from 13 million last year to 9.5 million for 2022. The report notes these two companies control over 70 percent of the global motherboard market.
Overall, the entire motherboard industry will likely ship 10 million fewer motherboards this year. That’s according to a summary of the paywalled article posted by Tom’s Hardware. Digitimes sources say even something as exciting as the upcoming CPUs from Intel and AMD won’t be enough to change this outlook. That’s despite the fact that a lot of gamers are eagerly anticipating both Zen 4 and Raptor Lake. The article says the only forces that could boost sales would be the return of crypto mining, the end of the Russia/Ukraine war, or if inflation eases up.
Right now, it doesn’t seem like crypto mining will ever go back to what it once was. We know, famous last words. However, people have coined the term “Crypto Winter” to describe the currently bleak situation, suggesting it will be with us for some time. Also, it seems doubtful that miners who have thrown in the towel and also lost money will be eager to touch that stove a second time. Inflation is showing no signs of easing up either, and the same goes for the conflict in Ukraine. All that is to say it looks like we will be back to normal as far as components go, for the foreseeable future. To clarify, we don’t delight in any earnest endeavor experiencing a difficult time in business. However, those bundles were pure bull pucky, to be charitable. Hopefully as the market returns to normal, those types of bundles won’t darken our inbox again.