From The Desk Of Andrew Ku
- Nvidia is back in the graphics fight, but, at the moment, it’s an uphill battle.
- Nvidia needs more aggressive pricing on its low-end boards to keep Intel and AMD on their toes once CPU-based graphics becomes more prevalent.
- Intel is purportedly going to give AMD and Nvidia some stiff competition in today’s $75-and-under discrete graphics market.
- Mainstream market acceptance of hybrid IGP performance is a bit murky.
- Hybrid IGPs are going to see stiff competition in the mainstream market, and will be outclassed in the high-end space. Add-in graphics cards aren’t going out of style anytime soon.
- We should still expect excellent add-in card vendor board designs.
- Nvidia is still going to fight for its chipset business, if the latest lawsuit is any indication.
- There are more and more multi-core CPU designs on the horizon.
Our motherboard contacts were nice enough to pull a double shift. We already have their thoughts on the upcoming graphics landscape, but there are other topics that remain untouched--topics that are purely motherboard-related. After all, today's motherboard industry is almost unrecognizable compared to what we were seeing five years ago. Unfortunately, you need two hands to count the number of motherboard companies that are effectively defunct in the consumer market.
The participants are the same, but we changed up the questions.
- Over the past 10 years, Intel and AMD have gone back and forth in the server market. Most recently, Intel demonstrated the benefits of its Nehalem microarchitecture with Nehalem-EX in the MP space. Before that, Nehalem-EP and Westmere-EP showcased the architecture's benefits in 1P and 2P configurations. AMD recently told us it was no longer focusing on the workstation space. Has AMD lost the momentum it generated with Opteron back when Intel relied on NetBurst for driving Xeon, or are motherboard vendors still seeing new AMD Opteron offerings as a competitive (profitable) architecture in the server space?
- A few motherboard manufacturers have exited the industry. We are continually seeing profit margins on components drop. As consumers, how will we see motherboard manufacturers continue to drive their brand?
- In previous years, we saw many motherboard manufacturers diversify into non-traditional market spaces. Is your company’s current business strategy focusing on diversification or the core products?
- Small form factors were extremely popular five years ago because they provided a diminutive footprint and similar performance attributes as any other desktop machine. Largely due to the economic climate, price-conscious buyers have shifted towards ultra-low-voltage configurations like nettops and netbooks. Do you see this as another temporary trend?
- As Intel and AMD integrate more functionality into their host processors, what opportunities remain for motherboard vendors to add value?