There’s no such thing as the Silicon Separatist Society, but if one did exist, they’d be rejoicing at the recent dissolution between Asus and Gigabyte’s pending union. Last summer, the two tech giants announced plans to form a single company, Gigabyte United (rolls off the tongue only slightly better than Gigasus, I suppose), and now they’ve called the whole thing off. Part of Gigabyte’s motivation for the previously pending merger was to avoid a takeover from Foxconn, and I can’t help but feel a little relieved that neither scenario is taking place, at least for the time being.
It’s not that I have anything against seeing others tie the knot, but when it comes to selecting my PC components, I prefer more bachelors than couples. If I wanted limited choices, I’d turn to consoles. Or a Mac. Consolidation also tends to raise some hairy questions, like what kind of future Crossfire chipsets can Intel owners expect now that AMD and ATI are one in the same? And if pre-existing relationships do turn sour, will Intel and nVidia work out some kind of exclusive arrangement? Early indications say probably not, but if it did come to pass, DIYers could end up planning an entire platform around company alliances, rather than on a component by component basis. There’s already some of that going on, with builders intending to run dual videocards having to choose between ATI Crossfire and nVidia SLI compatible motherboards. It doesn’t matter how good ATI’s upcoming R600 cards perform, if you purchased an nVidia 680i chipset based motherboard, any plans of running dual GPUs better include the GeForce branding.
Not all mergers are bad, though, and some are even beneficial. Abit, a longtime favorite among enthusiasts and overclockers, was headed the way of the dodo bird until USI stepped in and saved them from bankruptcy. And despite Seagate gobbling up Maxtor, hard drive prices remain cheaper per gigabyte than ever before. It’s entirely possible that a union between Asus and Gigabyte would have been another exception, but hey, I’m perfectly content never knowing, at least for today. Tomorrow, I may not have a choice.