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Competition is downright fierce in the motherboard market where only a handful of players remain. It's the reason why a price war may break out, which in turn could help motherboard makers sell more units. We're not talking about thousands of mobos -- MSI is hoping to ship 7 million branded motherboards in 2014, up from 6 million in 2013. In addition to engaging in a price war, MSI is benefiting from increased demand for its gaming boards.
Charles Jiang, MSI's executive vice president of motherboards and graphics cards, told Digitimes that demand for its gaming boards jumped up after it expanded its gaming brand Dragon Army to cover mobos and video cards. In other words, a combination of added bling and clever marketing.
The Dragon Army branding was originally used for MSI's line of gaming laptops and helped turn the company profitable, Jiang said. As for its motherboards, MSI shipped around 1.8 million in the first quarter of this year and expects to ship between 1.5 million to 1.7 million in the second quarter, noting that the drop is due to seasonality.
These figures don't included MSI's OEM motherboard businesses, just its branded boards. It's OEM business shipped about 11 million units in 2013 and is on pace to do the same in 2014. MSI's biggest clients for OEM boards include Lenovo, HP, and Dell.