Asus and Gigabyte dominated the motherboard market in 2014, with Asus coming out slightly ahead of its rival for bragging rights. However, there's more at stake than bragging rights for second tier players. ASRock, Elitegroup Computer Systems (ECS), and Micro-Star International (MSI) all have new strategies for 2015 to help better compete with the big boys, though not all may survive.
You'd be surprised at how many OEM motherboards in pre-built systems come from ECS, but be that as it may, it still isn't a company most would associate with high-end computing. ECS appears to want to change that perception, hence the creation of its "L337 Gaming" high-end gaming motherboard series. The latest addition to the L337 Gaming line is the ECS Z97I-Drone, which is essentially a mini-ITX version of the company's Z97-Machine.
It's been quite a ride for ASRock, the motherboard maker that came into this world as a budget-oriented subsidiary of Asus. ASRock is now owned by Pegatron, which itself is a spin-off of Asus, and these days it competes with all comers (including Asus) in every section of the motherboard market, even the high-end. Pegatron's spunky subsidiary ended 2013 as the third largest motherboard maker in terms of shipments, though it may relinquish that spot to MSI before the new year is over.
The G24 is available in a number of different designs.
ECS is a company we don't hear a lot about these days, but lest anyone forget it's still around, ECS today announced its new G24 touch-based all-in-one (AIO) PC. It has an edge-to-edge 23.6-inch multi-touch panel with a Full HD 1080p (1920x1080) display resolution, HDMI input for connecting Blu-ray players and game consoles, and an interchangeable mini-ITX motherboard.
Top 5 participants will be flown to Taipei, Taiwan for a shot at the grand prize.
Fancy yourself a case modder? Always wanted to be a millionaire? If you answered "yes" to both questions, you should consider entering the ECS Modmen Custom Case Mod Competition. You have until February 28, 2013 to enter and gather up votes, at which time the top 5 vote-getters will be flown to Taipei, Taiwan where a panel of judges will determine the overall winner. Now, about becoming a millionaire...
Whether you're a fan of the stealth design or not, you have to hand it to ECS for thinking outside the box on this one. The company posted on Facebook a picture of its X79R-AX Stealth, currently a concept motherboard unique in the fact that the majority of the printed circuit board (PCB) is hidden beneath a shroud that protects all the digital bits from damage, dust, and everything else.
We were beginning to think motherboard makers had grown completely uninterested in showing off anything that's not built around Intel's X79 chipset for LGA2011 Sandy Bridge-E processors, but that isn't the case with ECS. The mobo maker recently announced the H61H2-A2 Black Deluxe, a new slice of silicon built around Intel's H61 Express chipset with additional chips to support USB 3.0 and SATA 6Gbps.
We've seen a whole lot of teaser shots of soon-to-be-released motherboards built around Intel's X79 (Sandy Bridge-E) platform this week, culminating earlier today in EVGA's dual-socket Super Record 3 (SR3) mainboard. How do you follow something like that? You don't, really -- it's kind of like that scene in Great Balls of Fire! where Jerry Lee Lewis (played by Dennis Quaid) finished his crowd pleasing set by lighting his piano on fire and quipping to Chuck Berry, "Follow that, killer!" But just as Chuck Berry is a legend in his own right, ECS wants to remind everyone that it too knows a thing or two about motherboards.
The big caveat with buying an all-in-one (AIO) system is that most of the time, what you see is what you get. They're not like desktop towers, where you can crack open the side panel and rip out hardware left and right. But the new G11 AIO from Elitegroup Computer Systems (ECS) is different in that it caters to the do-it-yourself (DIY) crowd with a removable back panel that grants access to the motherboard and other components.
As the primary supplier of iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad touch devices, as well as making products for high-profile companies like Acer, Asus, Dell, Nintendo, Microsoft, Sony, and others, life is good for Foxconn (or Hon Hai Precision, if you prefer), which collected $59.3 billion in revenue in 2010. Foxconn can afford to go on a spending spree, and in addition to buying one of Cisco's manufacturing facilities in Mexico, the electronics maker is now setting its sights on Elitegroup Computer Systems (ECS).