Wish to experience the blazing speeds of USB 3.0 and/or SATA 6Gbps? Or do you just want something new to brag about to your friends? If yes, then an add-on card is the way to go for you, especially if you wish to live your USB 3.0/SATA 6Gbps dream on a shoestring.
The USB 3.0 card features two ports on the rear panel. The SATA 6 Gb/s card on the other hand features one internal port and a lone eSATA 6 Gb/s connection. There is no word on the price or availability of the cards.
After a short stint in the 680i chipset era, ECS hasn't aggressively targeted the motherboard market with its own-branded mobos, and instead has focused more heavily on providing boards for OEM partners. David Chien, VP of ECS' channel business, said that's going to change in 2010 and you can expect to see a lot more ECS-branded boards aimed at both the mid-range and high-end sectors.
ECS-branded motherboard shipments will likely remain flat at 7-8 million units to close out 2009, but next year, Chien said he expects growth of around 20 percent on shipments of anywhere from 8.4 million to 9.6 million units. Most of those will be Intel-based boards, with about 20 percent aimed at the AMD crowd, he said.
You can also expect ECS to promote its use of 15-micron Gold contact technology as it looks to gain some geek cred in the higher-end crowd. According to ECS, the 15-micron gold coating applied to the CPU and memory slot pins helps prevent rusting that, um, occurs from frequently removing the CPU and memory modules. o_0
Citing un-named industry sources, news and rumor site DigiTimes reports ECS is aggressively looking for notebook engineers to replace its depleted staff of mobile gurus. The company is reportedly looking to pluck talent for several second-tier notebook players, including First International Computer, Cleveo, Foxconn, and Compal.
The notebook market continues to sizzle and isn't showing any signs of slowing down. Unfortunately for ECS, some 80 technical specialists and executives from its notebook division have recently jumped ship, leaving in their wake an R&D gap. The exodus has also put some projects on hold.
Tapping into growing notebook sales would also help ECS rebound from what's so far been a disappointing fiscal year. In the first three quarters, ECS reported consolidated revenues of around $1.71 billion, which represents a drop of 18.32 percent on year.
Some sources are saying that, at least internally, Intel is talking about shipping one million Lynnfield processors for desktops by the end of 2009. Should Intel meet its goal, it would put the pressure on motherboard makers to keep up.
Asus and Gigabyte are each on pace to ship 400,000 P55-based mobos by the end of the year, leaving 200,000 units for other manufacturers to pick up the slack. MSI, ECS, and ASRock are expected to ship around that many mobos, but all it takes is for one manufacturer to miss its goal for there to be more CPUs than there are mobos.
Asus looks to be the most active for the rest of the year. According to company VP Joe Hsieh, Asus' expects to ship between 5.5 to 6 million motherboards in the third quarter, 6 million in the fourth, and 22 million total. Going forward, Asus says P55-based boards will account for 10 percent of all shipments.
Everyone in the motherboard business seems to be having a tough run to end the summer, and that includes Elitegroup Computer Systems (ECS), who announced consolidated revenues of just under $186 million for August, down 2.8 percent sequentially. That also represents a drop of 10.4 percent on year.
ECS has had a rough time maintaining the kind of motherboard shipment numbers it had grown accustomed to before the economy took a dump. The mobo maker shipped just 1.43 million units in August, which is down 9 percent on month and a significant 20.3 percent on year. Notebooks, on the other hand, climbed to 200,000 units, ECS reports.
Despite the continued struggle to push more motherboards into the marketplace, ECS says it is retaining a positive outlook towards the second half of 2009 and expects revenues to turn back around. Part of the optimism is no doubt related to Intel's recently released Core i5 platform and the resulting demand for P55 chipset products.
Elitegroup Computer Systems (ECS) posted mixed results for the first half of 2009. On one hand, the Taiwanese motherboard maker posted consolidated revenues of NT$36.72 billion ($1.12 billion in U.S. currency), down 7 percent on the year. On the other hand, net profits grew 88 percent.
The company's notebook shipments remained flat at 1.6 million units in the first half of 2009, whereas the motherboard business tumbled to the tune of 22.06 percent on year to just 8.4 million units, ECS said.
Despite the shipments setbacks, ECS will maintain its goal for 2009 to ship 21 million motherboards, 4 million notebooks (half of them netbooks), and 1.5 million videocards, DigiTimes reports.
ECS recently debuted new motherbord, videocard, and multimedia solutions at this year's Computex, which will not be affected by this financial report.
Almost every top tier motherboard maker has been feeling the economic crunch, save for MSI, the only major mobo player to see its monthly revenues go up. Asus, ECS, and Gigabyte all slid in the opposite direction, with Asus hit the hardest after posting consolidated revenues of $428.55 million for May. That's a drop of 20 percent on month for the popular motherboard maker, and 22 percent down for the year.
ECS, meanwhile, posted consolidated revenues of $187 million for May, down 7.5 percent for the month and 17.54 percent on the year. Gigabyte's revenues checked in at just $88 million, a drop of 9.45 percent on the month and 7.64 percent for the year.
MSI, while up for the month, was down on the year, though just slightly at 0.54 percent.
Citing un-named sources who mingle behind the scenes at motherboard makers, DigiTimes claims first-tier mobo manufacturers are keeping conservative with third-quarter shipping estimates. Blaming a drop in the worldwide economy, Asus, Gigabyte, and MSI are expecting to maintain sequential shipments growth of just 15 percent while focusing on the mid- to high-end markets.
The forecast gets even bleaker in the entry-level to mid-range segments. Both ECS and Foxconn have been suffering through a shipments decline since the beginning of the year, and DigiTimes reports it will be more of the same in the second half of 2008.
Asus and MSI both expect the continued expansion of their notebook business to pick up the slack and result in a surge in third quarter performance.