With all the hoopla surrounding lifetime warranties by the likes of EVGA, BFG, and XFX, you probably don't own a Foxconn-branded videocard anyway. But in case you do, you may want to hold onto it as a nostalgiac keepsake, because pretty soon, there won't be any new Foxconn-branded videocards.
Foxconn said it's getting out marketing its own brand and has instead rearranged its Channel Service Division (CSD), along with most of its 9,000 employees, to its OEM division.
That doesn't mean Foxconn will suddenly disappear, however. The company still expects to ship 6-7 million of its own-brand motherboards in 2009, which is a whopping 5 million more than it shipped in 2008. As for videocards and other OEM products, the company expects shipments to reach 30 million units, those products just won't bear the Foxconn brand.
As Intel's socket 1156-based Core i5 and Core i7 processors inch closer to an official release, look for motherboard vendors to start rolling out new mobos built around Intel's P55 chipset. That's exactly what Foxconn has done, who over the weekend unveiled its Inferno Katana motherboard as part of the company's Quantum Force series.
There's a lot to like about the Inferno Katana, at least on paper. Power user features are aplenty, including a 12 phase hybrid PWM and DirectFET MOSFET technology, 2 phase for VTT and memory, and a "Fuzzy Equalizer," which is an LED indicator light for displaying the PWM loading status.
Other specs include support for up to 16GB of dual-channel DDR3-1800, 8 SATA ports, 7.1 channel onboard audio with Dolby DTS, 3 PCI-E 2.0 x16 slots, 8 USB 2.0 ports, and "performance comparable to if not better than the C/P ratio of the Core i7."
In an effort to help save R&D costs for its own-brand motherboards, Intel will release ODM (Original Design Manufacturer) orders to Taiwan-based motherboard makers, with the first orders belonging exclusively to Foxconn, DigiTimes reports.
As it currently stands, Intel ships between 4-5 million units annually, but although the chip maker is reportedly looking to cut back, the company did say it will continue to design and develop motherboards, as well as closely cooperate with industry players in the motherboard market.
If it turns out to be true, the big loser in the new deal is Pegatron Technology, an Intel OEM partner which will stand on the sidelines for these new orders. Adding salt to the wound, Asus, Pegatron's biggest client, is looking to increase its outsourcing to other companies as well.
According to news and rumor site DigiTimes, Foxconn appears to be the frontrunner to produce smartphones for BlackBerry developer Research in Motion (RIM), or so say the site's un-named sources within the Taiwan handset industry.
RIM, who currently works with EMS firms Elcoteq and Celestica, wants to ramp up its output to meet its expanding global market share, DigiTimes reports. Should Foxconn snag a partnership deal, it will become the most comprehensive OEM smartphone maker on the planet, capable of producing smartphones that run on every major handset OS, including Windows Mobile, Android, Web OS, iPhone OS, and BlackBerry OS.
The deal would give second-ranking smartphone vendor RIM, who holds an 18 percent market share, a boost in its bid to compete with Nokia, the No.1 smartphone vendor.
Citing un-named sources at channel vendors in China, DigiTimes says that Foxconn Electronics (otherwise known as Hon Hai Precision Industry) may be jumping out of the branded motherboard market. The overseas rumors stem from Foxconn reportedly cutting off its sales department from taking any new orders on select motherboard models, in addition to no longer putting together order volume forecasts for all of its new models. In other words, the company looks to be clearing its inventory.
While power users typically levitate towards the likes of Asus, Gigabyte, and MSI, Foxconn is far from being a small player in the motherboard market. The company has seen steady growth since shipping six million of its own branded boards back in 2005, and surpassed the 10 million mark in 2007. Estimated shipments for 2008 have the company seeing an annual growth of around 30 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.
If you want to judge nVidia’s vision for the new AM2 nForce 590 SLI chipset, look no further than Foxconn’s C51XEM2AA. This motherboard is the closest you’ll get to nVidia’s concept design. In fact, nVidia even wrote the BIOS for this board.