According to rumours spilling out of Digitime’s sources, ASRock, a motherboard manufacturer for AMD and Intel, is planning to get into the graphics market. Up until around 2011, ASRock was a complete Intel shop for Asian and European markets, and it was all-in on Intel’s platform from the very beginning, even as an ASUS subsidiary. The company has seen a surge in profits and sales after it relaunched into the global market in 2012, and their latest motherboards for AMD’s Ryzen 2000 series APUs and CPUs are doing quite well. But it seems they’re not happy enough just doing crazy builds and prototypes of motherboards that seem impossible, because the next logical step is GPUs, and the company has apparently been in talks with AMD about this.
Rumours like this one are difficult to substantiate because there’s no way to verify them. When something this specific breaks, it’s frequently the result of the rumour mill churning out something to drive stock prices up or down so that eager investors can make a quick buck. Digitimes however cites “market watchers” as their source for the rumour, so this could well turn out to be true. Digitimes also doesn’t say “ASRock might” or “may” enter the GPU market – they’re very confidently stating that this will happen.
For years, ASRock has had success as a motherboard manufacturer, but has lagged behind Gigabyte and ASUS, which remain the top brands in the market. With over four million motherboard sales in 2017, though, they’re not doing too badly, and a significant portion of those sales were thanks to their cryptocurrency-related products. In 2017, AMD’s market share jumped up into the 30% range thanks to crypto sales, and that’s the kind of growth market ASRock might want to get involved in if AMD can continue to design and manufacture faster GPUs that mine Ethereum and other altcoins more effectively.
Digitimes ends off their report noting that AMD hasn’t mentioned increasing their GPU supply to vendors to solve the availability issues, so ASRock would need to compete with other brands for a slice of the GPU pie. What they do with them is up to the company, but I’m selfishly hoping that they find a way to sell them to consumers rather than miners.