Recently ASRock announced in partnership with AMD that they were getting into the GPU market as an AMD-exclusive partner. Officially the main aim was to offer GPUs to cryptocurrency miners with some kind of warranty support, plus a side nod to the gaming market with a separate run of the Phantom series of cards. ASRock clarified that they would be selling to a limited market initially – and South Africa wasn’t one of those markets selected for a rollout. I’ve come to learn that the situation has changed, and we’re in line to receive shipments of the Phantom series this year. Get hype?
On the Corex Facebook page yesterday, I asked if the Phantom series was coming to South Africa. I didn’t expect an answer, because I was under the assumption that as an ASRock partner, Corex was just doing their bit to promote the Phantom series on social media. However…
Very interesting! I prodded further internally at Corex, and this is what I’ve come to learn about the planned launch this year:
- A Q3 2018 launch is planned, depending on availability and whether or not we hit another mining boom this year
- Pricing is set to be close to ASRock’s established competition in the market, possibly with a slight price cut
- Something similar to MSI’s Combat Crates in the US and Europe may be possible here with an ASRock flair (pairing a Ryzen CPU with an ASRock GPU and motherboard)
- Warranty coverage is expected, but not yet confirmed, to be three years
A Q3 launch is far away, but it makes sense. ASRock seems to be anticipating another increase in demand from miners this year, as the annual increase in the value of most coins starts to pick up again in the June-July window and hikes up a bit further into Q3 and Q4 of the current year. If ASRock is waiting to see what demand is like, they may be using the time to build up stocks and sell GPUs to miners and gamers with enough to go around for everyone. Every other GPU partner to AMD and NVIDIA has played things safely, so ASRock’s aggression is likely to attract a few fans.
With pricing and warranty set to be competitive to other vendors, there may be a little bit of a price war locally with Sapphire and XFX. Sapphire currently is the cheapest first-tier partner to sell cards locally, and most of those models come with a three year warranty. If ASRock is targeting them, we could see some of their cards end up in future System Builder’s Guides. Combat Crates would also be a great way to guarantee some GPU supply for anyone building complete new systems, but as we’ve seen before with the 2017 GPU Drought, gamers who legitimately just wanted a GPU upgrade had to either overpay for their card, or hold off their upgrade, or move to NVIDIA for this upgrade cycle. It has its pros and cons.
Sound off in the comments if you’re excited about the prospect of pairing up an ASRock GPU with your motherboard!