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ASRock, a subsidiary of ASUSTeK Computers that produces entry-level PC components, recently expressed interest in manufacturing of affordable graphics cards targeting customers in budget.

The company that is mostly known for its mainboards is expected to begin marketing of its graphics cards in June, 2005, and intends to produce 100 thousand graphics cards monthly. The details of ASRock’s plan are not clear at the moment, though, Taiwanese web-site DigiTimes reports Sterling Wu, ASRock’s president, as indicating that the company will use graphics processing units from both ATI Technologies and NVIDIA Corp..

In late 2004 ASUSTeK itself also announced plans to tangibly increase its graphics cards production in 2005. ASUSTeK’s Computer’s goal of shipping 10 – 12 million graphics cards in 2005, up from the 7.4 – 7.5 million units estimated for 2004, means more competition for OEM and clone orders among Taiwan graphics-card makers in the coming year, according to reports from Taiwan.

Rivals of ASUS are also reportedly planning to increase graphics cards shipments in 2005, but at this point it is unclear, how much exactly. MSI, according to reports, plans to increase shipments only by 5.3% - 5.7%, which may mean 8 million graphics cards in 2005. Foxconn affiliates Tul Corp. and Leadtek Research also plan to increase output; in case they manage to hold the current pace of growth and their shipments are up about 50% year-over-year, they may supply about 9 million graphics cards, up from 6 million units in 2004. Gigabyte Group (Gigabyte and GeCube) also plans to expand its presence on the graphics market: with the current shipments growth pace of about 60%, their 2005 output may be as high as 6.4 million units.

During the Q4 2004 notebook graphics shipments were growing faster than desktop graphics shipments in both discrete and integrated segments. However, growth in standalone components – such as ATI RADEON and NVIDIA GeForce – for desktops was 13% quarter-over-quarter, which allowed both ATI and NVIDIA to enjoy high demand for their products despite of growing popularity of core-logic sets that contain integrated graphics cores, such as Intel’s i915G.

ASUS discussed plans to launch ASUS X-series graphics cards targeting entry-level market segments in mid-2004. But so far the company's X-series graphics products have not gained widespread availability.

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