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Taiwanese second-tier mainboard makers are preparing to roll-out extremely affordable mainboards to compete with companies like ASRock, ECS and Axper in the third quarter this year. The move is generally positive for the market and customers interested in the lowest prices possible, but the longer term outcome is unclear.

At this point companies who command or tend to command the market of affordable solutions have decreased average selling pricing of their products to approximately $40. Mainboards from ASRock (a subsidiary of ASUSTeK) have ASP of below $40, ECS mainboards’ average cost is around $38, while Axper (a subsidiary of Gigabyte Technology) cost from $35 to $39.

According to a report from DigiTimes web-site some of Taiwan’s second-tier makers, including Biostar Microtech International and Jetway Information, plan to introduce new mainboards with ASPs (average selling prices) below $35 in June 2004.

The move may open the doors of unseen price competition between mainboard makers. While the reason for unprecedented price move seems to be the intention to grab a share of the market and increase shipments, it is not clear whether relatively small companies are able to compete with the world’s largest mainboard makers in terms of pricing for a long time.

Cost-effective products of ASRock, Axper and ECS utilize i845-series chipsets from Intel as well as some core-logic products from Taiwanese chipset designers. Forthcoming inexpensive offerings from Biostar and Jetway will utilize cheaper chipsets from Taiwanese developers in the majority of cases.

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