Well, it's official folks—ASRock, the former ASUS subsidiary that grew to become a veritable rival in the motherboard market, has expanded its reach into the graphics card sector as previously teased with the launch of its Phantom Gaming series. At least initially, ASRock's focus is on "a strong line of AMD Radeon RX 500 series cards," among them the Phantom Gaming X Radeon RX 580 8G and Radeon RX 570 8G, and Phantom Gaming Radeon RX 560 4G/2G and Radeon RX 550 4G/2G.
ASRock's entry comes at a time when there is controversy over NVIDIA's GeForce Partner Program, which provides additional marketing support and other perks in exchange for companies aligning their gaming brands exclusively with GeForce graphics cards. Based on what has been reported about the program thus far, it's safe to assume ASRock is choosing not to participate, as "Phantom Gaming" is clearly a gaming brand.
What's also interesting about the moniker is the use of "Phantom Gaming X" on the higher end models, specifically the "Gaming X" part. MSI markets some of its AMD Radeon and NVIDIA GeForce cards under its Gaming X brand, and we have to wonder if the company will kick up a stick about ASRock's naming scheme. We will have to wait and see.
ASRock and AMD are both excited about ASRock's entry into the marketplace, as you might expect.
"ASRock finally expand into the graphics card field," said Mr. LL Shiu, ASRock Chief Executive Officer. "We are happy and proud to team up with AMD, our strong and reliable partner, and of course we look forward to bringing out more interesting and competitive products in future."
For its part, AMD said it is "thrilled to team" with ASRock, which it called an "industry leader with some of the best AMD-based motherboards being sold in the market today." More than just lip service, ASRock found its groove in the motherboard market by generally focusing on lower cost options that include features typically reserved for higher priced models. Many of ASRock's motherboards hold an aesthetic appeal as well.
As it pertains to graphics cards, ASRock's Phantom Gaming and Phantom Gaming X cards all use custom cooler designs with aluminum alloy heatsinks and heatpipes, "top nano" thermal paste, and aggressive looks. ASRock will also provide its own custom utility to monitor vitals, adjust fan speeds, and to overclock both the GPU and memory. In other words, ASRock isn't just dipping its toes into the graphics card market, it's cannon balling right into the deep end.
Pricing and availability has not yet been announced, though it will be interesting to see how things shake out in the street under the current cryptocurrency climate.