Motherboard Shipments Fall Off A Cliff Paving The Way For Potential Deals

Top section of four angled ASUS motherboards on a black background.
The PC market is getting battered right now, though for consumers that's not necessarily a bad thing. For suppliers, however, these are trying (albeit temporary) times. Last week we reported on the processor market suffering the largest quarterly and annual declines in at least three full decades, and now it's come to light that the slippages have spilled over into the motherboard sector well.

That makes sense for obvious reasons (CPUs and motherboards go together like, well, CPUs and motherboards). Just how bad is it, though? Sources within the upstream supply chain say the combined annual shipments of motherboards from ASUS, Gigabyte, MSI, and ASRock have fallen in the neighborhood of 10 million units in 2022.

This is despite major new CPU and accompanying chipset launches by both AMD and Intel. Timing is key, though, with AMD's Ryzen 7000 series CPUs (Zen 4) and X670 chipset arriving towards the end of 2022 (late September), while Intel's 13th Gen processors (Raptor Lake) and z790 chipset released around the same time.

As for Intel's 12th Gen CPUs (Alder Lake) and Z690 chipset, those launched towards the end of 2021. Being a major new architecture versus 11th Gen (more so than the jump from 12th Gen to 13th Gen), one would expect an uptick in motherboard sales in 2022. But here's the thing—it took a minute for DDR5 pricing to settle down, which is the preferred memory type (for performance and future-proofing) even though there are some Z690 boards that support DDR4.

Closeup of the CPU socket on the MSI MPG Z790 Carbon Wi-Fi motherboard.
CPU socket on MSI's MPG Z790 Carbon Wi-Fi motherboard for Raptor Lake

Likewise, those that did end up buying or building an Alder Lake PC could use their same motherboard with Raptor Lake, whereas that was not an option when going from 11th Gen to 12th Gen.

Those factors aside, the motherboard shipment report from Digitimes states that the real reasons for the downturn in motherboard shipments boil down to economic challenges, the cryptocurrency crash, and softening work from home sales as employees return to the workplace. A perfect storm of events, if you will.

Here's a breakdown of motherboard shipments from the Big Four...
  • ASUS: 13.6 million units in 2022 versus 18+ million in 2021 (24.4 percent decline)
  • Gigabyte: 9.5 million units in 2022 versus 11 million in 2021 (13.6 percent decline)
  • MSI: 5.5 million units in 2022 versus 9.5 million in 2021 (42.1 percent decline)
  • ASRock: 2.7 million units in 2022 versus 6 million in 2021 (55 percent decline)
ASRock suffered the steepest drop in shipments when sorting by percentages, followed by MSI. Meanwhile, ASUS continues to be the biggest player, though it was Gigabyte that saw the smallest decline at 13.6 percent. Gigabyte also managed to narrow the gap with ASUS from 7 million units in 2021 to 4.1 million units in 2022.

It's conceivable that motherboard deals will show up as suppliers and retailers look to move more units. You can already find some if you look around. For example, this ASRock ROG Strix Z790-A Gaming motherboard is on sale for $344.99 at Amazon after coupon (save $35), while this MSI Pro X670-P WiFi model is marked down to $269.99 (save $30).