Our session with David Chien began with the marketing line of ECS as a company, and the goals which they strive to achieve.  Any media situation such as this is an opportunity for any company to reel off the positive numbers rather than the negative – for example, we were informed that ECS is experiencing a 5% growth on their product sales quarter on quarter, compared to the tech industry standard of 3-4% (unfortunately I cannot verify this, it is an ECS figure).



In his initial pitch, he stated that ECS have plans for tablets – by developing Intel as a strategic partner, they are planning to produce a seven inch and a ten inch tablet using the Oak Trail platform with the MeeGo operating system.  These are due around September.  Also in the works are the promotion of their All-in-One SKUs, the G10 and G11, featuring Sandy Bridge platforms – presumably the mobile chipsets.

In terms of Motherboards and VGAs, he was keen to stress that consumers are being well looked after, despite OEM sales being more than 75% of ECS sales in total.  He mentioned several times the new eBoost technology that ECS are bringing to the AMD platforms, including A75, which offers at the touch of a button an automatic 33% overclock.  This sounds a relatively impressive feature to support across such a chipset, meaning that the power delivery across the range must be strong enough.  He did not state whether this was a CPU or iGPU overclock though, but liked to point out that it gave a 2x GPU score boost, quoting a score of 8000 over 4000 at stock – but surprisingly enough, no mention of a benchmark.  Then there was also the hint at a Haswell mini-ITX in the works.

In terms of the Q&A, unfortunately my sounder recorder was malfunctioning and so I cannot quote David word for word, however, I will summarize the questions asked at the Q&A session as accurately as I can.  Those marked IC are ones I asked (which happened to be numerous) in the time allowed.

Q: Is ECS coming out with a Tegra 2 system with Android?

A: ECS believes there are limitations with the Android system, seeing it more as a smartphone platform rather than an OS geared towards tablets.  Microsoft has been relatively slow in coming to the market with an appropriate OS version for tablets, but ECS are tentatively waiting for Windows 8 to be available, and combining it with an Oak Trail platform.  Until then, SKUs will be shipped with MeeGo – with the 10 inch primarily for the EU/NA markets, and the 7 inch for Asia.

IC: In terms of market research, how does ECS determine future markets?

A: Internally, we get our departments to work with each other and with our customers to define future products – especially in terms of our OEM sales.  It is important to stress that in most product segments, people only remember the top five – for example with motherboards, people remember ASUS, Gigabyte, ASRock, ECS/MSI (IC: depending on region), and then maybe one other who in reality has a minimal market share.  So it is hard to break into new markets quickly, and be one of the products that people remember.

Q: In terms of Latin America, what steps are you taking to provide consumers with products?

A: (Note, DC talks mainly about Brazil here and was possibly a bit confused) In certain countries, such as Brazil, the government discourages imports from non-native companies by taxing those imports very heavily – they like to keep products from within their own state.  As a result, ECS are working heavily with local partners in order to ensure our product reaches retail at reasonable prices to our competitors.  In terms of Latin America, we are number one in selling to OEMs, and in Eastern Europe, we are number four.

IC: How many motherboard units are you projected to sell in 2011 and 2012?

A: In terms of growth, we are seeing a 5% increase in quarter to quarter sales, compared with the 3-4% growth the industry and Intel is seeing.  This is in part due to the release of the iPad 2, which has decreased sales to netbook providers, but also due to the Japan earthquake which has caused certain shortages in electronics production.  But ECS are still the number three seller to OEMs worldwide.

IC: ECS were initially an OEM retailer – how as ECS overcome the dogma of ‘standard’ products into producing enthusiast level equipment?

A: For ECS, there are two extremes in terms of motherboards in particular – on one level there are the OEMs, and on the other there are the enthusiasts.  Particularly to the enthusiasts, branding is very important – that is why we will be promoting the specifications of our products and technologies such as eBoost for our AMD platforms.  As a comparison, ECS want to be seen like we see Toyota – stable at a reasonable price.  However, we are obviously looking to the future of enthusiasts and overclockers.

IC: ECS currently sell VGA cards, but only using the standard reference design and coolers.  Are ECS planning to expand this range to custom PCB and cooler designs?

A: The VGA market is very dangerous and volatile at this time – with Intel’s Sandy Bridge graphics and AMD’s APU solutions providing proportionally more performance every generation.  To proceed beyond the reference designs, we need to move step-by-step, which requires a great deal of time and money.

Unfortunately, there was no more time to ask questions, even though I still had several planned.

ECS HQ – Hospitality ECS at Computex
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  • jigglywiggly - Saturday, June 11, 2011 - link

    Here is our troll center where we ship defective products to consumers.
  • StormyParis - Saturday, June 11, 2011 - link

    I don't have quality issues with ECS boards. They're nice, basic ones. I actually quite like them: the lack of overclocking options prevents us from goofing with them. I had several issues with Asus boards.
  • yyrkoon - Sunday, June 12, 2011 - link

    Yeah I dont have problem with ECS either. Asrock on the other hand . . .

    Most of the people I repair systems for just want to cheap out, and in a lot of cases ECS has the least expensive boards around. Never had a problem with ESC like stability issues, or DoA boards. Like what can happened fro mthe two "A" company brands often enough for me to never put one of those boards in a personal system.

    MSI also often has very reliable boards.

    One more thing I have to mention. Is that "top performing" motherboards means very little, if that performance gap is tiny. Which is usually the case. 5-10% performance gap is only noticeable if you're bench marking. And, if that 5-10% performance gap means using an unreliable motherboard. That performance gaps means *nothing*.

    My definition of reliable means that a system, with all it's components will run indefinitely without any issues pertaining to the hardware. That means, if the system soft resets, blue screens, etc EVER. That is what I consider unreliable. Many Asrock boards used to classify in this category. I could care less what features they have, how cheap the cost, and how well they perform.

    ECS, if you're paying attention to the comments here. Keep up the good work, and please continue to give us a decently reliable product for a fair price.
  • Kim Leo - Saturday, June 11, 2011 - link

    Omg I laughed so hard.. I have to agree, I've never had a good experience with ECS products. Supposedly they have improved, but it will be long while before I buy another ECS motherboard.
  • Samus - Monday, June 13, 2011 - link

    K7S5A was the best motherboard I've ever owned, and it has a SIS 735 chipset.

    The fact that ECS was able to extract that level of performance and stability from the 735 is remarkable. That was 10 years ago, too. It was even compatible with my fiberchannel Adaptec SCSI controller...which had boot problems in the Intel Intel 815e board I later put it in.
  • AssBall - Monday, June 13, 2011 - link

    I have had good success with ECS motherboard builds too. They are reliable and don't have an excess of bullshit extras when you are building something simple and inexpensive, and easy to troubleshoot for friends and family who aren't enthusiasts.

    I think Ian criticized ECS fairly harshly considering how succesful they have been in an incredibly competitive market. It was a good article though and what a treat it would be to have a free tour of their Taipei offices.

    I don't think a logo that changes color is a gimmick. I think it is kinda cool, and I thought I was the curmudgeon...
  • Oxford Guy - Sunday, June 12, 2011 - link

    I've had two ECS motherboards. One of them, a really old RS-482M-754 is still in use. I didn't have problems with either of them. I don't know about the second board because I gave the system to someone I don't speak to anymore. But, the last time we did speak, which was several years after he had had the system, he said it worked fine.

    Just don't try to overclock them!
  • ChadnSteff - Saturday, June 11, 2011 - link

    I'm with SHUD BE on this one. I'm not giving ECS another dime until people I know have received good products from them. The last few mobos I had from them were absolutely rubbish and their support was the pits. My friend who runs IT at the local university newspaper had similar experiences, and most of the hardware sites seem to need to be invited to these tours in order for any decent pr to be had. I'll stick with ASUS thanks.
  • havoti97 - Saturday, June 11, 2011 - link

    I bought an ECS video card, which promptly crapped out within the 3 year warranty period. Their customer support is a joke. I was directed to a broken RMA website. They never fixed nor replaced it. I would never spend another dime on the ECS brand.
  • TemjinGold - Saturday, June 11, 2011 - link

    Honestly, if ECS or any other motherboard/graphics card company wants more sales, what they need to do is to offer reliable products and stellar customer service. Bad service and poor word of mouth is what's killing these companies. If I hear about some revolutionary technology coming out from them, I would just read it and say, "Oh that's interesting." But if they want my money, I need to hear about awesome service.

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