Asus M4A78-EM Motherboard
Mobo Model: M4A78-EM
Chipset: Northbridge - Graphics Controller (AMD 780G)
Southbridge - I/O Controller Hub (AMD SB700 Series)
Note that this analysis does not represent a typical teardown of an entire finished product (desktop system in this case), but rather a 'motherboard-only' analysis of a desktop motherboard. The board is a Micro-ATX form factor and features an AMD chipset solution in support of an AMD AM2+ Processor slot.
This is a custom analysis which also applies custom functional areas for a very detailed technical slice of the data. These functional areas are exceptional in their detail and do not represent standard iSuppli functional areas, but are much more detailed and offer much greater resolution in cost analysis.
Mid-market consumer or PC kitters. (This is an inexpensive board on the whole).
Exact release unknown
Pricing and Availability
Pricing - Selling for prices as low as ~$79 USD at the time of writing (Most vendors are selling around the $80-$90 USD range) - August 2009.
Availability - As with most motherboards, this one does not appear to be a 'regional' offering and should be broadly available worldwide.
For the purposes of this teardown analysis, we have assumed a lifetime production volume of 1 million units.
As a reminder, teardown volume production assumptions are primarily used for our cost analysis in terms of amortized NRE and tooling costs, especially for custom components specific to the model being analyzed (mechanical components especially). Unless assumed, volumes increment by an order of magnitude. Minor changes in volume (say 1 million vs. 2) rarely have a large net effect on our final analysis
Major Cost Drivers (Representing ~62% of total materials costs)
AMD - 215-0674028 - Northbridge - Graphics Controller (AMD 780G)
AMD - 218S7EBLA12FG - Southbridge - I/O Controller Hub (AMD SB700 Series)
Tean Electronic Co. - 4-Layer - FR4, Lead-Free
Foxconn - CPU Socket - PGA940, Thermo Plastic Housing, w/ Lever & Lock
Realtek - RTL8112 - Ethernet Controller - Gigabit LAN, PCI Express
iTE - IT8712F-S - I/O Controller - Super I/O Device, w/ LPC Interface
Total BOM Cost $68.87
What Is Not Included in our Cost Analysis
The total materials and manufacturing costs reported in this analysis reflect ONLY the direct materials cost (from component vendors and assorted EMS providers), AND manufacturing with basic test. Not included in this analysis are costs above and beyond the material manufacture of the core device itself - cost of intellectual property, royalties and licensing fees (those not already included into the per component price), software, software loading and test, shipping, logistics marketing and other channel costs including not only EMS provider and the OEM's margin, but that of other resellers. Our cost analysis is meant to focus on those costs incurred in the manufacture of the core device and exceptionally in some circumstances the packaging and literature as well.
OEM/ODM/EMS Relationships / Manufacturing
Asustek recently spun off it's manufacturing units to create a separate entity Pegatron that should be producing most if not all, for now, at least, of ASUS's motherboards and electronics assemblies.
Country of Origin / Volume Assumptions
We have assumed that for this device, that not only final assembly, but also any custom mechanicals (PCBs, plastics, and metals, etc.) were all sourced or manufactured domestically in China. Most motherboard manufacturers, while based in Taiwan, are assumed to be producing the bulk of their boards in mainland China.
Country of origin assumptions relate directly to the associated cost of manufacturing, where calculated by iSuppli. In the cases of 'finished' sub-assemblies (such as chargers), we do not calculate internal manufacturing costs, but rather assess the market price of the finished product in which case country of origin assumptions may or may not have a direct effect on pricing.
The issue of labor rates was revisited in 2006 as we began to apply some research by one the major worldwide EMS suppliers and are now applying some of their research on total loaded costs by country and region to arrive at these new rates which are pronouncedly higher on the low end in China. Remember that labor rates are applied directly only to hand inserted components and systems in our bill of materials, and although regional assumptions do, these new rates do not have a direct effect on our modeled calculations of placement costs for automated SMD assembly lines.
Design for Manufacturing / Device Complexity
Motherboards from different manufacturers, even when base on identical core chipsets, tend to take varying design approaches (and implementation of various features) and therefore will vary in terms of complexity, cost and component count.
Using component counts and I/O counts, relative comparisons can be made between similar motherboards and other devices.
The Asus M4A78-EM Motherboard has a total component count of 1073.
Component counts have a direct bearing on the overall manufacturing cycle times and costs, and also can increase or decrease overall yields and re-work. Our calculations of manufacturing costs factor counts and more qualitative complexities in the design.
Note that manual labor has a much smaller effect on auto-insertion assembly lines (for the Main PCB, for example), where manufacturing costs are much more capital equipment intensive and driven by these investment costs.
Here is a summary of the major components used in the Asus M4A78-EM Motherboard design:
- AMD - 215-0674028 - Northbridge
- AMD - 218S7EBLA12FG - Southbridge
I/O & Interface
- iTE - IT8712F-S - I/O Controller
- Realtek - RTL8112 - Ethernet Controller
- Realtek - ALC887-VC2-GR - Codec
- Asus - ASP0903 - Power Management