ASRock W480 Creator

The W480 Creator is ASRock's solitary W480 offering at present and has a range of features. Marketed towards content creators, the ASRock W480 has a stacked ATX sized frame with three PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2 slots, six SATA ports, two Thunderbolt 3 Type-C ports, and a reliable integrated audio solution which includes a Realtek ALC1220 HD audio codec and ESS SABRE9128 DAC designed to improve front panel audio.

The ASRock W480 Creator follows a simple and elegant silver and black design, with two large power delivery heatsink connected by a single heat pipe, and a large aluminium rear panel cover. There are three full-length PCIe 3.0 slots which operate at x16, x8/x8, and x8/x8/+x4, with two PCIe 2.0 x1 slots. For storage, the board includes three PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2 slots which each consists of a heatsink, and eight SATA ports in total, while only six include support for 0, 1, 5, and 10 arrays. There is a total of four memory slots with support for up to DDR4-4600, and up to a maximum capacity of 128 GB. This includes support for both ECC and non-ECC memory modules, although support is dependant on the processor used.

On the rear panel is a stacked out range of input and output which is spearheaded by two Thunderbolt 3 USB Type-C ports with two mini DisplayPort inputs. Other USB connectivity includes three USB 3.2 G2 Type-A, one USB 3.2 G2 Type-C and four USB 3.2 G1 Type-A ports, with a clear CMOS and BIOS Flashback button pairing. The onboard audio consists of five 3.5 mm audio jacks and S/PDIF optical output which is controlled by a Realtek ALC1220 HD audio codec. At the same time, an ESS SABRE9128 DAC assists the codec on the front panel audio header. Networking support is strong with two Ethernet ports, one controlled by an Aquantia AQC107 10 GbE Ethernet controller and the other by an Intel I225LM 2.5 GbE controller. There is also integrated Wi-Fi 6 which is driven by an Intel module, but the model isn't specified; this also supports connectivity with BT 5.1 devices. Finishing off the rear panel is a single HDMI 1.4 video output.

The ASRock W480 Creator is a very high-end model which, although it is aimed at content creators in marketing, it is a solid option for workstation users too. With premium dual Ethernet including a 10 GbE and 2.5 GbE pairing, with a Wi-Fi 6 interface and a Thunderbolt 3 controller, it does tick many boxes for what a flagship desktop model should include. Whether the aim is to create a top of the range gaming system with a premium controller set or opt for Intel's Xeon and Xeon-W processors, it's not likely the W480 will come cheap.

Update: ASRock has given us the MSRP: $450.

Intel W480 Chipset Overview ASRock Rack W480D4U
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  • duploxxx - Thursday, June 25, 2020 - link

    Intel don't need to compete with threadripper. This workstation chipset will move to all default OEM workstations as usual. OEM that are affraid to change anything on there portfolio because of R&D funding budgets from Intel to keep using there chipsets and cpu. IT will swallow it anyhow as they see still Intel as the only fit for business.... and also because the decision body is most of the time led by people who are sitting far to long at an IT desk thinking they still know anything about HW. 100000's of these workstations will just be business as usual, CVE, underwhelming core performance vs competition, heat, it does not matter the only thing OEM (Dell, HPinc, ...) will offer are Intel based workstation. We use 1000's a year asking several years to get an alternative into the Z offering from HPinc to getdecent pricing on +10 cores …. the only answer is "we will look into it"
  • Dr_b_ - Monday, September 21, 2020 - link

    "This doesn't even compete with Threadripper, much less Epyc."

    Its not trying to. TR and EPYC are in a different cost tier entirely. Why would you buy a TR or EPYC and pay more, if you didn't need the number of cores or lanes they offered, and if your workloads weren't going to utilize those cores or lanes. And if you needed those cores and lanes, you wouldn't be looking at this segment. Think edge computing tasks, SMB, storage, virtualization.

    Intel also offers stability, and an IPC advantage, at least for now. Maybe ZEN3 comes along and changes the game, at least in terms of IPC, but the jury is still out on stability. Poor QA, insufficient testing and qualification, and really bad software, seems to be a systemic issue at AMD.
  • edzieba - Wednesday, June 24, 2020 - link

    Different use-cases. If you buy a workstation with the attitude of "more cores must be more better!" you will very likely end up wasting money on a system that does not perform as well as one chosen for the tasks you will be performing.
  • Deicidium369 - Wednesday, June 24, 2020 - link

    Most people who opt for this board will use it as a small office server - and most would not even need to expand. Add a couple sticks of ECC or not memory, a couple of SATA drive and they would be set. several USB3.2 ports, 2.5Gb/s Ethernet and integrated graphics. Perfect small business server.
  • MDD1963 - Saturday, June 27, 2020 - link

    had a person on a forum tentatively planning on using an X299/ i9-7900X as the basis for a simple home media/file server build....(undoubtedly on a 1 GbE network at home, no less)
  • Samus - Wednesday, June 24, 2020 - link

    I think the lack of PCIe 4.0 is the sole deal breaker. Intel has it on their high end server platforms, why hasn't this filtered down to the'd think they would just tweak the same chipset - the silicon support IS THERE in Comet Lake CPU's as they have already announced Rocket Lake (the same microarchitecture as Comet Lake) will support PCIe 4.0 later this year. I mean what is that going to require yet another chipset?

    Two totally different platform launched in the same year, really Intel?
  • Deicidium369 - Wednesday, June 24, 2020 - link

    Vast majority of small businesses who would opt for this CPU could care less about PCIe4 or more cores.

    Rocket Lake S will be built on the same process as Comet Lake - but will be basically a Tiger Lake in architecture (Willow Cove, Xe LP 24EU). Z490 will support PCIe4 on some boards - but Rocket Lake will launch with the Z590 which will be PCIe4. Will be great to finally have PCIe4 reach mainstream status. Same LGA1200 socket, different chipsets.
  • Samus - Wednesday, June 24, 2020 - link

    You are joking right? Why would somebody buy a high end workstation in June 2020 with PCIe 3.0, when PCIe 4.0 SSD's have been out for months and even the PlayStation 5, a VIDEOGAME CONSOLE, will have a PCIe 4.0 SSD next year, all the while Intel will be revising these CPU's and presumably the chipset around PCIe 4.0 within 6 months?

    Anybody buying into this platform is getting screwed. To say someone who wants a W1200 doesn't care about PCIe 4.0 is as ridiculous as saying someone who buys a Corvette doesn't care about 0-60.
  • PixyMisa - Wednesday, June 24, 2020 - link

    Intel themselves are selling PCIe 4.0 SSDs. They just don't have anything that can use them at that speed.
  • Foeketijn - Thursday, June 25, 2020 - link

    No. These servers are the cheapest servers. That is the sole purpose. You want high end? You need a different platform. Box from the shelve. Install Windows server. Done.
    No upgrades, no performance parts. Just run it as long as it runs.

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