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.

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