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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  • YB1064 - Wednesday, June 24, 2020 - link

    Underwhelming at best. Why would anybody go for this over EPYC?
  • Jorgp2 - Wednesday, June 24, 2020 - link

  • extide - Wednesday, June 24, 2020 - link

    This doesn't even compete with Threadripper, much less Epyc. This chipset allows you to use LGA1200 Xeons which are identical to the 10th gen Core series plus ECC support -- which is essentially what you get with regular Ryzen line -- except the regular ryzen line goes to 16 cores and ECC is only "semi official"
  • foobaz - Wednesday, June 24, 2020 - link

    The Xeon has one minor advantage over Ryzen - the Xeon does both ECC and integrated graphics. Ryzen APUs can't do ECC, so if you want ECC, you need to pair a Ryzen without integrated graphics with either a discrete GPU or a motherboard with onboard graphics like the X470D4U.
  • PixyMisa - Wednesday, June 24, 2020 - link

    For a server though, you want BMC, so you want a motherboard like the X470D4U.

    And for a workstation, in most cases you want discrete graphics.
  • abeetz - Sunday, January 23, 2022 - link

    For one, the W480 Vision W from Gigabyte includes AMT, as far as I can tell. Some are selling it as a workstation board, and the W-1370 / 1370P CPUs are positioned as workstation processors. But I don't see any downside to using this as a pretty beefy server. It does have a fancy audio section, but that in itself shouldn't disqualify server use. Happy to get anyone else's take on this here. Saying this, of course, because I was able to get a hold of that motherboard + W-1370P CPU, both currently rare, and am considering them as a server for a small business whose network I run.
  • abeetz - Sunday, January 23, 2022 - link

    Correction - I meant that some are selling it as a SERVER board...
  • 0ldman79 - Wednesday, June 24, 2020 - link

    When you're talking servers the dinky GPU doesn't factor in.

    The price difference between the Intel and AMD line they can more than afford to toss in any motherboard-integrated GPU they can think of.

    I'd say 99% of the time the server GPU is only used during initial setup and config. Everything is remote managed.

    I even go so far as to disconnect the mouse, keyboard and monitor on almost every server I set up. Keeps the business owner's kids from screwing with it.

    The iGPU is not a deciding factor in a server purchase.
  • eek2121 - Wednesday, June 24, 2020 - link

    I don’t know about that. Ryzen chips can do ECC, I actually haven’t looked at whether the APUs have a different memory controller, but all Ryzen chips support ECC. My X570 board let’s me enable it via the BIOS (F20a, AMD CBS menu).
  • Slash3 - Thursday, June 25, 2020 - link

    Pro series APUs do support ECC, but non-Pro APUs do not.

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