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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  • Foeketijn - Thursday, June 25, 2020 - link

    Because the whole server is going to cost way less then 1 Epyc CPU. Reply
  • dragosmp - Wednesday, June 24, 2020 - link

    DFI

    I fondly remember a Lanparty Nforce4 AM2 board

    Most their good folks went to Biostar, I seem to remember, and then to Gigabyte. Glad to see they're still around as a company, although they may not have anything to do with the DFI of old
    Reply
  • Foeketijn - Thursday, June 25, 2020 - link

    Ah, a man of culture! Those where the hardware times. The times when the chipset mattered, and the latest CPU could do things you couldn't do with last years CPU. When the midrange GPU was affordable and still beat last years high end GPU.
    Having said that. On the CPU front AMD is making life interesting a bit lately.
    Reply
  • bolkhov - Wednesday, June 24, 2020 - link

    Gavin,

    Regarding Supermicro X12SAE: it is NOT the only ATX W480 model from Supermicro; the second one is X12SCA-F. Its main difference is BMC (hence the "-F"), thus, the IPMI/BMC mentioned in X12SAE docs are about X12SCA-F.

    In X11 lineup these mobos' predecessors were X11SAE/X11SAE-F (Skylake/Kaby) and X11SCA/X11SCA-F (Coffee). For some unknown reason in the X12 lineup this pair was separated, and current Supermicro's site is, to put it mildly, not very informative/straightforward/useful (previous version had much better information accessibility), so it isn't easy to grasp the whole W480 lineup.
    Reply
  • Foeketijn - Thursday, June 25, 2020 - link

    This chipset is for people who need a server. Which CPU? Intel I guess.
    I am wondering why so many motherboard are made. Maybe because they are a drop in replacement for the consumer chipset. So R&D cost are minimal.
    In the end 99% of those chipsets are sold by HP/Dell/Lenovo in less then 1000 bucks windows server boxes.
    If only those 3 would make the same Ryzen based servers like Asrockrack. Then still the bulk would be intel, since in this branch, hardware minded people are scarce (you did your 3 year IT course, and now you can maintain a Windows Server, as long everything goes as planned).
    Reply
  • bolkhov - Thursday, June 25, 2020 - link

    BTW, regarding ASUS Pro WS W480-Ace:
    according to User Manual, two Display Port connectors on the rear panel are NOT outputs, but are INPUTS, for those TB3s. Probably to connect discrete GPU outputs, for those to be tunneled to TB3s.

    Dunno if iGPU output pipes are routed to TB3s internally or if HDMI is the only iGPU output; the User Manual keeps silence about it.
    Reply
  • Mr Perfect - Saturday, June 27, 2020 - link

    That ASRock W480 Creator has the most impressive rear IO I've ever seen. Why don't high end desktop boards have a set like that? Reply
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