Asus ProArt B550-Creator Review | PCMag


It is rare to find AMD motherboards with Thunderbolt ports of any flavor. Thunderbolt, which is an Intel-backed specification for connecting high-speed external devices, appears almost exclusively on Intel platforms. While researching for this review, we could only find a handful of AMD motherboards that support Thunderbolt of any type, with the Asus ProArt B550-Creator tested here the only one that offers the latest flavor, Thunderbolt 4. . And it comes with of them of these ports too! This makes the ProArt B550-Creator a rather rare PCB. Better yet, at $ 299.99, it’s one of the more affordable cards to ship with Thunderbolt 4 on either side of the processor aisle. If Thunderbolt 4 is a must-have feature in your next PC release, this Asus motherboard is worth considering, and a done if you like Ryzen.

Design: the art of the minimalist school

While this ATX form factor card has “Art” in its name, its appearance is far from flowery. Asus targets its ProArt motherboards as products for businesses and content creation experts, and for those use cases a sharper aesthetic makes more sense.

You can trust our reviews

Since 1982, PCMag has tested and rated thousands of products to help you make better purchasing decisions. (Read our editorial mission.)

Diagonal Asus ProArt B550-Creator

(Photo: Michael Sexton)

The ProArt B550-Creator includes a black PCB with black heat sinks on the VRMs, chipset, and M.2 slots. The rear I / O shroud is also black, but it’s made of an opaque plastic that leaves some of the components underneath barely visible.

Asus ProArt B550-Creator PCIe

(Photo: Michael Sexton)

While the look is mostly monotonous, I actually like its straightforward design language. Nowadays, it seems like a lot of companies think everything has to have LEDs and chrome. The heat sinks on the M.2 slots are a bit more striking than I would like, but overall I don’t think the look of the card will turn anyone away.

Asus ProArt B550-Creator Ports and Headers

(Photo: Michael Sexton)

VRM heat sinks certainly don’t seem inadequate or undersized, and these are two of the most important cooling parts on any board. The ProArt uses a 12 + 2 power phase design which is comparable to what you will find on many midrange gaming cards. The B550 chipset also supports overclocking, so you can even take your CPU up a notch without overloading VRMs.

A look at networking and audio

Asus has integrated two Intel i225-V 2.5 Mbps Ethernet controllers into the ProArt B550-Creator. This is great networking hardware for the price, given the card’s position as a mid-range enterprise solution. There’s no built-in Wi-Fi, and there’s also no M.2 Key E header on board, which means you’ll need to get a USB dongle or Wi-Fi card. PCI Express Fi to add a wireless network.

One of the chipmaker’s most popular audio codecs, Realtek’s S1220A handles audio output on the ProArt B550-Creator. The S1220A chip supports 120dB signal-to-noise ratio for stereo playback output and connects to five 3.5mm audio jacks on the rear I / O panel to support up to one audio system 7.1. As is common on many modern boards, the audio codec and most of the audio hardware are separated from the rest of the motherboard components. It helps to reduce noise.

The rear I / O panel and internal headers

One place where the ProArt B550-Creator stands out is its rear I / O panel, thanks to the two Thunderbolt 4 USB Type-C ports discussed earlier. As mentioned, these ports are very rare on mainstream cards in this price range and even more so on AMD platforms, but they make sense for a business card, as a business is more likely to benefit from two of these ports. These high-speed connectors for connecting fast-disk Thunderbolt arrays or high-end content creation monitors using Thunderbolt or USB-C.

Asus ProArt B550-Creator rear I / O panel

(Photo: Michael Sexton)

The I / O panel also includes four USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A ports and two slower USB 2.0 ports, the latter for input devices. You’ll also find the usual five 3.5mm audio jacks, an optical S / PDIF connector, two Ethernet ports, and HDMI and DisplayPort video outputs. The latter two are only useful if you’re using a Ryzen G series processor with Radeon on-chip graphics, like the Ryzen 7 5700G. (Keep in mind that most AMD Ryzen processors require an associated graphics card.)

The placement of the ports is, on the whole, excellent and helps make building a system on the B550-Creator a relatively painless process. The processor power connectors, surrounded by heat sinks and the I / O shroud, are a bit difficult to access – what else new? – but the processor fan headers are all placed to the right of the top heatsink. This makes them easier to see and reach than on many other maps.

Overhead Asus ProArt B550-Creator

(Photo: Michael Sexton)

One disappointing aspect of the ProArt B550-Creator’s design is that there are only four SATA 3.0 ports. Certainly, the SATA interface for storage devices has lost its importance in recent years, as M.2 Key M slots gradually take over as the primary connections for SSD drives, so if it was a question of ‘a game card, I would probably give the few ports a pass. But for an enterprise solution, the low number of SATA 3.0 ports could be missing. on the same score with its internal headers and ports.

Note that four SATA ports will suffice for the needs of many users, but that’s less than what a typical consumer ATX motherboard offers. This makes this card a poor choice for customers with large internal storage needs, especially if they rely on the cheap mass storage offered by 3.5 inch hard drives.

Asus ProArt B550-Creator ports

(Photo: Michael Sexton)

Speaking of M.2 Key M slots for fast SSDs, you have two of them on this card, which slightly compensates for the reduced number of SATA ports. The primary M.2 Key M slot supports a PCI Express 4.0 x4 connection, while the secondary slot uses the older PCIe 3.0 x4, but both support data transfer speeds well above SATA 3.0 .

A brief BIOS overview

The BIOS of the ProArt B550-Creator is almost identical to what we have seen on other recent Asus motherboards. The most notable difference between ProArt’s BIOS and that of most Republic of Gamers (ROG) cards is its blue rather than red color scheme.

Asus ProArt B550-Creator EZ BIOS Mode

BIOS Overclocking Asus ProArt B550-Creator

The card initially boots into a BIOS in EZ mode that displays basic system information about the card, RAM, and processor. You can adjust the boot order and set a memory profile here, as well as change fan settings and turn the system LEDs on or off. One notable missing feature on this page is an option to flash BIOS.

BIOS tools Asus ProArt B550-Creator

In the BIOS in advanced mode there are a myriad of commands, the most important of which (since this is a B550 chipset board) are options to overclock the CPU and RAM. There are also tools built into the BIOS Advanced menu to safely erase data from an SSD that you want to dispose of or reuse.

Verdict: A rare thunderbird

With its two Thunderbolt 4 ports, a sight rarely seen on an AMD motherboard, the ProArt B550-Creator fills a very specific market niche. While this isn’t the first AMD motherboard to support Thunderbolt, it is one of the few, and its dual Thunderbolt 4 ports are rare, even among Intel cards. Providing them while avoiding the exorbitant price of the board is quite a feat. The list price of the B550-Creator of $ 299.99 isn’t outrageous.

Asus ProArt B550-Creator build

(Photo: Michael Sexton)

That said, it remains a specialized product. If you don’t need Thunderbolt 4, many more affordable AMD B550 motherboards also have feature parity with the ProArt B550-Creator. But if you use a lot of external drives, we highly recommend this card. Indeed, if you want both Thunderbolt 4 and Ryzen at the same time, this is your best and only bet.

Lab Report to get the latest reviews and top product advice delivered right to your inbox.","first_published_at":"2021-09-30T21:24:30.000000Z","published_at":"2021-09-30T21:24:30.000000Z","last_published_at":"2021-09-30T21:24:08.000000Z","created_at":null,"updated_at":"2021-09-30T21:24:30.000000Z"})" x-show="showEmailSignUp()" class="rounded bg-gray-lightest text-center md:px-32 md:py-8 p-4 font-brand mt-8 container-xs">
Do you like what you read ?

Register for Laboratory report to get the latest reviews and best product tips delivered straight to your inbox.

This newsletter may contain advertising, offers or affiliate links. Signing up for a newsletter indicates your consent to our terms of service and privacy policy. You can unsubscribe from newsletters at any time.


Comments are closed.