As much as bells and whistles are impressive, ASRock’s recently released X570 Aqua is extremely expensive at $1,000. But the $500 X570 Creator ($480, with a $20 rebate as of this writing) is in many ways a similar board that’s half the price. It doesn’t have the exclusivity or open-loop cooling of the flagship Aqua, but it still has a full-fledged feature set.
|Voltage Regulator||14 Phases|
|Video Ports||HDMI, DisplayPort IN, Thunderbolt 3|
|USB Ports||10 Gbps: (2) Type-C (via Thunderbolt 3) 5Gb/s: (6) Type A|
|Network Jacks||10GbE, Gigabit Ethernet, (2) Wi-Fi Antenna|
|Audio Jacks||(5) Analog, (1) Digital Out|
|Legacy Ports/Jacks||(1) PS/2|
|Other Ports/Jack||Thunderbolt 3 (40Gb/s), BIOS Flashback|
|PCIe x16||(3) v4.0 (x16/x0/x4, x8/x8/x4)|
|PCIe x1||(3) v2.0|
|CrossFire/SLI||3x / 2x|
|DIMM slots||(4) DDR4|
|M.2 slots||(2) PCIe 4.0 x4 / SATA|
|SATA Ports||(8) 6Gb/s (four via ASM1061 controllers)|
|USB Headers||(1) v3 Gen2, (2) v3 Gen1, (1) v2.0|
|Fan Headers||(5) 4-pin|
|Legacy Interfaces||System (Beep-code) Speaker|
|Other Interfaces||FP-Audio, ARGB LED, (2) RGB LED|
|Internal Button/Switch||Power, Reset, CLR_CMOS / ✗|
|SATA Controllers||(2) ASM1061 PCIe 2.0 x1, Integrated (0/1/10)|
|Ethernet Controllers||Aquantia AQC107 PCIe x4, WGI211AT PCIe|
|Wi-Fi / Bluetooth||Intel AX200 802.11ax (2.4 Gb/s) / BT 5.0 Combo|
|USB Controllers||JHL7540 Thunderbolt 3 PCIe 3.0 x4|
|HD Audio Codec||ALC1220|
|DDL/DTS Connect||DTS Connect|
Nothing in our features table differentiates this board from the X570 Aqua that went before it, but we still need to dig deeper, as those identical features have been placed on completely different circuit boards.
The lack of a monoblock and color-matched cladding gives the less-costly X570 Creator a completely different look from its feature-matched predecessor. But it does have all the same ports and slots. In fact, the lack of the Aqua’s integrated I/O shield is the only thing that differentiates the Creator’s I/O panel.
The BIOS flash mode button, dual antenna connections for factory-installed 802.11ax module, six USB3 Gen1 and two Thunderbolt 3 ports, Gigabit and 10GbE ports, audio jacks with digital optical output, DisplayPort input and HDMI output are still present. The video input is for Thunderbolt passthrough via external graphics card linking, and the digital audio output supports DTS Connect to encode 5.1-channel streams from live audio sources. The biggest disappointment is that the two Type-A ports that appear color-coded for 10Gbps but are only wired for 5Gbps.
Unlike the X570 Aqua, the Creator fits completely within the confines of standard ATX. We looked around for crowded components and found nothing unusual, though the voltage regulator and socket are both closer to the I/O shield and the chipset is closer to the PCIe slots. The same onboard controllers are in similar positions relative to each other, but with less spacing between them. We even see the same internal DisplayPort pass-through connector, which is used for connecting specific ASRock graphics cards internally to the board’s Thunderbolt 3 outputs, located forward of the I/O audio connections.
Internal power and reset buttons are moved slightly rearward to make room for the X570 Creator’s shortened front edge by moving its legacy PC Speaker/3-pin spaced redundant power LED combo header, compared to the X570 Aqua. Farther up the board we see that the ALC1220 audio codec is moved further down than on the X570 Aqua, and that the ASM1187e PCIe 2.0 x1 to x7 smart switch is now closer to the battery. Builders are welcome to use up to eight SATA devices, but the fact that four of these ports share bandwidth with three x1 slots through that switch’s single-lane 5Gb/s interface might give them pause.
The X570 Creator’s installation kit adds an I/O shield compared to the X570 Aqua, since that one came pre-installed on the motherboard. The same four SATA cables, Wi-Fi antenna, legacy high-bandwidth SLI bridge, and link cable for DisplayPort-to-Thunderbolt passthrough are included.
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