The Asus ProArt B550 Creator is, as the name implies, designed with the content creator in mind. It sports dual Thunderbolt 4 ports (still a rarity among AMD boards), DisplayPort input, dual 2.5 GbE, as well a VRM capable of supporting our Ryzen 9 5950X CPU at stock and while overclocked. While looks aren’t at the top of the list, the board’s black color and gold accents fit in with most build themes, but aren’t likely a focal point considering the lack of RGB lighting.
At $299.99 from Newegg, the ProArt B550 Creator is a mid-range board that offers many features at a price that won’t leave your wallet empty. The Creator includes four SATA ports and memory support listed to DDR4 4866+(OC). It also has a premium audio codec in the Realtek ALC1220A. It’s a well-rounded board overall, with a focus on creators and professionals, but it still works well for more general users.
In our performance testing, the B550 Creator was average. In some tests it did well, including compression and PCMark. However, in tests like Cinebench and the multi-core testing in POV-Ray, it was on the slower side of average. No scores were alarmingly out of line, but the board held our CPU back a bit out of the box. It is made for work more so than overclocking, so being a bit tighter is expected. It’s nothing some tweaking can’t resolve, but worth noting nonetheless.
We were able to overclock our Ryzen 9 5950X to 4.4 GHz, setting 1.3V in the BIOS without issue. Overclocking is limited by your cooler and not the board, which is ideal. While I certainly wouldn’t use sub-ambient cooling here, the VRM is plenty capable. We were also able to run all 32GB of memory at DDR4 3600 at a 1:1 ratio, which bodes well for performance for those creators who need lots of fast RAM. Read on for more details on the features and see if the ProArt B550 Creator earns a spot on our best AMD motherboards list.
Specifications - Asus ProArt B550 Creator
|Voltage Regulator||12 Phase (12+2, 50A MOSFETs for Vcore)|
|Video Ports||(1) HDMI (v2.1)|
|(2) Thunderbolt 4 USB Type-C|
|(1) DisplayPort (v1.2, input for TB4 ports)|
|USB Ports||(2) Thunderbolt 4, Type-C (40 Gbps)|
|(4) USB 3.2 Gen 2, Type-A (10 Gbps)|
|(2) USB 2.0 (480 Mbps)|
|Network Jacks||(2) 2.5 GbE|
|Audio Jacks||(5) Analog + SPDIF|
|PCIe x16||(2) v4.0 (x16, x8/x8)|
|(1) v3.0 (x4)|
|PCIe x1||(2) v3.0 (x1)|
|CrossFire/SLI||AMD 3-Way/2-Way CrossfireX|
|DIMM slots||(4) DDR4 4866+(OC), 128GB Capacity|
|M.2 slots||(1) PCIe 4.0 x4 (64 Gbps) / PCIe + SATA (up to 110mm)|
|(1) PCIe 3.0 x4 (32 Gbps) / PCIe + SATA (up to 110mm)|
|SATA Ports||(4) SATA3 6 Gbps (RAID 0, 1 and 10)|
|USB Headers||(1) USB v3.2 Gen 2, Type-C (10 Gbps)|
|(1) USB v3.2 Gen 1 (5 Gbps)|
|(2) USB v2.0 (480 Mbps)|
|Fan/Pump Headers||(7) 4-Pin|
|RGB Headers||(2) aRGB (3-pin)|
|(2) RGB (4-pin)|
|Diagnostics Panel||Post Status Checker (4 LEDs)|
|Ethernet Controller(s)||Intel I225-V (2.5 Gbps)|
|Wi-Fi / Bluetooth||✗|
|HD Audio Codec||Realtek ALC1220A|
|DDL/DTS Connect||✗ / ✗|
Opening up the box, along with the motherboard, we find a set of accessories designed to get your PC up and running without a trip to the store. Asus includes a couple of SATA cables and a DisplayPort-to-DisplayPort cable, along with your typical M.2 screws and support media. Below is a list of all included accessories.
- (2) SATA cables
- DP to DP cable (for TB4)
- M.2 rubber package
- Installation media
- User manual
- Support/Driver CD
- ACC Express Activation key card
Looking at the B550 Creator closely for the first time, we see a matte-black board with oversized black VRM heatsinks and gold highlights. The chipset sports a clear plexi top, with the ProArt branding on top. The VRM heatsinks and IO cover also sport gold highlights. The board includes slot reinforcement for two PCIe sockets, but the RAM sockets are bare. If you’re looking for integrated RGB lighting, you’ll have to use the onboard headers, as the board doesn’t include native RGBs. Overall, the ProArt B550 Creator looks like a ‘creator’ type board with more function over form. That said, it won’t detract from the look of your build. But it won’t be a focal point either.
Starting at the top half of the board, we get a closer look at the large VRM heatsinks and notice the smoked translucent IO cover. There are two EPS power connectors in the top left corner to power the CPU: one required 8-pin and an optional 4-pin.
To the right of the CPU socket, on the top edge of the boardm are the first three (of seven) 4-pin fan headers. Each header supports output up to 1A/12W and controls both DC and PWM fans. While there are plenty of headers, I would like to see at least one that outputs more than 12W, as that limits the choice of pump and number of fans. Worth noting: The AIO pump header runs at full speed. Just to the right of these is the first RGB header, in this case a 4-pin RGB. The others are scattered around the board.
Below these few headers are the four single-side locking RAM slots. The board supports up to 128GB of RAM with speeds listed up to DDR4 4866+(OC) when using a 5000 series processor. Along the right edge and working our way down the board, we come across the Q-LEDs that tell you where the board is in the POST process. If there is a problem in any of these steps (Boot, VGA, RAM or CPU), that specific LED remains lit up, notifying you where the problem is. Since there isn’t a 2-character post code LED, this is a good value-add for troubleshooting POST/boot issues.
Below these is another RGB header (3-pin ARGB), a chassis fan header, the 24-pin ATX connector to power the board, and finally, a front-panel USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-C header.
Moving on to the VRM, Asus strapped a 14-phase (12+2) configuration on to the B550 Creator. Power is sent from the EPS connectors to the Asus Digi EPU chip (ASP1106JGQW) six-channel controller for Vcore. Power then goes through the 50A Vishay Sic639 MOSFETs. In this case, three are teamed together from one signal for Vcore. The 600A available to the CPU isn’t the most we’ve seen with this class of board. However, it proved to be plenty for stock and overclocked operations, and the large VRM heatsinks kept things running well within specification.
Next is the bottom of the board, where we find the audio bits, PCIe and M.2 storage and more. Starting on the left side, we see a faraday cage labeled Crystal Sound, covering the Realtek ALC1220 codec. along with the common audio separation line running up the edge. Surrounding the codec are several audio caps. Although this isn’t the latest and greatest audio chip available, an overwhelming majority should find this solution acceptable.
In the middle of the board are three full-length PCIe slots and two PCIe x1 slots. The two for video cards are reinforced to help prevent shearing from heavy video cards and protects against EMI. These slots are both fed from the CPU and PCIe 4.0 capable. The top slot runs at x16 and the bottom maxes at x8. When both slots are in use, they break down to x8/x8, supporting AMD CrossfireX multi-GPU only (no SLI is listed, even though the lane breakdown supports it).
The bottom full-length slot is PCIe 3.0 x4 and shares bandwidth with the Thunderbolt ports. If the slot is populated, Thunderbolt will have no output. The small PCIe slots source their lanes from the chipset, running PCIe 3.0 x1 speeds sharing bandwidth with M.2_2. In the BIOS. You can change the settings of this M.2 socket to x4 (default) or x2 to allow both the slot and socket to work, albeit with limited bandwidth. What’s unique about these is the latching mechanism. Gone are the tiny screws that are a pain to get on without dropping in the case or the carpet. Instead you get pre-mounted latches that simply twist over the M.2 modulem holding it in place. I’d like to see this feature on all boards as it makes it way easier to install and remove drives.
Located on top of the primary PCIe slot is the first (of two) M.2 sockets. This socket supports PCIe 4.0 x4 and SATA modes using up to a 110mm module. The second slot, located below the chipset heatsink, also supports both SATA- and PCIe-based modules. However, this socket is connected via the chipset and supports a maximum of PCIe 3.0 x4 speeds. I would like to have seen a third M.2 socket on the board, as fast storage is critical for many creators. That said, the B550 platform just doesn’t have enough lanes to go around between Thunderbolt, storage, and PCIe lanes. If you need morem as well as Thunderbolt connectivity, you’ll have to look at X570-based motherboards or, of course, opt for an Intel platform where Thunderbolt is more common.
Continuing right, we’ll skip over the chipset heatsink and start on the right edge. Here we see a horizontal front panel USB 3.2 Gen1 port and four SATA ports oriented the same way. In total, you can run four SATA drives and two M.2 drives of any type together.
Across the bottom are several headers, including USB ports and RGB headers. Here’s the complete list, from left to right:
- Front panel audio
- COM header
- Chassis fan header
- (2) RGB headers (aRGB and RGB)
- Chassis fan header
- 2-pin Temperature sensor
- (2) USB 2.0 headers
- Clear CMOS jumper
- Front panel
As we shift focus around to the rearIO, we see a black pre-installed IO plate that matches the board’s theme. From left to right, we spy a legacy PS/2 port, and below it two USB 2.0 ports. To the right are four USB 3.2 Gen2 ports (teal) along with a BIOS Flashback button. Below this are the two Thunderbolt4 USB Type-C ports, while above those are the two Intel I225-V Ethernet ports. Continuing right, we run into a DisplayPort input (for use with TB4 ports/video) along with an HDMI (v2.1) output. Finally, on the far right is the 5-plug plus SPDIF audio stack.
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