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Asus ProArt B550 Creator Review: Designed for Pros, Works for Joes

A good starter board for creators, that also works well for more general users who can make use of Thunderbolt 4 and fast Ethernet.

Asus ProArt B550 Creator
(Image: © Asus)

Firmware

I’ve been a longtime fan of the Asus UEFIsm as they are easy to get around, have a lot of options, and the most frequently accessed items are not buried deep within the menus. The ProArt board sports a black-and-teal theme and is easy to read. The EZ Mode provides enough information and options to be useful, while the Advanced part of the BIOS has everything you need, and more, to tweak your motherboard and component settings.

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Asus ProArt B550 Creator

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
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Asus ProArt B550 Creator

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
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Asus ProArt B550 Creator

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Asus ProArt B550 Creator

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Asus ProArt B550 Creator

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Asus ProArt B550 Creator

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Asus ProArt B550 Creator

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Asus ProArt B550 Creator

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Asus ProArt B550 Creator

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Asus ProArt B550 Creator

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
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Asus ProArt B550 Creator

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
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Asus ProArt B550 Creator

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Asus ProArt B550 Creator

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
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Asus ProArt B550 Creator

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Asus ProArt B550 Creator

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Asus ProArt B550 Creator

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
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Asus ProArt B550 Creator

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Asus ProArt B550 Creator

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
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Asus ProArt B550 Creator

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Asus ProArt B550 Creator

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Asus ProArt B550 Creator

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Asus ProArt B550 Creator

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Asus ProArt B550 Creator

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Asus ProArt B550 Creator

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Asus ProArt B550 Creator

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Asus ProArt B550 Creator

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Asus ProArt B550 Creator

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
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Asus ProArt B550 Creator

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Asus ProArt B550 Creator

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Asus ProArt B550 Creator

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Asus ProArt B550 Creator

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Asus ProArt B550 Creator

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Software

Asus has several applications designed for various functions, ranging from RGB lighting control, audio, system monitoring, overclocking and more. Instead of plodding through each application as if it changes for each review, we’ll capture several screenshots of a few major utilities moving forward. In this case, here’s a look at Ai Suite 3, Armoury Crate and the Realtek Audio application.

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Asus ProArt B550 Creator

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
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Asus ProArt B550 Creator

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Asus ProArt B550 Creator

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Asus ProArt B550 Creator

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Asus ProArt B550 Creator

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Asus ProArt B550 Creator

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Asus ProArt B550 Creator

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Asus ProArt B550 Creator

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Asus ProArt B550 Creator

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Asus ProArt B550 Creator

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Asus ProArt B550 Creator

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Test System / Comparison Products

As of July 2021, we’ve updated our test system to Windows 10 64-bit OS (20H2) with all threat mitigations applied. We also upgraded our video card and driver to an Asus TUF RTX 3070 using version 461.40. Additionally, our game selection changed, as noted in the chart below. We use the latest non-beta motherboard BIOS available to the public unless otherwise noted. The hardware used is as follows:

Test Sytem Components
CPUAMD Ryzen R9 5950X
MemoryGSkill Trident Z Neo 2x8GB DDR4 3600 (F4-3600C16Q-32GTZN)
GPUAsus TUF RTX 3070
CoolingCorsair H150i
PSUCorsair AX1200i
SoftwareWindows 10 64-bit 20H2
Graphics DriverNVIDIA Driver 461.40
SoundIntegrated HD audio
NetworkIntegrated Networking (GbE or 2.5 GbE)

Benchmark Settings
Synthetic Benchmarks and Settings
PCMark 10Version 2.1.2177 64
Essentials, Productivity, Digital Content Creation, MS Office
3DMarkVersion 2.11.6866 64
Firestrike Extreme and Time Spy Default Presets
Cinebench R20Version RBBENCHMARK271150
Open GL Benchmark - Single and Multi-threaded
Application Tests and Settings
LAME MP3Version SSE2_2019
Mixed 271MB WAV to mp3: Command: -b 160 --nores (160Kb/s)
HandBrake CLIVersion: 1.2.2
Sintel Open Movie Project: 4.19GB 4K mkv to x264 (light AVX) and x265 (heavy AVX)
Corona 1.4Version 1.4
Custom benchmark
7-ZipVersion 19.00
Integrated benchmark
Game Tests and Settings
Far Cry: New DawnUltra Preset - 1920 x 1080
Far Cry: New DawnUltra Preset - 1920 x 1080

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  • HideOut
    dual thunderbolt is NOT worth $125. You can find boards with one 2.5g and more sata and such WITH 12xx autio for $150 all day. If you want more LAN bandwidth you can get all that + 10gb ethernet for alot less too, and get more M2 ports and sata ports. This board makes no sense to me.

    Here is a very overpriced add-in card you can use for dual Tbolt 4, even from Asus. https://www.newegg.com/asus-90mc09p0-m0aay0-pci-express-to-thunderbolt/p/N82E16815293048?Description=thunderbolt&cm_re=thunderbolt-_-15-293-048-_-Product&quicklink=true
    Reply
  • tek-check
    I own this motherboard for 4 months now and it works pretty reliably so far. There is no good reason to complain about not having third M.2 slot, as B550 platform has set amount of available PCIe lanes. Besides, one can always purchase higher capacity NVMe storage to meet their needs on two slots. Simple. Less e-waste and plastic for packaging.

    Designers of the board maxed out on connectivity, working with what is available. Well done to them. Two TB4 ports use x4 PCIe 3.0 lanes and bring more versatility than having another M.2 slot. Super fast external storage can be attached at any time, such as TB3 NAS/DAS, plus display, plus TB docking station, plus 10 GbE networking, etc. Plenty of options. How much more one could possibly want with B550?

    For those who stubbornly desire third M.2 slot, this board is flexible enough in configuration and you have additional two options: use x4 PCIe 3.0 slot on the chipset for expansion card with NVMe drive (this turns off TB4) or use x8 PCIe 4.0 second GPU slot to attach two NVMe 4.0 drives. Suddenly, you can have 3 NVMe 4.0 drives and 1 NVMe 3.0. Not enough? Leaving GPU to operate in the first x8 PCIe 4.0 slot will be just fine. GPUs still cannot saturate fully x16 PCIe 3.0 bandwidth, so it will work fine in x8 PCIe 4.0 slot with the same bandwidth as x16 PCIe 3.0. Testing GPUs in x8 PCIe 4.0 vs. x16 PCIe 4.0 slot showed negligible difference. Higly recommended motherboard.
    Reply
  • Spanky Deluxe
    I've been using this board for a couple of months now and it's been great. The only issue I had was that screen sharing in Discord would cause all my USB ports to stop working - an issue with the B550 chipset that AMD had fixed via microcode for BIOS updates quite a while ago but for some reason the BIOS that ASUS sold the boards with (which came out after the AMD fixes) did not have the relevant microcode fixes. ASUS did finally release a BIOS update last month that let me fix the issue though.

    This board made complete sense to me as the add-in Thunderbolt cards are reportedly a bit flakey whereas the Thunderbolt support on this board is supposed to be rock solid. I don't currently use the Thunderbolt functionality but I'm going to be reconfiguring my home office within the next six months or so and I'm likely going to go hide the computer away in a hidden storage area at the other end of my office and so like the idea of using a Corning optical thunderbolt cable connected to a dock to connect my main devices. I just wanted that future proof functionality.
    Reply
  • tek-check
    Admin said:
    The Asus ProArt B550 Creator offers dual Thunderbolt 4 Type-C and 2.5 GbE ports, along with a mid-range $299.99 price. If you can work with limited speedy internal storage, this is a solid option. Otherwise, the X570 platform may be a better choice due to the additional PCIe lanes/storage flexibility.

    Asus ProArt B550 Creator Review: Designed for Pros, Works for Joes : Read more
    I'd kindly request from Joe Shields to communicate to Asus and challenge them on the marketing claim that this motherboard hosts "HDMI 2.1" port on the back panel. They say, quote: "HDMI 2.1 (4K60)". "4K/60" is vague enough to be considered a feature specific to HDMI 2.1 spec.
    4K/60 10/12-bit RGB image would qualify as HDMI 2.1 feature, becasue it requires more than 18 Gbps of bandwidth for transport and this can only be done with new FRL protocol introduced by HDMI 2.1 spec
    4K/60 8-bit RGB can work over older TMDS protocol, which is standard HDMI 2.0b
    So, not all "4K/60" signals are the same and can be delivered both by older TMDS protocol and newer FRL, depending on bit depth and required bandwidth.

    I have challenged them twice via email and they have never answered my questions as regards to which specific features from HDMI 2.1 spec does this HDMI port support and how those features are anabled. One member of technical support team told me that the port supports older 1.4 spec speeds (10.2 Gbps), which is closer to truth on Vega platform.

    There could be only two ways how HDMI 2.1 can work on a motherboard:
    1. APU natively outputs FRL faster signal. FRL is core part of HDMI 2.1 spec
    No current APU from AMD, including Ryzen 5000G series, support FRL signalling. Those APUs output HDMI signal by using older TMDS pixel clocks by Vega iGPU. By the way, Intel's CPUs neither have this capability.

    2. APU is helped by additional level shifter/conversion chip DP 1.4-HDMI 2.1
    Close shots of the motherboard in TechPowerUp review do not show that such chip is installed. So, has Asus installed a level shifter/converter HDMI 2.1 chip on this motherboard to enable FRL signals up to 40 or 48 Gbps? Can they answer this question, please?

    If the motherboard does not have this enabling chip, Asus must remove "HDMI 2.1 (4K/60)" from marketing, as such claim would be meaningless and misleading the public. Whoever has this motherboard, please challenge them to provide with the evidence that this port can operate FRL protocol and deliver images with bandwidth above 18 Gbps.
    Reply
  • tek-check
    Spanky Deluxe said:
    Thunderbolt support on this board is supposed to be rock solid
    It is, so far. I run a display from one TB4 port, via DP-in from GPU, and use another port for various things, most recently for 10 GbE networking between two PCs at home.

    The only thing people need to be aware of is that TB does not deliver FreeSync or VRR feature for gaming. Intel was supposed to work to enable this to work like on DisplayPort.
    Reply
  • PEJUman
    HideOut said:
    dual thunderbolt is NOT worth $125. You can find boards with one 2.5g and more sata and such WITH 12xx autio for $150 all day. If you want more LAN bandwidth you can get all that + 10gb ethernet for alot less too, and get more M2 ports and sata ports. This board makes no sense to me.

    Here is a very overpriced add-in card you can use for dual Tbolt 4, even from Asus. https://www.newegg.com/asus-90mc09p0-m0aay0-pci-express-to-thunderbolt/p/N82E16815293048?Description=thunderbolt&cm_re=thunderbolt-_-15-293-048-_-Product&quicklink=true
    I have used TB3 AIC in the past, they all require a special connector (not sure for what) into a TB3 header in the motherboard.

    This TB4 card also shows that cable still being used + "*Intel only 500 series MB compatibility..."
    I wish I can just add this TB4 AIC card to any PCI-E 3.0 4x slot, but I am not 100% sure it'll work flawlessly without that special header connected. Which is my guess on why this B550 board is priced as a niche TB4 solution for AMD.
    Reply
  • tek-check
    PEJUman said:
    I am not 100% sure it'll work flawlessly without that special header connected.
    It's not going to work properly.
    PEJUman said:
    Which is my guess on why this B550 board is priced as a niche TB4 solution for AMD.
    Because it is a niche. It's the first ever, and the only one at the moment, TB4 solution for AMD platfom. Latest, fastest connectivity solutions for Ryzen 5000, without all that heat and power consumption from Core CPUs. A breath of fresh air in motherboard line-up. My PC runs silently, even with heavier workloads on many cores.

    Besides, many consumer electronics products are a bit pricier due to Covid disruption. There have been factories around the world closed for months and sourcing components has offen been a nightmare, let alone complications with shipping. Got this board on the first day when it arrived to local PC shop and never looked back.
    Reply
  • excalibur1814
    "creators, that also works well for more general users"

    Years back you could just buy any motherboard/cpu, then get creating or gaming depending on your GPU. Those were simple days. Now you have to check if the board you're buying is a 'creator' model, a standard board, or both. I mean, it's just crazy now. Anyone would think that any board will allow you to do anything, realistically. Creator or standard!
    /s
    Reply
  • deesider
    Spanky Deluxe said:
    This board made complete sense to me as the add-in Thunderbolt cards are reportedly a bit flakey whereas the Thunderbolt support on this board is supposed to be rock solid. I don't currently use the Thunderbolt functionality but I'm going to be reconfiguring my home office within the next six months or so and I'm likely going to go hide the computer away in a hidden storage area at the other end of my office and so like the idea of using a Corning optical thunderbolt cable connected to a dock to connect my main devices. I just wanted that future proof functionality.
    I like that idea too. It's just taken a long while for the available technology to make it possible without too many compromises.
    Reply