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)

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Our standard benchmarks and power tests are performed using the CPU’s stock frequencies (including stock Thermal Velocity Boost), with all power-saving features enabled. Optimized defaults are set in the BIOS and the memory set using the XMP profiles. For this baseline testing, Windows is set to High Performance before switching over to Balanced during power testing, so the PC idles appropriately.

Synthetic Benchmarks

Synthetics are a great tool to determine if a board runs out of spec, as identical settings should produce similar performance results. Advanced memory timings are the one place where motherboard makers can still optimize for either stability or performance, though, and those settings can impact some testing.

In our synthetic benchmarks, the B550 Creator performed slower than average in POV-Ray (multi) and Cinebench. Sustained clocks were a bit lower than some of the more performance-oriented boards. 7-Zip was the fastest we tested so far in compression, but was one of the slowest in decompression tests. PCMark 10 results in the Office portion were all over the place. Overall, the board is effectively average here, but some tests ran slow, others fast. AIDA memory results were fast in reads and writes, but slower in copy and latency. I was surprised to see slower latency, considering the board runs our memory at a 1:1 ratio by default.

Timed Applications

In our LAME testing, the B550 Creator delivered one of the faster results, posting a time of 11.82 seconds (average is 11.91). Corona testing resulted in a time of 48 seconds, which is 2 seconds slower than average (around a 4% difference). Lastly, in our Handbrake testing, the x264 results were close to average (about 1.5% slower) at 132 seconds. The x265 test ran in 309 seconds, which is within the run variance of average (306 seconds, or less than 1%). None of the results here stuck out as being too different than the rest, but the board’s performance does tend to hit the average or negligibly slower.

3D Games and 3DMark

Starting with the launch of the X570S chipset, we’ve updated our game tests and hardware (video card) to match the Intel platform. We stopped using The Division 2 and Forza Horizon 4 and now use Far Cry: New Dawn and F1 2020, running on the Asus TUF Gaming RTX 3070. The games are run at 1920x1080 resolution using the Ultra preset. As the resolution goes up, the CPU tends to have less of an impact. The goal with these settings is to determine if there are differences in performance at the most commonly used resolution with settings most people use or at least strive for. So far, the difference between boards in these tests is slight, with most falling within the margin of error differences.

In F1 2020, the B550 Creator averaged 210 Frames Per Second (more than our Rocket Lake-based system, note), which ties the slowest result so far. That said, it’s a mere 2 FPS (about 1%) behind the average - hardly noticeable. In Far Cry, this board averaged 131 FPS, which is a 1 FPS above average. It’s worth noting that, in Far Cry, the Intel-based machines run around 10-15 frames per second (a few percent) faster. Results in both 3DMark tests matched the others. In the end, the B550 Creator did well here.

Power Consumption / VRM Temperatures

Asus ProArt B550 Creator

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

We used AIDA64’s System Stability Test with Stress CPU, FPU and Cache enabled for power testing, using the peak power consumption value. The wattage reading is from the wall via a Kill-A-Watt meter to capture the entire ecosystem. The only variable that changes is the motherboard; all other parts are the same.

At idle, the B550 Creator used 75W, which is again around the average of tested boards so far. Load wattage peaked at 210W, also around the average if not slightly less than most others. We saw the board fluctuate between 3.6 and 4 GHz during testing, which is typical behavior. This averages out to 143W and is overall is a middling result.

The B550 Creator peaked just under 45 degrees Celsius during stock operation, which is the coolest result we’ve seen on a board with passive heatsinks. When we overclocked to 4.4 GHz, VRM temperatures peaked around 55 degrees Celsius, again one of the cooler temperatures we’ve recorded so far. The oversized heatsinks do a great job keeping things cool even with the CPU pushed to its ambiently cooled limits.

Overclocking

There are several ways to overclock on AMD platforms, depending on your goals. If your focus is single-threaded performance, you may want to focus on using Precision Boost Overdrive (PBO) and adjusting its parameters. If you can use all cores and threads, setting a manual CPU multiplier and voltage is likely the better route. While the latter clips peak single-threaded performance slightly, it increases all core/thread performance over the all-core boost. To that end, we settled on 4.4 GHz at ~1.3V for an all-core/thread overclock.

The B550 Creator has no issues with our 16-core/32-thread Ryzen 9 5950X. We simply plugged in 1.3V, adjusted LLC to all but eliminate vdroop, and trudged through the test. It’s worth noting that CPUz didn’t read the Vcore right, nor did Hwinfo, so it’s tough to know exactly how much voltage the CPU was running with.

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

On the memory side, we know AMD is limited to around 3600/3733 MHz when keeping FCLK at a 1:1 ratio with the memory. With this in mind, we add two more sticks and run 4x8GB at DDR4 3600, which is AMD’s current sweet spot. For our B550 Creator, we were able to set XMP, and it was stable enough to run through several of our benchmarks. As always, your mileage may vary depending on the memory kit used and the quality of the integrated memory controller.

Final Thoughts

Asus’ B550 Creator hit the scene focusing on content creators and bringing along two Thunderbolt 4 Type-C ports, dual 2.5 GbE, dual M.2 sockets, capable power delivery, and more. Priced at $299.99, the board sits squarely in the high-end of B550 boards (although mid-range overall). It’s a well-rounded solution that performed well in our gaming tests and the more generic tests such as PCMark 10. Performance in some tests was a bit off the average, but in most, you’d be hard-pressed to see the difference outside of benchmarks.

I would like to see an additional M.2 socket on the board, as content creators tend to use a lot of space (depending on the task, of course) and need fast storage. Your most basic budget B550 boards include two, so this is lacking comparatively. Along those lines, the B550 Creator only has four SATA ports. This was done to minimize lane sharing among the PCIe slots and such, but it’s worth noting if you need to use more than four SATA drives. Last, for the money, I would also like to see integrated Wi-Fi. In the end, these aren’t deal-breakers, but if you wish to have more M.2 and SATA storage, you’ll have to move up to X570-based boards with the additional PCIe lane flexibility (and cost).

As far as competition goes, there is only one comparable board running the B550 chipset: the Gigabyte B550 Vision D-P, which also happens to be priced the same at $299.99. Between them, I like the look of the Vision D-P a bit better, but that is entirely subjective. Specs and features-wise, these boards are remarkably similar. Both sport two M.2 sockets and four SATA ports, but the Gigabyte board includes Wi-fi 6 (though it only has one 2.5 GbE port). The most significant difference is Thunderbolt connectivity, with the B550 Creator using Thunderbolt 4  while the Vision uses TB3. You can connect two 4K displays (or one 8K) with TB4, where TB3 maxes out at 4K. Between them, it’s a toss-up depending on your needs. While there are other boards around that price point with more M.2 storage and integrated Wi-Fi, they aren’t made for content creators. You lose the Thunderbolt ports and the additional display flexibility (among other things) that come with them.

If you’re in the market for an AMD Ryzen-based system and planning to use it for content creation and productivity, the Asus ProArt B550 Creator is a viable option around the $300 price point. You get Thunderbolt 4 connectivity, Dual 2.5 GbE, and those ingenious latches for M.2 modules. Overall, we like what this board has to offer for content creators and their workflows. If your work fits within the confines of the B550 chipset and its limited storage flexibility, the B550 Creator is a solid board to build your AMD system around.

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Joe Shields
Motherboard Reviewer

Joe Shields is a Freelance writer for Tom’s Hardware US. He reviews motherboards.