ASRock has quietly released revision 2.0 of its WRX80 Creator motherboard for AMD’s Ryzen Threadripper Pro processor that costs more than $350 less than the revision 1.0 of the same mainboard, which was released this August. The only difference between the two boards? The new model uses Marvell’s Aquantia 10GbE controller instead of an Intel 10GbE controller.
Other than 10GbE controllers, ASRock’s WRX80 Creator motherboards are absolutely identical. Both use a 14-layer printed circuit board (something that is hardly ever used, even for enthusiast-grade motherboards designed for overclockers). Both boards come with voltage regulating modules (VRMs) featuring Infineon’s premium DrMOS power stages, promising extended longevity and generally designed for reliability and durability. Features and capabilities of the platforms can be compared on ASRock’s website, or using the brief table below.
Both motherboards are now available at Newegg. The new ASRock WRX80 Creator revision 2.0 costs $899 (opens in new tab), while the ASRock WRX80 Creator revision 1.0 is priced at $1256 (opens in new tab). The mention of the revision 2.0 at Newegg’s website has been discovered by @momomo_us, as ASRock has not officially announced the new version of its product.
Both motherboards support AMD’s Ryzen Threadripper Pro CPUs for high-end workstations, and therefore support up to 2TB of DDR4-3200 memory using eight channels and have 128 PCIe 4.0 lanes (up from 72 on non-Pro TR), spread across its seven PCIe 4.0 x16 (electrical), M.2-2280 as well as U.2 Gen4 x4 slots.
They also feature all the premium input/output capabilities imaginable, which includes two 10GbE ports (Intel-powered on revision 1.0 and Marvell Aquantia-powered on revision 2.0), Wi-Fi-6E, Thunderbolt 4, eight SATA connectors, 7.1-channel audio with a headset amplifier, a built-in KVM, and Aspeed’s AST 2500 BMC for remote management.
In general, there seem to be no differences between the two ASRock’s WRX80 Creator motherboards other than the 10GbE controllers. But many enterprise clients (who are more likely to purchase workstation-grade hardware) demand an Intel network controller, since their IT departments know how to manage them. Also, Intel’s controller supports the Energy Efficient Ethernet 802.3az feature, something that may be important for business customers.
By contrast, ASRock’s WRX80 revision 2.0 with a Marvell 10GbE controller provides similar performance for $350 less. This will definitely be an important factor to consider for boutique workstation makers as well as DIYers. Is Intel’s 10GbE controller worth that much more?