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Friday, February 23, 2024

Best Z690 Motherboards For Intel 12th Generation Alder Lake CPUs

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The new Intel 12th Generation Alder Lake CPUs use the new LGA 1700 CPU socket, so you will need to buy the Z690 motherboards to use them. Only the high-end K series CPUs and Z series motherboards are available. In this article, we will go over some of the best Z690 motherboards you can buy right now.

You can also check out our guide on where you can buy the latest Intel 12th-generation Alder Lake CPUs. You can also check out our article on the differences between the Z690 and Z590 chipsets.

Best Z690 Motherboards You Can Pre-Order Now

The following are some of the best Z690 motherboards that you can buy right now:

Asus ROG Maximus Z690 Hero

Asus is known for making some of the best-performing and aesthetically pleasing motherboards, and the Asus ROG Maximus Z690 Hero is the next evolution of just that. Asus ROG Maximus Z690 Hero provides the features of ultra-premium motherboards such as Formula or Xtreme without the higher price tag. This is a premium motherboard and comes with all the bells and whistles that you will need.

The motherboard has very beefy cooling for the VRM, and a mirror I/O shroud features RGB lighting. The motherboard supports DDR5 RAM, so you will need the newer memory standard to make things work. The motherboard has a pair of 8-pin pro excellent connectors, so you can get some serious overclocks on your new Intel 12th-generation CPU. There is an extra 6-pin connector next to the 24-pin power connector to provide extra supplementary power to the motherboard.

There are three M.2 slots on the motherboard. It comes with a Hyper M.2 card out of the box with an included heatsink for further storage expansion. The motherboard has a small button next to the DIMM slots that unlock the GPU latch. This excellent feature will come in handy if you test many graphics cards and need to change them often. This is a straightforward and practical feature that is very useful.

There are plenty of fan heaters and RGB headers for cooling and lighting. There are three PCIe slots, two of which are reinforced and support PCIe Gen5. The last one is not reinforced and supports PCIe Gen5.

There is no armor on the back, which I would have liked to see, but there is plenty of I/O on the back, including 2.5G ethernet. You also get a CMOS and BIOS clear button. The motherboard also comes with Wi-Fi 6e.

The Breakdown

The following is what you need to know about the Asus ROG Maximus Z690 Hero:

Pros:

  • Flashy gamer design
  • Plenty of M.2 storage with heatsinks
  • Hyper M.2 card included in the box
  • Beefy VRM cooling
  • EZ Debugger LEDs
  • DDR5 support
  • Button to unlatch GPU
  • Easy M.2 locks

Cons:

  • No backplate
  • Glass on the motherboard can chip
  • No DDR4 RAM support (at the time of writing)

Gigabyte Z690 AORUS Master

The Gigabyte Z690 AORUS Master is one of the premium motherboards the company has to offer right now and comes with all the bells and whistles you can ask for in a motherboard.

The motherboard has plenty of armor and a futuristic design that matches the price. RGB lighting on the motherboard and plenty of RGB connectors to sync the lighting with other parts of your build. 

The motherboard has everything that you want in a build, including support for PCIe Gen5 and DDR5. The motherboard has five M.2 slots for SSD storage, and there are 3 PCIe slots, all of which are reinforced for better graphics card support. The four DIMM slots are reinforced as well.

There are dual 8-pin power connectors with metal shielding to provide power to the CPU. You can get some decent overclock on your CPU and RAM. A beefy cooler for the VRMs is integrated with the I/O shroud. The motherboard has power and reset switches.

The motherboard does come with Wi-Fi out of the box and even has BIOS Flash and Clear CMOS buttons. It has plenty of USB and USB SuperSpeed ports, DisplayPort, USB Type-C, 10G Ethernet, and an audio codec.

The Breakdown

The following is what you need to know about the Gigabyte Z690 AORUS Master:

Pros:

  • Flashy gamer design
  • Plenty of M.2 storage with heatsinks
  • Beefy VRM cooling
  • EZ Debugger LEDs
  • DDR5 support
  • PCIe Gen5 support

Cons:

  • Glass on motherboard can chip
  • No DDR4 RAM support

MSI MPG Z690 Carbon Wi-Fi

The MSI MPG Z690 Carbon is significantly cheaper than the Asus ROG Maximus Z690 Hero but still looks excellent and provides similar functionality. The motherboard has a 16+2 power delivery system and a beefy heatsink to keep the VRMs cool. The motherboard does have armor, but there is nothing over the top. The dragon on the I/O shroud and the Carbon branding on the chipset heatsink light up.

The motherboard has a pair of 8-pin connectors, so you can get some serious overclocks on your new Intel 12th-generation CPU. There are three PCIe slots, two of which are reinforced and support PCIe Gen5. The last one is not reinforced and supports PCIe Gen3.

There are 5 M.2 slots in total. 4 of which support PCIe Gen4, while the last one supports PCIe Gen5. They all come with heatsinks and an easy locking mechanism, so you do not have to screw them in if you do not want to. The motherboard supports DDR5 memory up to 6666 MHz.

The motherboard has the troubleshooting LEDs and error code LED indicator as well. It has plenty of PWM fan headers as well as RGB headers. This is a mid-range motherboard and should be pretty popular. There is an integrated I/O shield for easy installation, and the motherboard comes with integrated Wi-Fi 6e.

The Breakdown

The following is what you need to know about the MSI MPG Z690 Carbon Wi-Fi:

Pros:

  • Plenty of M.2 storage with heatsinks
  • Beefy VRM cooling
  • EZ Debugger LEDs
  • Error code LED
  • DDR5 support
  • Easy M.2 locks

Cons:

  • No backplate
  • No DDR4 RAM support (at the time of writing)

Asus ROG Strix Z690-F Gaming WiFi

The Asus ROG Strix Z690-F Gaming WiFi is a much cheaper and budget-friendly variant from Asus compared to the Hero. This is a mid-range motherboard that features 16+1 power stages and plenty of cool-looking armor on the motherboard.

The motherboard support DDR5 memory up to 6400 MHz when overclocked. There are 4 M.2 slots on the motherboard with heatsinks. So there is plenty of high-speed storage options for you.

The motherboard has an integrated I/O shield for easy installation and comes with Wi-Fi 6e. There is a velcro strap on the motherboard, which is odd and not something that we have seen before. The Strix Z690-F also features a quick-release switch for the graphics card, just like the Hero. Like other Asus motherboards, there is RGB lighting on the board itself, and there are plenty of RGB headers for RGB customization.

The Breakdown

The following is what you need to know about the Asus ROG Strix Z690-F Gaming WiFi:

Pros:

  • Flashy gamer design
  • 4 M.2 slots with heatsinks
  • Beefy VRM cooling
  • EZ Debugger LEDs
  • DDR5 support
  • Button to unlatch GPU
  • Easy M.2 locks

Cons:

  • No backplate
  • No DDR4 RAM support

GIGABYTE Z690 Gaming X DDR4

The GIGABYTE Z690 Gaming X DDR4 comes in a nice metallic theme, and plenty of armor on the motherboard extends to the I/O shroud. The armor is integrated with the M.2 cooling, giving the motherboard a nice cohesive look.

It has a 16+1+2 Twin Hybrid Digital VRM power design with 60A DrMOS. The motherboard does not have Wi-Fi, but you get plenty of USB ports on the back, including USB 3.2 and Type-C. You also get 2.5G Ethernet and a dedicated BIOS USB port.

The Breakdown

The following is what you need to know about the GIGABYTE Z690 Gaming X DDR4:

Pros:

  • Plenty of armor
  • 4 M.2 slots with heatsinks
  • Beefy VRM cooling
  • EZ Debugger LEDs
  • DDR4 RAM support

Cons:

  • No DDR5 RAM support

ASUS TUF Gaming Z690-Plus WiFi D4

The ASUS TUF Gaming Z690-Plus WiFi D4 is one of Asus’s cheaper motherboards. You could call it an entry-level Z690 motherboard. It does have armor on it, but it is nothing flashy. The overall aesthetic of the motherboard is pretty sleek and has lighting on the right side. But you do get RGB headers for customization.

The budget-friendly option still has an integrated I/O shield and comes with integrated Wi-Fi out of the box. The D4 at the end of the name means that the motherboard supports DDR4 memory, unlike other motherboards on this list. The first PCIe slot is reinforced and comes with support for PCIe Gen5. The other PCIe slot does not support PCIe Gen5, nor is it reinforced.

There are 4 M.2 slots on the motherboard, and 3 come with heatsinks. There is no PCIe Gen5 support for storage, but that should not be an issue, at least not for now. All the M.2 slots support the easy-lock mechanism, so you do not have to screw them in. Improvements include 10GB Type-C and an excellent audio chip. There are no postcode LEDs or debugger LEDs, or any physical buttons for BIOS or CMOS clearing, but it is still a well-rounded motherboard if you want to save some money.

The Breakdown

The following is what you need to know about the ASUS TUF Gaming Z690-Plus WiFi D4:

Pros:

  • Sleek design
  • 4x M.2 slots, 3x heatsinks
  • DDR4 support
  • Easy M.2 locks
  • Budget-friendly

Cons:

  • No DDR5 RAM support

MSI PRO Z690-A DDR4

The MSI PRO Z690-A DDR4 is meant for content creators that do not need the flair that gamers want. The DDR4 means that the motherboard supports DDR4 memory. The memory can be overclocked to 5200 MHz if that is something that you are interested in.

The motherboard does not have a lot of armor but the VRM cooling is decent. The motherboard has a 14+1+1 phase power design and has dual 8-pin power connectors to provide power to the CPU.

As this is a budget-friendly motherboard, there is no RGB, integrated I/O shield, or Wi-Fi 6e. The top PCIe slot is reinforced, while the others are not. The top one supports PCIe Gen 5. There are 4 M.2 slots, but none support PCI Gen 5.

The motherboard supports 20G USB and 2.5G Ethernet. It comes with plenty of PWM fan headers for case fans and cooling.

These are some of the best Z690 motherboards you can pre-order for the Intel 12th generation Alder Lake CPUs. We will keep updating this list as more models are listed at retailers, so stay tuned for more!

Talha Amjad
Talha Amjad
PC hardware enthusiast and avid gamer. Has been creating content for more than 8 years and has worked with multiple brands and renowned websites. Tech and gaming are more than just work, they are a passion and way of life for me.

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