Best Intel 12th Gen Motherboard 2022

Finding the Best Intel 12th Generation motherboards for i9, i7 and, i5 CPUs

best motherboard for 12th gen
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The motherboard is at the core of your system, and it can be hard to understand what exactly makes for the best motherboard, or why. But we’ve done all the hard work, and found the best Intel 12th gen motherboard to house your brand-new Alder Lake CPU.

The next generation of computing power has arrived.The Intel 12th generation of CPUs, codenamed ‘Alder Lake’ has brought Intel back into the game, and now have a viable competitor to AMD’s razor sharp Ryzens. Alder Lake brings with it new advancements and technologies to the table, such as “Little BIG”, an architecture previously unseen in desktop CPUs. With Alder Lake 12th gen CPUs and DDR5 launching simultaneously, it’s never been as important for enthusiasts to choose a good, brand-new 12th-gen motherboard.

We’ve been testing motherboards with the Intel i9-12900k. This chip is Intel’s new flagship CPU. With eight performance cores clocked in at a turbo frequency of 5.2GHz, assisted by eight efficiency cores clocked in with a max turbo frequency of 3.9GHz, it’s easy to see why this CPU requires a well-equipped motherboard, considering just how fast it really gets.

Picking up a motherboard to house all this power without wasting a single drop is integral to squeezing the best performance out of your shiny new 12th Gen CPU. The best 12th Gen CPUs need the best 12th Gen motherboard, we have outlined a selection of the industry’s best 12th Gen motherboards.

The 19-12900KS has been released and it is one impressive beast, check out our 12900KS review if you’re in the market for a serious upgrade.

Looking for the best Intel motherboard of 2022? Maybe even the best AMD motherboard? or the best 12th Gen compatible CPU coolers? We have articles for those!

Did you know that WePC operates a Subreddit called r/CentralProcessingUnit. You’re more than welcome to come and share your thoughts on CPUs or even motherboards.

Our Top Picks

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WePC Awards Best In Class
The best, high-end 12th gen motherboard
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The best 12th gen motherboard for enthusiasts
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A mid-range 12th gen motherboard

What Chipset should I consider getting for Intel 12th gen?

Currently, there aren’t that many options out there, with the only released chipset thus far being the Z690. The H670 and B660 boards should be following suit shortly. The Z690 chipset is primarily aimed at PC enthusiasts. The Z690 chipset offers a more plentiful set of features over other lesser chipsets. This includes PCIe Gen 5, overclocking support, or even the speed of USB or Thunderbolt headers could be rare, or even noneexistent on lower-end H670 or B660 boards.

With the Z690 being the more feature-rich chipset, it’s fully equipped to handle any Core i9-12900K/KF, Core i7-12700K/KF or, Core i5-12600K/KF respectively.

Z690 Vs Z590

The most glaringly obvious change between the Z590 and Z690 is the socket type, moving from the LGA 1200 to the brand-new LGA 1700, which carries the standard for this new socket type. But, it still remains to be seen if this socket will have longevity beyond Intel’s 12th generation of processors.

Z690 motherboards introduce with them a new generation of PCIe – Gen 5. Featuring double the PCIe bandwidth for 16X slots. PCIe gen 4.0 could handle access speeds of up to 16GT/s (gigatransfers per second) while PCIe gen 5.05 offers 32GT/s.

Another major difference between Z690 and Z590 chipset is the Z690’s support for DDR5 RAM. A huge advancement in RAM technology, which achieves speeds beyond the capabilities of even the world’s fastest DDR4 kits.

With Intel’s 12th generation of CPUs, which are designed with blazing-fast clockspeeds and a brand-new socket, you’re going to need to pick up a brand-new motherboard to process all of that sheer power. Currently the only available chipset are the high-end Z690 boards. They come at a cost, but but are well worth the plethora of features you’re getting when opting for the creme-de-la-creme ofhigh-end boards.

Form Factor

atx mobo eatx

Regardless of whatever motherboard you choose, its form factor is one of the most important factors (pun intended), as you might miss out on some crucial features, or bells and whistles when downsizing.

Motherboards come in a multitude of different shapes and sizes, from E-ATX, all the way down to the incredibly small Mini-ITX. The form factor of which you choose usually coincides with your choice of case. There’s no point going for an E-ATX motherboard for an ITX case, it simply wouldn’t fit. More often than not, the smaller the motherboard, the less feature-rich it will be, you only have so much you can pack into such a compact piece of silicon.

Motherboard form factor

As a rule of thumb, we generally push towards ATX as this is the standard of form factor and most cases support it, or are built around it. For the most part, there are no compromises on features with the ATX form factor either. Intel first introduced the ATX form factor in 1995, and since then it’s become an industry standard.

Socket

intel i9 12900k

With a new generation, chipset and CPU often comes a new generation of socket. Enter LGA 1700.This socket replaces the LGA 1200 socket seen in prior generations. LGA 1700 is present on on Z690 motherboards featuring an additional 500 contact points. This has increased the socket size from the traditional symmetrical square of 37.5mm x 37.5mm (LGA 1200) to 45mm x 37.5 mm (LGA 1700).

12th gen socket

This means your current cooler likely won’t fit the socket of Z690 motherboards, you’ll have to get yourself extra LGA 1700-compatible mounting hardware. Some cooler manufacturers offermounting hardware as separate products to upgrade, but it varies from manufacturer to manufacturer.) Sorry everyone, it’s not just plug and play this time, unless you want to splash for a brand-new cooler, too.

RAM

Corsair Dominator DDR5 RAM 1

It’s not just Intel that’s been upgrading its hardware, RAM has made headway in the industry showing off its brand new blisteringly fast DDR5 DIMMs. There are Z690 boards that do still support the older and more affordable DDR4

Best Intel 12th generation motherboards

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In-depth Review

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The best, high-end 12th gen motherboard
WePC Awards Best In Class
Asus Logo

ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Hero WiFi

Editor's Rating
5/5
Pros

Dual Thunderbolt 4 USB-C

PCIe Slot Q-Release

20+1 power stages (90A)

Cons

No 10Gb Ethernet

Less power stages than more premium models

The ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Hero is one of the best Z690 options on the market currently. It is an incredible option despite what it may lack in power stages and ethernet bandwidth.

The ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Hero’s design is fairly different from the previous generation of ‘Hero’ motherboards. Featuring incredible personalization with the Polymer Lighting I/O cover and accompanying fully customizable RGB lighting. The Z690 Hero ships with 20+1 power staging and intelligent control, which is ASUS’ Ai overclocking feature proven to be pretty much unrivalled in the industry today.

Cooling is handled by a very large fully aluminum heatsink and integrated aluminum I/O cover, of course with a very highly conductive thermal pad to increase contact surface area. The M.2 SSD’s are kept nice and cool with three M.2 heatsinks and two backplates. With an additional ROG water cooling zone, for further customization.

Additionally, there are a plethora of features that truly matter for everyone gamer or not. Full PCIe gen 5 support, ultra-fast DDR5 ram slots with support up to 6400Mhz. Dual Thunderbolt 4 USB-C and a ROG Hyper M.2 PCIe gen 5 card. Giving you some pretty powerful connectivity where you need it the most.

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The best 12th gen motherboard for enthusiasts

GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS Master

Editor's Rating
5/5
Pros

20+1+2 Direct Digital VRM Design

10 GB BASE-T LAN

Thunderbolt 4

Cons

Extremely pricey

Gigabyte’s Aorus motherboards are certainly show-stoppers when it comes down to design and functionality. Although very expensive, the Aorus Master is irrefutably one of the best choices for the most avid PC gaming enthusiasts.

The design of this generation of Aorus Master is much improved over the last, boasting a sleek and stylish I/O cover and matching heatsink. The Aorus Master features an incredible 20+1+2 Direct Digital VRM design, making power delivery much cleaner and more efficient. Tantalum polymer capacitors, keeping power where it’s needed. The thermal ‘reactive’ armor uses nano-carbon fins to greatly increase the cooling capacity of the thermal armor alongside the direct touch heat pipe and a nano-carbon backplate.

With Z690 supporting the all-new DDR5 RAM, the Aorus Master is no exception. Allowing support of up to 6600MHz, this motherboard allows for some exceptional speed, aesthetics, and functionality.

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A mid-range 12th gen motherboard
Asus Logo

ASUS TUF Gaming Z690-Plus WiFi

Editor's Rating
4/5
Pros

14+2 power stages

Thunderbolt 4

4xM.2/NVMe SSD

Cons

DDR4

The ASUS TUF Gaming motherboard remains a fan favorite, offering incredible value for those on a budget with it’s almost unrivalled price to performance ratio.

The TUF Gaming Z690 offers a revised and enhanced power solution over the previous generation of board. With 14+2 DrMOS power stages and Digi+ VRM offering an incredible durability and performance. Of course, the cooling is more than adequate, as the motherboard features a PCH fanless heatsink, a VRM heatsink, an M.2 heatsink and hybrid fan headers along with Asus’ Fan Xpert 4.

Unfortunately, this happens to be a DDR4 model, one of the ways ASUS has managed to keep the cost down on this motherboard. So you can’t have DDR5 RAM but the motherboard does feature enhanced DDR4 capabilities, allowing up to 5333MHz DDR4.

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The best Mini-ITX 12th gen mothebroard
Asus Logo

ASUS ROG Strix Z690-I Gaming WiFi

Editor's Rating
4.5/5
Pros

10+1 power stages

2x Thunderbolt 4 USB Type-C

Cons

Less power and features than ATX models similarly priced

The ASUS ROG Strix Z690-I is definitely one of the best Mini-ITX motherboards out there for this chipset. It’s incredibly well designed, packed full of features and reliable beyond most.

The Strix Z690 comes equipped with DDR5 RAM support and PCIe gen 5, but also comes featuring two fully-fledged Thunderbolt 4 USB-C ports. We see another 10+1 power stage motherboard here, it could be better, but this is an ITX Motherboard. With that in mind, it’s still an incredibly feature rich motherboard. Thermal design has been revised with an integrated I/O cover and beefy VRM heatsinks that feature high-conductivity thermal pads.

This motherboard also supports HDMI 2.1, in addition to industry-leading audio. This small board really packs a punch.

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The best Budget z690 motherboard
Asus Logo

ASUS Prime Z690-P

Editor's Rating
4/5
Pros

14+1 Power Stages

2.5Gb LAN

Thunderbolt 4 Support

Cons

Only supports DDR5 RAM up to 6000MHz

The budget pick of the list is the ASUS Prime Z690-P. It’s as low as we would recommend for a DDR5 compatible motherboard, being limited to supported speeds of 6000Mhz. However, the Z690-P is a much updated version of one of the more reliable boards on the market.

Featuring DDR5, PCIe 5.0 and Thunderbolt 4 support, this motherboard won‘t be disappointing anyone anytime soon. These are the makings of a quality board which is still packed with some good features. These include 14+1 power stages, Wifi 6 and 2.5Gb Ethernet. The ASUS Prime Z690-P brings performance and a feature rich experience, without the hefty pricetag of some of the other boards that we’ve listed.

Final Word

Intel’s 12th generation Alder Lake CPU launch brings a plethora of new features and technology to get excited about, and with the launch of the 12th generation chips coinciding with the launch of DDR5 RAM we’re given the option to consider some serious upgrades. That’s why we’re here, finding you the best Intel 12th gen motherboard to build that next-gen experience.

Will the 12th generation Intel Alder Lake chips finally push things back into Team Blue’s favor with its incredible performance? Only time will tell, your move AMD.

The Author Who Worked On This Article

Product Benchmarker
at
WePC
Jack has been interested in computers and tech since 10 years old when he decided to dismantle his PC to see how it worked. Ever since Jack has had a passion for IT and gaming beyond any other. He loves the data and testing process and allowing himself to take an analytical and technical approach to PC hardware. He’s even gone as far as getting educated in cyber security.

Independent, transparent, rigorous and authentic, our reviews are the most thorough and honest in PC gaming. Learn about our review process.