The best Z690 motherboards support a move up to the LGA 1700 socket standard for the 12th and 13th Gen of Intel Core CPUs, bringing cutting-edge DDR5 memory support and PCIe 5.0 lanes for the latest GPUs. Check my picks for the best boards in each category to get you started on a modern gaming PC build, ranging from tight budget selections to all-out enthusiast options. At a glance, motherboards all look the same but check the descriptions for the standout features to see if they fit your plans.
The best performance for your money, our MPG Z690 Carbon Wi-Fi review proved impressive. Overclocking is simple in BIOS, so you can (carefully) push your CPU to its limits. It supports DDR5 RAM, and Wi-Fi 6E, and includes two PCIe 5.0 slots and five M.2 sockets.
Dropping the wireless tech ever so slightly from 6E down to Wi-Fi 6, the AORUS Pro is the choice for runner-up. Still touting DDR5 RAM support and four M.2 sockets, it's another motherboard with strong VRM for overclocking. 13 USB ports total means ample connectivity for devices.
Considering the Mini-ITX form factor, ASUS has crammed an impressive feature set into this petite board. Features include Wi-Fi 6E, PCIe 5.0 slot, and two M.2 sockets for the internals. Two external USB-C and Thunderbolt 4 ports support the latest and fastest external hard drives, making this tiny board a big deal.
Best for DDR4
The MAG Tomahawk sticks with DDR4 RAM, supporting speeds of up to 5200MHz overclocked. Built-in Wi-Fi 6, four M.2 sockets, and USB-C bolster this board as a competitive choice should you lean towards dual-channel DDR4 memory.
On the cheapest end is the MSI PRO Z690-A ATX LGA1700 motherboard, a fantastic option from MSI. Save a bit of cash with DDR4 RAM that you might already own, and enjoy the built-in Wi-Fi 6 support, four M.2 sockets, and USB-C. A capable Z690 motherboard for a bargain price.
If you want the best, you need the ROG Maximus Formula. With tremendous support for overclocking to the absolute limit, ASUS includes sturdy heatsinks to keep overheating risks at bay. Features Wi-Fi 6E and DDR5 RAM support, two USB-C Thunderbolt 4 ports, five M.2 sockets, and 10Gb Ethernet. A killer board.
Choosing the best Intel Z690 motherboard
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Building a computer for 12th-generation Intel Core processors means you need to know what motherboard to buy. Alder Lake CPUs, such as the Intel Core i9-12900K, are compatible with any of these Z690 boards, with the MSI MPG Z690 Carbon Wi-Fi coming out on top as the best overall choice for its cutting-edge tech and reasonable price. We've also included plenty of alternatives to fit your budget and required specs, like the affordable PRO Z690-A DDR4 Wi-Fi from MSI.
For enthusiasts pushing their rig to the max, the ASUS ROG Maximus Formula is one of the best Intel Z690 motherboards available today. This board is for overclockers, with heatsinks ready to handle fine-tuning and backed up by tremendous 10Gb LAN and onboard Wi-Fi 6E networking hardware. It's not so easy to decide which Z690 motherboard to buy, so consider your plans. If you want modern memory, spring for DDR5 support, and if you need wireless networking, grab a board with onboard Wi-Fi.
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Ben is the channel editor for all things tech-related at Windows Central. That includes PCs, the components inside, and any accessory you can connect to a Windows desktop or Xbox console. Not restricted to one platform, he also has a keen interest in Valve's Steam Deck handheld and the Linux-based operating system inside. Fueling this career with coffee since 2021, you can usually find him behind one screen or another. Find him on Mastodon @email@example.com to ask questions or share opinions.