Best motherboard for Core i5-12600K Windows Central 2021
You don't need to go all-out with an incredibly expensive motherboard for the Intel Core i5-12600K since it doesn't require an overkill power delivery design but can take advantage of high-quality components and DDR5 support. We've compiled a list of only the best motherboards for this processor.
- Best overall: ASUS ROG Strix Z690-F Gaming
- Runner-up: MSI MPG Z690 CARBON WIFI
- Best performance: ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Hero
- Best budget: MSI PRO Z690-A
- Best DDR4: ASRock Z690 Steel Legend
- Best ITX: ASUS ROG Strix Z690-I Gaming WiFi
Best overall: ASUS ROG Strix Z690-F GamingStaff pick
The ASUS ROG Strix Z690-F Gaming is the sweet spot for the Core i5-12600K. It has PCIe 5.0 and DDR5 RAM support, a 16+1 power delivery design, high-quality components, 2.5Gb LAN, Wi-Fi 6E, plenty of USB ports, and a striking yet subtle design. It's also the successor to one of our favorite boards for 11th Gen processors.
Runner-up: MSI MPG Z690 CARBON WIFI
If you're not a fan of ASUS motherboards or want something a little different, we would recommend checking out the MSI MPG Z690 CARBON WIFI. You've got a similar power setup with full support for DDR5 RAM and PCIe 5.0. The 2.5Gb LAN port and other highlight features like high-quality components are worthy additions to an already excellent package.
Best performance: ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Hero
The ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Hero is complete overkill for the Core i5 processor, but if you feel as though you will upgrade the chip down the line and want to keep to this generation, it's a worthwhile investment. The VRM setup and power delivery design are exceptional, allowing you to safely overclock even a Core i9 without power issues. There are plenty of M.2 slots, PCIe 5.0 support, DDR5 RAM support, and a gorgeous design.
Best budget: MSI PRO Z690-A
You don't have to settle for less when wanting to save some pennies. The MSI PRO Z690-A is worth considering when building a more affordable PC. Because it's cheaper than other motherboards, you're got DDR4 RAM support which may be a bonus for anyone with leftover modules. It has an 8+4 power delivery design with PCIe 5.0 support and plenty of USB options.
Best DDR4: ASRock Z690 Steel Legend
The ASRock Z690 Steel Legend isn't the most affordable motherboard for 12th Gen processors, but it does offer support for DDR4 RAM, which may be handy for anyone moving from older platforms. It has a 13 phase power delivery design with 2.5Gb LAN, Wi-Fi, enough M.2 slots for your OS, software, and games, as well as PCIe 5.0 support.
Best ITX: ASUS ROG Strix Z690-I Gaming WiFi
The Core i5 would be ideal for smaller and more compact PC cases since it doesn't require heavy-duty cooling. The ASUS ROG Strix Z690-I Gaming Wi-Fi supports PCIe 5.0, DDR5 RAM, has a 10+1 power delivery design with high-quality components, and can even handle a little overclocking. The 2.5Gb LAN and Wi-Fi are excellent for a smaller PC that can double up as a media center, and you've got two M.2 slots for speedy storage.
Choosing the best motherboard
You can't go wrong with choosing a motherboard for the Core i5-12600K. It's a 10-core processor with fairly low requirements, meaning you can get away with a budget motherboard and even push the chip a little further than factory settings. The ASUS ROG Strix Z690-F Gaming is our go-to board for this processor, thanks to its impressive power setup and feature list.
If that's a little too much and you won't find yourself using DDR4 RAM, which will add yet more additional cost to the upgrade, there's always the budget-friendly MSI PRO Z690-A. This would be a match made in heaven should you already have DDR4 RAM modules available and wish to cut down on waste.
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