Best Z690 motherboard in 2021 – (Overclocking & Budget)

What budget do I need for a Z690 motherboard?

The Z690 chipset is regarded as the premium line, a flagship option, with the best features money, can buy. For this reason, you really only want to be incorporating this into PC builds with an Intel Core i9-12900K/KF, Core i7-12700K/KF, and at a push the i5-12600K/KF.

All this means the cost of your PC upgrades is going to be significant, so if you have any budgetary constraints, you may want to wait and see what the more affordable H670 and B660 chipsets bring to the table.

The hike in cost from the Z690 mainly comes from their impressive onboard features. They obviously support the new Alder Lake processors with the LGA 1700 socket but they bring in the next generation of high-speed computing, thanks to PCIe 5.0 and DDR5 memory support.

Intel’s flagship chipset has always come with a premium cost and these are best reserved for those that want the very best hardware.

Z690 Vs Z590

The older Z590 featured PCIe 4.0, while the new Z690 brings in gen 5, doubling the bandwidth. This means that while PCIe x16 4.0 can access up to 16 GT/s, 5.0 can hit 32 GT/s.

The Z690 chipset brings 12x PCIe 4.0 lanes and 16x 3.0 lanes, improving compatibility and adding faster transfer speeds for devices that use gen 4.0 lanes.

One of the major comparisons between the Z690 and Z590 is the next generation of RAM. DDR5 support is now here and with that comes incredible speeds that Z590 and DDR4 could only dream of.

This line of boards aims to extract every ounce of performance from your new CPU, now supporting RAM with speeds up to 6400MHz and giving you a powerful platform to build upon.

Form factor

Regardless of which chipset you buy, you need to consider its form factor when building out a PC. Motherboards come in a wide variety of sizes, from large E-ATX models, all the way down to the smaller Mini-ITX. Which you go for largely coincides with your choice of case, however, the vast majority of builders tend to find themselves in the mid-tower, ATX range.

atx mobo eatx


We generally recommend ATX, as they aren’t restricted in terms of features and you can really push your new hardware with this form factor, without overspending on an E-ATX. If you are tight on budget, you probably aren’t going to be shopping for a Z690 period, so it is worth checking out the other chipsets and looking for an mATX form factor board.

Motherboard form factor

LGA 1700 socket

With a new germination chipset, comes a new socket. The LGA 1700 socket replaces the LGA 1200, now featuring an additional 500 contact points. This has increased the size of the socket from a square 37.5mm x 37.5mm (LGA 1200) to 45mm x 37.5mm.

ROG Press Kit 42

This means that your current cooler will not fit with your new setup unless you get yourself an LGA 1700 mounting bracket from the manufacturer. Luckily, as long as you can show proof of purchase, most manufacturers are giving away the supporting bracket for free on compatible coolers.

ROG Press Kit 14

For those who may have lost their receipt or cannot be bothered waiting don’t worry, the LGA 1700 mounting bracket kits are now largely on sale. They can cost anywhere between 1 cent and $5.

Is a Z690 motherboard worth it?

In short, yes. This is the new generation we are talking about here and if the performance lives up to the expectation, we are all in for a serious treat. Whether it’s for gaming or multitasking, we are potentially looking at the best of the best (until AMD’s anticipated parry).

The main reason to opt for a Z690 is obviously for the Alder Lake 12th Gen i9-12900K/KF and i7-12700K/KF processors, with Intels hybrid architecture now coming to the x86 desktop world.

So if you are after the best modern hardware or you’re an enthusiast who loves to push their system to its theoretical limits, a Z690 is certainly the way to go at the moment. We have top-tier features and performance across several SKUs and manufacturers, giving you everything you need to take things to the next level.

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