Best Intel 12th gen motherboard in 2023 – our top picks

Best Intel 12th gen motherboard in 2023 – our top picks
Jack Howarth Updated on by

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When it comes to choosing the perfect motherboard for your system, the task can be quite daunting. Understanding what factors contribute to the best motherboard can be challenging. However, fear not, as we have done all the legwork for you. We have scoured the market and discovered the best Intel 12th gen motherboard, specifically designed to accommodate your brand-new Alder Lake CPU.

Best Intel 12th gen motherboard – at a glance

ASUS ROG Maximus Hero Z690 WiFi

Form Factor

ATX

Power stages

20+1

Socket

LGA 1700

Chipset

Z690

DDR5?

Yes

GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS Master

Form Factor

ATX

Socket

LGA 1700

Chipset

Z690

DDR5?

Yes

ASUS TUF Gaming Z690-Plus WiFi

Form Factor

ATX

Socket

LGA 1700

Chipset

Z690

DDR5?

No, DDR4

Prepare yourself for the next level of computing power as the Intel 12th generation CPUs, codenamed ‘Alder Lake,’ have arrived. With this generation, Intel made a comeback last year, presenting a worthy rival to AMD’s formidable Ryzens.

Selecting a motherboard that can harness this impressive power without any compromise is crucial to unleashing the full potential of your shiny new 12th Gen CPU. In recognition of this, we have curated a selection of the industry’s finest 12th Gen motherboards. Get ready to maximize performance and experience the pinnacle of technological innovation.

Best Intel 12th gen motherboard – ASUS ROG Maximus Hero Z690 WiFi

ASUS ROG Maximus Hero Z690 WiFi

Form Factor

ATX

Power stages

20+1

Socket

LGA 1700

Chipset

Z690

DDR5?

Yes

Pros
  • Five M.2 slots
  • PCIe 5.0 M.2 capable (via add-in-card)
  • Push-button GPU release
Cons
  • Expensive

The ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Hero stands out as one of the leading choices in the Z690 market. Despite some limitations in power stages and ethernet bandwidth, it remains an exceptional option.

Compared to its predecessors, the design of the ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Hero is notably unique. The Polymer Lighting I/O cover and fully customizable RGB lighting deliver impressive personalization.

The Z690 Hero boasts 20+1 power staging and intelligent control, powered by ASUS’ unmatched Ai overclocking feature, which is highly regarded in the industry.

To ensure effective cooling, the motherboard features a large fully aluminum heatsink and integrated aluminum I/O cover, along with a highly conductive thermal pad that maximizes contact surface area. Three M.2 heatsinks and two backplates keep the M.2 SSDs cool, while the additional ROG water cooling zone allows for further customization.

Moreover, the ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Hero offers a range of features that cater to both gamers and non-gamers alike. These include full PCIe gen 5 support, ultra-fast DDR5 RAM slots capable of accommodating up to 6400MHz, dual Thunderbolt 4 USB-C ports, and a ROG Hyper M.2 PCIe gen 5 card, ensuring powerful connectivity where it is most essential.

Runner up Intel 12th gen motherboard – GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS Master

GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS Master

Form Factor

ATX

Socket

LGA 1700

Chipset

Z690

DDR5?

Yes

Pros
  • Great power delivery
  • Aesthetically pleasing
  • Premium
Cons
  • Expensive


Gigabyte’s Aorus motherboards are renowned for their impressive design and functionality, making them true show-stoppers. While they may come with a higher price tag, the Aorus Master unquestionably stands out as one of the top choices for the most dedicated PC gaming enthusiasts.

The latest iteration of the Aorus Master showcases significant design improvements compared to its predecessor. It boasts a sleek and stylish I/O cover and a matching heatsink, adding a touch of elegance to its overall appearance. Furthermore, the Aorus Master incorporates an impressive 20+1+2 Direct Digital VRM design, resulting in cleaner and more efficient power delivery.

The utilization of tantalum polymer capacitors ensures that power is directed precisely where it’s needed, enhancing overall performance. The thermal ‘reactive’ armor implemented in this motherboard incorporates nano-carbon fins, significantly increasing the cooling capacity of the thermal armor. Additionally, it features a direct-touch heat pipe and a nano-carbon backplate, further enhancing heat dissipation.

With the advent of Z690 supporting the all-new DDR5 RAM, the Aorus Master fully embraces this technology. It allows for exceptional support of up to 6600MHz, enabling users to experience outstanding speed, aesthetics, and functionality. This powerful combination of features ensures that the Aorus Master is truly a top-tier choice for discerning PC gaming enthusiasts.

Best budget Intel 12th gen motherboard – ASUS TUF Gaming Z690-Plus WiFi

ASUS TUF Gaming Z690-Plus WiFi

Form Factor

ATX

Socket

LGA 1700

Chipset

Z690

DDR5?

No, DDR4

Pros
  • More budget
  • Good features for budget motherboard
  • Tough design and power delivery
Cons
  • Less creature comforts than more premium motherboards
  • DDR4


The ASUS TUF Gaming motherboard continues to be a popular choice among users, providing exceptional value for those on a budget with its unmatched price-to-performance ratio.

The TUF Gaming Z690 offers a revamped and improved power solution compared to its predecessors. Equipped with 14+2 DrMOS power stages and Digi+ VRM, it delivers outstanding durability and performance, ensuring a stable and reliable system.

To guarantee efficient cooling, the motherboard is equipped with various cooling features. These include a PCH fanless heatsink, a VRM heatsink, an M.2 heatsink, and hybrid fan headers, all complemented by Asus’ Fan Xpert 4 technology. This combination ensures optimal heat dissipation and helps maintain lower operating temperatures for critical components.

Although the TUF Gaming Z690 model only supports DDR4 RAM, this allows ASUS to offer the motherboard at a more affordable price point. However, the motherboard does come with enhanced DDR4 capabilities, supporting speeds of up to 5333MHz DDR4. This means users can still take advantage of high-frequency DDR4 memory to maximize system performance.

Overall, the ASUS TUF Gaming Z690-Plus WiFi provides an attractive option for budget-conscious users who prioritize both performance and affordability. With its robust power delivery, effective cooling solutions, and enhanced DDR4 capabilities, it remains a compelling choice for gamers and PC enthusiasts alike.

Best Intel 12th gen motherboard – things to consider

When it comes to choosing a new motherboard for your system, there are several crucial factors to consider. Taking the time to carefully analyze these aspects will empower you to make an informed decision when faced with the task of selecting a motherboard for Intel’s 12th-generation processors.

Can the choice of motherboard affect the performance of an Intel 12th gen CPU?

Yes, a poorly chosen motherboard can have an impact on Intel CPU performance. The motherboard plays a critical role in providing power, managing communication between components, and facilitating data transfer. If the motherboard is not properly matched with the CPU or lacks essential features, it can result in several performance-related issues:

  • Power Delivery: Inadequate power delivery can limit the performance potential of the CPU. A motherboard with a weak power phase design or insufficient power delivery components may struggle to provide the necessary voltage and current to the CPU, leading to instability and reduced performance.
  • Compatibility: Choosing a motherboard that is not compatible with the specific Intel CPU can result in compatibility issues. This can lead to limited functionality, BIOS incompatibility, or the inability to fully utilize the CPU’s features and capabilities.
  • Thermal Performance: The motherboard’s cooling solution, such as VRM heatsinks and fan placement, can affect the CPU’s temperature management. Inadequate cooling can result in higher operating temperatures, leading to thermal throttling and decreased performance.
  • Memory Support: The motherboard determines the supported memory types, frequencies, and configurations. Choosing a motherboard with limited memory support or slower memory speeds than what the CPU can handle may impact overall system performance, particularly in memory-intensive tasks.
  • BIOS and Firmware Updates: A motherboard with limited or infrequent BIOS and firmware updates may lack compatibility optimizations or important bug fixes. This can result in reduced stability and performance, particularly when using newer CPU generations or software optimizations.

It is essential to choose a motherboard that is well-suited to the specific Intel CPU model and meets your requirements for power delivery, compatibility, cooling, memory support, and expansion options. Properly matching the motherboard with the CPU ensures optimal performance and stability for your system.

Can an Intel 12th gen CPU fit an Intel 13th gen motherboard?

Yes, both the 12th and 13th-generation motherboards utilize the same socket, LGA 1700. This compatibility allows for interchangeability between Intel’s 12th and 13th gen CPUs in motherboards from both series, specifically the Intel 600 and Intel 700 series motherboards.

Here is a bank of useful motherboard links.

Final word

Selecting the right motherboard is a crucial decision when building or upgrading your system, especially when considering Intel’s 12th-generation processors. With our curated selection of the best Intel 12th gen motherboards, we have made the task easier for you.

The ASUS ROG Maximus Hero Z690 WiFi stands out as a top choice, offering exceptional power staging, intelligent control, and impressive cooling capabilities. For those seeking a motherboard with a stunning design and enhanced power delivery, the GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS Master is a remarkable option. And for budget-conscious users, the ASUS TUF Gaming Z690-Plus WiFi offers a great balance of performance and affordability.

When choosing a motherboard, it’s important to consider factors like power delivery, compatibility, thermal performance, memory support, expansion options, and regular BIOS updates. A poorly chosen motherboard can indeed impact the performance of an Intel CPU. However, both the 12th and 13th-gen Intel CPUs can be used interchangeably in motherboards that utilize the LGA 1700 socket, such as the Intel 600 and Intel 700 series.

With this comprehensive understanding, you can confidently select the best Intel 12th-gen motherboard that suits your needs, unleashing the full potential of your 12th-gen CPU and experiencing the pinnacle of technological innovation.