Best Z690 Motherboard In 2022 (DDR5 & PCIe 5.0 Boards)

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Best Z690 Motherboards

Intel’s ambitious 12th gen Core CPUs are here to compete with AMD’s Ryzen 5000 series of CPUs. The Alder Lake is Intel’s fastest and most powerful CPU series yet and comes out with competitive pricing and powerful performance.

Intel managed to take back the crown as the best gaming CPU manufacturer, soundly beating AMD Ryzen 5000 series. There is a catch behind these huge gains.

As per the benchmarks, the power consumption of Alder Lake is on par with GPU’s power consumption, reaching as high as 300+ watts under stress. In the end, consumers are the real winners, and naturally, people would want to upgrade to the new 12th gen CPUs.

I have compiled a list of Z690 motherboards that you can get your hands on if you wish to upgrade to Intel Alder Lake CPUs. From the list, you will be able to find the best Z690 motherboard for your needs and some things that you can look for in the brand-new motherboard.


Best Z690 Motherboard – Comparison Table


Image Name Price Rating Specs
ASUS ROG Strix Z690-E 
  • Form Factor: ATX
  • Size: 12 x 9.6 Inches
  • Memory: 4x DDR5/Max 128GB
  • Memory Speed: 6400+ MHz (OC)
  • 1x PCIe 5.0 x16 Slot
MSI MPG Z690 Carbon 
  • Form Factor: ATX
  • Size: 12 x 9.6 Inches
  • Memory: 4x DDR5/Max 128GB
  • Memory Speed: 6666+ MHz
  • 3x PCIe x16 Slots
ASUS Prime Z690-A
  • Form Factor: ATX
  • Size: 12 x 9.6 Inches
  • Memory: 4x DDR5/Max 128GB
  • Memory Speed: 6000 MHz (OC)
  • 1x PCIe 5.0 x16 Slot
MSI Z690 Force
  • Form Factor: ATX
  • Size: 12 x 9.6 Inches
  • Memory: 4x DDR5/Max 128 GB
  • Memory Speed: 6666+ MHz
  • 1x PCIe 5.0 x16 Slot
GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS Elite
  • Form Factor: ATX
  • Size: 12 x 9.6 Inches
  • Memory: 4x DDR4/Max 128 GB
  • Memory Speed: 5333 MHz OC
  • 1x PCIe 5.0 x16 Slot
GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS PRO
  • Form Factor: ATX
  • Size: 12 x 9.6 Inches
  • Memory: 4x DDR5/Max 128GB
  • Memory Speed: 6200 MHz (OC)
  • 1x PCIe 5.0 x16 Slot
ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Hero
  • Form Factor: ATX
  • Size: 12 x 9.6 Inches
  • Memory: 4x DDR5/Max 128GB
  • Memory Speed: 6400+ MHz (OC)
  • 2x PCIe 5.0 x16 Slots
MSI PRO Z690-A (DDR4)
  • Form Factor: ATX
  • Size: 12 x 9.6 Inches
  • Memory: 4x DDR4/Max 128GB
  • Memory Speed: 5200+ MHz
  • Support PCIe 5.0 x16
MSI MAG Z690 Tomahawk (DDR4)
  • Form Factor: ATX
  • Size: 12 x 9.6 Inches
  • Memory: 4x DDR4/Max 128GB
  • Memory Speed: 5200+ MHz
  • Support PCIe 5.0 x16
GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS Master
  • Form Factor: E-ATX
  • Size: 12 x 10.2 Inches
  • Memory: 4x DDR5/Max 128GB
  • Memory Speed: 6400 MHZ (OC)
  • Support PCIe 5.0 x16
ASUS Prime Z690M-Plus
  • Form Factor: Micro ATX
  • Size: 9.6 x 9.6 Inches
  • Memory: 4x DDR4/Max 128GB
  • Memory Speed: 5333 MHz (OC)
  • 1x PCIe 5.0 x16 Slot
ASUS ROG Strix Z690-I
  • Form Factor: Mini ITX
  • Size: 6.7 x 6.7 Inches
  • Memory: 2x DDR5/Max 64GB
  • Memory Speed: 6400 MHz (OC)
  • 1x PCIe 5.0 x16 Slot

A quick look at the best z690 motherboards of 2022:

  1. ASUS ROG Strix Z690-E (NeoGamr’s pick)
  2. MSI MPG Z690 Carbon (Performance pick)
  3. ASUS Prime Z690-A (Editor’s choice)
  4. MSI Z690 Force (Premium pick)
  5. GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS Elite (Universal pick)
  6. GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS PRO (Best mid-range)
  7. ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Hero (Pricey beast)
  8. MSI PRO Z690-A (Best budget ATX)
  9. MSI MAG Z690 Tomahawk (Best value)
  10. GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS Master (Enthusiast pick)
  11. ASUS Prime Z690M-Plus (Best micro-ATX)
  12. ASUS ROG Strix Z690-I (Best mini-ITX)

Best Z690 Motherboard


Selecting the best Z690 motherboard depends on individual needs. If you are looking for entry to mid-level CPUs, you do not need a high-class, premium Z690 motherboard. Similarly, if you are eyeing the Core i7 or i9 CPU, you might as well go for the premium/enthusiastic level Z690 motherboard.

Whichever your case may be, you will need a Z690 motherboard to be able to upgrade to Alder Lake CPUs. Let us get to the list without any ado.


#1 – ASUS ROG Strix Z690-E


– Specifications:

  • Integrated I/O shield and VRM heatsinks
  • HDMI 2.1 and DisplayPort 1.4 support
  • 5x M.2 slots
  • ASUS AURA SYNC
  • WiFi 6E + Intel 2.5 Gb Ethernet
  • DDR5 memory ready
  • DTS Sound Unbound and Sonic Studio III support
  • Windows 11 ready

– Advantages:

  • Premium, cutting-edge design
  • Solid build quality
  • Heatsink for VRMs
  • DDR5 ready
  • 5-way optimization

– Drawbacks:

  • One of the most expensive Z690 motherboards
  • Availability issues

The first motherboard that I have is the ROG Strix Z690-E premium motherboard by ASUS. It is one of the higher-end versions of the motherboard that is DDR5 ready and features some of the best features like WiFi 6E and more.

It features the black PCB design and the unique ROG Strix aesthetics. To want the best out of the Alder Lake CPUs, you will have to spend a decent chunk of money to get this bad boy. Besides the looks and aesthetics, it is one of the best performing Z690 motherboards available.

With this motherboard, you can build a pretty high-end to enthusiastic level PC, which you can pair with the likes of the RTX 3090 and Radeon RX 6900XT. ASUS boards are outstanding for overclocking, and this board is no exception; and if you are interested in overclocking, the board has got your back.

It has an integrated I/O cover and VRM heatsinks for optimal thermal dissipation. More details are listed down below:

– My Findings:

The ROG Strix is one of the expensive options that are available for purchase that has almost everything that you can expect from a high-end motherboard. It has WiFi 6E, which is currently the fastest WiFi version.

Combined with solid and durable components and aesthetics, the Z690-E is an excellent, well-rounded motherboard that is ready to install. Surprisingly, it draws less power than other Z690 versions, which means less heat output, one of the neat advantages of this motherboard.

There are no noticeable cons related to this motherboard other than its beefy price tag and the availability of DDR5 memory at large.


#2 – MSI MPG Z690 Carbon


– Specifications:

  • Integrated I/O shield
  • VRM heatsinks
  • Realtek ALC4080 Codec
  • MSI Mystic Light RGB support
  • WiFi 6E + Intel 2.5 Gb Ethernet
  • DDR5 memory clocked up to 6666 MHz
  • PCIe 5.0 ready motherboard
  • Bluetooth 5.2 ready

– Advantages:

  • Up to 6x SATA ports
  • Gorgeous design with carbon fiber aesthetics
  • Plethora of I/O ports (front + rear)
  • Competitive price
  • One of the fastest DDR5 clock speed

– Drawbacks:

  • Nothing in particular

Carbon fiber is a strong and durable material used in race cars, air crafts, and other products. It looks great, and if you are a fan of carbon fiber, you will love the MSI MPG Z690 carbon motherboard.

You might wonder, how do carbon fiber and motherboard relate? Well, technically, this motherboard has carbon fiber aesthetics with embedded RGB lighting that looks great and gives the motherboard a premium feel.

It has an integrated I/O shield with a plethora of I/O ports with HDMI 2.1 and DisplayPort 1.4 ports. It has a separate WiFi module that supports WiFi 6E. For ethernet, it has the Intel I225V 2.5 Gb LAN controller.

Now, as far as DDR5 memory is concerned, the MPG Z690 Carbon supports memory at a whopping 6666 MHz clock. One of the highest compared to other boards in competition, probably the fastest.

It has a beefy heatsink on the I/O shield. The rest of the VRMs do have heatsinks but not as beefy as one mentioned. The full details are mentioned down below.

– My Verdict:

The MPG Z690 Carbon is MSI’s offering to the people that are not looking to buy the most expensive and enthusiastic level motherboard, rather if you are looking for a Z690 motherboard that has all the necessary features like in any enthusiastic motherboard minus some luxury features like the OLED display, it is the perfect motherboard for you.

It has plentiful I/O ports, especially the USB and SATA ports, for a storage upgrade. The board features one of the fastest memory clock speeds that I have ever seen, touching up to a whopping 6666 MHz clock speed.

Yes, it is not a premium board and lacks a few features, but that does not mean this motherboard is not worth looking out for; on the contrary, it is one of the best high-end motherboards with an affordable price tag.


#3 – ASUS Prime Z690-A


– Specifications:

  • ASUS AI overclocking and cooling
  • VRM and M.2 heatsinks
  • ASUS 5-way optimizations
  • ASUS AURA Sync
  • Multiple temperature sensors
  • ASUS 5x Protection III
  • PCIe 5.0 slot
  • Intel 2.5 Gb ethernet controller

– Advantages:

  • ASUS AI features for ease cooling and overclocking
  • Attractive black and white design
  • Integrated I/O shield
  • Affordable price
  • Highly customizable

– Drawbacks:

  • Lacks WiFi module
  • Lack of LED display

ASUS has a variety of options to choose from when it comes to PC hardware, i.e., motherboards, graphics cards, or PSUs. The Prime Z690-A is ASUS take on affordable DDR5 ready motherboards for Intel’s Alder Lake CPU series.

It features a good-looking contrast of white VRM heatsinks and a black PCB design. If you have a white-oriented build, this is a nice motherboard to consider. It has RGB lighting but is subtle and can be out shadowed by the rest of the PC lighting.

It features a 16+1 Power Stages configuration with a peace of mind cooling solution thanks to the VRM heatsinks. It does not have an OLED display, but it has all of the crucial features that matter, like the ease of overclocking and cooling aided by ASUS AI.

For the most part, the motherboard is customizable, from controlling CPU fan speeds to DDR5 overclocking. Less experienced people can also customize their systems with the help of useful ASUS technologies.

– Why Does It Stand Out?

The Prime Z690-A is ASUS affordable Z690 motherboard with likable aesthetics. It features a 16 + 1 power design supporting up to 4 DIMM DDR5 memory that goes up to a whopping 6000 MHz of clock speed.

It is an excellent alternative to the ROG Strix or the ROG Maximus Z690 motherboards. With an exception of an OLED display and WiFi, the Prime Z690-A is a solid motherboard with durable and high-quality components that will perform like any high-end motherboard at a cost that can be afforded by people on a limited budget.


#4 – MSI Z690 Force


– Specifications:

  • MSI Mystic Light support
  • White VRM and M.2 heatsinks
  • Integrated I/O shield
  • 5x audio jacks
  • Intel WiFi 6 and 2.5 Gb ethernet
  • Support PCIe 5.0 slot
  • Bluetooth 5.2 ready board
  • Standard ATX form factor

– Advantages:

  • Attractive built can fit in most systems
  • WiFi ready board
  • Plenty of rear I/O ports
  • Premium thermal solution with the extended heatsink design
  • 5x M.2 slots

– Drawbacks:

  • MSI BIOS being hard to use

The MPG Z690 Force is a premium motherboard by MSI for Intel 12th gen Alder Lake CPUs. It features a classic, black and white contrast design with the PCB being black and the VRM and M.2 heatsinks being white.

The ASUS Prime Z690-A features a similar aesthetic, but I think the MPG Z690 Force looks and feels better and more premium than the Prime Z690-A. That being said, the motherboard features DDR5 memory that goes up to 6666 MHz; the DDR5 memory can be overclocked with the help of the Intel XMP 3.0 feature.

The motherboard is loaded with features like MSI Shield Frozr thermal solution, WiFi 6E, and 2.5 Gb ethernet controller. It has RGB lighting on the heatsink, though the I/O heatsink does not have RGB lighting. Just the MSI dragon carving and logo.

Overall, a solid product with heatsinks, RGB lighting, WiFi, and more. There are no prominent flaws related to this motherboard, but the BIOS is clunky and is not user-friendly compared to the likes of ASUS BIOS.

– Why Did It Make The list?

The MSI MPG Z690 Force is the company’s premium version of the Z690 motherboard. It is not the company’s flagship Z690 motherboard but is still high-end if you are willing to spare a decent chunk of money.

MSI tried to include as many premium features in their Z690 Force as possible, and honestly, there are no flaws when it comes to this motherboard. It features one of the fastest DDR5 clock speeds, premium design, ample I/O, M.2, and SATA slots for storage.

If you are not a fan of MSI BIOS, this might not be an ideal board, but you might as well look at other options by Gigabyte, ASUS, and Colorful.


#5 – GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS Elite (DDR4)


– Specifications:

  • RGB Fusion 2.0 with multi-zone ARGB lighting
  • Gray VRM and M.2 heatsink design
  • Integrated I/O shield
  • DDR4 memory overclocked up to 5333 MHz
  • Intel WiFi 6 and 2.5 Gb ethernet
  • PCIe 5.0 slot supported board
  • Competitive price tag
  • Up to 6x SATA connectors

– Advantages:

  • Premium build quality
  • Heatsink for VRM and other components
  • ARGB support
  • WiFi 6 + 2.45 Gb ethernet controller
  • 4x DIMM DDR4 slots

– Drawbacks:

  • No DDR5 support
  • Buggy BIOS requires an update to run smoothly

It has been only a few days since DDR5 and Z690 chipset motherboards were launched into the market. As promising and exciting as DDR5 is, it is equally hard to purchase the memory due to lack of supply and high chip pricing, making an upgrade to DDR5 and Alder Lake a real problem.

Luckily, not all Z690 motherboards require DDR5. Yes, there are DDR4 Z690 motherboards that you can buy, and one of them is the Z690 AORUS Elite by Gigabyte. Gigabyte is one of the prominent motherboard manufacturers, and the Z690 AORUS Elite is one of the company’s finest Z690 offerings featuring a black and gray color scheme.

It features DDR4 memory and just the right amount of RGB lighting. It features a 16 + 1 + 2 power design with VRM heatsinks at an affordable price tag. More details are given down below.

– What Makes It Unique?

The Gigabyte Z690 AORUS Elite is a solid motherboard for Intel’s Alder Lake CPUs. It does not have DDR5 memory support, but that could be a good thing, especially if you are willing to upgrade to the 12th gen Intel CPUs because DDR5 memories are nearly impossible to find in stock and have a similar or worst situation as the GPU market.

Overall, it is an excellent motherboard with great specifications, which you would expect from a Gigabyte product. If you have a limited budget, the Z690 AORUS Elite might be the most attractive option.


#6 – GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS PRO


– Specifications:

  • RGB Fusion 2.0 support
  • DDR5 memory support overclocked up to 6200 MHz
  • Integrated I/O shield and heatsink
  • Gray and black VRM and other components heatsinks
  • Intel WiFi 6 and 2.5 Gb ethernet connector
  • 4x M.2 slots for storage expansion
  • Competitive price tag
  • Windows 11 ready motherboard

– Advantages:

  • Sufficient I/O ports
  • 6x SATA and 4x M.2 slots for a sufficient storage upgrade
  • Dual-channel DDR5 memory support
  • Heatsinks for VRM and other components
  • Solid build quality

– Drawbacks:

  • Lack of DisplayPort 1.4 and HDMI 2.1 port
  • Design might not be for everyone

The Z690 AORUS Pro is a similar board as the Z690 AORUS Elite but with a DDR5 memory configuration. If you want to upgrade to Alder Lake CPU and want to go with the best possible budget-friendly Z690 motherboard with most of the attractive features, the Z690 AORUS Pro is another solid option.

Like the DDR4 variant, the AORUS Pro features a black and steel gray color combination with ARGB lit AORUS logo. The I/O shield features a black heatsink; the rest of the heatsinks are gray, which I believe can go with any PC build aesthetically.

It features DDR5 memory with Intel XMP 3.0 support that goes as high as 6200 MHz of clock speed. The PCIe slot is gen 5.0, featuring the SMD Armor to offer GPU reinforcement. For storage, it has 4x M.2 slots and up to 6x SATA connectors. Check out its specifications down below:

– How It Made To The List?

The Z690 AORUS Pro is Gigabyte’s take on the Z690 motherboard with DDR5 memory slots. It is a premium motherboard from every perspective, but it does lack a few premium features that are nice to have but not crucial.

For starters, it does not have HDMI 2.1 and DisplayPort 1.4 ports. It does have a single DisplayPort, but that is version 1.2. Overall, the motherboard is decent and has excellent memory overclock speed support, and thanks to its solid build quality, the final products feel and perform premium.


#7 – ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Hero


– Specifications:

  • ASUS AURA Sync support
  • DDR5 memory support overclocked up to 6400 MHz
  • ASUS AI support for overclocking, cooling, and networking
  • Total black PCB design with LED display
  • WiFi 6E, Intel 2.5 Gb ethernet with ASUS LANGuard
  • ROG SupremeFX ALC4082 Audio Solution
  • Pre-mounted I/O shield with AURA Sync support
  • 20+1 power stages rated for 90 amps

– Advantages:

  • Unrivaled build quality and design
  • WiFi and Bluetooth ready motherboard
  • 7x USB 3.2 gen 2 ports on the rear
  • ROG SupremeFX 7.1 surround sound
  • LED display adds value to aesthetics

– Drawbacks:

  • One of the most expensive Z690 motherboard

I have covered and discussed a few Z690, but I have yet to discuss the top-of-the-line Z690 option. Meet the ROG Maximus Z690 Hero, ASUS’s flagship Z690 motherboard. It has ROG aesthetics, and honestly, it is one of the best-looking motherboards available in the market.

It features 20+1 power stages, with each stage handling up to 90 amps of current. It features 2x PCIe 5.0 slots, twice the number compared to other competing boards. At a single glance, it features a black PCB and heatsink design paired with LED that displays the ROG logo in pixelated design by default.

On the rear, it has a pre-mounted I/O shield with a plethora of I/O ports. For convenience, it has a button for BIOS flashing in case your BIOS starts to act funny. Since it is the company’s flagship motherboard, it is loaded with features that I sadly cannot list all of them.

– What’s Special About It?

For people that are building the highest-end PC with Intel 12th gen Core i9 CPU and want the best possible motherboard that will not hold back the CPU and GPU capabilities, the Maximum Z690 Hero is possibly the best motherboard available for you to buy.

It has everything that you would want, from an enthusiastic tier motherboard, possibly more. It is an outstanding motherboard that is jam-packed with features. The only big concern that one can have related to this board is its price. If price is not an issue, I do not think there is a better option other than the Maximus Z690 Hero.


#8 – MSI PRO Z690-A (DDR4)


– Specifications:

  • All black PCB design
  • DDR4 memory peaking at 5200 MHz clock speed
  • 6x SATA and 4x M.2 ports
  • Realtek ALC897 7.1 channel HD audio solution
  • Intel WiFi 6 + I225-V 2.5 Gb ethernet controller
  • Standard ATX form factor
  • VRM and M.2 heatsinks
  • HDMI 2.1 and DisplayPort 1.4 ports

– Advantages:

  • Solid build quality
  • Outstanding price for a feature-packed motherboard
  • Intel WiFi 6 motherboard
  • Heatsink for VRM and other components

– Drawbacks:

  • Lack of RGB lighting
  • Underwhelming number of I/O ports
  • Lack of PCIe 5.0 slot

The MSI PRO Z690-A is an affordable option MSI for people looking to upgrade to the Alder Lake series. It is a motherboard that has all crucial features at an affordable price tag. It features an all-black PCB design without any RGB lighting.

It is safe to call this board the entry-level Z690 motherboard. One nice feature is it comes with WiFi, surprising from a budget motherboard perspective. Instead of the DDR5 memory module, the Z690-A features DDR4 memory.

The rest of the features are the same as other competing boards. It has 4x DDR4 DIMM slots that peak to a staggering clock of up to 5200 MHz. Storage-wise, it is nothing exceptional, featuring 6x SATA and 4x M.2 slots.

The I/O ports number is lackluster, but there is much you can get with an entry-level price tag. Overall, the board leaves little to no room for complaints, and the only turn-off that I can think of is the lack of RGB lighting, but that is not a big of an issue if there is additional RGB lighting in the case.

– What Makes It Stand Out?

Assembling a DDR5 memory build is proving to be a hard task, making Alder Lake a tough nut to crack. However, people can still upgrade to the latest Intel 12th gen CPUs by going with DDR4 memory boards.

The MSI Pro Z690-A features a complete package at a competitive and attractive price, making its board and up-gradation to Alder Lake CPUs a breeze but with a few sacrifices to be made. If you are willing to accept the lack of RGB and I/O ports, there is no better option at a budget-friendly price.


#9 – MSI MAG Z690 Tomahawk (DDR4)


– Specifications:

  • Full black, metallic finish PCB design
  • DDR4 memory support overclocked up to 5200 MHz
  • 10x storage slots (4x M.2 NVMe, 6x SATA)
  • Realtek ALC4080 7.1 channel HD audio solution with S/PDIF output
  • WiFi and Bluetooth ready motherboard
  • 3x 3-pin RAINBOW LED, 1x 4-pin RGB LED connectors
  • Heatsinks for VRM and M.2 storage
  • PCIe 5.0 slot

– Advantages:

  • Attractive build design
  • HDMI 2. 1 and DisplayPort 1.4 ports
  • 7x rear USB ports
  • Up to 10x storage slots including NVMe and SATA storage devices
  • VRM and M.2 heatsinks with a metallic finish

– Drawbacks:

  • Lack of RGB or LED lighting
  • Lack of LED display for error probing

The MAG Z690 Tomahawk is another budget-friendly motherboard by MSI featuring the DDR4 memory configuration, making up-gradation to Intel CPUs an easy and quick task. It features an all-black, non-RGB design with a PCIe 5.0 slot.

It features multiple heatsinks for various board components. The build quality looks and feels premium and can easily fit any PC aesthetics, especially for theme-oriented builds. It comes with Intel WiFi 6 and I225-V ethernet connector for seamless internet connection.

It can support up to 10 storage drives, including 4x M.2 and 6x SATA slots that have up to 6 Gb per second speeds. It has support for RAID 0,1,5 and 10 for SATA storage, while RAID 0,1 and 5 for M.2 storage devices.

The I/O ports are sufficient, just the right amount for a budget-friendly board. The form factor is the Standard-ATX with 12-inch x 9.6-inch dimensions.

– Why Is It On My List?

Several decent Z690 motherboards are available to buy right now, and the Z690 Tomahawk is one of the premium Z690 motherboards that checks all of the boxes for a motherboard worth purchasing.

Going with the MAG Z690 Tomahawk would mean to give up on a few luxurious features like DDR5 memory, LED display, RGB lighting, but if it has what a user requires for their PCs, then it is a board worth checking out.


#10 – GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS Master


– Specifications:

  • Full black PCB with LED display
  • DDR5 memory featuring up to 6400 MHz clock speed
  • 5x M.2 slots
  • Clear CMOS button
  • WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5.2 ready
  • Multiple detection sensors like temperature, fan speed, voltage, and more
  • Fin-array heatsink for VRM and other components
  • Thunderbolt 4 support

– Advantages:

  • Gorgeous build design that can fit any PC build
  • High-quality heatsinks for M.2, VRMs, and other components
  • Up to 5x M.2 slots
  • Reinforced PCIe 5.0 slots
  • Ease BIOS updating in under 2 steps

– Drawbacks:

  • Price being the main issue at large
  • DDR5 memory is harder to get due to stock issues

I have presented you with a few enthusiastic level motherboards, but I have yet to discuss the enthusiastic-tier Z690 motherboard by Gigabyte. Meet the Z690 AORUS Master, the company’s flagship Z690 motherboard with premium features and price tag.

It features an all-black PCB design with LED, which honestly has aesthetics on par with ASUS ROG Maximum Z690 Hero, if not better. The board is fully loaded with heatsinks including, VRMs, I/O shield, and M.2 storage.

It has DDR5 that can be upgraded up to 128 GB and can be overclocked up to a whopping 6400 MHz clock speed, right behind MSI top tier motherboard. It is a complete motherboard, and by complete, I mean it is jacked with features, you name it.

It has 5x M.2 slots and 6x SATA slots, including support for Raid 0,1, 5, and 10. It has up to 11 USB ports in total, which can be further increased using internal headers. You can check out the official Gigabyte page for complete information related to this motherboard.

– What Are The Key Features?

The Z690 AORUS Master is Gigabyte’s flagship offering for the Z690 chipset motherboard. Gigabyte has tried to include everything in their flagship Z690 board to cater to enthusiasts, but still, a competitive price compared to ROG Maximus Z690 Hero while offering similar specifications and features, though ASUS still wins when it comes to the sheer number of features, build quality and aesthetics.

There are little to no flaws related to the motherboard. I cannot say the same for the BIOS experience of the board. Some people say Gigabyte’s BIOS is hard to work with. In the end, it is a solid motherboard that can potentially be the perfect board for your Alder Lake CPU build.


#11 – ASUS Prime Z690M-Plus (DDR4)


– Specifications:

  • Black and white color scheme
  • DDR4 memory overclocked up to 5333 MHz
  • Intel XMP supported
  • 4X DDR4 DIMM slots
  • PCIe 5.0 supported board
  • Realtek 7.1 surround sound
  • ASUS 5X Protection III
  • Micro-ATX form factor

– Advantages:

  • Excellent motherboard for compact builds
  • ASUS AURA Sync supported board
  • ASUS OptiMem II feature for faster memory operation
  • Ample I/O ports on the back
  • Windows 11 ready

– Drawbacks:

  • Lack of any LED lighting
  • Limited number of storage slots
  • Lack of I/O shield

Lastly, I have the entry-level, small form factor board for people that want to build a compact PC around the Alder Lake CPUs. It features a black and white combination. Due to size restrictions, there is limited space and hence a limited number of heatsinks on components.

It features DDR4 memory and 10+1 power stages. The storage slots are also limited, featuring 4x SATA and 3x M.2 slots. I/O ports are sufficient on the board. On the rear, it has 8x USB ports, 3x audio jacks, 1x DisplayPort, 1x HDMI port, and an Intel 1 Gb ethernet port.

It does not feature RGB lighting but features ASUS AURA Sync technology for other RGB components. It does not have DDR5 memory support, but it does have PCIe 5.0 slot at a price that can be afforded by a majority of people.

– Why You Should Consider It?

Finding the right motherboard for compact PC builds is a hard task as the options are limited to choose from. ASUS tries to present their Micro-ATX form factor motherboard with a sufficient amount of ports, be it I/O ports or storage ports.

The best thing about the Prime Z690M-Plus is its price. Even if you are not looking to build a compact gaming rig, you can still go for a standard-ATX build. For a lower price as this, there are sacrifices to be made. Overall, a nice, well-rounded motherboard that will fulfill most of your needs.


#12 – ASUS ROG Strix Z690-I


– Specifications:

  • Full-black PCB and heatsink design
  • DDR5 memory overclocked up to 6400 MHz
  • 2x M.2 slots
  • WiFi 6E and 2.5 Gb ethernet connector
  • ROG SupremeFX 7.1 Surround Sound
  • Thunderbolt 4 ports
  • I/O shield and heatsink for crucial components
  • Mini-ITX form factor

– Advantages:

  • Slick, attractive, all-black design
  • Pre-mounted I/O shield
  • WiFi 6E ready motherboard
  • ASUS AURA Sync supported
  • PCIe 5.0 slot

– Drawbacks:

  • Limited storage slots
  • Only 2x DDR5 memory slots
  • Lack of RGB lighting

For gamers that are looking to buy a microATX motherboard, there are very limited choices. I have just discussed the pros and cons of the ASUS Prime Z690M-Plus motherboard, which is one of the choices for a compact build but with DDR4 memory.

For people that want to build a compact PC with DDR5 memory, there is a motherboard for that purpose and which is none other than the ROG Strix Z690-I by ASUS. Compared to the Prime Z690M-Plus, this is a premium motherboard that comes with a beefy price tag.

I will only recommend this board if you are only looking to build a compact PC. If that is not the case, it is a waste of money to buy this motherboard. That being said, it has ROG aesthetics, WiFi, and heatsinks.

The board is not much different than the company’s flagship offering, with a few cutbacks due to the microATX form factor of the board. Interested people should prepare to pay a premium price for this smaller motherboard.

– Why Have I Picked It?

The ROG Strix Z690-I is one of the few available Mini-ITX motherboards. There are not many choices to choose from. To begin with, it shares high quality, premium feels and is closer to the company’s flagship Z690 motherboard. Though, due to size constraints, it has a few cutbacks.

Now, if you are interested in a compact build and are looking to get the best possible board for that purpose, the ROG Strix Z690-I is by far the most attractive choice but at a premium price tag.


Best Z690 Motherboard: Things You Should Look For


Haste makes waste is a popular idiom that makes a lot of sense when you are out looking for components for your new PC. Motherboards are no exception, and there are a few things to look at before making a decision.

Which factors? Keep reading as they are discussed down below. Without any ado, let us see which factors are crucial for buying a motherboard.


PCIe 5.0 And DDR5 Memory


The Alder Lake and Z690 chipset releases are ambitious and exciting due to a lot of good reasons. One of the best things about the Z690 motherboard is the support for PCIe 5.0 and DDR5 memory, giving Intel a head start over AMD.

Fact: The Z690 chipset motherboards are the only motherboards in the market supporting DDR5 memory.

It feels like only yesterday when AMD released its Ryzen 3000 CPU series with PCIe 4.0 as its highlighting features. Intel only caught up with AMD with the release of Rocket Lake in 2021. Things are different with Alder Lake, as Intel is the first company to release support for the PCIe 5.0 slot.

PCIe 5.0 offers double the bandwidth as PCIe 4.0, but graphics cards released today still cannot take full advantage of the bandwidth that PCIe 5.0 has to offer. One of the biggest benefits of having PCIe 5.0 is faster storage speeds.

Image of Making A PC With ROG Maximus Z690

SSDs with PCIe 5.0 support will have blazing fast read/write speeds which is twice as fast as the PCIe 4.0, which was already mind-blowingly fast. It also features DDR5 memory, the newer generation of DDR memory with super-fast frequencies, a higher amount of capacity, and better power management.

Benchmarks using DDR4 and DDR5 systems show significant performance differences, though, over time, the technology will only improve. The initially released DDR5 memory modules seem to run at 4800 MHz, for instance.

In the end, with PCIe 5.0 and DDR5 memory support, Alder Lake is the superior choice for gaming, beating the Ryzen 5000 series by a convincing margin. You can also go for DDR4-supported Z690 motherboards, but you might experience an inferior performance compared to what DDR5 has to offer.

Check out our recent comparison between z490 vs z590 motherboard.


DDR5 Overclocking Strength


DDR5 is the future and is a worthy upgrade compared to the predecessor DDR4. It is a better technology in every possible way. It is the first upgrade after the release of DDR4 technology back in 2014.

DDR5 memory tries to resolve every problem that was associated with DDR4 memory. A question arises, is DDR5 worth upgrading to? The answer is not that simple.

The first and foremost important factor that will decide whether you should be buying the DDR5 memory for your rig is its overclocking capabilities. DDR4 has come a long way, and with careful tweaking, overclockers have reached up to 5333 MHz of clock speed in DDR4 memory.

There is an issue when it comes to memory overclocking. The higher the frequency of the memory is, the unstable it will get and the higher the chances of data corruption. DDR5, on the contrary, features a massive jump in clock speed, and the earliest modules go up to 4800 MHz that goes up to 6400 MHz at a premium price tag.

DDR5 has a superior and better architecture than the DDR4 module. The better architecture allows the memory to reach way higher frequencies and benchmarks show that higher overclocking of DDR5 features an impressive boost in FPS compared to the DDR4 memory module. DDR5 is better than DDR4 on paper, but things are different when it comes to reality.

DDR5 is harder to get due to limited stock and is extremely expensive. Despite having a massive advantage over its predecessor, going with the DDR4 setup is still more viable unless you do not have budget issues and can buy DDR5 modules.


WiFi 6E Technology & Form Factors


I am a huge gamer and have been gaming ever since I was a little kid. I have played many games from competitive to single-player and indie masterpieces, and from my experience, I can tell those games, especially competitive games, should be played with ethernet instead of WiFi.

It is a subjective opinion, and some people have an excellent competitive gaming experience with WiFi. WiFi gaming only makes sense if your system is close to your router. Assuming your PC is close to the router and you are totally fine with gaming on WiFi, the Z690 board features WiFi 6, which is the predecessor of WiFi 5.

Z690 motherboards that have WiFi support, all of them are WiFi 6-ready boards. How fast is the WIFi 6? The short answer is, WiFi 6 has a whopping maximum speed of up to 9.6 Gbps, compared to 3.5 Gbps on WiFi 5.

The speeds are impressive, but in reality, it is very unlikely that you will ever reach them in real life. WiFi 6 is not just higher speeds but, it is also about the improved network when many devices are connected on a single network. WiFi 6 is something that is not necessary but is a nice addon to have as the faster and better network will come in handy in the future.

Infographic of common Motherboard factors

Then there is the form factor. At the time of writing, the Z690 motherboard features three different form factors: Standard-ATX, Micro-ATX, and Mini-ITX. The majority of the Z690 boards come with the standard-ATX form factor though there are a few options for micro-ATX and mini-ITX form factors.


What Is LGA 1700 Socket?


The LGA 1700 socket is the compatible socket released to support Alder Lake CPUs and is a direct replacement for LGA 1200. The number 1700 refers to the number of contacts, a 500-increase compared to the predecessor LGA 1200.

Fact: The Z690 chipset is Intel’s latest chipset released to support Alder Lake or 12th gen CPUs.

The larger number of contact results in a bigger chip in size. It is the first major change since the release of LGA 775. Intel plans to release a vast number of chipsets for LGA 1700 socket, but at the time of writing, there is only the Z690 chipset that supports the LGA 1700 socket.

Holding the ASUS ROG Strix Z690 I

Its odd design also makes previously used cooling solutions incompatible with the chip. So, if you want to upgrade to Alder Lake, you might have to upgrade everything except for your GPU or casing.

It supports DDR5 as the main memory, but a few boards have DDR4 as the main memory. The maximum number of DIMM slots that the Z690 motherboard support is 4, and the storage can be maxed up to 128 GB.


Intel Z690 Chipset: Everything You Need To Know


The Z690 is the first chipset announced to support Alder Lake CPUs momentarily. More chipsets are expected to be released later in the future, but as of now, you are pretty much stuck with Z690.

The Z690 is the first chipset that supports DDR5 memory and PCIe 5.0 slot as the highlight features of Alder Lake CPUs, making it the best motherboard for gaming, leaving Ryzen 5000 behind by a convincing margin.

The Z690 chipset features 4x DDR4 or DDR5 DIMM slots that can entertain up to 128 GB of memory storage. The maximum number of SATA ports is up to 8. The majority of the motherboard comes with six as a minimum.

Fact: At the time of writing, Z690 motherboards are the only supported motherboards for 12th gen Core CPUs.

For PCIe 5.0 slots, you are looking at either 1×16 + 1×4 configuration or the 2×8 + 1×4 combination. It supports RAID 0, 1, 5, and 10 for SATA storage and RAID 0, 1, and 5 for M.2 storage drives.

These are the basic features of the Z690 chipset, other features like several M.2 slots, I/O ports and more, vary from manufacturer to manufacturer.

You can expect the maximum number of ports and slots for a premium price. You can still get a cheaper Z690 motherboard but expect cutbacks and a lack of premium features like WiFi.


Choose A Z690 Motherboard That Focuses On Thermals


Lastly, thermals are something that you should be concerned with. Any motherboard that is packed with features but has high thermals is nothing but useless.

The majority of the motherboard that I have discussed in this article does an excellent job with the thermals and have a heatsink on the respective components. Some Z690 boards even feature thermal pads that feature better thermal dissipation.

The Alder Lake series is powerful and consumes a hefty amount of power. The higher power draw can increase the TDP of the motherboard as well.

The most important component of any motherboard is VRM and whichever board that you are going with, make sure it has decent thermal solutions for its VRMs and other components.

The most premium motherboard will have the best VRM thermal solution, while budget-friendly may or may not have a decent solution for components temperatures. Make sure to do your homework first before finalizing a motherboard to save yourself from hassle in the future.


Is A Z690 Motherboard Worth It?


It is time to answer the bigger question, is buying the Z690 motherboard worth the money and time? The Z690 motherboard features newer technologies, mainly the DDR5 memory module and the PCIe 5.0 slots.

Game running at DDR4 memory setup and DDR5 setup with same hardware show that systems with DDR5 memory have better gaming performance, and the difference is significant. Both the DDR5 and PCIe 5.0 slots are newly released technologies, and on paper, they are the best possible upgrade for gaming.

Image of a person in panda costume

Alder Lake CPUs are powerful, and for the first time in years, Intel is back to the top as the best choice for gaming. In reality, upgrading to Alder Lake is not a walk in a park but is a painful endeavor.

DDR5 is exciting, sure, but due to the chipset being expensive and high in demand, getting DDR5 memory sticks is the same or worse as getting GPUs closer to their MSRP.

So, unless budget is an issue for you, the Z690 upgrade is worth it. But if money and time are critical constraints, either you can wait for the DDR5 memory prices to normalize, or you can go with the DDR4 memory route, which I recommend going for right now.


My Final Verdict:

The Z690 motherboards are the first consumer motherboards released to support Intel 12th gen Core CPUs. The Z690 motherboards feature some exciting newer versions of existing technologies, notably DDR5 memory and PCIe 5.0, both being way better and faster than their predecessors.

In this article, I have discussed some available Z690 motherboards that are available for purchase. I have included the most premium and entry-level motherboards. These motherboards are the first to support DDR5 memory and PCIe 5.0.

Naturally, these newer versions of DDR memory and PCIe slot will make a huge difference, but due to demand and supply issues, it is hard to get your hands on DDR5 memory, which makes the Alder Lake up-gradation a pointless task.


Frequently Asked Questions

#1 – Which Z690 motherboard is best for all purpose?

There are many Z690 motherboards available for all-purpose use and at competitive pricing. The MSI Pro Z690-A is an excellent choice and has a decent price tag. It comes with DDR4 memory and has WiFi and Bluetooth, best for mid to enter level builds.

IF you are looking to go all out with a budget, the ASUS ROG Maximum Z690 Hero is the best looking and is the most feature-loaded motherboard.

#2 – Which is the best Z690 motherboard?

Feature-wise, it is undoubtedly the ASUS ROG Maximum Z690 Hero or the GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS Master motherboards. Both of these motherboards feature DDR5 memory, PCIe 5.0, and WiFi. For budget-friendly motherboards, the MSI PRO Z690-A is an attractive choice.

#3 – Which is the best Z690 motherboard for overclocking?

The MSI MPG Z690 Carbon is an excellent motherboard for overclocking. It supports Intel XMP 3.0 and has DDR5 memory support. The memory can be overclocked up to 6666 MHz. The Z690 AORUS MASTER is a decent alternative if you have the budget for it.

#4 – Which is the most efficient Z690 motherboard?

ASUS ROG Strix Z690-E is a solid choice that comes with many attractive features, including ASUS-specific technologies. All of the Z690 motherboards use the same amount of power. If you are looking to save power, you can look for the motherboard having the least number of extra features like LED lighting and other factors.

A premium and expensive motherboard will consume the most power due to the extra amount of features it has. Any board that has less flashy features will be the go-to choice.

For more Motherboard-related guides, please visit our dedicated page for that.

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