These are the best LGA 1700 motherboards for Intel Alder Lake CPUs you can buy in 2021
Intel’s new Alder Lake CPUs are here and they unlock a whole new level of performance and feature set in the silicon space including support for DDR5 memory and PCIe 5.0. As we mentioned in our full review of the Alder Lake processors, these chips require an entirely new motherboard with a Z690 chipset. Not to mention, it also demands a new CPU socket — the LGA 1700, which is exclusive to the Z690 motherboards for now with more options expected to arrive later. We already have an elaborate list of the best motherboards you can buy right now, but we wanted to create a collection that’s exclusive to the best LGA 1700 motherboards with the Z690 chipset. So without wasting any more time, let’s get started with the list –
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- The best LGA 1700 motherboard: ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Hero
- Best Z690 motherboard for overclocking: Gigabyte Z690 Aorus Master
- Best Z690 motherboard with DDR4 memory support: ASUS ROG Strix Z690-A
- High-end LGA 1700 motherboard: Asrock Z690 Taichi
- Best Z690 motherboard for creative workstation: ASUS ProArt Z690-Creator WiFi
- Most affordable Z690 motherboard: MSI Pro Z690-A
The best LGA 1700 motherboard: ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Hero
ASUS is one of the first manufacturers to announce the availability of the new Z690 chipset motherboards as soon as Intel’s new 12th gen processors were officially unveiled. The company announced a handful of new motherboards with an LGA 1700 socket to go along with the new processors, but we think the ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Hero is the best one out of the bunch. As such, it’s our pick for the best LGA 1700 motherboard you can buy on the market right now. This isn’t the most affordable Z690 chipset motherboard you can buy, but it packs all the necessary features that you’d expect a high-end premium Z690 motherboard to have for your new Intel-based PC.
ASUS seems like it’s done with the roman numerals for its motherboard names and it’s simply calling it the Maximus Z690 Hero motherboard. The mainboard itself, as you can see, has a black-colored PCB with a ton of heatsink/shroud covering the VRM, chipset, m.2 slots, and more. You can see the pixelated ROG eye logo on the chipset heatsink and some RGB bling on the I/O shroud. Besides that though, the motherboard has a fairly simple design, without anything that’s too obnoxious.
VRM-wise, the ROG Maximus Z690 Hero motherboard comes with a 20+1 90A phase-delivery system that offers an excess of power no Alder Lake desktop CPU will ever utilize. The sophisticated heatsink ensures the thermal output of the VRM is maintained under acceptable limits at all times. You’ll also see up to four DIMM slots next to the LGA 1700 socket. These slots are capable of accepting DDR5 memory modules with memory speeds of up to DDR5-6300. It’s worth pointing out that you won’t be able to use DDR4 memory modules on this motherboard since it only supports DDR5 kits.
You’ll have to buy a different motherboard that supports DDR4 memory modules, so you need to decide whether you want to stick with the existing DDR4 standard or take the leap to the new generation modules. We think DDR5 memory as a standard is still in its infancy, but you can check out all the available options in our collection of the best DDR5 RAM kits. Moving on, there’s no shortage of m.2 slots on the ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Hero motherboard too. In addition to the slots on the board itself, you also get an m.2 expansion card in the box that you can plug into the bottom x16 slots. This particular expansion card bumps the total available m.2 ports to five, which is impressive. PCIe 5.0 also makes an appearance as a highlight feature of this motherboard in the form of two reinforced x16 slots.
It goes without saying that a high-end motherboard like this also comes with plenty of ports, headers for different peripherals, and more. The I/O shield is also pre-installed out of the box, which means that’s one less step to worry about while building a PC. Overall, we think this is one of the best Z690 chipset motherboards you can buy right now. It also supports overclocking, so it’s good to be paired with either of the three new Alder Lake chips.
- The ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Hero is one of the best Z690 chipset based motherboards you can buy right now. It carries the LGA 1700 socket for the new 12th gen Intel CPUs and it has a customizable display on the I/O shield cover that looks fantastic.
Second-best LGA 1700 motherboard: MSI MPG Z690 Carbon WiFi
MSI’s MPG lineup has been particularly desirable for gamers looking to dish out a high-end gaming rig to get the best performance. It offers a good mix of features at a not-so-expensive price tag. We think the MPG lineup offers great alternatives for those who don’t want to burn a huge hole in their pocket trying to get their hands on MSI’s Godlike motherboard. We’ve added the MSI MPG Z690 Carbon WiFi motherboard to this collection as our pick for the second-best Z690 chipset based motherboard you can buy right now.
The new MSI MPG Z690 Carbon is very similar to its predecessor, but there are a few noteworthy improvements/changes. MSI has ditched the carbon fibre aesthetics for this board and has decided to keep it rather simple. We’re looking at a black-colored PCB with grey accents and a lot of heatsink. You’ll see MSI’s Dragon logo and the ‘Carbon’ branding on the board with lights, but that’s about it. We like how a lot of these manufacturers are keeping their boards simple with very little RGB bling.
The MPG Z690 Carbon comes with an 18+1+1 phase delivery system for its VRM. You get two 8-pin EPS connectors to minimize the fluctuations. Each VRM stage provides 75A to the CPU. While it’s not as high as the Gigabyte Aorus Master, we think it’s plenty to handle the new Alder Lake CPUs. The VRM also has a sophisticated heatsink to dissipate the heat away from the main component. You also get a decent selection of ports and slots with the MPG Z690 motherboard. There are as many as four PCIe 4.0 M.2 slots covered under the shroud. Notably, there’s also an additional PCIe 3.0 slot for Intel Optane drives if you’re into that.
Even while using all the M.2 slots, you still get five slots for expansion. Additionally, you also get two reinforced x16 PCIe 5.0 slots on the motherboard, which is great. You can’t really take advantage of these PCIe 5.0 slots just yet, but it’s always good to have some sort of futureproofing. The MPG Z690 Carbon also comes with DDR5 support. You get four DIMM slots that are capable of accommodating up to 128GB memory with speeds up to 6666Mhz.
You also get a good selection of ports and headers with this motherboard, making it a solid option for a high-end build. We also like how the I/O shield comes pre-installed out of the box and it comes with plenty of ports. It even includes an HDMI for those who’re using this motherboard with an integrated GPU. At the back, you get four USB 2.0 along with five 10Gbps USB 3.2 Gen 1 and one 20Gbps USB-C port. You also get WiFi6 or 2.5G Ethernet for the internet and the audio stack comes with an optical S/PDIF out and support from Realtek’s ALC4080 codec.
Overall, the MSI MPG Z690 Carbon is a fantastic motherboard that offers a good mix of features and performance for your new Alder Lake build. The best thing about this motherboard is that it’s not nearly as expensive as some other options mentioned in this list, so be sure to consider this one for your next build.
- The ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Hero is one of the best Z690 chipset based motherboards you can buy right now. It carries the LGA 1700 socket for the new 12th gen Intel CPUs and it has a customizable display on the I/O shield cover that looks fantastic.
Best Z690 motherboard for overclocking: Gigabyte Z690 Aorus Master
Gigabyte’s Aorus Master is considered to be one of the best motherboards for overclocking in the community, and its Z690 chipset variant for the new Intel Alder Lake CPU is no different. It’s arguably the best motherboard you can pair your new 12th gen Intel CPU with for overclocking thanks to its potent VRM. Notably, it also comes with support for DDR5 memory and has PCIe 5.0 slots to make a very desirable option for those looking at something that’s a bit more future proof too. Pair it with the best CPU cooler for LGA 1700 socket and you’ll be set to build a high-end gaming rig or a content creation workstation.
The main USP of the Gigabyte Aorus Master is its over-the-top VRM. It consists of a whopping 22 phases, 19 of which supply the CPU with 105A of power. That’s a lot of power which we think will greatly benefit even the best CPUs out there. Even the new Core i9-12900K will only need a fraction of that power, so it’s safe to say that it’s an excellent option for overclocking. The VRM will also remain cool at all times thanks to the sophisticated heatsink that covers the PD system.
The motherboard itself, as you can see, has a black-colored PCB and is mostly covered by the heatsink/shroud. There’s also very little in the name of RGB bling, as there’s only Aorus branding on the mainboard. We think this particular motherboard will have no issues fitting into most PC builds without any major issues. You can see the reinforced PCIe slots which are new to the Z690 variant of this motherboard. In fact, the DIMM slots are also reinforced here, so that’s too. The Gigabyte Z690 Aorus Master supports DDR5 RAM kits with memory speeds of up to 6400Mhz. There’s no DDR4 support with this one, so make sure you’re ready with new DDR5 memory kits.
As a high-end motherboard, the Gigabyte Z690 Aorus Master comes with plenty of headers for fans/pumps, RGB lights, and more. You also get a very good selection of ports with this motherboard including Thunderbolt 4 and a couple of USB Type-C ports. The I/O shield is also pre-installed, so that’s great. You get as many as 11 USB ports and a 10Gbps Ethernet port which we think goes well with the pair of WiFi 6e antennas next to it for hybrid connectivity. You also get a DisplayPort with this motherboard in case you want to use an integrated GPU, but the chances of that happening are slim because we think most users buying this motherboard will indeed use discrete GPU for the best performance.
Overall, we think the Gigabyte Z690 Aorus Master is one of the best LGA 1700 motherboards you can buy right now. It’s one of the more expensive boards on this collection, but we think it’s well worth the asking price, especially if you’re looking to pair it with an i9-12900K for extreme overclocking.
Best Z690 motherboard with DDR4 memory support: ASUS ROG Strix Z690-E
While DDR5 memory support is one of the highlights of the new Z690 chipset based motherboards, we think most users are better off buying a board that supports the older DDR4 generation over the new one. That’s because the DDR5 memory standard is still relatively new and is yet to become mainstream. The memory timings are also mostly high in these DDR5 memory kits. Not to mention, most DDR5 memory modules are relatively expensive, thereby further increasing the entry cost of the Alder Lake system. If you’re in the market for a Z690 based motherboard with support for DDR4 memory kits, then we think the ASUS ROG Strix Z690-E is the one to go for.
There’s also a variant of this board that comes with DDR5 support. It’s the same motherboard we used for our review of the new Alder Lake chips and we had absolutely no issues whatsoever, pushing the new chips to their limits. However, we’ve added the DDR4 variant of the motherboard to our list. Being able to carry your existing DDR4 memory kits means you’ll be spending less money on your overall. You’ll appreciate that since you’ll be buying a lot of new components for your Alder Lake-based build. This particular motherboard has four DIMM slots and it’s capable of accepting up to 128GB of RAM. ASUS lists the supported memory speeds of up to 5333Mhz, which is pretty good. 5333MHz speeds are still reserved for more expensive sticks but there are plenty of DDR4 kits. You can choose one from our collection of the best DDR4 memory kits too if you have trouble finding the best ones.
The ASUS ROG Strix Z690-E, as you can see, is a fairly simple looking motherboard with a black-colored PCB. You can also buy a white variant of this motherboard with white-colored heatsinks and a metal shroud covering the components. There’s a new RGB zone on the I/O shroud and it puts quite the light show for those of you who want a striking design. You also get additional RGB headers to add more bling. One of them is even compatible with ASUS’ Aura Sync software. ASUS doesn’t go into much detail about the VRM, but we do know that it has a 16+1 power delivery system with a good for overclocking. The cooling solution for the VRM also looks adequate, so it should have no heating issues too. We think this motherboard can be paired even with an i9-12900K to get the best performance.
The motherboard also offers four PCIe 4.0 connections for M.2 drives. It also comes with handy latches that you can twist to hold the disk in place. We hope more motherboards make it easy for users to seat these components without having to hunt for a screwdriver. We also love how ASUS has given a good mix of PCIe slots. You get a PCIe 5.0, a PCIe 4.0 x16 as well as a single x1 slot for PCIe 3.0. You also get space for 6 SATA drives that you can arrange in various RAID configurations. Overall, we think the ASUS ROG Strix Z690-E is a fantastic motherboard for anybody’s who’s looking to carry their existing DDR4 memory kits instead of opting for the new DDR5 standard.
Alternate budget Z690 motherboard with DDR4 support: ASUS TUF Gaming Z690 Plus WiFi
There aren’t too many affordable/budget Z690 based motherboards on the market right now but that’s mainly because these motherboards are still relatively new. We expect the Z690 chipset based motherboard to go mainstream as and when more 12th gen Intel Alder CPUs arrive on the market. With time, we’ll also be getting a new chipset to support the new chip. That being said, you’re not entirely out of options if you’re shopping for a relatively cheap Z690 based motherboard right now. We think the ASUS TUF Gaming Z690-Plus WiFi D4 is a fantastic option for those looking to build a budget PC with new chips.
In terms of the looks, well, the ASUS TUF Gaming Z690-Plus WiFi D4 looks just about the same as its last-gen counterpart. We’re looking at an all-black PCB with a decent amount of RGB lights to add a touch of light to the board. You also get a dash of yellow color on the motherboard but that’s mostly limited to just the heatsink. ASUS has added a solid VRM to this motherboard that’s capable of delivering enough power needed for overclocking scenarios. It’s the same 14+2 DrMOS power stage setup that can deliver 80A to the CPU. You can also use an additional 4-pin connector for more stable power delivery.
One of the best things about this motherboard is that it lets carry your existing DDR4 memory kit. This means you won’t necessarily be spending a lot of money fetching one of the newer DDR5 memory kits on the market. The ASUS TUF Gaming Z690-Plus WiFi D4 supports a maximum of 128GB of DDR4 RAM with memory speeds of up to 5133Mhz. That’s a commendable number considering how most kits top out at around 4000Mhz. On the PCIe front, you get three x16 and two x1 slots, with the first supporting PCIe 5.0 and access to all 16 pins. The latter is ideal for expansion or things like capture cards.
You can also connect up to four m.2 drives, which we think is plenty for most users. You don’t get any fancy expansion card for more storage in the box or support for Intel Optane memory. We’re also not particularly happy about the ports selection, although that’s given considering this is a budget board with limited options. You only get eight USB ports but luckily two of them are USB-C ports and there’s also a USB 3.2 Gen 1 port. You’ll also see a DisplayPort and an HDMI port, which is good for those who’re leaning towards a budget build without a discrete GPU.
The ASUS TUF Gaming Z690-Plus WiFi D4 is also good for overclocking, but we suggest you keep your expectations in check. Your options will be fairly limited when it comes to overclocking so it’s best if yous tick to, say, a Core i5-12600K for this motherboard. Overall, the ASUS TUF Gaming Z690-Plus WiFi D4 is currently the only option if you don’t want to spend a lot of money on your Alder Lake build. That being said, you do get pretty much all the essential features with this motherboard, so there’s nothing to worry about, really.
High-end LGA 1700 motherboard: ASRock Z690 Taichi
ASRock is one of the most popular motherboard manufacturers with a lot of incredibly good boards on the market. The company’s ‘Taichi’ is a popular motherboard in the high-end PC market that offers a ton of great features. Well, the company took almost no time to release a new variant of the board with the new Z690 chipset. The ASRock Z690 Taichi is one of the high-end Z690 based motherboards you’ll find on the market right now. It’s packed with some great features and is capable of supporting even the most demanding PCs on the market.
The ASRock Z690 Taichi comes with the new LGA 1700 socket for the new 12th gen Intel chips. It also has a 20 Phase SPS Dr.MOS Power Design for a reliable power delivery system. The VRM is covered with a sophisticated cooling solution that’s capable of keeping the VRM cool even under the most extreme overclocking conditions. The I/O shroud extends all the way to the bottom of the board and covers the chipset too.
One of the highlights of this motherboard is that it supports DDR5 memory kits with memory speeds of up to DDR5-6400MHz. This means it also supports memory overclocking under favorable conditions. DDR5 modules are already quite powerful but they also allow you to push the limits further provided you have a capable cooling solution. The ASRock Z690 Taichi also offers a good mix of PCIe expansion slots. You get two 2 PCIe 5.0 x16, a PCIe 4.0 x16, and a PCIe 3.0 x1 for expansions cards or capture cards. Taichi also comes with an HDMI port at the back for those learning towards a build involving an integrated GPU.
As a high-end premium motherboard, you’re looking at an exceptional ports selection. The ASRock Taichi comes with two Thunderbolt 4/USB Type-C ports, two USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A ports, and four USB 3.2 Gen1 at the back. You also get Killer E3100 2.5G LAN along with Killer AX1675 802.11ax WiFi 6E and Bluetooth support. The I/O shield is also pre-installed out of the box, which means you don’t have to deal with it while building your PC. ASRock also adds some thoughtful additions to the box including a graphics cardholder and a WiFi antenna.
The ASRock Taichi motherboard is known for serving good aesthetics and the new ASRock Z690 Taichi is no exception in that regard. This ATX motherboard has a black-colored PCB that’s mostly covered by the heatsink that extends all the way to the bottom of the board. All the m.2 slots are covered by the shroud with a thermal pad layer for keeping it cool at all times. The motherboard also packs a ton of headers for RGB lights, fans, USB and more, so you can connect all the peripherals you want without running out of space. The motherboard also has subtle RGB lights which we think is pretty good. This board will have no issues blending in with most of the PC builds.
The ASRock Z690 Taichi is a high-end premium motherboard that’s best paired with a high-performance CPU like the Core i9-12900K. You can, of course, use it with other Alder Lake CPUs too but at that point, you might as well opt for something that’s a little less expensive like the ASUS ROG Strix Z690-E, for instance.
Best Z690 motherboard for creative workstation: ASUS ProArt Z690-Creator WiFi
There aren’t too many ProArt motherboards from ASUS on the market yet but the new Z690 ProArt motherboard is something that’s worth taking a look at. This is arguably one of the best looking Z690 motherboards we’ve seen so far. It’s the only motherboard in this list that looks impressive without any RGB lights. If you’ve seen one of the older models of these motherboards, then you’ll notice a lot of design changes. The I/O shroud, which is perhaps the most noticeable part of the board, is translucent. It overlaps the metal portion of the shroud to give a very subtle look.
This particular translucent shroud is sitting on the VRM heatsink that’s covering a 16-phase power delivery system. There’s an acrylic plate at the bottom covering the chipset. It’s got the ProArt logo on it, which looks elegant. The ProArt Z690 motherboard comes with the I/O shield pre-installed and it’s got a ton of ports to satisfy your need for connectivity. You’re looking at two Thunderbolt 4 ports, two DisplayPort ports, an HDMI port, a 10GbE Marvell LAN as well as 2.5GbE Intel LAN, and more. The motherboard also comes with four M.2 slots and up to 8 SATA ports that allow you to connect all kinds of storage devices.
ASUS has addressed the lack of any RGB lights on the board by providing ample RGB and ARGB headers. You also get other headers for things like fans/pumps, and USBs. The ProArt Z690 motherboard also supports the new DDR5 memory modules. ASUS says you can install modules with memory speeds of up to DDR5-6000(OC). These modules are obviously going to cost you a lot of money, but it’s nice to have the option. It goes without saying this particular doesn’t support DDR4 memory, so do keep that in mind. Notably, there’s support PCIe 5.0 as well via the two PCIe 5.0 slots. One of the four M.2 slots shares SATA bandwidth but it can run in PCIe mode. ASUS also sells m.2 PCIe cards that can house 2 PCIe m.2 derives, but that will add more to the cost as it’s not included with the motherboard.
The ASUS ProArt isn’t the only creator centric motherboard on the market, but there are only a handful of these boards from other manufacturers. Even though it’s being targeted towards creators, we think it’s perfectly serviceable for gamers too. It supports all the modern features as well as overclocking for the Alder Lake CPUs, so why not, right? It’s also one of the best-looking motherboards out there with an all-black PCB and gold-colored accents. The ASUS ProArt Z690 is one of those boards that should have no issues blending in to most PC builds without any major issues. There’s a lot to like about the ASUS ProArt motherboard, but it doesn’t come cheap. At around $500, this motherboard is best paired with a high-performance CPU like the Core i9-12900K. You might want to check some other options if you’re leaning towards budget build.
Most affordable Z690 motherboard: MSI Pro Z690-A
One thing that’s common across all the Z690 motherboards is that they’re all relatively expensive. That’s because they’re still fairly new to the market and are yet to go mainstream. A lot of people are still sticking to their existing builds to avoid the high platform entry cost that comes with Alder Lake CPUs. That’s why we wanted to add what we think is the only budget Z690 chipset motherboard out there right now. The MSI Pro Z690-A is priced at just $220, yet it offers almost all the necessary features you’d expect from a high-performance Z690 chipset based motherboard. This one’s our pick for the most affordable Z690 motherboard you can buy right now.
Despite the affordable price tag, the MSI Pro Z690-A offers full support for DDR5 memory modules. MSI says the motherboard can support memory speeds of up to DDR5-6400(OC), which is quite impressive. Notably, MSI hasn’t skimped on the PCIe 5.0 support either, which means it’s future-proof and you’ll be able to use the new PCIe 5.0-based SSDs or other peripherals whenever they come out. yOU GET FOUR m.2 and three PCIe 5.0 slots for your peripheral.
Understandably, MSI has cut some corners to keep the pricing low. As such you don’t get a sophisticated VRM cooling system on this motherboard. Most of the black-colored PCB is exposed with very little heatsink for cooling. The I/O shield is also not pre-installed, which means you’ll be doing that manually while building your PC. You can check out our essay on how to build a computer to learn more about the steps that are involved while building a new PC. It’s also worth pointing out that the port selection is a little bleak on this motherboard. You only get a single USB Type-C Gen 2 port, a single USB Type-A Gen 2 port and two USB Type-A Gen 1 ports. And there are only 2.5Gbps LAN ports as opposed to the more powerful 10Gbps ports found on other premium Z690 based motherboards.
We do like the addition of a DisplayPort as well as an HDMI port though. We see a lot of people buying this motherboard for their budget Alder Lake builds without a discrete GPU down the line, and it’s a fantastic option for that. Overall, the MSI Pro Z690-A is a great motherboard for the price. Contrary to what we thought, MSI decided to deliver a lot of features despite the affordable price, making it one of the best Z690 motherboards you can grab right now.
We expect more affordable motherboards to come out soon as Intel releases more Alder Lake CPUs. You can always choose to stick to the older 11th gen PC build or even go the AMD route if you don’t necessarily want to spend a lot of money on the motherboard and other supporting components for an Alder Lake build. But the MSI Pro Z690-A is the most affordable one right now if you’re rushing to build using the new Intel chips. This one tends to run of stock pretty quickly due to the pricing, but you can click the buying link below to see fetch price online right now.
Best LGA 1700 motherboards to buy: Final Thoughts
The Z690 chipset based motherboards with an LGA 1700 socket are still relatively new to the market. And that’s one of the main reasons why a lot of these boards are as expensive as they are. That being said, you’re also looking at some premium features including DDR5 memory, PCIe 5.0 support and more. We think the ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Hero is one of the best LGA 1700 motherboards you can buy right now. We’ve also added some high-end options like the Asrock Z690 Taichi and the ASUS ProArt Z690 Creator-A motherboard to the list for those of you who want something more sophisticated. Those leaning towards a budget-based Alder Lake build, however, can check out the affordable options like the MSI Pro Z690-A motherboard.
As always, this is an ever-evolving list that will be updated over time with newer and better motherboards as they are released, so keep an eye on this collection. Also, don’t forget to buy a new CPU cooler for LGA 1700 socket as you won’t be able to carry your older ones for this build. Alternatively, you can also join our XDA Computing Forums to discuss your new PC build and get better recommendations from other experts in the community.