Best motherboards for Intel CPUs you can buy in 2022
A motherboard is one of the most important components of a PC, if not the most. It provides a foundation on which the rest of your PC will be built. Choosing the best motherboard may not be as exciting as picking other parts, but it’s safe to say that you shouldn’t skimp on it. We already have an elaborate list of the best motherboards you can buy with some buying tips too. That list, however, includes both Intel as well as AMD options. In this article, we’ll be checking out the best motherboards for Intel CPUs you can buy right now.
It’s true that AMD’s been making huge waves in the CPU space with its offerings, but Intel chips are getting better too. The new 12th gen Alder Lake CPUs, for instance, are now better than ever and they offer significant gen-on-gen improvements over the 11th gen Rocket Lake chips. The new chips, however, use LGA 1700 socket and require a Z690 chipset-based motherboard to work. We’ve added a couple of LGA 1700 motherboards to this list, so be sure to check them out. That being said, let’s get started with this list of the best Intel motherboards you can buy right now.
Navigate this article:
- Best LGA 1700 motherboard: ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Hero
- Best high-end enthusiast Z590 motherboard: MSI MEG Z590 Godlike
- Best Z590 motherboard for the price: ASUS TUF Gaming Z590-Plus WiFi
- Best budget B560 motherboard: ASRock B560M Steel Legend
- Best mini-ITX motherboard for Intel CPUs: Gigabyte Z590I Aorus Ultra
- Best ATX Z590 Motherboard for Custom Cooling: Asus ROG Maximus XIII Extreme Glacial
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-based motherboards on the market for Intel’s new 12th gen Alder Lake chips. The company ended up launching a handful of new boards for the new chips, but we think the ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Hero is the best motherboard you can buy for the new 12th gen Intel processors. This motherboard carries the new LGA 1700 socket that’s required for the new processors and it also brings a ton of other noteworthy features to the table.
The ROG Maximus Z690 is also one of the best-looking motherboards on the market right now with a very unique appearance. The black-colored PCB of the board is covered by a sophisticated heatsink for the most part. There’s a pixelated ROG eye logo on the chipset heatsink along with some RGB showcase on the I/O shroud on the top next to the LGA 1700 socket. You can customize the lighting here on this panel, so you don’t necessarily have to put up with the existing design if it doesn’t fit your boat.
The ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 motherboard comes with a robust VRM consisting of a 20+1 phase power delivery system. It also has two 8-pin EPS connectors with an output of 1,800A. The heatsink on the VRM system ensures the thermal output is kept under acceptable limits at all times, even when the system is under load. The ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 is one of the first motherboards to have DIMMs that accept the new DDR5 memory kits on the market. You can install a DDR5 memory kit with memory speeds of up to 6400MHz, which is great. DDR5 memory is still in its infancy, but you can check out our collection of the best DDR5 RAM kits to check all the available options.
It’s worth pointing out that you can’t use both DDR4 and DDR5 memory kits on the same motherboard. You will have to pick your poison and choose the motherboard accordingly, so do keep that in mind. It goes without saying that getting into the DDR5 memory space will further increase the overall cost of your build. The ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Hero comes with space to install three m.2 drives. Additionally, you also get an M.2 add-in card as an accessory to add more slots for the drives.
One thing we really like about this particular motherboard is that the M.2 slots come with rotatable latches that make up for a screwless installation. It also comes with the Q-Release button to release the GPU to make your lives easier. Just like a lot of other premium motherboards on the market, the I/O shield comes pre-installed on this board, so that’s one less thing to worry about while building the PC. The ROG Maximus Z690 Hero also comes with a lot of other noteworthy features including the support for WiFi 6, ALC4082 codec by Realtek, a 2.5G Ethernet, and more. You also get plenty of USB ports and a lot of headers for all your computing needs like connecting fans/pumps, RGB lights, USB, etc.
- 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.
Alternate best Z690 motherboard: MSI MPG Z690 Carbon WiFi
If you don’t want to burn a $600 hole in your pocket while shopping for a new Z690 chipset motherboard for your new PC, then you might want to check out the MSI MPG Z690 Carbon WiFi. This is one of the first few Z690 chipset-based motherboards on the market that goes easy on your credit card. That being said, it doesn’t skimp out on any necessary features like DDR5 memory support, PCIe 5.0 slot, etc. It’s our pick for the second-best Z690-based motherboard you can buy right now.
MSI already has an elaborate list of motherboards on the market for both Intel as well as AMD systems. The new MSI MPG Z690 Carbon WiFi, however, is one of their boards right now. It matches the more expensive boards in terms of PCIe 5.0 and M.2 availability and also has a decent set of I/O. Much of the black-colored PCB of this motherboard, just like the ASUS Maximus Z690 Hero, is covered with a heatsink. It’s clearly made for high-end builds involving high-performance CPUs. It also supports overclocking, which is fantastic because all Alder Lake CPUs that are out right now support overclocking.
You also get a decent amount of RGB on the motherboard to make it more appealing. The I/O shroud lights up as soon as you turn on the system and shows the MSI Dragon logo. The Carbon logo on top of the chipset heatsink also glows, so there’s that too. It doesn’t look overly obnoxious though, and we’ve seen more striking designs than this, so we think it’s fine for someone who likes to have a touch of RGB on their motherboard.
The chipset heatsink completely covers the PCIe portion of the motherboard. The part that shields the m.2 drive also has thermal pads to keep the drive cool at all times. Notably, two out of three full-length x16 slots are shielded against electrical interference and are also reinforced to make sure you can install the biggest GPUs of them all. It also comes with a robust VRM module with an 18+1+1 phase power delivery system. As mentioned earlier, you also get support for DDR5 memory kits on this motherboard. This means you won’t be able to install any DDR4 modules on this board, so do keep that in mind. MSI says the Carbon motherboard support memory speeds of up to DDR5-6666Mhz, which is great.
MSI MPG Z690 Carbon WiFi also comes with a lot of ports at the back including both USB 3.2 and USB 2.0. There’s also a 2.5G LAN port for faster ethernet speeds. This particular MSI motherboard also supports Wi-Fi 6 and you do get an antenna for that in the box. The I/O shield comes pre-installed on this motherboard, so that’s great too.
Overall, we think the MSI MPG Z690 Carbon WiFi is one of the best Z690-based motherboards you can buy right now. We’ll continue to get more Z690 chipset motherboards on the market, but there are very few options available right now. This particular MSI motherboard stands out from the bunch right now mainly due to its relatively affordable price tag.
Best high-end enthusiast Z590 motherboard: MSI MEG Z590 Godlike
While you don’t have to spend thousands of dollars chasing a high-end enthusiast-grade motherboard to get the best performance out of your system, we wanted to highlight an ultra-premium motherboard in this collection that comes with all the bells and whistles. That’s the MSI MEG Z590 Godlike is arguably the most expensive mainstream Z590 motherboard you can buy on the market right now and, understandably, it’s one of the best motherboards you can use for your high-end enthusiast-grade PC build.
The MSI MEG Z590 Godlike, as the name suggests comes with the Z590 chipset and it’s designed for Intel’s Rocket Lake processors. It carries the LGA 1200 socket, which means it supports both Rocket Lake as well as Comet Lake processors. The MEG Z590 Godlike, as you can see, comes with quite an elaborate PCB. It’s a black-colored unit that’s mostly covered by sophisticated heatsinks. The I/O shield cover is a clear panel that integrates MSI’s Dragon logo that lights with RGB LEDs. There’s also a dynamic dashboard II OLED panel next to the DIMM slots. The three M.2 slots are also covered by a heatsink and it also has thermal pads inside to keep the m.2 stick cool.
The MEG Godlike supports PCIe 4.0 with the board’s upper two full-length slots operating at PCIe 4.0 x16 and x8/x8. The third full-length PCIe slot is electronically locked to PCIe 3.0 x4 through the chipset. Notably, the motherboard also comes with six SATA ports with support for RAID 0, 1, 5, and 10. As a premium motherboard, the MEG Godlike comes with an I/O shield pre-installed, and it comes with a bunch of ports for connectivity. You get a dual Thunderbolt 4 Type-C with two mini-DisplayPorts inputs for video capabilities, with one DisplayPort 1.4 video output. It also includes two USB 3.2 G2 Type-A and six USB 3.2 G1 Type-A ports, which we think is more than enough to accommodate all your peripherals.
The Z590 Godlike also includes Intel’s latest AX210 Wi-Fi 6E CNVi giving access to a 6GHz band and includes support for BT 5.2 devices. The MSI MEG Z690 Godlike also comes with a robust VRM setup for a reliable power delivery system. It’s covered with a heatsink to keep the temperatures low at all times. We’ve seen a lot of sophisticated motherboards on the market, some even with waterblocks for liquid cooling, none of them come close to the MSI MEG Z590 Godlike. This motherboard is best paired with high-performance chips like the Intel Core i9-11900K. It also supports overclocking which means you’ll have absolutely no issues getting the most out of your processor.
Compared to the Z490 version of the Godlike motherboard, MSI has made some really good changes for this one and have implemented them very well. The new one looks more premium and has a ton of upgrades like full support for PCIe 4.0, premium audio codecs, and more. There’s no need to spend over a thousand dollars on a motherboard to get the best performance out of your PC, but if you’re planning on spending that much money on a motherboard then let it be this one.
Best Z590 motherboard for overclocking: Gigabyte Z590 Aorus Tachyon
There’s no shortage of enthusiast-focused motherboards on the market for both Intel as well as AMD-based builds. The Gigabyte Z590 Aorus Tachyon is our pick for the best enthusiast-grade motherboard that support extreme overclocking options for both CPU as well memory modules. This is the kind of stuff that enthusiast PC builders like to deal with. It comes with a lot of overclocking focused features such as additional buttons and switches to help you tweak settings, a monstrous VRM module, dual memory slot design, and more. There’s also a comprehensive BIOS tweaking option that’ll let you tinker around until you find the best settings for your usage.
The Tachyon packs a direct 12-phase VRM with 100A power stages. It’s safe to say that it’ll offer s reliable power delivery to all the components on the board without any major issues, even under extreme conditions. The Tachyon also offers plenty of ports for connectivity. You get eight SATA ports and three M.2 slots along with USB 3.2 Gen 2, Intel 2.5G LAN and Wi-Fi 6E. The rear I/O is also packed with a ton of stuff. One thing we don’t really like about this motherboard is that the I/O shield doesn’t come pre-installed. While this won’t bother enthusiast PC builders this motherboard is targeted at, we think it should have a pr-installed shield, especially at this price point. Just remember to install the I/O shield before you mount the motherboard inside the case using the standoffs.
There’s not a lot going on when it comes to the overall design of the Tachyon motherboard. It’s a fairly simple looking motherboard with an all-black PCB and some heatsinks for the VRM and the chipset. It’s similar to what we’ve come to expect from a lot of premium motherboards on the market. The heatsink/shroud on top of the chipset has orange accents, but there’s nothing in the name of RGB lights. The PCIe slots for the graphics card are also reinforced, which means you can install the biggest graphics cards you can find on the market. The DRAM slots are also reinforced, however you only get two of them. This means you can only install a maximum of up to 64GB of RAM with speeds listed to DDR4 5333 on the memory compatibility chart. It’s not necessarily a deal-breaker but you might want to keep a note of that.
The motherboard, as mentioned earlier, also comes with a dedicated spot for overclocking section which includes power/reset and CMOS buttons. Additionally, you also get switches for switching between the stored profiles. Notably, there’s also an OC trigger button to cut down the CPU frequency to stock figures in case something goes wrong. Overall, we think the Gigabyte Aorus Tachyon motherboard is one of the best motherboards for overclockers and tweakers who love pushing the limits of their builds. We also like the overall aesthetics of the board. It should have no issues blending in to most builds. You can hit the link below to find the best price for this particular motherboard on the market right now.
Best Z590 motherboard for the price: ASUS TUF Gaming Z590-Plus WiFi
If you don’t have a $1000 burning a hole in your pocket and if you’re looking for something that’s more affordable, then we recommend picking up the ASUS TUF Gaming Z590-Plus WiFi for an Intel-based build. This Z590 chipset-based motherboard carries an affordable price tag of around $250 and it offers all the necessary features that you’d ever need for a really good PC build. We think this motherboard offers a solid entry point onto Intel’s 11th gen Rocket Lake processors.
The ASUS TUF Gaming Z590-Plus WiFi is supposedly the ‘entry-level’ Z590 motherboard but this is plenty to handle even the most demanding high-performance chips in the Rocket Lake series including the Core i9-11900K. It offers a solid set of features that are enough to make it a capable mid-range solution for gamers and content creators alike. The TUF Gaming Z590-Plus WiFi motherboard, as you can see, comes with a black-colored PCB that’s covered with heatsinks for the most part with some yellow accents thrown into the mix. It looks really good for a motherboard that costs as much as it does. It carries an LGA 1200 socket for all your Rocket Lake needs and it also comes with 4 DIMM slots that can accommodate up to 128 GB of DDR4-5133 memory. That’s impressive for a motherboard in this price range. Other noteworthy features include a Realtek RTL8125 2.5 GbE controller and Intel’s AX200 Wi-Fi 6 CNVi, and more.
The ASUS TUF Gaming Z590-Plus WiFi has two M.2 slots that’s enough for a motherboard like this. It also includes six SATA ports with RAID 0, 1, 5, and 10 and PCIe 4.0 support. There’s one full-length PCIe 4.0 x16 slot, with one full-length PCIe 3.0 x4 and three PCIe 3.0 x1 slots for installing various expansion cards. For audio, the motherboard is using a premium SupremeFX S1220A HD audio codec. The I/O shield, as you can see, also comes pre-installed and it comes with one USB 3.2 G2x2 Type-C, one USB 3.2 G2 Type-A, two USB 3.2 G1 Type-A, and four USB 2.0 ports. There’s also a handy BIOS flashback button that allows you to update the board’s firmware to the latest BIOS with power to the board and a USB flash drive. It also comes with an HDMI and DisplayPort video output for those who’re using a processor with integrated graphics.
Performance-wise, the ASUS TUF Gaming Z590-Plus WiFi is impressive too. Its robust power delivery system ensures sustained power delivery for the components. It also supports overclocking if you like to get your hands dirty with one of the unlocked Rocket Lake chips. It’s obviously not as feature-packed as the MSI MEG Z590 Godlike, but that’s given considering its affordable price tag. You can also choose to step down to a B560-based motherboard to save a bit more money but you may have to let go of some other features in that case. We think the ASUS TUF Gaming Z590-Plus WiFi sits in a sweet spot for most builds. You can click the link below to find the best price online for this particular motherboard.
Best budget B560 micro-ATX motherboard for Intel CPUs: ASRock B560M Steel Legend
Micro-ATX motherboards tend to skimp on a lot of important features due to the size limitation of the board. Compared to standard ATX motherboards, you’ll see micro-ATX boards ditching some PCIe slots, among other things. That being said, we think the ASRock B560M Steel Legend strikes a good balance of price and features. The ASRock B560M Steel Legend, as the name suggests, is a smaller version of the standard ASRock B560 Steel Legend motherboard. The ‘M’ suffix suggests it’s a micro-ATX motherboard suitable for PC cases with limited space.
The ASRock B560M Steel Legend is one of the best-looking micro-ATX motherboards on the market right now. It sports a unique urban camouflage aesthetics on the PCB and has white/silver colored heatsinks covering different parts of the board as opposed to a single chunk of the shroud. The motherboard also includes some RGB LEDs to add a little bit of flair. There’s an RGB strip along the right edge of the motherboard that throws a subtle strip of light on the PC case. It’s a nice effect and we’ve seen a lot of motherboard rock this look.
The ASRock B560M Steel Legend is based on Intel’s B560 chipset and that’s good a mid-range build. It’s best paired with, say, an Intel Core i5 processor. There’s no official CPU overclocking support on this motherboard but you can overclock the memory modules. The ASRock B560M Steel Legend supports up to 128 GB of DDR4-4800 memory across four memory slots. Storage options on the motherboard include dual M.2 slots, with one of these allowing for up to PCIe 4.0 x4 fast NVMe drives. The other one, however, is limited to PCIe 3.0 x4 and SATA drives. For SATA devices, there are six SATA ports on this motherboard which we think is more than enough to connect a lot of SATA-based devices.
The motherboard also comes with one full-length PCIe 4.0 x16 slot, with two PCIe 3.0 x1 slots for networking and other devices including audio and storage controllers. The I/O shield isn’t pre-installed on this board, but that’s understandable considering its affordable price tag. You’ll have to manually install it while building your PC. That being said, you get plenty of ports on the back, including HDMI, and DisplayPort video output for those who are using a processor with an integrated GPU. That’s going to come in handy because a lot of people buying this motherboard will most likely be using a processor with integrated graphics. It’s a budget motherboard that’s suitable for entry-level builds, after all.
We recommend stepping up to the standard ATX variant of this motherboard if you’re working with a full or mid-tower PC case. You can also consider some other M-ATX motherboards like the ASUS Prime B560M-A that costs a little over $100 right now. The MSI MAG B560M Bazooka is also a capable board in this price range. The main difference between these boards is the aesthetics. That comes down to a personal preference, so we’ll leave it to you to figure out which ones are best.
Best mini-ITX motherboard for Intel CPUs: Gigabyte Z590I Aorus Ultra
You can’t possibly fit an ATX motherboard inside a small mini-ITX PC if you’re looking at a small form-factor (SFF) build, and that’s exactly why we’ve added what we think is one of the best mini-ITX motherboards you can right now on the market. The Gigabyte Z590I Aorus Ultra is one of the most affordable mini-ITX motherboards right now and it comes with all the essential features that you’d expect a decent motherboard for a relatively high-end build involving a high-performance processor.
The Gigabyte Z590I Aorus Ultra sports a finned heatsink for the VRM that’s connected to a second VRM heatsink via a heat pipe. The larger heatsink, as you can see, has a brushed aluminum finish also with the Aorus falcon logo at the bottom. The chipset/M.2 slot heatsink has the word Arous written on it. The best thing about this particular motherboard is that all major slots including PCIe, EPS, DRAM, and ATX connectors, etc. are reinforced with Gigabyte’s armor. It makes up for an appealing look in addition to ensuring all your components are sturdy on the board. There’s also an RGB LED strip towards the front of the board. We’ve already seen this particular light on a lot of motherboards, so there’s nothing new here.
Despite being a mini-ITX motherboard Gigabyte hasn’t skimped on any important features. In fact, it even comes with plenty of headers for fans/pumps, RGB, as well as USB ports. You’ll also see two DIMM slots next to the LGA 1200 socket. The Gigabyte Z590I Aorus Ultra supports up to 64GB of unbuffered non ECC RAM with speeds listed up to DDR4 4600(OC). It goes without saying that your mileage may vary when it comes to memory speeds. At the bottom, you also get a full-length PCIe 4.0 x16 slot for your graphics card. The M.2 socket and the chipsets are above the PCIe slot.
Another good thing about the Gigabyte Z590I Aorus Ultra motherboard is that the I/O shield is pre-installed on the motherboard which means that’s one less thing to worry about while building a PC. This is particularly handy in the case of mini-ITX builds because you’ll already be working with limited space, making it difficult to install each component. The port selection at the back includes a total of five USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A ports, a USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-C port along with two USB 2.0 ports. You also get an HDMI and DisplayPort for using processors with integrated graphics cards. Additionally, there’s also a Q-Flash button, 2.5 GbE port, Wi-Fi antenna connections and the 3-plug audio stack.
Overall, we think the Gigabyte Z590I Aorus Ultra is a fantastic motherboard that’s perfect for dishing out a high-end mini-ITX build. It also supports overclocking, although that’s not something we always recommend when it comes to small form-factor PCs. There are some other really good options on the market when it comes to mini-ITX motherboards, but we think the Gigabyte Z590I Aorus Ultra strikes a good balance between the price and some other important features that makes it worth considering over the others.
Best ATX Z590 Motherboard for Custom Cooling: Asus ROG Maximus XIII Extreme Glacial
The Asus ROG Maximus XIII Extreme Glacial is one of the most sophisticated motherboards you’ll find on the market for your Rocket Lake build. It’s one of the few boards that comes with a custom waterblock. This particular motherboard is built for sophisticated liquid cooling builds involving a custom loop. The waterblock, as you can see, extends to a lot of components on the board including the CPU, the VRM system, and even the chipset/M.2 portion of the board. This means you don’t even need a CPU waterblock for your custom loop. ASUS has built this particular motherboard in partnership with EK, a company that’s well-known for its liquid cooling solutions.
In terms of the aesthetics of the motherboard, well, it doesn’t get better than this, does it? The custom EK-made monoblock covers most of the PCB and it has RGB lighting elements located in the visible cooling channels. You only see the reinforced PCIe slots through the shroud, giving it a very clear appearance. Much like some of the other high-end ASUS motherboards, this particular unit also comes with the two-inch LiveDash color OLED panel. This displays info about the system during POST and while booted including the system temperatures, clock speeds, voltage, and more. If you are fancy enough, then you can also make it display custom GIFs too.
You get two 8-pin EPS connectors with the motherboard to power the CPU. It goes without saying that you also get a ton of headers for fans/pumps, RGB, USB, and more. There are four RAM slots on this board, although none of them are reinforced. They support up to 128GB of RAM with speeds listed to an ultra-fast DDR4 5333+(OC), though. One of the best things about this motherboard is that it comes with a ROG Clavis USB DAC with a built-in amplifier. This is some top-notch stuff and it should be sufficient for nearly all users out there. You also get three M.2 slots on this motherboard along with two reinforced full-length slots.
In order to use this motherboard, you can simply channel the coolant via pipes to the motherboard waterblock instead of having to buy a separate waterblock for the CPU or the M.2 slots. This motherboard doesn’t come cheap but it covers some of the cost associated with buying a separate waterbklock for your cooling loop. Once you strip all the heatsinks, blocks and shrouds off, the underlying PCB is the same as the one used for the Asus ROG Maximus XIII Extreme motherboard. This means you can step down to the Extreme motherboard instead of the Glacial one if you don’t necessarily need a sophisticated cooling solution.
Overall, there’s a lot to like about the ASUS ROG Maximus XIII Extreme Glacial. It’s, without a doubt one of the best Z590 chipset-based motherboards you can buy on the market right now. It carries a premium price tag of close to $1000, though, so you’re looking at a premium high-end motherboard that’s only suitable for builds involving sophisticated custom loop liquid cooling solutions.
Best motherboards for Intel CPUs: Final Thoughts
Intel’s been slowly but surely making progress with their CPUs, trying to catch up with the existing AMD Ryzen processors. We think the company has already done a commendable job with its 12th Gen Alder Lake CPUs, and we can’t wait for the remaining Alder Lake chips to hit the shelves. As such, we’ve also added a couple of new Intel Z690 chipset-based motherboards to this list for those who’re interesting in building a PC with the new chips. The ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Hero is one of the best Z690 motherboards you can buy right now. We’ve also added the MSI MEG Z590 Godlike as an ultra-premium Z590 motherboard for high-end PCs. Alternatively, you can also go with budget boards like the ASUS TUF Gaming Z590-Plus WiFi or even the ASRock B560M Steel Legend if you’re looking to save some money for some of the other core components.
With the launch of the new Alder Lake CPUs and Windows 11 OS, things are looking great for those who’re leaning towards an Intel-based PC build right now. You can check out our other collections like the best monitors or even the best webcams if you’re planning to build a new setup from scratch. We also encourage you to join our XDA Computing Forums to get more recommendations or even discuss your PC builds with other experts within the community.