9 Best Motherboards For i9 12900k

9 Best Motherboards For i9 12900k

I have to admit that I am really excited about writing this article because I am going to talk about the best motherboards for the new i9 12900k.

Unless you have been living under a rock for the past few months, you probably know that Intel launched its latest generation of processors, the 12th generation (Alder Lake), on November 4th, 2021. The 12th generation of processors includes all the series that were released in the previous generations, namely the i3, i5, i7, and i9, but with some important updates.

The biggest of these updates is the socket type. The 10th & 11th generations of processors used the LGA1200 socket, while the 12th generation uses the LGA1700 socket. This is a very important change because it means you will need to buy a new motherboard if you want to upgrade to a 12th-generation processor.

The second update is that Intel has been working closely with Microsoft to make sure that the 12th generation processors are fully optimized for Windows 11. This means that if you are running Windows 10 on your computer, you might not be getting the best performance possible from your processor.

intel-core-i9-12900k

With that being said, let’s take a look at the star of this new generation, the Intel Core i9 12900k. This processor is an absolute beast and has already become a favorite among many PC enthusiasts. It is a 12-core/24-thread processor that can reach a clock speed of up to 5.2GHz. The base clock speed is 3.2GHz, which is still really impressive, and the L2 cache is also huge at 14MB.

Needless to say, it is perfect for gaming, video editing, and other demanding tasks as it is probably the most powerful consumer CPU on the market right now (or until Ryzen releases it’s 6000 gen processors).

It is a revolutionary processor because, along with the Z690 chipset motherboard, it offers PCIe 5.0 and DDR5 compatibility. This is something that has both good and bad points. The good news is that you will be able to take full advantage of the power of the i9 12900k. The bad news is that you will have to completely change your motherboard and your RAM if you want to upgrade to this processor (DDR5 RAM slots are not backward compatible with DDR4 RAM sticks).

Naturally, with such an impressive processor, you want to pair it with the best motherboard possible. This is why I will talk only about Z690 chipset motherboards in this article. I am fully aware that Intel’s 600 motherboard series has other chipsets that are compatible with the i9 12900k, like the B660, H610, and H670, but I think that the Z690 chipset is the best option for this particular processor. The reason is that the Z690 chipset is the only chipset that allows you to overclock the i9 12900k. So if you are buying the most powerful consumer CPU on the market, why not get a motherboard that will allow you to use it at its full potential?

Another note I want to make before starting the reviews is that if you follow my blog and have read other reviews like this one, you probably know that I like dividing the products I am reviewing into three categories: High-end, Mid-range, and Budget. I will do the same in this article, but the price ranges will be a bit different because the Z690 motherboards are not only relatively new but also very expensive.

So, without further ado, let’s start with the high-end motherboards.

Related Article: 6 Best Motherboards For Ryzen 9 5950x

Best High-end Motherboards for I9 12900k ($600+)

If you want the best system performance and features, these are the best motherboards for the i9 12900k. They are pretty pricey, but if you have the money, they are definitely worth it.

ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Hero

ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Hero

Socket Type: LGA1700 | Form Factor: ATX | Chipset: Z690

The ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Hero Wi-Fi is my top pick and probably the best enthusiast motherboard for the i9 12900k. It is an absolute beast and comes packed with features that will make any PC enthusiast drool.

So let’s start with the power design. The ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Hero Wi-Fi comes with a 20+1 90A direct phase power design. This means it will be able to deliver up to 1800A of power to the processor. Needless to say, this is more than enough for even the most power-hungry processors like the i9 12900k. So if you plan on doing some CPU overclocking, this motherboard will definitely be able to handle it.

The ASUS ROG Maximus XI Hero Wi-Fi also comes with an impressive cooling design. And it all starts with the design of the motherboard itself. It is a 6 PCB layer motherboard which, along with the high number of direct power phases, helps to improve heat dissipation.

But of course, this isn’t the only thing that the ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Hero Wi-Fi has to offer when it comes to cooling. It has a huge L-shaped aluminum heatsink that covers the VRM area, 2 double plate M.2 heatsinks, and one active cooling chipset heatsink (no fan).

Finally, it has 2 water cooling headers and 8 PWM headers. This means that you will be able to connect up to 8 fans and have complete control over them. The 2 water cooling headers are also a nice touch as they will allow you to easily install custom water CPU coolers if you want to.

So, overall I think the cooling design of the ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Hero Wi-Fi is absolutely amazing, and it should be more than enough to keep even the i9 12900k cool, even when overclocked.

Now let’s talk about memory. The ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Hero Wi-Fi comes with 4 dual-channel memory slots that support up to 128GB of DDR5 memory with speeds of up to 6400 MHz (OC). Yes, it is not a typo; these are the frequency speeds that the ASUS ROG Maximus XI Hero Wi-Fi supports.

Another innovation that the ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Hero Wi-Fi has is the inclusion of PCIe 5.0 slots that can offer speeds up to 128 Gb/s. The ASUS ROG Maximus XI Hero Wi-Fi has 2x PCIe 5.0 x16 (x16/x0, x8/x8) slots and 1x PCIe 4.0 x16 (4 lanes) slot. This means that you will be able to install the latest graphics cards on this motherboard without any problems. It also has a new button PCIe slot opener, making installing and removing graphics cards easier.

The storage options on the ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Hero Wi-Fi also didn’t fail to impress me. It has three M.2 PCIe 4.0×4 slots and 6 SATA ports. So, you will be able to install up to 3 M.2 NVMe SSDs and have plenty of storage space for all your games and programs. But the best part is that it also comes with a ROG Hyper2 Card, which offers two more PCIe 5.0 M.2 slots.

The ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Hero Wi-Fi networking options are also top-notch, as it comes with an Intel 2.5 GbE LAN port and an Intel Wi-Fi 6 wireless module. So, you will be able to get up to 2.5 Gbps of wired networking speed and up to 2400 Mbps of wireless networking speed. It has Bluetooth 5.2 support as well.

The ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Hero Wi-Fi also comes with plenty of USB ports. It has 2 Thunderbolt 4 ports, 1 x USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 connector (Type-C®) , 7 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports (6 x Type-A + 1 x USB Type-C®) and a bunch of USB 2.0 ports.

Finally, the design of the ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Hero Wi-Fi is also high quality, and it comes with a dark theme that looks great. The main color is black and has a nice Led screen in the IO port area.

What I Like About The ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Hero

I don’t want to sound like a fanboy, but this is one case where I really like everything about a product. The ASUS ROG Maximus XI Hero Wi-Fi has innovated in many areas, and it really is the best motherboard for i9 12900k that money can buy.

What I Don’t Like About The ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Hero

As you can imagine, the only thing I don’t like about this motherboard is the price. It is a bit on the expensive side but, in my opinion, it is worth every cent.

GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS Xtreme

GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS Xtreme

Socket Type: LGA1700 | Form Factor: E-ATX | Chipset: Z690

AORUS Xtreme is Gigabyte’s flagship Z690 motherboard. It is one of the most feature-packed motherboards you can buy, and it comes with a hefty price tag to match.

The first thing I would like to talk about is the power delivery system of the Gigabyte AORUS Xtreme. It comes with a 20+1+2 105A phase power delivery system that is capable of delivering up to 2100A to the CPU. This is more than the ASUS ROG Maximus XIII Hero Wi-Fi and is one of the most powerful delivery systems you can get making it probably the best overclocking motherboard.

The cooling system of the Gigabyte AORUS Xtreme is also well designed; first of all, it is an 8-layer PCB motherboard which really helps with heat dissipation. It has 2 massive VRM heatsinks that are connected with a huge Heatpipe that helps even further with heat dissipation. It has M.2 and chipset heatsinks to keep your drives and chipset cool and a DDR cover/cooler, which is a bit problematic, though, as it doesn’t fit with taller RAM sticks. If you want to plug water cooling into your motherboard, then the Gigabyte AORUS Xtreme got you covered as it comes with 1 water-cooling CPU header and 4 system fan/ water cooling pump headers.

Just like the ASUS ROG Maximus XIII Hero Wi-Fi, the Gigabyte AORUS Xtreme comes with DDR5 memory support, and it has 4 DIMM slots that can support up to 128GB of RAM with speeds up to 6600MHz. PCIe Gen 5 support is also included on the Gigabyte AORUS Xtreme as it has 2 PCIe 5.0 x16 slots (x16/x0, x8/x8) and 1 PCIe 3.0 x16 (x4) slot. So, you will be able to install up to 2 graphics cards with full PCIe 5.0 support.

Gigabyte AORUS Xtreme comes with 4 PCI Express Gen 4 M.2 slots, and 4 SATA ports. So, you will be able to install up to 4 NVMe M.2 drives that support speeds of up to 4 GB/s and enjoy extremely fast data transfer speeds.

The networking options on the Gigabyte AORUS Xtreme are also top of the line as it comes with a Wi-Fi 6 wireless module, Bluetooth 5.2, and two LAN Chips, one at 2.5 GbE and the second at 10GbE. So, you will be able to get up to 10 Gbps of wired networking speed (if your router supports it) and up to 2400 Mbps of wireless networking speed.

The Gigabyte AORUS Xtreme comes with excellent USB support. This includes 1x USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 header, 6 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A ports, and some older Gen 1 USB ports.

Finally, it has a premium design. It is black and silver with RGB LEDs. This will make your computer look very nice and stand out from the others.

What I Like About The GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS Xtreme

There are quite a few things that I like about the Gigabyte AORUS Xtreme. First of all, I like the power delivery system as it is able to power any CPU you throw at it. I also like the cooling design with the 8 -layer PCB and all the heatsinks. The PCIe 5.0 x16 slots are also very good and will support up to 2 graphics cards. Finally, I like the networking options, especially the Wi-Fi 6.

What I Don’t Like About The GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS Xtreme

I don’t like the DDR5 cover/cooler as it is a bit problematic, and with such an expensive motherboard, I would expect everything to be perfect. I would also like to see PCIe 5.0 M.2 slots like on the ASUS ROG Maximus XIII Hero Wi-Fi as it is something that can help a lot with the performance of NVMe SSDs.

MSI MEG Z690 GODLIKE

MSI MEG Z690 GODLIKE

Socket Type: LGA1700 | Form Factor: E-ATX | Chipset: Z690

The most expensive Z690 motherboard on this list, the MSI MEG Z690 GODLIKE, comes with almost everything you would expect from a high-end motherboard and even more.

The first thing I would like to talk about is something I haven’t seen on any other motherboard: a led touch screen. Godlike has a touch screen LED display next to the DDR5 slots that shows some useful information like temperatures, fan speeds, and a debug LED. This is a very cool and unique feature that I really like.

The power delivery system on the MSI MEG Z690 GODLIKE is also excellent as it comes with a 20+2 phase design with 105A power stages, meaning it will provide 2100A to your CPU. As you can understand, this is more than enough to power any 12th gen CPU and overclock it to its maximum potential.

The cooling system is also very good; it is an 8 PCB layer design with huge VRM and chipset heatsinks. It is pretty much covered in aluminum and has a very premium look and feel to it. A nice touch is that the M.2 heatsinks work with magnets making them very easy to install and remove.

MSI MEG Z690 GODLIKE comes with 4 DIMM slots that can support up to 128GB of DDR5 RAM with speeds of up to 6666MHz (Godlike and 6666 is it a coincidence or what? :P).

Of course it has PCIe Gen 5.0 support and it comes with 2x PCIe 5.0 x16 slots (x16/x0, x8/x8) and 1xPCIe 4.0×4 slot. It also supports both NVIDIA SLI and AMD Crossfire.

The storage options are out of this world as it comes with 6x M.2 slots (1x PCIe 5.0 and 4x PCIe 4.0 and 1x PCIe 3.0) and 6x SATA 6Gb/s ports. At this point, I need to mention that there are certain limitations when using all the M.2 slots or PCIe slots. For example, if you use the PCIE_2 slot (the second PCIe 5.0 x8 slot), the M2_3 (The PCIe 5.0 M.2 slot) will be disabled. So make sure to check that before you buy this motherboard.

MSI MEG Z690 GODLIKE has good networking options with 2x LAN controllers, one is an Intel I225-V 2.5Gb Ethernet, and the other is an Aquantia AQC113CS 10Gb Ethernet. It also has Wi-Fi 6E support with up to 2.4 Gbps and Bluetooth 5.2.

The connectivity options are also excellent as it has 2 Thunderbolt 4 ports with 40Gb/s of bandwidth and 2 USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 ports with 20Gb/s of bandwidth. It also has 8 USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports and headers, 4 USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports, and 4x USB 2.0 ports.

Before I talk about the design and build quality, I need to mention that when you buy this motherboard, you will get 2 Kingston Fury DDR5 RAM modules with 32GB of total capacity and a MEG CORELIQUID S360R 360mm AIO cooler (more on that later).

Finally, the design of the MSI MEG Z690 GODLIKE has a very premium and futuristic look to it with its all-black aluminum design touch screen and AIO-led displays. The build quality is also excellent, as you would expect from a high-end MSI motherboard.

What I Like About The MSI MEG Z690 GODLIKE

I like everything about this motherboard, but if I had to pick one thing that I like the most, it would be the unique and premium design with a touch screen display. I won’t mention all the premium features like the 20+2 phase power delivery system or the excellent cooling system because those are kinda expected at this price range.

What I Don’t Like About The MSI MEG Z690 GODLIKE

Unfortunately, there are not only great things about the MSI MEG Z690 GODLIKE there are also some drawbacks that you should be aware of.

First of all, this is a very expensive motherboard; it will cost you around $2k, which is insanely expensive. If you are not planning to use this motherboard’s features, then you are better off with a cheaper option.

The second thing is that it has some PCIe and M.2 slot limitations. As I already mentioned, if you use certain slots, then other slots will be disabled.

Finally, I am not so thrilled that this motherboard comes with the Kingston Fury RAM modules and the MEG CORELIQUID S360R 360mm AIO cooler. I am not thrilled because these two cost around $600, and I would prefer to pay less and get my own RAM modules and AIO cooler.

Related Article: 9 Best Motherboards For Ryzen 9 5900x

Best Mid-Range Motherboards for I9 12900k ($400-$600)

The second category of motherboards that I will be talking about is the mid-range category which consists of motherboards that cost between $400 and $600. They are very good motherboards, but they might not have all the extra features that high-end motherboards have. They are still good and will provide you with great gaming and overall experience.

Gigabyte Z690 Aorus Master 

Gigabyte Z690 Aorus Master 

Socket Type: LGA1700 | Form Factor: E-ATX | Chipset: Z690

The first mid-range motherboard on my list is the Gigabyte Z690 Aorus Master, one of the best mid-range motherboards for I9 12900k you can buy.

This motherboard has a very good power design as it has a 19+1+2 phase power delivery system with 105A DrMOS power stages capable of delivering up to 1995A of power. This is very close to the high-end motherboards and can easily handle the i9 12900k at stock and overclocked speeds.

The cooling system is also very good. First of all, it is an 8 PCB layer motherboard that is very good for heat dissipation. It comes with a massive VRM fin-array heatsink to keep your VRMs cool and an active chipset cooler that will keep the chipset at a very low temperature. Finally, the PCIe and M.2 areas are covered by an aluminum heatsink to further improve cooling.

Gigabyte Z690 Aorus Master has 4 DIMM slots that support up to 128GB of DDR5 RAM with speeds of up to 6400MHz+, which again is pretty close to the high-end motherboards.

It has one PCIe 5.0 x16 slot and two PCIe 3.0 x16 (x4) slots, so if you want to use a second graphics, this mobo is not the best option.

Gigabyte Z690 Aorus Master comes with 5x M.2 slots, with three being PCIe 4.0 x2, one being PCIe 3.0 x4, and the last being PCIe 4.0 x4. It also has 6 SATA 6Gb/s ports that will be disabled if you use all M.2 slots.

The networking capabilities are provided by a Marvell® AQtion AQC113C 10GbE LAN chip Ethernet controller and a Wi-Fi 6 802.11ax Wave2 2T2R WIFI card that supports up to 2.4Gbps of bandwidth. Bluetooth v5.2 is also included.

The design is ok; it is a black and gray motherboard with RGB lighting. It doesn’t have anything too fancy or eye-catching, but it looks good. I think the high-end motherboards look better, but this is something subjective.

What I Like About The Gigabyte Z690 Aorus Master 

I think AORUS did a great job with this motherboard as it covers all the basics like power delivery, cooling, networking, and connectivity. It also has some nice features like the 5 M.2 slots, 2 USB 3.2 Gen2x2 ports, and a very good audio system.

What I Don’t Like About The Gigabyte Z690 Aorus Master 

The only thing that I don’t like about this motherboard is that it has only one PCIe x16 slot, so if you are a gamer that wants to use 2 graphics cards in SLI or Crossfire mode, then you won’t be able to do that. The design also could be better, but if you are happy with the rest of the features, then you shouldn’t care too much about it.

ASUS ROG Strix Z690-I Gaming WiFi

ASUS ROG Strix Z690-I Gaming WiFi

Socket Type: LGA1700 | Form Factor: Mini-ITX | Chipset: Z690

The second mid-range motherboard on my list is the ASUS ROG Strix Z690-I Gaming WiFi, a good mini-ITX motherboard for I9 12900k. While its name suggests it is a gaming motherboard, I am not sure if it is the best gaming motherboard…

It comes with a 10+1 phase power delivery system with 105A DrMOS power stages that are capable of delivering up to 1050A of power to the CPU. This is pretty good for a mini-ITX motherboard, and it should be able to handle I9 12900k at stock speeds but probably not overclocked.

The thing that surprised me the most is that it is a 10 PCB layer motherboard which is very good for heat dissipation. It is pretty smart to use a 10-layer PCB on a mini-ITX motherboard to help with heat dissipation as there is not enough room for big heatsinks. Speaking of heatsinks, it has a sizable VRM fin-array heatsink that should keep the VRMs cool and an M.2 heatsink to keep the M.2 drives cool.

It has 2 DIMM slots that support up to 64GB of DDR5 RAM with speeds of up to 6600MHz+, which is pretty good for a mini-ITX motherboard.

There is not much to talk about when it comes to expansion slots, as it has only one PCIe 5.0 x16 slot (Remember when I mentioned that I am not sure this is the best option for gamers?)

ASUS ROG Strix Z690-I Gaming WiFi storage options are pretty good as it has 2 M.2 PCIe 4.0 x4 slots, and four SATA 6Gb/s ports.

The networking capabilities are provided by an Intel 2.5Gbps Ethernet controller and an Intel Wi-Fi 6E chip that supports up to 2.4Gbps of bandwidth and Bluetooth v5.1.

With this motherboard, you will get many connectivity options: it has 2 Thunderbolt 4 ports, 2 USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 ports, and many other regular USB ports.

There is not much to say about the design as it is a mini-ITX motherboard, so there is not much room for fancy designs. I think it looks good with its black color scheme and LED lighting.

What I Like About The ASUS ROG Strix Z690-I Gaming WiFi

I think it is a decent motherboard for those that want to build a small form factor PC. I like the fact that it has good power delivery, cooling, and storage options. The Thunderbolt 4 ports are also a nice addition.

What I Don’t Like About The ASUS ROG Strix Z690-I Gaming WiFi

To be honest, I don’t appreciate the fact they are calling it a gaming motherboard. I think it is a marketing gimmick as it doesn’t have features that gamers need, like multiple graphics card support or power to support overclocking. Finally, it is also a bit expensive for a mini-ITX motherboard.

MSI MEG Z690 UNIFY

MSI MEG Z690 UNIFY

Socket Type: LGA1700 | Form Factor: ATX | Chipset: Z690

The last mid-range motherboard on my list is the MSI MEG Z690 UNIFY. It is MSI’s top-of-the-line mid-range motherboard for LGA 1700 processors, so let’s see how good it is.

This motherboard has a 19+2 phase power delivery system with 105A direct power stages that are capable of delivering up to 1995A of power to your CPU. This is more than enough for I9 12900k at any clock speed, even if you decide to overclock it.

It is an 8-layer PCB motherboard which, as you already know, is good for heat dissipation. The Voltage Regulator Module heatsink on this motherboard is also very large, and it should keep the VRMs cool even when overclocking. Plus, the lower part of this motherboard is covered with a large aluminum heatsink that will keep your M.2s and chipset cool. The final touch is the Aluminum backplate that will also help with heat dissipation.

This motherboard has 4 DIMM slots that support up to 128GB of DDR5 RAM with speeds of up to 6666MHz+. This is more than enough for most people, even gamers.

Unify’s expansion slot configuration is also very good as it has 2x PCIe 5.0 x16 slots (x16/x0, x8/x8), and one PCIe 3.0 x4 slot. If you want to build a gaming PC with two graphics cards, UNIFY is the motherboard you have been looking for as it supports SLI and Crossfire.

It comes with great storage options as it has 5 M.2 slots, with 4 of them being PCIe 4.0 x4 and one being PCIe 3.0 x4 and 6 SATA 6Gb/s ports. This should be more than enough for most people.

MSI MEG Z690 UNIFY comes with two Intel 2.5Gbps Ethernet controllers and one Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201 chip that supports up to 2.4Gbps of bandwidth and Bluetooth v5.2. The USB ports on this motherboard are good in both quality and quantity as it has 2 USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 ports, 7 USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports, and many other regular USB ports.

The biggest surprise for me was the design of this motherboard. If you are not aware, MSI likes its RGB lighting, but with this motherboard, they have gone with a more subtle approach, and I think it looks great. There is no RGB lighting on this motherboard, just a black stealthy design that I really like.

What I Like About The MSI MEG Z690 UNIFY

I like the power delivery system, the 8-layer PCB, and the large VRM heatsink on this motherboard. It also has great expansion slots, and I like the design of this motherboard.

What I Don’t Like About The MSI MEG Z690 UNIFY

I think MSI could have included a couple of Thunderbolt 4 slots on this motherboard as it is their top-of-the-line mid-range motherboard. I would also like to see a PCIe Gen 5 M.2 slot as it is the latest standard. But overall, I think it is a great value-for-money motherboard.

Related Article: 9 Best Motherboards For Ryzen 7 5800x

Best Budget Motherboards for I9 12900k (Under $400)

The last category I would like to talk about is the best budget motherboards for I9 12900k. These motherboards are the most affordable Z690 motherboards and offer good value for money. They don’t come with all the features that are available on the mid-range and high-end Z690 motherboards, but they will do the job for most people.

Asus TUF GAMING Z690-PLUS WIFI D4

Asus TUF GAMING Z690-PLUS WIFI D4

Socket Type: LGA1700 | Form Factor: ATX | Chipset: Z690

The first motherboard on my list is the Asus TUF GAMING Z690-PLUS WIFI D4. It is an affordable TUF Gaming motherboard and has some great features.

This motherboard has a 14+2 80A phase power delivery system that is capable of delivering up to 1120A of power to your CPU. Asus utilizes a teamed setup with two phases and no phase doubler, which is good for heat dissipation. With 1120A of power, you will be able to run your i9 12900k at any clock speed without any issues.

It is a 6-layer PCB motherboard and comes with a large VRM heatsink that will keep the VRMs cool. Three out of four M.2 slots are covered with heatsinks, and the chipset is also covered with a heatsink. Finally, there are 7 fan headers on this motherboard, with 3 being 4-pin PWM/DC headers.

Asus TUF GAMING Z690-PLUS WIFI D4 has 4 DIMM slots that support up to 128GB of DDR4 RAM with speeds of up to 5333MHz. This is the biggest difference between Asus TUF GAMING Z690-PLUS WIFI D4 and most Z690 motherboards on my list. This is a DDR4 motherboard, while most of the other motherboards are DDR5. Being a DDR4 motherboard has its pros and cons, with the pros being that you won’t have to buy new memory and can use your existing memory modules. The cons are that you won’t be able to take advantage of the higher speeds that are available with DDR5.

The PCIe slot configuration is ok – it has 1x PCIe 5.0 x16 slot, 1 PCIe 3.0 x16 (x4 mode) slot, 2x PCIe 3.0 x4 slots, and 1 PCIe 3.0 x1 slot. To be honest, I am not thrilled with the PCIe slot layout as I would like to see more PCIe 5.0 slots or at least a PCIe 4.0 x16 (x8 mode) to be able to plug in more GPUs. Just like with the ASUS ROG Strix Z690-I Gaming WiFi, Asus named this motherboard a gaming motherboard, and it doesn’t offer basic gaming features like a second PCIe slot for a GPU.

It has 4 PCIe 4.0 x4 M.2 slots, and 4 SATA 6Gb/s ports. This should be more than enough for most people, so not much to complain about here.

The networking options on this motherboard are decent as it offers a 2.5G LAN connection with an Intel chipset, WiFi 6 support up to 5Ghz, and Bluetooth 5.2 support. USB wise, you are getting 15 USB ports and headers, with one being a USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 20Gbps header, another one being a USB 3.2 Gen 2 connector Type-C, and the remaining 13 being USB 3.2 Gen 1 and USB 2.0 ports.

What I Like About The Asus TUF GAMING Z690-PLUS WIFI D4

I like that the price is very good compared to other Z690 motherboards, it comes with a very good power delivery system, the cooling design is decent, and it offers good storage options.

What I Don’t Like About The Asus TUF GAMING Z690-PLUS WIFI D4

My biggest issue with this motherboard is that it has only one real PCIe x16 slot. I think this is more important than the DDR4 support because if you want to use this motherboard for hardcore gaming, you will need a second GPU. Other than that, as I already mentioned, the lack of DDR5 support might be an issue for some people.

Gigabyte Z690 AORUS ELITE DDR4

Gigabyte Z690 AORUS ELITE DDR4

Socket Type: LGA1700 | Form Factor: ATX | Chipset: Z690

The next motherboard on my list is the Gigabyte Z690 AORUS ELITE DDR4. This is another affordable motherboard that offers some good features.

It has a 16+1+2 70A phase power delivery system that is capable of delivering up to 1120A of power to your CPU. This amount of power is more than enough for any CPU on the market at base speeds, including the i9 12900k.

Gigabyte Z690 AORUS ELITE DDR4 is a 6-layer and x2 copper PCB design that will help with heat dissipation. It also comes with two large heatsinks that cover the VRMs, plus the half bottom of the motherboard is covered with a huge heatsink.

Like the Asus TUF GAMING Z690-PLUS WIFI D4, this motherboard has 4 DIMM slots that support up to 128GB of DDR4 RAM with speeds of up to 5333MHz. Once again, you have the pros and cons of being a DDR4 motherboard, so if you bought a new RAM recently or had some laying around then, this is a good motherboard for you.

The PCIe slot configuration of Gigabyte Z690 AORUS ELITE DDR4 is good as it has 1x PCIe 5.0 x16 slot and 2 PCIe 3.0 x16 (x4 mode) slots. Again this motherboard only has one real PCIe x16 slot, but I guess that is to be expected at this price range.

The storage options are also good as it has 4 PCIe 4.0 x4 M.2 slots and 6 SATA 6Gb/s ports which are pretty standard for a Z690 motherboard.

Gigabyte Z690 AORUS ELITE DDR4 has basic networking options, and you won’t get WiFi or Bluetooth support. The LAN connection is 2.5Gbps which is pretty good. USB wise, you are getting 17 USB ports and headers, one being a USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 connector Type-C, and the remaining 7 being USB 3.2 Gen 1 and USB 2.0 ports.

What I Like About The Gigabyte Z690 AORUS ELITE DDR4

I really like that this motherboard has the basics covered with good CPU power phase design, cooling system, and storage options. You get a good-looking motherboard with decent features, so you aren’t paying for features that you don’t need.

What I Don’t Like About The Gigabyte Z690 AORUS ELITE DDR4

The biggest issue with this motherboard is the lack of DDR5 support. This is something that might be a problem for some people in the future. Other than the lack of a second PCIe x16 slot might be an issue for some people that want to use this motherboard for gaming, but at least Gigabyte didn’t name this motherboard a gaming one.

MSI MPG Z690 CARBON WIFI

MSI MPG Z690 CARBON WIFI

Socket Type: LGA1700 | Form Factor: ATX | Chipset: Z690

The last motherboard on my list and probably the best budget motherboard is the MSI MPG Z690 CARBON WIFI. This motherboard lies between the budget and mid-range price range, so it has some good features, but it is also a bit more expensive than the other budget Z690 motherboards reviewed earlier.

MSI MPG Z690 CARBON WIFI has an 18+1+1 75A power delivery design that is capable of delivering up to 1350A of power to your CPU, which means you will have no issues rocking the i9 12900k with this motherboard, at stock or even overclocked.

It is an 8 -layer PCB design with 2 huge aluminum heatsinks that cover the VRMs connected to a heat pipe. The whole bottom of the motherboard is covered in dark heatsinks, which will not only keep the motherboard cool but also make it look good.

The biggest difference between MSI MPG Z690 CARBON WIFI and the other budget mobos I reviewed is the DDR5 support. Unlike the other mobos that support DDR4, this one supports DDR5. It has 4 DIMM slots that support up to 128GB of DDR5 RAM with speeds of up to 6666MHz. This is an important feature for those who want to future-proof their system.

The PCIe configuration of the MSI MPG Z690 CARBON WIFI motherboard is also a bit better as it has 3 PCIe x16 slots, with two being PCIe 5.0 x16 (x16/x0, x8/x8) and the other one being PCIe 3.0 x16 (x4 mode). So if you are looking to do some multi-GPU gaming, this is a good option for you.

MSI MPG Z690 CARBON WIFI has 5 M.2 slots and 6 SATA ports, which is much more than the other budget mobos in this list. Keep in mind that you won’t be able to use all of them simultaneously as some are shared with other devices.

The MSI MPG Z690 CARBON WIFI also has a very good networking configuration as it has an Intel® I225V 2.5Gbps LAN controller and an Intel® Wi-Fi 6E chip (preinstalled to one M.2 slot) that supports speeds up to 2.4Gbps. You also get Bluetooth v5.2 support with this motherboard.

As for the USB ports, you are getting a total of 18 USB ports and headers, one being a USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 connector (Type-C), 6 being USB 3.2 Gen 2 10Gbps ports, and the remaining being USB 3.2 Gen 1  and USB 2.0 ports and headers.

What I Like About The MSI MPG Z690 CARBON WIFI

I think MSI MPG Z690 CARBON WIFI is the best value for money motherboard for the i9 12900k. It has a good power delivery system, great VRM cooling, DDR5 support, good PCIe configuration, 5 M.2 slots, and a really nice design.

What I Don’t Like About The MSI MPG Z690 CARBON WIFI

This is probably the first time I am not going to complain about something, I would like to see Thunderbolt support on this motherboard, but that is really the only thing I can think of and not something to expect from a mid-range to budget motherboard.

Related Article: 9 Best Motherboards For Ryzen 5 5600x

How to choose a motherboard for the Intel i9 12900k

Now that I have talked about the best motherboards for the i9 12900k, it is time to give you some advice on how to choose a motherboard for the Intel i9 12900k.

LGA 1700 socket

The first thing you should pay attention to is the motherboard socket type. The i9 12900k is an LGA1700 socket processor, so you need to make sure that the motherboard you choose has this socket type in order to be compatible with your CPU.

The next important thing to look at is the chipset of the motherboard. As I already mentioned at the time of writing this, only the Z690 chipset offers to overclock support for the i9 12900k, so you need to make sure the motherboard you are choosing has this chip.

The next thing to look at is the power delivery system of the motherboard. As the i9 12900k is a 125W TDP CPU, you need to make sure that the motherboard can provide enough power to the CPU and has good VRM cooling.

The next thing to consider is memory support. With Alder Lake (12th Gen) Intel CPUs, DDR5 RAM support is important if you want to take full advantage of the new generation CPUs. So, a really important decision you will have to make is whether you want to go with DDR4 or DDR5 RAM.

The last thing to consider is the PCIe configuration of the motherboard. The i9 12900k has also unlocked 5th Gen PCIe support. So, if you want to do some multi-GPU gaming or use other high-end PCIe devices, then you need to make sure that the motherboard you choose has a good PCIe configuration.

These are the main things you need to look at when choosing a motherboard for the Intel i9 12900k. It is not rocket science, and you should be able to find a good motherboard for this CPU if you keep these things in mind.

Related Article: How Much Does A Motherboard Cost?

Best Motherboards For i9-12900K – FAQs

What Chipset Is i9-12900K?

The Intel i9-12900K is part of the Alder Lake (12th Gen) CPU lineup and uses the LGA1700 600 Series Chipset.

Is 12900K Good For Gaming?

The Intel i9-12900K is one of the best CPUs out there and a very good CPU for gaming, especially if you plan to use multi-GPU configurations. It also supports DDR5 RAM, giving you even better game performance. So, if you are looking for the best gaming CPU on the market right now, then the i9 12900k should be at the top of your list.

How Much RAM Does i9 12900K Support?

The i9 12900K supports up to 128 GB of RAM in total. It supports DDR4 up to 3200 MT/s and DDR5 up to 4800 MT/s. So, you can choose the type of RAM depending on your gaming or other needs.

Is The i9-12900K Better Than The Ryzen 9 5950X?

Yes, the i9 12900K is better than the Ryzen 9 5950X in terms of gaming performance. It has a higher base clock and a higher boost clock, giving it a significant lead in gaming benchmarks. But remember that this is an unfair comparison as these are different generation CPUs and are not directly comparable.

How Fast Is i9 12900K?

The i9 12900K is one of the fastest CPUs on the market right now; with a base clock of 3.2 GHz and a boost clock of 5.2 GHz, it can easily handle any task you throw at it.

Will My Motherboard Support Intel 12th Gen?

This depends on your motherboard’s CPU socket type and chipset. Your motherboard must have an LGA1700 socket and a 600 Series chipset in order to support the Intel 12th Gen CPUs. You can check your motherboard specifications or consult the manufacturer to ensure it is compatible.

Conclusion

If you have made it this far, then congratulations! You now know everything there is to know about choosing a motherboard for the Intel i9 12900k and which are the best motherboards for the Intel Core i9 12900k. Just remember to keep the factors we discussed in mind when choosing your motherboard, and you should be able to find a good one for this CPU no matter what your budget is. Good luck! If you still have any questions or need more advice, don’t hesitate to ask in the comments below.

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