Best Intel Motherboards: Holiday 2021


Here is the most recent upgrade to our list of suggested Intel motherboards in our series of motherboards purchasers guides. All numbers in the text are upgraded to show rates at the time of composing.

Best Intel Motherboards: Holiday 2021

The month of November has actually been a hectic one for Intel, as the long-waited for release of its 12th generation Alder Lake processors released and has actually given that made its method into retail channels. Not just this, however it led the way for a series of brand-new Z690 designs, and the bulk with assistance for the most recent DDR5 memory, PCIe 5.0, with more premium functions than ever in the past. Thereare  likewise a great variety of DDR4 supported boards too. While there’s still some ‘worth’ to be had from Intel’s previous 11th generation processors, with some delicious offers readily available on Newegg, we have actually thought about all of Intel’s presently readily available platforms for this month. The Z690 chipset may be here and now, however it’s time to see the number of make it into our choices for November 2021 in our most current Intel motherboard purchasers guide.

Here are our options in the motherboard market for Intel. For AMD suggestions, head on over to our AMD guide. This is upgraded monthly much like our Intel motherboard purchasers guide.









Intel Motherboards Recommendations

Holiday 2021
Segment Motherboard Amazon Newegg MSRP
Price vs Features MSI Pro Z690-A WIFI (DDR5) $240 $250
Value ASUS ROG Strix B560-A Gaming Wi-Fi $178 $180 $160
Mini-ITX ASRock Z490 Phantom Gaming-ITX/TB3 $235 $280
Money No Object GIGABYTE Z690 Aorus Xtreme $900 $900

Our suggestions for motherboards are based completely on individual and expert viewpoints. There are especially various motherboards throughout the Intel chipsets consisting of the most recent Z690 chipset for 12th generation processors, with pre-existing 11/10th gen choices consisting of Z590, B560, Z490, and the B460 chipsets,  Some of our options and choices here are likewise restricted by what stock is readily available. 

Over the next number of months, we’ll be evaluating and evaluating what the Z690 motherboards need to use, consisting of both DDR5 and DDR4 variations. As we get to grips with Alder Lake and Z690, we’ll have the ability to make some more educated options in contrast to what we have actually chosen in the meantime. Rest guaranteed, all of the choices chosen are my individual and expert options, choices I would want to invest my hard-earned cash on.

While we generally make a micro-ATX sized choice in our Intel guide, we have actually left out to make one for this month. The primary factor for this is that there aren’t that lots of (if any) micro-ATX designs presently readily available to purchase retail from what bit quantity of Z690 designs really fit this. We did think about returning for an 11th generation choice (Z590/B560), however taking a look at the present rates, they are either not readily available or the rate has actually increased to levels beyond what we might generally suggest.

Best Intel Motherboard For Gaming/Performance

MSI Pro Z690-A WIFI (DDR5) (N/A at Amazon/$240 at Newegg)

While efficiency is subjective to the total hardware setup of a system, the motherboard is certainly the entrance to opening all of the brand-new functions. There are lots of Z690 designs to think about, however for November, one board that stimulates my interest is from MSI, the Pro Z690-A WIFI (DDR5) to be precise. Now while the visual may not be the normal ultimate gaming-themed motherboard, it’s got whatever required to get players off the ground with a good function set, and it has a similarly appealing rate point.

Some of the MSI Pro Z690-A WIFI’s a lot of significant functions consist of Intel’s most current Wi-Fi 6E CNVi with an Intel I225-V 2.5 GbE controller. Coupled with assistance for approximately 3 PCIe 4.0 x4 M.2, one PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2, and 6 SATA ports, it has whatever a player might require varying from super-fast NVMe and even traditional hard disks for video game storage. One of the most significant improvements of selecting Alder Lake is that it has a lot of different PCIe assistance, consisting of one full-length PCIe 5.0 x16 slot, 2 full-length PCIe 3.0 slots running at x4/x1, with an extra and smaller sized PCIe 3.0 x1 slot. Perhaps the most essential addition to Z690 is assistance for the most recent DDR5 memory, with the MSI Pro Z690-A WIFI supporting DDR5-6400 out of package, with an integrated capability of approximately 128 GB throughout 4 memory slots.

The MSI Pro Z690-A WIFI can be presently acquired for $240 at Newegg at the time of composing, although not all of the Z690 stock has actually made its method onto Amazon at present. Even though $240 is thought about ‘low-cost’ for a Z690 design with DDR5 assistance, the majority of the boards are so over-engineered that a design such as this will still offer you all the efficiency advantages of the 12th generation Intel chips, however with more budget plan to invest in DDR5 memory, storage, and possibly if you’re fortunate a graphics card; stock allowing naturally.

Gamers on a budget plan will value the function set, while all the efficiency advantages of Alder Lake can be let loose with the MSI Pro Z690-A WIFI, and this makes it our choice for players. MSI even has a non-Wi-Fi allowed variation of this design for a lower rate of $220, if video gaming over cordless simply isn’t ideal for you.

Best Intel Motherboard: The Value Option

ASUS ROG Strix B560-A Gaming Wi-Fi ($178 at Amazon/$180 at Newegg)

The term ‘worth’ can be taken any various methods, as it can be associated with budget plan however with a lot of quality, or it can be relative to just how much cash is readily available and the least expensive choice possible. The rates of high-end motherboards have actually increased for many years, much more so with the release of Z690 – I keep in mind when a high-end board would cost $175! But today the leading chipsets begin at that rate, therefore we pivot to a more budget plan friendly option developed for Intel’s 11th generation of processors. Although we might have thought about among the entry-level Z690 designs for our worth choice, we’re going back to Intel’s 11th generation choices, with the ASUS ROG Strix B560-A Gaming Wi-Fi.

Some of the board’s highlights consist of a Realtek RTL8125 2.5 GbE controller and Intel’s AX200 Wi-Fi 6 CNVi, one PCIe 4.0 x4 M.2, and another PCIe 3.0 x4/SATA M.2 slot. It consists of 6 SATA ports with RAID 0, 1, 5, and 10 assistance, and can accommodate approximately 128 GB of DDR4-5000 memory which is excellent for a budget plan design. When utilized with Intel’s Rocket Lake processors, it uses assistance for PCIe 4.0 gadgets, consisting of one full-length PCIe 4.0 x16 slot, with one full-length PCIe 3.0 x4 and 3 PCIe 3.0 x1 slots enabling different kinds of growth cards to be set up.

 

For audio, ASUS is utilizing a premium SupremeFX S1220A HD audio codec, and connection is likewise excellent for the rate with one USB 3.2 G2x2 Type-C, one USB 3.2 G2 Type-A, 2 USB 3.2 G1 Type-A, and 4 USB 2.0 ports. The Strix B560-A Gaming Wi-Fi likewise take advantage of a BIOS Flashback button which indicates users can upgrade the board’s firmware to the most recent BIOS with power to the board and a USB flash drive, while an HDMI and DisplayPort video output pairing enables users to utilize Intel’s incorporated UHD graphics.

The ASUS ROG Strix B560-A Gaming Wi-Fi is presently readily available to purchase for $178 at Amazon and $180 at Newegg. Given the consisted of function set, it represents remarkable worth for users intending on utilizing 11th or 10th Gen Intel desktop processors. Other boards in a comparable rate variety are the MSI MAG B560 Torpedo ($180) and the ASRock Z590 Pro4 ($185), however the ASUS not just has much better quality audio however has much better networking assistance.

Despite not being a premium chipset such as Z690 or Z590, the function set of the ASUS makes it a good option for users on a budget plan, however those that wish to take advantage of premium functions and PCIe 4.0. Sure there is no assistance for PCIe 5.0 and less native PCIe 4.0 assistance than Z690, however for the rate, it’s a strong motherboard all around.

Best Intel Motherboard: The Best Mini-ITX Motherboard

ASRock Z490 Phantom Gaming-ITX/TB3 ($N/A at Amazon/$300 at Newegg)

There are simply 6 Z690 mini-ITX designs for the launch of Alder Lake, with around the very same variety of Z590 mini-ITX designs to choose from for little kind aspect lovers and players. Given that a few of the Z690 designs look a little expensive, with one to still be revealed (MSI MEG Z690I Unify), 2 are above the $400 mark, and just one with a quite sensible rate. But rather we have actually chosen to recall to an old favorite that has actually had a good rate decrease, the ASRock Z490 Phantom Gaming-ITX/TB3, however it still has a strong range of functions, albeit on Intel’s 11th generation and 10th generation Z490 platform.

Out of the little handful of readily available mini-ITX motherboards for any of Intel’s previous 2 generations (12th and 11th), few consist of Thunderbolt connection on the rear panel: here we get Thunderbolt 3. It likewise consists of a Realtek RTL8125BG 2.5 GbE Ethernet controller and Intel AX201 Wi-Fi 6 user interface pairing for the networking, in addition to supporting approximately 2 PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2 drives, one on the front and another slot on the back.

 

Also on the rear panel are 5 3.5 mm audio jacks and S/PDIF optical output powered by a premium Realtek ALC1220 HD audio codec and 3 USB 3.2 G2 Type-A and 2 USB 3.2 G1 Type-A ports. An easily situated clear CMOS button is included in the middle of the rear panel, with a PS/2 keyboard and mouse combination port, and 2 video outputs consisting of a DisplayPort and HDMI pairing, although the Thunderbolt 3 Type-C port can likewise output video. The ASRock likewise supports approximately DDR4-4666 formally, with an optimum capability of approximately 64 GB throughout 2 memory slots. In addition to the 2 PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2 slots are 4 SATA ports with assistance for RAID 0, 1, 5, and 10 varieties.

The Z490 Phantom Gaming-ITX/TB3 has an MSRP of $280 and is presently readily available at Newegg for $235, which is the most affordable rate we have actually seen this design for. There’s simply not that much readily available today on Z690 mini-ITX designs, none that would deserve advising for the rate anyhow.  The ASRock Z490 Phantom Gaming-ITX/TB3 is a splitting mini-ITX board with a lot of premium functions such as Thunderbolt 3, and assistance for PCIe 4.0, so it gets our vote if users want to decrease the path of Intel’s 11th generation processors.

This is most likely to alter prior to completion of the year as more prospective mini-ITX designs are revealed such as MSI’s MEG Z690I Unify, which on paper appears like a winner. The remainder of the Z690 ITX stack looks a little expensive for what they use at the minute, which’s why we have actually chosen the Z490 Phantom Gaming-ITX/TB3.

Best Intel Motherboard: Money Is No Object

GIGABYTE Z690 Aorus Xtreme (N/A at Amazon/$900 at Newegg)

When not needing to stress over budget plan and selecting what is thought about the very best cash can purchase, there are a lot of strong competitors. We have actually seen some top-tier premium flagship designs over the last number of years on Z590, Z490, and even Z390, however the most recent Z690 chipset has actually taken things to the next level. Our choice for November might be classified as ‘Xtreme”, with GIGABYTE’s Z690 Aorus Xtreme taking our leading area this month.

The GIGABYTE Z690 Aorus Xtreme is whatever a flagship might be and after that some, with a premium visual, dressed up head to toe in armor and coverings, even to the two-digit LED debugger declining into the armor in the leading right-hand corner. Everything has actually been detailed to look as magnificent as the function set it boasts. GIGABYTE even consists of an OLED screen into the memory slot cover, with a marketed 23-phase (20+1+2) direct power shipment with the most recent 105 A power phases.

Looking at the main function set of the GIGABYTE Z690 Aorus Xtreme, it has 3 full-length PCIe slots, 2 with assistance for PCIe 5.0 operating at either x16 or x8/x8, with the 3rd slot digitally locked do PCIe 3.0 x4. There’s a lot of storage assistance with 4 PCIe 4.0 x4 M.2 slots, however simply 4 SATA ports. It appears as though GIGABYTE has actually opted for a less is more technique, although none of the present Z690 flagship designs include more than 6, despite the fact that the chipset really supports approximately 8. In regards to memory, the Xtreme supports the most recent DDR5 memory, with speeds of approximately DDR5-6400 out of package, and an integrated capability of approximately 128 GB throughout 4 slots. 

When it concerns networking, GIGABYTE has actually decked the Z690 Xtreme out with 2 Ethernet ports, among which is fed by a Marvel AQtion AQC113C 10 GbE controller, with the other port ranging from an Intel I225-V 2.5 GbE controller. GIGABYTE is likewise maximizing the addition of native Wi-Fi 6E assistance through the chipset, with Intel’s AX210 Wi-Fi 6E CNVi including both cordless and BT 5.2 assistance.

Touching on connection, the Z690 Aorus Xtreme has double Thunderbolt 4 Type-C ports on the rear panel, with an excellent 10 USB 3.2 G2 Type-A ports on the rear panel; users need not stress over lacking ports to plug USB gadgets into with this board. Onboard audio assistance is a little various from a standard design, with the Z690 Aorus Xtreme deciding to utilize an ESS Sabe ES9280AC DAC chip, with 2 supplemental ES9080 chips functioning as the primary driving force behind the 2 3.5 mm ports.

The GIGABYTE Z690 Aorus Xtreme has an MSRP of $900, and as such is presently readily available to purchase Newegg for the very same rate. The term worth isn’t something you can ever relate to a flagship design, due to the fact that you generally get the very best of whatever. This consists of networking, storage, and functions, and the Z690 Aorus Xtreme provides on practically whatever. Some users might argue that 4 SATA isn’t appropriate for a board costing $900, however I think it’s a reasonable compromise to make thinking about whatever else is premium.

Other Z690 flagships in its sights consist of the ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Extreme ($1100), and the presently unannounced MSI MEG Z690 Godlike, which we anticipate to find out about imminently. If we needed to purchase a top-tier flagship out of what’s presently readily available, the GIGABYTE Z690 Aorus Xtreme would be where our cash goes. 

Intel Alder Lake and Z690

For those trying to find all the Z690 motherboards, we have actually assembled information on over 50 DDR5 supported designs, and over 30 DDR4 supported designs. All of our present and essential Intel Alder Lake material can be discovered listed below:

Intel Rocket Lake and Z590

For those trying to find Z590 designs, we have actually assembled information on over 50 of them in our Z590 motherboard summary. We’ve likewise had a look at over 30 budget-focused B560 designs too:

Our evaluation of Intel’s 11th Generation Rocket Lake processors is likewise readily available to check out:

For users trying to find other choices, we have actually likewise reviewed several chipset households too in the links listed below.

Z690: Reviews Coming Soon

We are presently preparing to begin deal with a variety of Z690 motherboard evaluates leading up till completion of the year. If there is any designs you believe we need to examine, let us understand in the remarks listed below.

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