ViCadia is supported by its readers. If you buy products through affiliate links, we may earn a commission. Learn more
Motherboards

The 6 Best Budget Z690 Motherboards for 12th Generation Intel CPUs

9 Mins read

Advertisement

In November 2021, Intel released its 12th Generation of processors, codenamed “Alder Lake”. To support their launch, Intel also released its latest Z690 motherboard chipset. Motherboards featuring this chipset now come with a new LGA1700 socket, and bring support for the PCIe 5.0 interface, as well as DDR5 memory.

Since Z690 motherboards are specifically designed to be used by PC enthusiasts and workstation professionals, it’s no surprise that most of them come with a high price tag. Unfortunately, Z690 boards priced between $200 and $300 are considered to be entry-level, so before you get any of these, you really want to make sure that the board you’ll be buying won’t be waste of money. In this guide, we’ll review the best budget Z690 motherboards you can get right now.

Read more: The Best CPUs for Gaming in 2022: The Top 10 Processors

However, before we take a closer look at the best budget Z690 motherboards, here is a short summary of features that boards based on the Z690 chipset bring to the table. As we already mentioned, the Z690 motherboards bring support for the 12th Gen Intel Alder Lake CPUs, and also introduce support for PCIe 5.0 interface, and DDR5 RAM. But besides that, the Z690 chipset also brings support for two PCIe x16 lanes in x8/x8 configuration, as well as support for four PCIe 4.0 lanes dedicated to storage devices. Other features include native support for USB 3.2 Gen2x2 (20 Gbps) Type-C connectivity, integrated Intel Wi-Fi 6E, support for 2.5G and 10G LAN, and support for up to 14 USB 2.0 ports.

Z590 ChipsetZ690 Chipset
Overclocking SupportYesYes
Memory SupportDDR4DDR4/DDR5
DIMMs Per Memory Channel22
PCIe 4.0/PCIe 5.0 supportYes/NoYes/Yes
PCIe Lanes2428
SATA 3 Ports68
RAID Support0, 1, 5, 100, 1, 5, 10
Max. USB 2.0 Ports1414
Max. USB 3.2 Gen 1 Ports1010
Max. USB 3.2 Gen 2 Ports1010
Max. USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 Ports34
Integrated Wi-Fi 6 ModuleYesYes (rev. 6E)

Motherboards featuring Intel Z690 chipset also bring support for CPUs with a TDP of up to 125 W, however, the maximum supported Turbo Power is around 240 W. This means that Z690 boards can easily handle extreme overclocking, and as such are a perfect fit for Intel’s high-end CPUs, such as Core i9-12900K. Now let’s take a look at the best budget Z690 motherboards that are currently available on the market.



Best Overall: MSI PRO Z690-A DDR4

ChipsetIntel Z690
SocketLGA1700
Processor Support12th Gen Intel Core, Pentium Gold and Celeron Processors
Memory Support4 x DDR4, +5200 MHz (O.C.), up to 128GB
PCIe Connectors1 × PCIe 5.0 x16 (CPU)
2 × PCIe 3.0 x16 (x4/x1, chipset)
1 x PCIe 3.0 x1 (chipset)
SATA / M.26 × SATA 3 (chipset)
3 x M.2 slots (PCIe 4.0 x4)
1 x M.2 slot (PCIe 3.0 x4)
Networking1 × 2.5 Gb/s Intel LAN Chip
AudioRealtek 7.1-Channel ALC897
Rear Connectors1 × LAN (RJ45)
1 x HDMI
1 × DisplayPort 1.4
4 × USB 2.0
2 × USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A
1 × USB Type-C 3.2 Gen 2 + Type-A
1 x Optical S/PDIF Out Port
6 x Audio jacks

  • Affordable price
  • Available in Wi-Fi and DDR5 variants
  • Good VRM solution
  • Four M.2 slots
  • 2.5G LAN
  • No RGB lighting
  • No Thunderbolt support

The MSI PRO Z690-A is probably the most coherent and the most consumer-friendly Z690 motherboard out there. Besides the basic model which supports the DDR4 memory, the board is also available in a variant which supports the DDR5 memory, as well as in variants with an integrated Wi-Fi module. Good news is that all four models feature the same 14 power stage VRM from Alpha & Omega (AOZ5016QI), meaning that the board is able to provide good overclocking support.

The MSI PRO Z690-A also comes with two 8-pin CPU connectors, one PCI-E steel bracket, pump fan support, and passive heatsink for the most upper M.2 slot. The board can also boast with three full-sized PCIe x16 slots, two USB 3.2 Gen1 headers and one USB 3.2 Gen2 header. Although it has no RGB lighting, the board does have additional RGB connectors. Overall, this is a pretty good and fairly affordable Z690 motherboard that is able to offer plenty of features for a reasonable amount of money.

Runner-up: ASUS Prime Z690-P D4

ChipsetIntel Z690
SocketLGA1700
Processor Support12th Gen Intel Core, Pentium Gold and Celeron Processors
Memory Support4 x DDR4, 5333 MHz (O.C.), up to 128GB
PCIe Connectors1 × PCIe 5.0 x16 (CPU)
1 × PCIe 4.0 x16 (x4, chipset)
1 x PCIe 3.0 x16 (x4, chipset)
1 x PCIe 3.0 x1 (chipset)
SATA / M.24 × SATA 3 (chipset)
3 x M.2 slots (PCIe 4.0 x4)
Networking1 × 2.5 Gb/s Realtek LAN Chip
AudioRealtek 7.1-Channel HD Audio
Rear Connectors1 × LAN (RJ45)
1 × HDMI
1 × DisplayPort
2 x USB 2.0
2 × USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A
1 × USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C + Type-A
1 x Optical S/PDIF out
5 x Audio jacks

  • Excellent VRM cooling
  • Inexpensive price
  • Has one PCIe 5.0 x16 and one PCIe 4.0 x16 slot
  • Supports DDR4-5333 memory
  • High-quality PCB components
  • Only four SATA3 ports
  • Modest number of USB ports

Just like the MSI PRO Z690-A, the ASUS Prime Z690-P is also available in a DDR4 and DDR5 variant, as well as in variants featuring an integrated Wi-Fi module. Right now, buying the DDR5 model is pretty much pointless, since DDR5 memory is hard to obtain, and is quite expensive. Despite their minor differences, all ASUS Prime Z690-P boards come with a 14 power stage Vishay SiC654 50A voltage regulator module which, to be honest, is one of the weakest VRMs you’ll find on Z690 boards. Nevertheless, this VRM is still quite capable and can handle even the most power-hungry CPUs, such as the Core i9-12900K.

Speaking of its other features, The ASUS Prime Z690-P can boast with one PCIe 5.0 x16 slot, and one PCIe 4.0 x16 slot, as well as with three PCIe 4.0 x4 M.2 slots. The board also comes with multiple temperature sensors, AIO pump header, overcurrent protection circuits, and support for DDR4-5333 memory. Unfortunately, the board features only 4 SATA ports (which for some users may not be enough), and has only four USB 3.2 ports on its rear panel. The main advantage of the Prime Z690-P over the other budget Z690 boards is the fact that it offers excellent VRM cooling performance and efficient CPU power delivery.

Best DDR5 Motherboard: ASUS Prime Z690-A D5

ChipsetIntel Z690
SocketLGA1700
Processor Support12th Gen Intel Core, Pentium Gold and Celeron Processors
Memory Support4 x DDR5, 6000 MHz (O.C.), up to 128GB
PCIe Connectors1 × PCIe 5.0 x16 (CPU)
1 × PCIe 3.0 x16 (x4, chipset)
1 x PCIe 3.0 x4 (chipset)
2 x PCIe 3.0 x1 (chipset)
SATA / M.24 × SATA 3 (chipset)
4 x M.2 slots (PCIe 4.0 x4)
Networking1 × 2.5 Gb/s Intel LAN Chip
AudioRealtek 7.1-Channel HD Audio S1220A
Rear Connectors1 × LAN (RJ45)
1 × HDMI
1 × DisplayPort
4 × USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A
2 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A
1 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C
1 x USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 Type-C
1 x Optical S/PDIF out
5 x Audio jacks

  • Full support for DDR5 memory
  • 16 power stages VRM
  • Supports up to 4 M.2 SSDs
  • Two USB Type-C ports
  • Pre-installed I/O shield
  • Unavailable in variant supporting DDR4 RAM
  • Only 4 SATA3 ports
  • Has only two full-sized PCIe x16 slots

If you are looking for a budget Z690 motherboard that supports DDR5 memory, then be sure to check out the ASUS Prime Z690-A D5. Compared to the Prime Z690-P, this board is considerably more expensive, and is only available in a variant supporting the DDR5 memory. The board also comes with a more powerful, 16-stages, Vishay SiC643 60A voltage regulator module, meaning it’s able to provide 20% greater current handling capability than the Prime Z690-P.

Besides featuring great aesthetics, this board also comes with a pre-installed I/O shield, integrated RGB lighting, and two M.2 heatsinks for three M.2 slots. In total, this board can support up to four M.2 NVMe SSDs, which is quite impressive, and it has two full-sized PCIe x16 slots for up to two graphics cards. The Prime Z690-A also has an internal Thunderbolt header, and it features two USB Type-C ports (20 Gbps and 10 Gbps). Besides featuring only two PCIe x16 slots, the two other biggest drawbacks of this motherboard are the fact that it has only 4 SATA 6 Gb/s ports, and that it’s not available in variant supporting DDR4 memory.

Best for Gaming: Gigabyte Z690 Gaming X DDR4

ChipsetIntel Z690
SocketLGA1700
Processor Support12th Gen Intel Core, Pentium Gold and Celeron Processors
Memory Support4 x DDR4, 5333 MHz (O.C.), up to 128GB
PCIe Connectors1 × PCIe 5.0 x16 (CPU)
2 × PCIe 3.0 x16 (x4, chipset)
SATA / M.26 × SATA 3 (chipset)
4 x M.2 slots (PCIe 4.0 x4)
Networking1 × 2.5 Gb/s Realtek LAN Chip
AudioRealtek 7.1-Channel HD Audio ALC1220-VB
Rear Connectors1 × LAN (RJ45)
1 × HDMI
1 × DisplayPort
4 x USB 2.0
3 × USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A
2 × USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A
1 x USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 Type-C
1 x Optical S/PDIF out
2 x Audio jacks

  • Budget-friendly price
  • Three full-sized PCIe x16 slots
  • Available in DDR4 and DDR5 version
  • Four M.2 slots
  • 2.5G LAN
  • Has no PCIe x4 or PCIe x1 slots
  • Mediocre VRM cooling performance
  • Only two audio jacks

The Gigabyte Z690 Gaming X DDR4 is probably one of the least expensive Z690 motherboards made exclusively for gaming. The board is available both in DDR4 and DDR5 variant, and can boast with stunning design, large VRM and M.2 heatsinks, as well as with three full-sized PCIe x16 slots which support multi-GPU configurations.

The DDR4 version and a DDR5 version of this motherboard feature different VRMs. Both of them come with 16 power phases 60A voltage regulator modules, however, the DDR4 version has the OnSemi NCP303160 VRM, whereas the DDR5 version has VRM with DrMOS elements. Both motherboards come with 2.5 GbE LAN, USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 Type-C connector, two M.2 slots, and pre-installed I/O shield. Unfortunately, none of them feature any PCIe x4 or PCIe x1 slots, meaning it’s impossible to install an additional Wi-Fi card, or SATA controller. Another drawback is the lack of additional audio connectors, since this motherboard has only 2 of them.

Best Value: ASRock Z690 Pro RS

ChipsetIntel Z690
SocketLGA1700
Processor Support12th Gen Intel Core, Pentium Gold and Celeron Processors
Memory Support4 x DDR4, +5000 MHz (O.C.), up to 128GB
PCIe Connectors1 × PCIe 5.0 x16 (CPU)
1 x PCIe 4.0 x16 (x4, CPU)
1 x PCIe 3.0 x16 (x4, chipset)
1 x M.2 Socket (Key E) for 2230 Wi-Fi/BT Module
SATA / M.28 × SATA 3, (chipset)
2 x M.2 slots (PCIe 4.0 x4)
1 x M.2 slot (PCIe 3.0 x4)
Networking1 × 2.5 Gb/s Dragon LAN Chip
AudioRealtek 7.1-Channel ALC897
Rear Connectors1 × LAN (RJ45)
1 × HDMI
1 x DisplayPort 1.4
2 x USB 2.0
2 × USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A
2 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A
3 x Audio jacks

  • Affordable price
  • Three full-sized PCIe x16 slots
  • Features 8 SATA3 ports
  • M.2 Key-E slot for PCIe Wi-Fi card
  • RGB lighting
  • Weak power delivery system
  • Has no USB Type-C connector

The ASRock Z690 Pro RS is a sub-$200 motherboard based on the Z690 chipset that is primarily intended for users who want to build an Alder Lake PC build on a tight budget. The motherboard is only available in a variant supporting the DDR4 memory, and it comes with a weak 13 power phases VRM that features DrMOS elements. Despite its rather weak power delivery system, this motherboard offers a lot of useful features for a very affordable price.

The Z690 Pro RS features three full-sized PCIe x16 slots, one of which supports PCIe 5.0 (x16) interface, one PCIe 4.0 (x4) interface, and one PCIe 3.0 (x4) interface. The board also comes with an additional M.2 Key-E slot for Wi-Fi PCIe card, as well as with 8 SATA3 ports, and three M.2 slots. There is also an integrated RGB lighting around the chipset area. Unfortunately, the board has no USB Type-C ports, which is a shame, and has only one M.2 heatsink for the upper most M.2 slot. Overall, if you don’t plan to excessively overclock your 12th Gen Intel CPU, and want a motherboard with plenty of PCIe slots, then the ASRock Z690 Pro RS will suffice your needs.

Lowest Price: ASRock Z690 Phantom Gaming 4

ChipsetIntel Z690
SocketLGA1700
Processor Support12th Gen Intel Core, Pentium Gold and Celeron Processors
Memory Support4 x DDR4, +5000 MHz (O.C.), up to 128GB
PCIe Connectors1 × PCIe 5.0 x16 (CPU)
1 x PCIe 4.0 x16 (x4, CPU)
3 x PCIe 3.0 x1 (chipset)
1 x M.2 Socket (Key E) for 2230 Wi-Fi/BT Module
SATA / M.24 × SATA 3 (chipset)
2 x M.2 slots (PCIe 4.0 x4)
Networking1 × 1.0 Gb/s Intel LAN Chip
AudioRealtek 7.1-Channel ALC897
Rear Connectors1 × LAN (RJ45)
1 × HDMI
2 x USB 2.0
4 × USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A
1 × USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A
1 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C
3 x Audio jacks

  • Cheap price (compared to other Z690 boards)
  • Five PCIe expansion slots
  • USB Type-C connector
  • Internal Thunderbolt header
  • Very weak VRM
  • 1 GbE LAN
  • Only 4 SATA 6 Gb/s ports

The ASRock Z690 Phantom Gaming 4 is probably the cheapest Z690 motherboard you can get right now. Unfortunately, with low price also come certain compromises, which is why this motherboard may prove worthless if you decide to pair it with a high-end 12th Gen Intel Alder Lake CPU. The Z690 Phantom Gaming features a 9 power phase DrMOS VRM design, which is able to deliver 50A of electric current, but with so few phases it’s not quite suitable for overclocking high-end CPUs.

The board also features only two M.2 slots for NVMe drives, and only 4 SATA 6 Gb/s connectors, but it does come with three additional PCIe 3.0 x1 slots, and one M.2 Key-E slot for PCIe Wi-Fi card. ASRock clearly tried to cut down production costs with this board, so it’s no surprise it features only 1 GbE LAN, and has no RGB lighting or DisplayPort connector. Good thing, however, it that Phantom Gaming 4 does come with a USB Type-C port, as well as with Thunderbolt header, so if you are in the market for a budget, yet versatile Z690 motherboard, this one may suit your needs.

Read more

Advertisement

61 posts

About author
Before he joined ViCadia, Nicholas worked as a journalist for several tech magazines. Over the years he gained a lot of knowledge about computers. His main area of interest are processors, motherboards, and operating systems.
Articles
    Related posts
    Motherboards

    10 Best White Motherboards in 2022 for Intel and AMD CPUs

    14 Mins read
    Turn your PC build into a white-themed computing machine with these stunning white motherboards. Here our are top picks for 2022.
    8.6
    MotherboardsReview

    ASUS ROG MAXIMUS Z690 EXTREME Review

    5 Mins read
    Beautiful, feature-rich, and expensive – the ASUS ROG MAXIMUS Z690 EXTREME is an incredible motherboard for the 12th Gen Intel Core CPUs. Here is our review.
    8.9
    MotherboardsReview

    Gigabyte X570S Aero G Review

    6 Mins read
    The Gigabyte X570S is a high-end motherboard designed for content creators. The board can boast with plenty of features, but its lack of Thunderbolt ports is underwhelming.

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *