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The new Alder Lake CPUs from Intel are here. Out of the three K series CPUs, the Core i5-12600K looks like the best of the bunch, by far. Competitive pricing, superb gaming performance, and incredible multi-threading performance at this price point combined with relatively modest power consumption make the 12600K an excellent purchase at the moment. The latest i5 part doesn’t require a top-of-the-line Z690 motherboard to work at its maximum capacity. If you want to check out which CPUs demand high-end boards, you could visit our motherboards section.
Now, let’s get you covered regarding the best motherboards for i5-12600K. We have the usual budget, mid-range, and high-end picks accompanied by the best mATX and Mini-ITX boards for the Core i5 12600K.
Let’s start with the best budget motherboard for i5-12600K. The Gigabyte Z690 UD DDR4 isn’t the cheapest Z690 motherboard, but it is the cheapest we recommend getting for the 12600K.
The main reason for our recommendation is a capable VRM (sixteen 60A CPU phases) coupled with decent VRM heatsinks. In other words, you should have no issues running an overclocked 12600k on this board. When it comes to memory support, the Z690 UD supports DDR4 memory up to 5133 MT/s.
The board features three PCIe 4.0 M.2 slots and six SATA III ports. The audio codec used isn’t clearly labeled (only mentioned as Realtek audio codec), so it’s safe to say that we’re talking about a budget audio solution here. At least you get 2.5Gb LAN. And if you need wireless connectivity, the AC version of this board comes with Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.2.
Expansion options include one PCIe 5.0 x16 slot, two PCIe x1 slots, and two PCIe 3.0 x16 slots working at x4 and x1. Rear I/O hosts ten USB ports (1xUSB-C 20Gbps; 1xUSB 3.2 10Gbps; 4xUSB 3.2 5Gbps, 4xUSB 2.0), an RJ-45 port, PS/2 port, three audio jacks, and an HDMI 2.1+DisplayPort combo. Finally, the board also comes with BIOS flash and CMOS reset buttons. You can locate both buttons on the lower right side of the PCB.
MSI Z690 Tomahawk: Best mind-range motherboard for i5-12600K
The MSI Z690 Tomawahk is a well-rounded Z690 model and the best mid-range board for the 12600K. First of all, we love the design. All-black with lots of heatsinks, pre-installed I/O shield, and without flashy RGB. The brushed metal effect on the heatsinks is our personal favorite.
The VRM is superb; sixteen 70A CPU phases are more than enough for running OCed 12900K, let alone stock 12600K. Next, this is a DDR4 board with support for up to DDR4 5200 MT/s memory.
When it comes to storage, you have four M.2 slots, all PCIe 4.0, along with six SATA III ports. More than enough unless you’re planning on building a pricey NAS. If you do plan on building a NAS, do check our list of the best NAS cases to find the right case for the job.
The Z690 Tomahawk motherboard offers ample expansion with a PCIe 5.0 x16 slot, a PCIe 3.0 x1 slot, and two PCIe 3.0 x16 slots (at x4 and x1 speeds). It features the Realtek ALC4080 Codec for audio and a 2.5Gbps Intel LAN controller for networking.
The board includes a Wi-Fi 6 card with Bluetooth 5.2 support. The rear I/O provides eight USB ports (including a USB-C 20Gbps), an RJ-45 port, six audio jacks, Wi-Fi antenna connections, HDMI 2.1, DisplayPort combo, and a Flash BIOS button. Additional features are debug LEDs, a clear CMOS jumper, and an internal Thunderbolt connector.
Gigabyte Z690M Aorus Elite AX: Best mATX motherboard for i5-12600K
There are four mATX Z690 boards in total, and the Gigabyte Z690M Aorus Elite looks like the best Micro ATX for the 12600K CPU. First of all, we have twelve 60A CPU power phases with decent-looking heatsinks. This setup should run an overclocked 12600K without thermal issues.
Next, there’s DDR4 support for up to DDR4 5333 MT/s. The board comes with three PCIe 4.0 M.2 slots, which is nice to see considering its compact form factor. There are also six SATA III ports.
Expansion options include one PCIe 5.0 x16 slot and one PCIe 3.0 slot running at x4. The main connectivity option is 2.5Gbps LAN. The wireless module supports Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.2. As for the audio, the situation’s the same as on the Z690 UD. You should expect a budget-tier solution considering that Gigabyte lists the codec used only as “Realtek audio codec,” without any specific info on the codec used.
On the rear, you can find ten USB ports (1xUSB-C 20Gbps; 1xUSB 10Gbps; 4xUSB 5Gbps; 4xUSB 2.0), three audio jacks (Line Out, Mic, S/PDIF Out), an RJ-45 port, wireless antennas, and an HDMI 2.1+DisplayPort combo. Finally, the PCB houses a Flash BIOS button and a reset CMOS jumper.
Gigabyte Z690 Aorus Ultra: Best mini-ITX motherboard for i5-12600K
The situation with Mini-ITX Z690 selection is better than with mATX boards. A board from Gigabyte that offers the best price-to-performance ratio has won our best Mini-ITX board for the 12600K award. The Gigabyte Z690 Aorus Ultra should run the 12600K without issues thanks to its beefy (for an mITX form factor) VRM consisting of ten 105A CPU power phases.
Next, we have DDR4 support for up to DDR4 5333 MT/s. Storage options include two PCIe 4.0 M.2 slots combined with 4 SATA III connectors, a regular combo found on an mITX motherboard. Expansion options include one PCIe 5.0 x16 slot. Connectivity-wise, the Z690 Aorus Ultra comes with 2.5Gbps LAN and a Wi-Fi 6 module that also supports Bluetooth 5.2
The rear I/O hosts eight USB ports (1xUSB-C 20gbps; 3xUSB 10Gbps; 2xUSB 5Gbps; 2xUSB 2.0), an RJ-45 port, wireless antennas, HDMI 2.1+DisplayPort, two audio jacks (Line Out and Mic), and a BIOS Flash button. Do note that you can find a Clear CMOS jumper on the PCB.
ASUS ProArt Z690-Creator: Best Thunderbolt 4 motherboard for i5-12600K
The ASUS ProArt Z690-Creator Wi-Fi is an excellent motherboard for creators using the Core i5-12600K, especially for those needing extensive connectivity and storage options.
Its VRM is robust, featuring sixteen 70A CPU power stages with effective heatsinks. The board supports DDR5 memory up to 6000 MT/s, catering to high-performance needs. Storage-wise, it’s equipped with four PCIe 4.0 M.2 connectors and eight SATA III ports, offering ample space for various storage requirements.
The motherboard excels in expansion with two PCIe 5.0 x16 slots (operating in x8/x8 mode when used together) and an additional PCIe 3.0 x16 slot at x4. Connectivity options are comprehensive, including a 2.5Gbps LAN chip, a 10Gbps LAN chip, 2×2 Wi-Fi 6E, and Bluetooth 5.2. The audio is powered by the Realtek S1220A codec with an internal audio amp.
The rear I/O panel features six USB 10Gbps ports, two Thunderbolt 4 (USB-C) ports, dual RJ-45 ports, five audio jacks, an HDMI 2.1 port, two DisplayPort inputs compatible with Thunderbolt 4, Wi-Fi antennas, and a BIOS flash button. Additional features include an M.2 Key E slot for Wi-Fi module upgrades, debug LEDs, and an internal USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 front header with 60W power delivery and QuickCharge 4+ support.
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