Intel started gaining some ground back with the 12th generation processors namely the Alder Lake. The i5 12600K gives a tough time to its AMD competitor the 5600x and it has cemented its place in the mid-range processor market. Before we get into the best motherboards for an i5 12600K, let’s talk about the processor specifications that will help you decide to make the right choice! The processor features 10 cores and 20 threads with 6 cores and 12 threads as power cores and 4 cores and 4 threads as energy-saving cores.
The processor goes head to head with its AMD rival and has a max TDP of 150W making it quite power hungry. It can reach turbo frequencies near the 5 GHz mark making it quite the product that gives you great value for money. It is compatible with both DDR4 and DDR5 RAM making it a great choice for building a future-proof build. It supports the LGA 1700 socket
To draw out the full potential of the processor you will need a motherboard that comes with all the necessary features in the right places. It’s the K variant processor which means you can overclock the processor and not every motherboard has the capability to run an overclocked processor and keep the system running at a stable rate.
|Best Budget Motherboard for i5 12600K Asus TUF Z690-Plus D4 Read More||See On Amazon|
|Best Mid-Range Motherboard for i5 12600K Gigabyte Z690 Aorus Ultra D5 Read More||See On Amazon|
|Best Mid-Range Motherboard for i5 12600K MSI MPG Z690 Edge Wi-Fi D4 Read More||See On Amazon|
|Best ATX Motherboard for i5 12600K MSI MAG Z690 Tomahawk D4 Read More||See On Amazon|
|Best Mid-Range Motherboard for i9 12900K Asus ROG Strix Z690-E D5 Read More||See On Amazon|
|Best Budget Motherboard for i5 12600K MSI Pro Z690-A D4 Read More||See On Amazon|
|Best Cheap Motherboard for i5 12600K Asus Prime Z690-A D5 Read More||See On Amazon|
|Best B660 Motherboard for i5 12600K MSI MAG B660M Mortar D4 Read More||See On Amazon|
There are quite a lot of options in the market right now and it can be quite the hassle to choose the right motherboard. But worry not as I am here to give you a list of motherboards that will help you extract the last bit of performance the processor has to offer. Now let’s dive straight into the list of motherboards that can run this mid-range beast of a processor:
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Best Motherboard for i5 12600K Reviews
- Affordable pricing.
- Great power delivery.
- Four M.2 slots.
- DDR4 memory makes minor performance issue.
- Six USB Type-A ports.
As the name suggests, Asus TUF Gaming Z690-Plus D4 this motherboard uses the DDR4 memory, which allows you to save money while giving similar performance to DDR5 systems. When you list the price and features of this board, I would say it’s the best and most affordable Z690 motherboard you can get.
The performance of this motherboard is no doubt amazing, and it can easily handle the might Intel Core i9 12900K without any issue. It has refreshed looks with a complete black base and grey diagonal stripes, which look appealing, and some RGB lights underneath the chipset heatsink.
When you take a close look at the top right section of this motherboard, there are large heatsinks with deep grooves that increase the surface area for better cooling. There are 15-phase voltage regulators configured in the 14+1 phase and 80A MOSFETs for Vcore.
Continuing to the right side, four single-side locking memory slots allow you to install 128 GB of RAM on this motherboard clocked at 5333 MHz. There is a DDR5 variant of this motherboard, but that gives an unnoticeable minor performance advantage, so I’m recommending the DDR4 variant.
The bottom side of this motherboard has two full-length PCIe x16 slots, from which one runs at PCIe 5.0 mode while the other on PCIe 3.0. In addition, there are two PCIe x1 slots and one PCIe x4 slot for expansion cards, and this motherboard supports multiple graphics card configurations i.e. AMD Crossfire.
The storage needs on this motherboard are fulfilled by four M.2 slots which all run at PCIe 4.0 mode, and there is no PCIe 5.0 M.2 slot on it. All of them come with their dedicated heat spreaders, but one lacks it, and for storage drives, it has four SATA3 6 Gbps slots, which might not be enough for a few users.
The rear IO of this motherboard has a lot of USB ports, including the high-speed USB 3.2 Gen2x2 Type-C (20 Gbps), 2x USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-A, and 5x USB 3.2 Gen1 Type-A, etc. There is an IO cover over the VRM section with ASUS Tuf Gaming branding and an IO shield while it lacks the RGB elements.
The overall performance of this motherboard is amazing, but as it’s a DDR4 motherboard, it will give you minor performance loss over DDR5 motherboards. There are just six USB Type-A ports on this board which might not be enough for some users. And the appearance of this board is not for everyone.
- Affordable pricing.
- Overbuilt VRMs.
- Lots of storage options.
- No PCIe 5.0 M.2 slots.
- Grey heatsinks.
Gigabyte Z690 Ultra packs the most impressive features for an affordable price for the Alder Lake platform. The price of mid-range motherboards these days is different than it used to be because of PCIe 5.0 slots and DDR5 memory support, but still, this board costs less than the competition.
The previous-gen Z590 Ultra features black heatsinks, while this one comes with grey over black color contrast, making it aesthetically appealing. The only RGB element on this motherboard is over the IO cover, featuring the Aorus Eagle branding, while there are some RGB headers on it to install RGB strips.
The top-left section of this board has large-sized heatsinks, and under them, there are 18-phase voltage regulators configured in 16+2 phases. There are 105A MOSFETs on this board for Vcore, and it’s similar to ASRock’s flagship offering, “Taichi”, and better than most mid-range boards.
Next to it, there is an IO cover which we’ve mentioned before; it’s equipped with a lot of high-speed USB3 Type-A and Type-C ports. There are at least 13 USB ports, a 2.5G Ethernet port, headphone and microphone jack, and white labeling over a black background to read things.
This board’s memory support is similar to the competition as it offers four DIMM slots that support 128 GB of DDR5 memory with overclocking up to 6400 MHz. There are Debug-LEDs near the memory slots, which helps users solve pre-boot errors easily, while we’ve seen a lot of Z690 boards that lack them.
The bottom side of this motherboard is mostly covered with heatsinks. There are four M.2 slots with heat spreaders, but unfortunately, this motherboard doesn’t have any PCIe 5.0 M.2 slot. There are six SATA 6 Gbps slots on this board which fulfills the storage needs of most of the users.
There are three PCIe x16 slots on this motherboard, from which one runs at PCIe 5.0 mode with x16 configuration while two runs at 3.0 mode with x4/x4 mode. This motherboard supports multiple graphics card configurations but is compatible with AMD Crossfire only, not Nvidia SLI.
The specifications of Gigabyte Z690 Ultra are appealing, but the looks are not for everyone, especially the grey heatsinks. Also, the major downside of this motherboard is there are no PCIe 5.0 M.2 slots, but still, if you are into mainstream Alder Lake configuration, this motherboard will be a good option for you.
- Excellent audio codec.
- 18 Phase power design.
- Four M.2 slots.
- Comes with Wi-Fi 6 only.
- Busy looks.
The MSI MSI Z690 Edge Wi-Fi represents the company’s mid-range motherboard that cuts off some features from the MEG series and comes at an affordable price. This motherboard can easily overclock the Intel Alder Lake flagship processor, i9 12900K, to a great extent without having any problem.
This motherboard costs about three hundred bucks, there is an EK X variant, or if you are looking to put the latest DDR5 memory, you can have the Edge Wi-Fi DDR5 for $330 at Amazon or Newegg. The black base with grey stripes and RGB lights makes this motherboard aesthetically appealing to the users.
The top right section of this motherboard has 18-phase voltage regulators, which are configured in 16+2 phases and 16x 75A MOSFETs for Vcore. Extended heat spreaders over the voltage regulators have grey stripes on them and maintain the aesthetics and make the VRM section cool down.
The IO cover over the VRM heatsinks has MSI dragon on it with RGB lights, while there are some lights on the chipset heatsink. The MSI MPG Z690 Edge Wi-Fi comes in both DDR4 and DDR5 variants with little price difference, but we recommend the DDR4 variant, which supports 128 GB of memory at 5400 MHz.
The audio section of the bottom half of this motherboard is fully exposed, and it uses the Realtek ALC4080 codec for premium audio quality. There is an orange audio separation line on the motherboard, which keeps the audio section separate from the rest of the motherboard components.
There are three full-length PCIe x16 slots on this motherboard with Steel Armor on the primary slot and four M.2 slots for high-speed storage with their dedicated heat spreader. There are six SATA3 6 Gbps slots which make this motherboard enough for storage needs, but it lacks the PCIe 5.0 M.2 slots.
A USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-C (20 Gbps) port, five USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-C (10 Gbps) ports, and two USB 2.0 ports. The rear side also has a BIOS flashback button to set BIOS files to default without even installing a processor. It also has a 2.5G ethernet port on the IO panel with a black background and a white label on its IO shield.
The looks of this motherboard look busy to me, but for most users, that might not be a problem, and this motherboard comes with Wi-Fi 6 only, not the Wi-Fi 6E. Overall this motherboard is the best motherboard for i5 12600K builds in 2022, and if you managed to get an RTX 3080 with it, this would be amazing.
- Four M.2 slots.
- 18 phase design voltage regulators.
- Black looks appealing in RGB builds.
- No RGB lights.
- Can have more USB ports.
The MSI MAG Z690 Tomahawk Wi-Fi is an affordable motherboard; three hundred bucks are quite low for the Z690 chipset, and it doesn’t disappoint the users. There are even cheap motherboards like the Z690-A Pro or some expensive options like MEG Z690 Wi-Fi, but they are either expensive or lack features.
This motherboard’s stealth looks are different from what we’ve seen before in MSI Tomahawk motherboards. Back then, these motherboards get overloaded with RGB lights, but now there are no RGB elements in it, but it comes with shiny black heatsinks, which makes it appealing to users.
The 18-phase voltage regulators which are common in these motherboards are configured in 16+2 phases with 16x 75A MOSFETs for Vcore. There are large metal heat spreaders over the voltage regulators that are not connected but handle anything you threw on them, even the mighty i9 12900K.
Right from the VRM section, four double-side locking memory slots accept 128 GB of DDR5 memory overclocked at 6400 MHz. There is a variant of this motherboard that supports DDR4 memory sticks too, and you can save some bucks on it, but I’m here recommending the DDR5 board.
The bottom half section of this motherboard has three PCIe x16 slots, from which one comes with a PCIe Steel Armor to prevent bending of the slot. The top PCIe x16 slot runs on PCIe 5.0 mode, while the bottom two slots run in PCIe 3.0 mode, and for expansion cards, there is a PCIe x1 slot.
There are four M.2 slots on this motherboard, of which three run at PCIe 4.0 mode while one at PCIe 3.0 mode, and there are no PCIe 5.0 slots. In addition, all of the M.2 slots come with their dedicated heat spreaders, and there are six SATA 6 Gbps slots which makes this motherboard enough for storage.
The IO section of this motherboard has a black background with white labels on them, making them easy to read. There is a USB3.2 Gen2 Type-A and Type-C (20 Gbps), 2x USB3 Gen2 Type-C (10 Gbps), 2x USB 3.2 Gen1 2x USB 2.0 ports. In addition, there are a few more ports, including the 2.5G high-speed ethernet port.
There are enough USB ports on this motherboard, but they offer even more when you look at the competition. This motherboard also lacks the RGB lights available in the previous Tomahawk motherboards. Overall it’s the best motherboard for i5 12600K and other Alder Lake high-end builds.
- Cheapest motherboard to offer PCIe 5.0 slots.
- Solid power delivery voltage regulators.
- 12 high-speed USB ports on rear IO.
- Slightly on the expensive side.
- Gives DDR4 like performance.
The Asus Rog Strix Z690-E might be the most expensive motherboard I’m recommending on this list, but still, it falls in the upper mid-range segment in terms of pricing and performance. This motherboard is not budget-friendly, but it’s the cheapest motherboard with a Z690 chipset that offers PCIe 5.0 M.2 slots.
When you compare the looks of this motherboard with previous generations, they are quite changed with lots of more features added. Some RGB elements are added to this motherboard, the power delivery system is improved, and you are getting more ports and storage options.
The top section of this motherboard is mostly covered with heatsinks, whereas the left heatsink covers the most part and has an integrated IO cover over it which looks appealing because of the RGB lights. There is 19 phase design VRM configured in the 18+1 phase with 90A MOSFETs for Vcore.
Next to the voltage regulators, there are four memory slots on this motherboard that allows you to install DDR5 memory clocked at 6400 MHz. One problem that most of the users have reported about this motherboard is its DDR4 like performance, but in our tests, it performs well.
The bottom section of this motherboard has three full-length PCIe x16 slots where one has Steel Armor and runs on PCIe 5.0 mode while the other two runs in PCIe 4.0 mode. In addition, there is a PCIe x1 slot on this motherboard which you can use to install expansion cards.
There are three M.2 slots on this motherboard with their dedicated heat spreaders, and one of them runs at PCIe 5.0 mode while it comes with bundled ROG M.2 card, which allows you to install two more drives. This motherboard has six SATA3 6 Gbps slots for further storage expansion.
There is 1x USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-C (20 Gbps) along with a USB Type-C port (10 Gbps), 2x USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-A, 4x USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-A (5 Gbps) and four USB 2.0 ports. There are a lot of other ports and buttons on the rear IO, including the BIOS flashback button, 2.5G Ethernet port and more.
The price of this motherboard is quite expensive, but if you are looking for PCIe 5.0 M.2 slots and great overclocking potential, this motherboard is for you. Overall if you put the price and features of this motherboard on the table, I would say it’s the best motherboard for i5 12600K worth considering.
- Great pricing.
- Excellent features.
- Premium controllers.
- Doesn't performs like mid-range boards.
There are at least seventeen motherboards in the MSI Z690 product stack, while the Z690-A Pro is considered the cheapest entry-level option. This motherboard doesn’t give features like the MAG series motherboard, but the low cost makes it appealing for professional users and content creators.
This motherboard looks a little straightforward, and it doesn’t have lots of heatsinks or RGB elements but gives a more professional look. The base of this motherboard is colored in black with some white and grey circuit printed and MSI Pro Series branding on the IO cover and chipset heatsink.
There are 16-phase design voltage regulators on this motherboard which are configured in 14+2 phase and 14x 55A MOSFETs for Vcore. There are extended heat spreaders over the voltage regulators to let them cool down and nice cuts and designs on them, making them look good on the motherboard.
Next to the VRM section, there are four memory slots that accept 128 GB of memory, but it depends on what variant you have. This motherboard comes in both DDR4 and DDR5 variants, but the one we are recommending is DDR4 which offers memory overclocking up to 4800 MHz.
The bottom side has Realtek ALC897 Codec on the left side without the shroud, and the controller is quite cheap but performs well. The networking side of this motherboard is controlled with a 2.5G NIC, which is common these days, even in the budget boards, and the LAN manager allows you to do a lot of things.
There are three PCIe x16 slots where the top slot comes with PCI Steel armor to protect it from bending and allows you to install any large graphics card on it. The primary full-length slot is PCIe 5.0 offers double bandwidth from PCIe 4.0 slots, while the other two slots run at PCIe 3.0 mode.
There are four M.2 slots on this board for high-speed storage, while only the primary slot comes with a heat spreader, and three slots run at Gen4 mode. For further storage expansion there are six SATA3 6Gbps slots, all right angled to prevent clearance issue with graphics cards.
The rear side of this motherboard has 1x USB3.2 Gen2 Type-C (20 Gbps), 1x 3.2 Gen2 Type-A, 2x 3.2 Gen1 Type-A and four USB 2.0 ports. There are a lot of features on this motherboard that we are getting for a very meager price, which makes it one of the best motherboard for i5 12600K to consider in 2022.
- Four M.2 slots.
- Dual USB Type-C ports.
- Doesn't share lane in storage drives.
- Very few USB ports.
- Lacks integrated Wi-Fi.
When you look at the Asus Z690 motherboard SKUs, the major changes you will find in them compared to the previous generation are their looks, better voltage delivery regulators, and more M.2 slots. The one we are reviewing here is the Asus Prime Z690-A which is an entry-level board with basic features set.
The base of this motherboard is all colored in black with lots of silver heatsinks on it making it aesthetically appealing, but still, the looks are straightforward. The performance of this motherboard isn’t bad at all, as it was able to handle our Intel i9 12900K without any problem and allowed us some tweaks.
The surface area of heatsinks over the VRM section is quite large, which allows us to run even flagship processors on this motherboard without any problem. There are 17 phase design voltage regulators on this board and 60A MOSFETs for Vcore, while if you look at Z590 Prime-A, that only offers 14+1 phases.
There are four memory slots on this board, allowing us to put 128 GB of DDR5 RAM with clocks up to 5000 MHz which are good for this price. There is the first CPU/Pump fan header above the memory slots, while there is a total of eight fan headers, and all are marked as CPUXXX or CHAXXX.
The top section has most of the things that we usually see in motherboards under this price segment, but the bottom side has a lot of interesting things. There are two full-length PCIe x16 slots running at PCIe 5.0 and 3.0 modes, respectively, and two PCIe x1 and one PCIe x4 slot for expansion cards.
The Realtek ALC1220 codec gives good sound and is hidden under the Crystal sound cover, and if you look at the previous generation, this controller was equipped with the flagship options. There are four M.2 slots on this board, and all run at PCIe 4.0 mode; three have their heat spreader while one lacks.
Asus Z690 Prime-A has only four SATA slots, but the SATA and M.2 slots don’t share their lanes. The rear side of this motherboard has a white background with black labels making them easy to read. There are USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-C (10 Gbps), 1x USB 3.2 Gen1 Type-A and 2x USB 2.0 ports.
The rear side of this motherboard has only eight USB and four SATA slots which might not be enough for most users or at least me. The motherboard also lacks integrated Wi-Fi, and there is no Wi-Fi variant of it, but still, for all its features, I would say it’s the best motherboard for the i5 12600K.
- Excellent pricing.
- Supports memory overclocking.
- Great performance.
- No overclocking.
- Very basic features.
We’ve covered a few Z690 motherboards, but that’s all for those looking for features and willing to overclock their i5 12600K. If you are not fond of overclocking and four M.2 slots, you can save some bucks with MSI MAG B660M Mortar Wi-Fi or the ATX board named MSI PRO B660-A.
This motherboard looks straightforward as it comes with a black-colored PCB with shiny silver heatsinks with MSI Mortar branding. One thing that attracts this motherboard is that it allows you to enjoy those features available on the Z600 motherboard for a meager price with some restrictions.
The VRM section of this motherboard is equipped with 14-phase design regulators, which are configured in 12+1+1 phases and 60A MOSFETs for Vcore. There is overclocking support for the processor on this motherboard, but memory overclocking is possible, while in H610 boards, both are locked.
Next to the VRM section, you will see four memory slots that accept 128 GB of DDR4 memory (There is no DDR5 variant of this motherboard) with overclocking up to 4800 MHz. If you want to push the memory clocks at high data rates, I would recommend a Z690 motherboard instead, especially an ITX board.
Unfortunately, there are no PCIe 5.0 slots on this board, so it comes with two full-length PCIe x16 slots where one runs at PCIe 4.0 mode while the other on PCIe 3.0, and there is an additional PCIe x1 slot. This motherboard supports multiple graphic card configurations, but that trend is effectively dying these days.
Next to the PCIe slots, you will see two M.2 slots that run at PCIe 4.0 mode and have a dedicated heat spreader and six SATA3 6Gbps slots. Compared to Z600 motherboards that offer at least four M.2 slots, this might be a low number for some users, but you are saving some bucks for that.
There are one USB 3.2 Gen2x2 Type-C (20 Gbps) port, three USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-A ports, and four USB 2.0 ports on the rear IO panel. There is a rear IO cover and shield with white background and black labels, while in most budget motherboards, we miss it, and even the ATX variant of this board lacks them.
As its a DDR4 motherboard you may feel some minor performance loss with it when you compare it with DDR5 motherboards. There are a lot of features cut off from this motherboard like there are only two M.2 slots and fewer USB slots but still for low budget users its the best motherboard for i5 12600K.
Buying Guide For i5 12600K Motherboard
I know you are seeing it challenging to decide on a motherboard. The compatibility of components, pricing, and there are a lot of things you need to take care about. Also, we’ve written a few words on PCIe 4.0 vs. PCIe 5.0 slots and DDR4 vs. DDR5 memory to make things easy for our readers. It’s a pricy platform, and we’ve made a section on pricing to tell users about the average price of a mid-range motherboard.
Chipset: As mentioned earlier, B660 and Z690, both chipset motherboards, are compatible with Intel Core i5 12600K. If you try putting the processor on a motherboard with a different chipset motherboard, you will first face a socket incompatibility issue. But if you managed to install the processor, it will not work because that chipset is not designed to run the Alder Lake processors. If you got a Z690 chipset motherboard, you would probably have support for Intel 13th generation processors, which will be launched by the end of this year.
Form Factor: Motherboard comes in three sizes based on their features and the number of ports/slots. The most oversized motherboard you can have is E-ATX, but that’s exceptional and only recommended for flagship processors. With two fewer PCIe slots and a slightly small design, you can have an ATX motherboard which is the most commonly used in mid-tower builds. Then further going down can get you a Micro-ATX motherboard with slightly fewer features. And in the end, you can have Mini-ITX motherboards used in compact builds for LAN gamers, HTPCs, etc.
Price: As mentioned a few times before, Z690 motherboards are not cheap, but their features justify their price. The entry-level motherboard with this chipset costs about $200, while mid-range motherboards cost about $500. If you have some spare money to invest in the motherboard, I recommend getting an upper mid-range Z690 motherboard. The reason is that it will give you the maximum overclocking option and make your build future-proof. With the launch of Intel 13th generation processors, you can easily upgrade the processor without changing the motherboard.
Voltage Regulators: The VRM section of a motherboard controls the power output to components like the processor and the graphics card. A powerful VRM section means you will have a stable supply of current to these components and can overclock them. If you have a budget motherboard like MSI Z690-A ProSeries, you will have 14 phase design VRM with weaker MOSFETs while with high-end motherboards like Z690 Taichi 20-phase design regulators and 105A MOSFETs. You will have excellent overclocking headroom in that motherboard and can get the maximum out of the processor.
Your PC is built on a motherboard, so you should choose carefully which option to go for when selecting components for your PC. You should get the best motherboard for your Core i5 12600K processor, and the list above will help you decide which motherboard to buy for your PC.
Multiple chipsets support the LGA 1700 socket, which can host the Alder lake processors. The Z690, H670, B660, and H610 chipsets all support the socket, and you will be able to hook in your processor and draw out its full potential.
As some final insight, I would advise you to go for the ASUS ROG Strix Z690-F motherboard as it’s excellent value for money, can push the processor to the extreme, and has ample thermal capability and durability.
If you still have problems deciding, then you should check that the motherboard should have robust VRMs, has a form factor that fits in your casing, and has plenty of connectivity options, storage options, and RGB if you prefer. It should tick all the checkboxes and not compromise on the power delivery and thermals as these factors determine your system’s stability and assure a trouble-free experience.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best motherboard for i5 12600K in 2022?
There are hundreds of Z690 motherboards available for Intel Core i5 12600K, but I would recommend you get the Gigabyte Z690 Aorus Ultra if you have some spare money to invest or MSI Pro Z690-A for budget gamers.
Is Intel i5 12600K worth it in 2022?
If you have a handsome budget to spend on the motherboard and processor, the Intel Core i5 12600K might be the best processor for gaming. The price and performance of this processor are relatively better than competitors, and DDR5 memory and PCIe 5.0 slots make it more appealing.
What chipset is i5 12600K compatible with?
The Intel Core i5 12600K is compatible with both Z690 and B660 motherboards, but as it’s an unlocked processor, you can’t overclock it with B660 motherboards. You need to invest more in the motherboard to get something from the Z690 chipset like the Gigabyte Z690 Aorus Ultra to get the maximum out of it.