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Best Motherboards for Core i9-12900K: Budget to Flagship

December 14, 2021 0

Best Motherboards for Core i9-12900K: Budget to Flagship

Intel’s Alder Lake CPUs have arrived and they packed some serious punches. The previous generation of high-end chips was a bit lackluster, so there were concerns about how these new ones would perform especially with AMD’s Ryzen 5000 series line-up. But thankfully, it looks like we can put those fears to rest as the new 12th Gen CPUs are impressive hitting higher than expected benchmarks in gaming tests when compared to the previous generation as well as to competing hardware.

One of these new 12th generation Intel CPUs is the Core i9-12900K. It seats at the top of the Alder Lake line-up with an incredible single-threaded performance as well as a much-improved multithreaded ability. This leap for Intel’s Core CPUs is quite significant and should not be underestimated. Add to this is the support for the DDR5 and PCIe Gen 5 making it more future-proof.

Looking at the specification, the Core i9-12900K improves upon its predecessor in almost every way. The total 16 cores (8 P-Cores, 8 E-Cores) and 24 threads are much better for intensive tasks like video editing or rendering, but also great when it comes to gaming. The clock speed is also impressive, it has a base clock speed of 3.2 GHz on the Performance Cores (P-Cores), which can boost up to 5.1 GHz. Also, you’ll get an incredible 30MB of L3 Cache which means you still have plenty of resources at your disposal.

The Core i9-12900K is truly an amazing CPU. Of course, to take advantage of all that power, you’ll need a motherboard that can handle it. Lucky for you, there are plenty of great options on the market when it comes to motherboards for the Core i9-12900K. So, without further ado, let’s take a look at some of the best motherboards to pair with it.

Top Picks Motherboards for Core i9-12900K

ROG Maximus Z690 HeroASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Hero WiFi

  • Chipset: Z690
  • Form Factor: ATX
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Prime Z690-P D4ASUS Prime Z690-P D4

  • Chipset: Z690
  • Form Factor: ATX
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MAG Z690 Tomahawk WiFiMSI MAG Z690 Tomahawk WiFi

  • Chipset: Z690
  • Form Factor: ATX
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ASUS Prime Z690-P

  • Chipset: Z690
  • Form Factor: ATX
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ROG Maximus Z690 ExtremeASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Extreme

  • Chipset: Z690
  • Form Factor: ATX
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ROG Strix Z690-G Gaming WiFiASUS ROG Strix Z690-G Gaming WiFi

  • Chipset: Z690
  • Form Factor: Micro ATX
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  • Chipset: Z690
  • Form Factor: Mini ITX
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ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Hero WiFi – Editor’s Pick Motherboard

ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Hero

The ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Hero WiFi is our best recommendation for the Core i9-12900K. ASUS has been a mainstay of the motherboard market for a long time now, and their ROG boards are some of their bests. The Maximus Z690 is no different, with excellent power delivery thanks to 20+1 power stages – with each rated 90A! In addition to this, ASUS has implemented an integrated I/O backplate that provides extra strength as well as great looks.

The thermal design on the board is also very strong. There are triple heatsinks around M.2 slots which help keep things cool even when running two high-end SSDs, while the VRM heatsinks do a great job of dissipating heat. Finally, the board features ASUS’ ROG Water-Cooling Zone which allows you to control fan speeds and water-cooling pump speed directly from the motherboard.

The ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Hero WiFi also has a wide range of gaming connectivity options. You’ll have a USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 front-panel connector, 2x Thunderbolt 4, and 5x M.2 slots providing great expandability. There’s also Intel 2.5Gb Ethernet and onboard WiFi 6E for the fastest networking performance possible.

Aside from its top-tier specs, it also offers a wide range of features that make system tuning and management a breeze. These include ASUS-exclusive tools like AI Overclocking for a simple one-click performance boost, AI Cooling for a smart cooling profile that’s tailor-made for your system configuration and usage pattern, as well as two ASUS Aura Sync RGB lighting zones that you can control and synchronize with other Aura Sync-enabled components. Additionally, the motherboard fully supports DDR5 and even boasts support for the new PCIe 5.0. This makes it an excellent choice for gamers and content creators who are looking to get the most out of their Core i9-12900K.

ASUS Prime Z690-P D4 – Budget Motherboard

ASUS Prime Z690-P D4

We do not recommend cheap out on the motherboard for a high-end CPU like Core i9-12900K since they are built to work together. However, for those on a budget, the ASUS Prime Z690-P D4 is a great option. It offers 14+1 DrMOS power stages for stable power delivery, alloy chokes and durable capacitors for extended system life, a large VRM heatsink for optimal cooling, a flexible M.2 heatsink to keep your storage cool as well, PCH heatsink to help manage temperatures on the chipset, and hybrid fan headers so you can easily add more fans as needed. The board also comes with Fan Xpert IV software that allows you to control the speed and noise levels of all your connected fans. All of this contributes to great power delivery and cooling performance for the Core i9-12900K.

The board also has great connectivity options with PCIe 5.0, 2.5Gb Ethernet, 3x M.2 slots, USB Type-C ports (both front and back), and Thunderbolt header support.

The ASUS Prime Z690-P D4 also comes with great personalization too. ASUS Aura Sync Lighting Control Technology allows you to customize your PC lighting how you like it. The motherboard offers full RGB lighting control with a variety of functional presets for the strips and devices connected to the onboard RGB headers. Overall, this makes for a great budget motherboard for the Core i9-12900K.

MSI MAG Z690 Tomahawk WiFi – Best Value DDR4 Motherboard

MSI MAG Z690 Tomahawk WiFi

Many benchmarks test online show that the DDR5 memory does not offer a significant increase in performance over the previous generation DDR4. So, most likely, PC builders will stick to DDR4 as they are more affordable and still powerful. For that reason, the MSI MAG Z690 Tomahawk WiFi is our top pick for the best DDR4 motherboard for Core i9-12900K. It supports up to DDR4 5200 MHz (OC) memory and has a 16+1+1 duet rail power design providing a stable power supply to the CPU. The Core Boost technology also allows for more precise and undistorted current delivery to the CPU.

The MSI MAG Z690 Tomahawk WiFi also features PCIe Gen 5.0 x16, which doubles the bandwidth of PCIe Gen 4.0 and allows for higher speeds and smoother performance. This motherboard is perfect for gamers and power users who are looking for a well-rounded and affordable DDR4 motherboard.

The MAG Z690 Tomahawk WiFi also has a high-bandwidth and low-latency network. The LAN ports on the MSI MAG Z690 Tomahawk WiFi are capable of speeds up to 2.5Gbps, a premium solution for demanding users that want the best quality. There is also Wi-Fi 6E onboard and a new technology called Wi-Fi 6 to provide the best wireless network experience.

Overall, it is a great motherboard for anyone wanting to stick with DDR4 memory for their Core i9-12900K CPU, while getting a well-rounded and high-quality gaming motherboard.

ASUS Prime Z690-P – Affordable but DDR5 Ready

ASUS Prime Z690-P

If you want to get into DDR5 but don’t want to break the bank, the ASUS Prime Z690-P is a great option.

The ASUS Prime Z690-P comes with some impressive specifications which include a great VRM design that consists of efficient and stable 14+1 DrMOS circuits, alloy chokes, and durable capacitors for stable power delivery. There is also a cooling system that consists of a large VRM heatsink, along with M.2 and PCH heatsink providing optimal cooling. Plus, the hybrid fan headers make it easy to connect any standard PC case fans for improved system cooling.

Additionally, the ASUS OptiMem II proprietary trace layout allows memory kits to operating at higher frequencies with lower voltages, providing better performance overall. This is quite impressive since it shows ASUS’s commitment towards future-proofing their products, with DDR5 only rising in popularity over time as time goes by.

For connectivity options, there are multiple USB ports throughout different areas on the board including fast USB like USB 3.2 Gen2x2 Type-C, and Thunderbolt 4 header support. All in all, if you’re looking for an affordable DDR5-ready motherboard that offers great features and performance, the ASUS Prime Z690-P is definitely a great option to consider.

ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Extreme – Enthusiast Grade Motherboard

ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Extreme

Designed specifically for extreme overclocking and gaming, the ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Extreme is one of the best motherboards for Core i9-12900K processor. It has intelligent control features, including AI Overclocking for automated overclocking and AI Cooling for effective fan tuning. A combination of the finest power hardware and great overclocking control makes this motherboard an incredible performer when paired with a Core i9-12900K processor. Additionally, the motherboard has a robust power design with 24+1 power stages with each having a 105A rating providing stable power to your processor especially when overclocking.

The thermal design is also well thought out since it uses cold-forged heatsinks, enlarged VRM heatsinks with an integrated aluminum I/O cover, high-conductivity thermal pad, triple M.2 heatsinks with M.2 backplates, and ROG Water-Cooling Zone for overclocking thirsty components.

This motherboard also has ROG DIMM.2, an expansion card that allows two M.2 drives to be connected via a DDR4 connection and features metal heatsinks and adjustable thermals for improved performance while maintaining aesthetics.

Also, the ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Extreme provides almost everything you need in terms of fast networking and connectivity. It comes with onboard Wi-Fi 6E, the latest wireless standard, a Marvell AQtion 10Gb Ethernet port, an Intel 2.5Gb Ethernet port, and ASUS LANGuard. You also get 5x M.2 slots, USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 front-panel connector, 2x Thunderbolt 4 ports, and triple USB Type-C ports at the rear panel.

Its extensive list of features coupled with an excellent performance in overall aspect makes it truly an enthusiast-level motherboard. If you are looking for a high-end motherboard to pair with your Core i9-12900K, the ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Extreme should definitely be your top pick.

ASUS ROG Strix Z690-G Gaming WiFi – If You Want to Save Some Space

ASUS ROG Strix Z690-G Gaming WiFi

If you want to save some room, this motherboard is ideal. Similar to the ASUS motherboards that are mentioned above, it features an AI overclocking for better speeds and AI cooling to automatically optimize for better cooling. This motherboard also features a great VRM design with a 14+1 power stage providing robust power to your Core i9-12900K.

This motherboard has fast gaming connectivity such as onboard Intel WiFi 6E, 2.5 Gb Ethernet, and USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 Type-C at the back and front panel. The Gaming audio is powered by ALC4080 with Savitech SV3H712 amplifier and DTS Sound Unbound, ensuring top-notch audio quality.

If you are looking for a great Micro-ATX motherboard for the Core 19-12900K that doesn’t compromise on features or performance, the ASUS ROG Strix Z690-G Gaming WiFi is an excellent option.

GIGABYTE Z690I AORUS Ultra – For Compact PC Builders


This motherboard is designed for small form factor Core i9-12900K PC build. But don’t get full by its size because it still packs a punch with great features. It comes with a 10+2+1 phase digital VRM solution with a 105A power stage that can easily handle the powerful Core i9-12900K CPU. In terms of cooling, you get a great thermal design that consists of Fins-Array II, Thermal Guard III, and Heat pipe. So, your system will stay cool even when overclocked.

The GIGABYTE Z690I AORUS Ultra features an Intel 2.5GbE LAN with cFosSpeed and an Intel WIFI 6 ensuring blazing-fast networking speeds and great wireless performance. You’ll also get plenty of storage options on this motherboard compared to other mini ITX boards as it comes with 2x M.2 slot (One of which is located at the back) and a 4x SATA connector for additional SSD/HDD storage.

In terms of the design, it’s a great-looking motherboard with an RGB Fusion and a Digital LED header. You can control the lighting on your motherboard and even sync it with other compatible components. Overall, the GIGABYTE Z690I AORUS Ultra is a great mini ITX motherboard for those looking for a small form factor build that still packs a punch.

Should you stick with DDR4 Memory?

We’ve tested the Core i9-12900K performance with both DDR5 and DDR4 memory. And we’ve discovered that DDR5’s additional performance isn’t significant, which led us to conclude that most potential 12th-gen buyers will just stick with DDR4 now as it comes with a better price-to-performance ratio. Though if you want to future-proof your build, then you might want to consider DDR5.

Choosing whether DDR4 or DDR5 is completely fine since they both provide great performance on the Alder Lake CPUs.

Chipset and Socket Compatibility

The Core i9-12900K requires the LGA 1700 socket and 600 series chipsets. You need to make sure that the motherboard you’ll get has that socket and chipset combination. All motherboards included in this guide don’t have a compatibility issue as they all come with LGA 1700 and Z690 chipset, so they support the Core i9-12900K out of the box.


The Core i9-12900K is an amazing processor, and it deserves the best motherboard possible. Whether your budget is big or small, there will be a motherboard that meets your needs in this article. I hope you’ve found this guide helpful and it has given you a better understanding of the best motherboards for Core i9-12900K. If you still can’t find a motherboard that suits you, please leave a comment below and I’ll try my best to help you.

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