Best Budget Z690 Motherboards for Intel 12th Gen CPUs [DDR4 Models]

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Intel Z690 Chipset is the flagship chipset for Intel 12th generation Alder Lake processors based on the LGA 1700 Socket. The new Z690 chipset brings some new host of features over the older Z590 chipset that was the flagship chipset for Intel Rocket Lake 11th generation processors. The major technology upgrade or features that you get in the Z690 Chipset is the support for DDR5 RAM and PCI-Express 5.0 (for CPU). The Z690 Chipset is even more advanced and comes with more features compared to the flagship X570 Chipset from AMD. Moreover, the DMI lanes in the Z690 Chipset have been upgraded to the PCI-Express 4.0 specification, and there are a total of x8 DMI 4.0 Lanes.

  Z590 Chipset Z690 Chipset
Socket Type LGA 1200 LGA 1700
Memory Support DDR4 (up to 3200 MHz) DDR4 / DDR5 (up to 3200 MHz/4800 MHz)
PCI-Express Specification (CPU) PCI-E 4.0 PCI-E 5.0
Chipset PCI Express Lanes Up to 24 x PCIe 3.0 Up to 12 x PCIe 4.0, Up to 16 x PCIe 3.0 [28 total]
DMI Version & Lanes DMI 3.0 (PCIe 3.0 x8) DMI 4.0 (PCIe 4.0 x8)
Ethernet 2.5G 5.0G
Integrated WiFi Wi-Fi 6 Wi-Fi 6E
USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 Ports Up to 4 Up to 3
Overclocking Support Yes Yes

The Z690 Chipset also supports up to 12 PCIe 4.0 lanes and up to 16 PCIe 3.0 lanes natively. On the networking front, Z690 Chipset comes with faster connectivity options that include 5G Ethernet and new Wi-Fi 6E wireless connectivity that supports a 6GHz frequency band. Also, you will get up to four USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 Ports, up to ten USB 3.2 Gen 2×1 Ports, up to ten USB 3.2 Gen 2×1 Ports, and up to sixteen USB 2 Ports with the Z690 Chipset. Moreover, you will get up to 8 SATA 6Gb/s Ports with a Z690 chipset motherboard. Well, it is quite obvious that not everyone can afford the high-end Z690 motherboards as they are quite expensive and require DDR5 RAM which is also quite expensive and has availability issues. So, here I am going to list down the best budget Z690 motherboards that are quite capable and can even run a high-end 12th generation Alder Lake processor without any issues. It should be noted that all the below-mentioned Z690 motherboards support DDR4 RAM only.

Best Budget Z690 Motherboards (Entry Level Models)

Here are the best entry-level Z690 motherboards that you can get for your Intel 12th generation processor.

MSI PRO Z690-A DDR4

[Good number of Features and Ports for the Price, Clean Looks, Stable]

If you are looking for an entry-level affordable Z690 motherboard then MSI PRO Z690-A DDR4 is one of the best options available. It is not the cheapest Z690 motherboard but is surely one of the best among affordable ones. The motherboard comes with three PCIe 3.0 x16 slots, the first slot being PCIe 5.0 ready and is steel armored to prevent the graphics card from sagging under its weight. There are four M.2 slots where the top primary M.2 slot comes with a heatsink installed. Here, three M.2 slots are PCIe 4.0 ready while the remaining one supports PCIe Gen3 only. The motherboard can support DDR4 5200+ MHz RAM in OC mode up to 128GB capacity. On the connectivity side, the board comes with 2.5G LAN and high-speed USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 20Gbps Type-C and USB 3.2 Gen 2 10Gbps ports.

MSI-PRO-Z690-A-DDR4

The motherboard uses a 14+1+1 Power Phase Design and comes with heatsinks for cooling down the VRMs. The power delivery is enough to run even high-end Intel 12th generation processors like Core i9 12900K and Core i7 12700K without any issues whatsoever. However, you cannot overclock them to higher levels but rather a mild overclocking is possible with this motherboard. The board comes in a black and grey color scheme and looks very decent with its simple and clean design. Another major positive thing about this board is that it does not seem to have any clearance issues with any CPU Cooler (Air or AIO) because of its well-placed VRM heatsinks. Other features include Clear CMOS Button, 7.1 Channel High Definition Audio, Clear, FROZR AI Cooling, Pump Fan Support, 4-pin RGB Header, RAID 0/RAID 1/RAID 5/RAID 10 support, and Windows 11 Support. Display connectivity options include one HDMI 2.1 and one DisplayPort 1.4 port. Overall, a well-built budget Z690 motherboard that comes with a good number of ports, expansion slots, and features, is stable and offers good performance for the price.

Note: A Wi-Fi version of this motherboard is also available having model number MSI PRO Z690-A WIFI DDR4. It comes with onboard Intel Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2 connectivity while other features and specifications remain the same. The Wi-Fi version costs a little more and you can check out this model too from the links given below.

MSI PRO Z690-A DDR4 Specifications
Socket Type LGA 1700
Form Factor ATX
Chipset Intel Z690
Processor support Supports 12th Gen Intel Core Processors, Pentium Gold, and Celeron Processors
RAM support DDR4 5200+ MHz (OC) up to 128 GB, Dual Channel
Slots DIMM x 4, PCIe x16 x 3 (PCIe 5.0 & PCIe 3.0), PCIe 3.0 x1 x 1, M.2 x 4
Ports SATA 6Gb/s x 6, USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 20Gbps Type-C x 1, USB 3.2 Gen 2 10Gbps port x 2, USB 3.2 Gen 1 x 6, USB 2.0 x 8
Features Overclocking Support, PCI-E Steel Armor, M.2 Shield Frozr, 2.5G LAN, Pump Fan Support, VRM Heatsink, 14+1+1 Power Phase Design, 7.1 Channel High Definition Audio, 4-pin RGB LED connector, Clear CMOS Button, FROZR AI Cooling, Supports RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5 and RAID 10, UEFI BIOS, Windows 11 Ready
Display Output HDMI 2.1 x 1, DisplayPort 1.4 x 1

Buy MSI PRO Z690-A DDR4 Motherboard

Buy MSI PRO Z690-A WIFI DDR4 Motherboard

GIGABYTE Z690 UD DDR4

[Plenty of Features for the Price, Good Performance, Great Value]

Another great budget Z690 motherboard that offers a good number of features and has is strongly built. GIGABYTE Z690 UD DDR4 comes with three PCIe x16 slots where the top primary slot is PCIe 5.0 x16 ready and is metal reinforced or armored. The motherboard offers three M.2 slots where only the top one has a heatsink and all of them support PCIe 4.0 x4. The board can support DDR4 5333(O.C.) RAM up to 128GB in Dual Channel mode.

GIGABYTE-Z690-UD-DDR4

The motherboard uses a 16+1+2 Digital VRM Design and has got decently large heatsinks over the VRM for cooling. The board is quite capable of running the flagship Intel Core i9 12900K without breaking a sweat. You may perform a decent amount of overclocking with this motherboard depending on the processor you are using. The connectivity options include one 2.5 GbE LAN, USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 TYPE-C and USB 3.2 Gen 2 x 1 ports. The board also comes with a Q-FLASH Plus button that allows you to update the BIOS without Installing the CPU, Memory, and Graphics Card. A pre-installed I/O shield is also present which is quite rare to be found in entry-level motherboards. Other features include RGB FUSION 2.0 support with ARGB and RGB Headers, PS/2 Port, Hybrid Fan Headers, Smart Fan 6, 8 Channel Audio. Display connectivity options include one HDMI 2.1 port and one DisplayPort 1.2 port. Overall a very good budget Z690 motherboard that is cheaper than MSI PRO Z690-A DDR4 and offers extra features and power.

Note: You have to update the BIOS to the latest version or have to Disable Intel VMD (Intel Volume Management Device) for your NVMe or SSD Drives to get detected.

GIGABYTE Z690 UD DDR4 Specifications
Socket Type LGA 1700
Form Factor ATX
Chipset Intel Z690
Processor support Support for 12th Generation Intel Core i9 processors/Intel Core i7 processors/Intel Core i5 processors
RAM support DDR4 5333(O.C.) up to 128GB, Dual Channel
Slots DIMM x 4, PCIe x16 x3, PCIe x1 x 2, M.2 x 3
Ports SATA 6Gb/s x 6, USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 Type-C x 1, USB 3.2 Gen 2 x 1, USB 3.2 Gen 1 x 6+1 (Type A+ Type-C), USB 2.0 x 8
Features Overclocking Support, Direct 16+1+2 Digital VRM Design with 60A Power Stage, 2.5 GbE LAN, M.2 Thermal Guard, RGB FUSION 2.0 support (RGB+ARGB Headers), Smart Fan 6, VRM Heatsinks, PCIe 5.0 Armor, 8 Channel HD Audio, Q-FLASH Plus Onboard Button for BIOS Update, Integrated / Preinstalled I/O Shield, PS/2 Port, Hybrid Fan Headers, UEFI BIOS, Windows 11 Ready
Display Output HDMI 2.1 x 1, DisplayPort 1.2 x 1

Buy GIGABYTE Z690 UD DDR4 Motherboard

Other good budget Z690 motherboards

Best Mainstream or Budget Mid-range Z690 Motherboards

Below are the best mainstream/ budget mid-range Z690 motherboards that come with extra features, ports, slots, better power delivery & overclocking ability compared to the entry-level Z690 motherboards.

MSI MAG Z690 TOMAHAWK WIFI DDR4

[Feature Rich, Well Built, Good Power Delivery, Solid Performance]

The only motherboard that you need to rock your Intel 12th generation CPU is the MSI MAG Z690 TOMAHAWK WIFI DDR4. MSI has done a great job with the Tomahawk motherboard series as these motherboards offer high-end performance and features at an affordable price. MSI MAG Z690 TOMAHAWK WIFI DDR4 comes with three PCI-E x16 slots where the primary top slot is PCI-E 5.0 ready and is steel armored. The board has got four M.2 slots for NVMe solid-state drives and three of the front M.2 slots come with heatsink installed and support PCI-E 4.0 x4. The fourth M.2 slot is at the back and runs at PCIe 3.0 x4. The board supports DDR4 5200(OC) RAM up to 128GB capacity in Dual Channel Mode and supports XMP.

MSI-MAG-Z690-TOMAHAWK-WIFI-DDR4

The motherboard uses a 16+1+1 Power Phase VRM design and has got pretty chunky heatsinks over the VRM for providing efficient cooling. The power delivery is enough to run an Intel Core i9 12900K and you can also perform a decent amount of overclocking depending upon the processor installed. The network connectivity options include 2.5G LAN and Intel Wi-Fi 6 with Bluetooth 5.2. For general connectivity, the board does come with a built-in USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 port that offers 20Gbps transmission speed. Other features include 7.1-Channel High Definition Audio, Optical S/PDIF output, BIOS Flashback Button, EZ Debug LEDs, RGB & ARGB Headers, Integrated I/O Shield, and AMD Crossfire support. The board comes in a black-gray color scheme and looks very good. There are also no issues with the CPU Cooler compatibility on this motherboard. Display connectivity options include HDMI 2.1 and DisplayPort 1.4 ports. Overall, a high-performance and feature-rich motherboard that is more than sufficient for your gaming or workstation needs. Highly Recommended!

MSI MAG Z690 TOMAHAWK WIFI DDR4 Specifications
Socket Type LGA 1700
Form Factor ATX
Chipset Intel Z690
Processor support Supports 12th Gen Intel Core Processors, Pentium Gold, and Celeron Processors
RAM support DDR4 5200(OC) up to 128GB, Dual Channel
Slots DIMM x 4, PCIe x16 x 3, PCIe x16 x 1, M.2 x 4
Ports SATA 6Gb/s x 6, USB3.2 Gen2x2 20Gbps Type-C x 1, USB 3.2 Gen 2 10Gbps x 4, USB 3.2 Gen 1 x 4, USB 2.0 Type-A x 6
Features Overclocking Support, 16 + 1 +1 DUET RAIL POWER SYSTEM, 7.1-Channel High Definition Audio, Optical S/PDIF output, 2.5Gbps LAN, Intel Wi-Fi 6 + Bluetooth 5.2, EZ Debug LEDs, Flash BIOS Button, RGB & ARGB Headers, PCIe Steel Armor, M.2 Shield Frozr, Pump Fan Support, Extended VRM Heatsinks, Supports RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5 and RAID 10, Supports AMD Crossfire, Integrated I/O Shield, UEFI BIOS, Windows 11 Ready
Display Output HDMI 2.1 x 1, DisplayPort 1.4 x 1

Buy MSI MAG Z690 TOMAHAWK WIFI DDR4 Motherboard

ASUS TUF GAMING Z690-PLUS WIFI D4

[Durable, Offers Good Performance, RGB LED Lighting]

ASUS TUF GAMING Z690-PLUS WIFI D4 is a serious competitor to the MSI MAG Z690 TOMAHAWK WIFI DDR4. Just like the MSI Tomahawk motherboard series, Asus TUF series motherboards are also known for their performance, features, durability, and reliability. ASUS TUF GAMING Z690-PLUS WIFI D4 comes with only two PCIe x16 slots in which the primary top slot runs at PCIe 5.0 x16 and is steel armored for protection and it also reduces graphics card sag. There are four M.2 slots where three of them come with heatsinks installed and they run at PCIe 4.0 x4. The board can support DDR4 5333(OC) RAM up to 128GB capacity in dual channel mode.

ASUS-TUF-GAMING-Z690-PLUS-WIFI-D4

The power solution on the motherboard uses 14+1 DrMOS power stages and VRM has got pretty fat heatsinks to keep it cool during heavy CPU load and overclocking. The board has enough power to run an Intel Core i9 12900K without any issues and a mild to mid-level amount of overclocking can be done. Unlike higher-end Asus Z690 boards, ASUS TUF GAMING Z690-PLUS WIFI D4 does not pose any problem for any CPU Cooler whether Air or AIO CPU Coolers. On the network connectivity front, the board comes with 2.5G LAN and Intel WiFi 6 with Bluetooth 5.2. Other features include USB 3.2 Gen2x2 Type-C port, 7.1 Channel HD Audio, Stainless Steel Back I/O Panel, Asus Aura Sync RBG Support (ARGB & RGB headers), Optical S/PDIF output, Thunderbolt header, Hybrid fan headers, Windows 11 support. The RGB LED Lighting on the board is not too flashy and can be seen around the PCH heatsink. Display connectivity options include HDMI 2.1 port and DisplayPort 1.4 port. Overall, a durable Z690 motherboard that packs a decent number of features and offers very good overall performance for the price.

ASUS TUF GAMING Z690-PLUS WIFI D4 Specifications
Socket Type LGA 1700
Form Factor ATX
Chipset Intel Z690
Processor support Supports 12th Gen Intel Core Processors, Pentium Gold, and Celeron Processors
RAM support DDR4 5333(OC) up to 128GB, Dual Channel
Slots DIMM x 4, PCIe x16 x 2, PCIe 3.0 x4 x 1, PCIe 3.0 x1 x 2, M.2 x 4
Ports SATA 6Gb/s x 6, USB 3.2 Gen2x2 Type-C port x 1, USB 3.2 Gen2 port x 2, USB 3.2 Gen1 x 7, USB 2.0 x 2
Features Overclocking Support, 14+1 DrMOS power stages, Intel 2.5 Gb Ethernet and TUF LANGuard, Intel WiFi 6 + BT 5.2, Enlarged VRM heatsink, PCH fanless heatsink, Asus Aura Sync RBG Support ( RGB and ARGB Headers), Thunderbolt header, ASUS SafeSlot, Dual M.2 Heatsinks, 7.1 Channel HD Audio, Optical S/PDIF output, Pre-mounted I/O Shield / Stainless Steel Back I/O Panel, Hybrid fan headers, Two-way AI Noise-Cancelation, NVMe RAID 0/1/5 and SATA RAID 0/1/5/10 Support, RGB LED Lighting, Asus 2X2 Dual Band WiFi Antenna, UEFI BIOS, Windows 11 Ready
Display Output HDMI 2.1 x 1, DisplayPort 1.4 x 1

Buy ASUS TUF GAMING Z690-PLUS WIFI D4 Motherboard

Important Note: If you face any issues with any of the above-mentioned Z690 motherboards related to XMP, NVMe Drives, etc. then you have to update the BIOS to the latest one.

Final Words

Well, if you are looking for extra features and want to get the best performance and overclocking ability out of your high-end Intel 12th generation Alder Lake processor then you need to invest in a good high-end Z690 motherboard. However, if you are on a budget then even an entry-level or mainstream  Z690 motherboard can be a very good choice for even a high-end Intel 12th generation processor. If you are still not sure which budget Z690 motherboard to get for your Intel 12th Gen. processor then you can ask me your queries using the comment section below.

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