Trying to decide between H670 vs Z690 motherboards?
Choosing the right motherboard for your PC build is a critical decision. It’s not just about the size, form factor, or even the aesthetics. It’s about the chipset that lies at the heart of the motherboard, dictating its capabilities, features, and ultimately, its performance. Today, we’re going to delve into a comparison that’s been on the minds of many PC enthusiasts and builders: Intel’s H670 versus Z690 motherboards.
These two chipsets were the top-tier offerings from Intel for the 12th gen cpus before the introduction of z790, with the Z690 being the flagship, and the H670 serving as a slightly more budget-friendly alternative.
The Z690 and H670 chipsets are successors to the Z590 and H570 respectively, and if you’re familiar with Intel’s naming conventions, you’ll know that they bring improvements in terms of features and performance.
But the question remains: which one should you choose for your next PC build?
Make sure you check the following comprehensive guide before you decide: How to Choose the Right Motherboard for Your Needs
What is a Motherboard and its Function?
First let’s start with the basics and explain what is a motherboard.
In a nutshell a motherboard is the backbone of a computer system. It is a large printed circuit board that houses and connects all the essential components of a computer, including the central processing unit (CPU), memory (RAM), storage devices, and expansion cards.
The motherboard also provides connectors for peripherals like keyboards, mice, and printers. It is responsible for facilitating communication between all these components, allowing them to work together to run your computer.
What is a Motherboard Chipset?
A motherboard chipset is a crucial component of a computer system that controls the communication between the CPU and other hardware components. It is a group of integrated circuits (microchips) that can be used together to serve a single function and are usually incorporated onto the motherboard.
The chipset essentially acts as the motherboard’s “traffic controller,” directing data flow between the computer’s processor, memory, and peripherals. It determines the motherboard’s features and capabilities, including the type of CPU it can support, memory type and speed, the number and type of expansion slots, and more.
So the motherboard chipset is a vital component that plays a significant role in determining the capabilities and features of a computer system. When choosing a motherboard, it’s essential to consider the chipset as it can significantly impact system performance, compatibility, and expansion possibilities.
Introduction to H670 and Z690 Chipsets
The H670 and Z690 are two chipsets introduced by Intel for their Alder Lake CPUs, which are part of the Intel 12th Generation CPUs. These chipsets also support the latest 13th Gen Raptor Lake Intel CPUs. However, there are significant differences between the two that potential buyers should be aware of.
The H670 chipset was introduced to cater to those who want to upgrade to Alder Lake but cannot afford the premium Z690 boards. This chipset, launched on January 5th, 2022, is a close competitor to the Z690, with the most significant difference being the no support of CPU overclocking capability. However, it still supports DDR5 memory, PCIe 4.0, DMI 4.0, and 6 GHz Wi-Fi, making it a robust choice for most users.
The Z690 chipset is the most premium of the four chipsets introduced with Alder Lake CPUs. It was released on November 19th, 2021, and offers memory and CPU overclocking, and the highest level of expandability among the four chipsets. The Z690 was the first chipset to support DDR5 memory, and it also supports PCIe 4.0, DMI 4.0, and 6 GHz Wi-Fi. It was the best choice for users who want the best performance and features, regardless of cost before the introduction of z790.
The Differences Between H670 and Z690
One of the most notable differences between the H670 and Z690 chipsets is their overclocking capabilities. The Z690 chipset supports both CPU and memory overclocking, making it the ideal choice for users who want to push their system to its limits. On the other hand, the H670 chipset does not support CPU overclocking, although it does support memory overclocking. This makes the H670 a more suitable choice for users who want a balance between performance and cost.
PCIe Lanes and SATA Ports
The Z690 and H670 chipsets also differ in terms of the number of PCIe lanes and SATA ports they support. The Z690 supports up to 16 PCIe 3.0 lanes, while the H670 supports up to 12. This difference may not be significant for average users, but for those who require a high number of PCIe lanes for their system, the Z690 would be the better choice.
The number of USB ports also varies between the two chipsets. The Z690 supports up to 4 USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 ports, 10 USB 3.2 Gen 2×1 ports, and 10 USB 3.2 Gen 1×1 ports. In contrast, the H670 supports up to 2 USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 ports, 4 USB 3.2 Gen 2×1 ports, and 8 USB 3.2 Gen 1×1 ports. This means that the Z690 offers more connectivity options, which could be a deciding factor for users with multiple USB devices.
Both the H670 and Z690 chipsets support DDR5 memory, which is a significant upgrade over the previous generation DDR4 memory. However, the Z690 is the first chipset to run DDR5 memory, while the H670 and other chipsets come with DDR5 support, but the major manufacturers are currently opting for DDR4 motherboards due to the high prices of DDR5 memory.
The Z690 is generally more expensive than the H670 due to its additional features and capabilities.
Detailed Comparison of Features (Table)
|CPU Support||Intel 12th Gen (Alder Lake) & 13th Gen (Raptor Lake)||Intel 12th Gen (Alder Lake) & 13th Gen (Raptor Lake)|
|DDR5 Memory Support||Yes||Yes|
|Max Memory Support||128 GB||128 GB|
Max # of DMI Lanes
DIMMs per channel
|PCI Express 4.0||Yes||Yes|
|Wi-Fi 6E Support||Yes||Yes|
|No. of Memory Channels||2||2|
|PCIe 3.0 Lanes||12||16|
|PCIe 4.0 Lanes||12||12|
|CPU PCIe 5.0 Lanes||1×16 or 2×8||1×16 or 2×8|
|SATA 6.0 Gb/s||8||8|
|RAID Support||0,15,10 – PCIe / SATA||0,15,10 – PCIe / SATA|
|Max # USB Ports (total)||14||14|
|Max USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 Ports (20Gbps)||2||4|
|Max USB 3.2 Gen 2×1 Ports (10Gbps)||4||10|
|Max USB 3.2 Gen 1×1 Ports (5Gbps)||8||10|
|Max USB 2.0 Ports||14||14|
|Integrated Wi-Fi||Wi-Fi 6E||Wi-Fi 6E|
|Thermal Design Power (TDP)||6W||6W|
|Supported Displays||Up to 4||Up to 4|
|Price Range||$100 – $250||$200 – $600+|
As you can see, the Z690 and H670 motherboards share many similarities, but the Z690 stands out with its CPU overclocking capability, more USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 and Gen 2×1 ports, and more PCIe 3.0 lanes. This makes the Z690 a more versatile and powerful option, suitable for high-end gaming and professional workstations. On the other hand, the H670 is a more budget-friendly option that still offers a solid set of features for mainstream users and gamers.
Please note that these are the maximum values and actual values may vary based on the specific motherboard model within each chipset. Also, the price range is an estimate and actual prices may vary based on the specific model and retailer.
When it comes to performance, the H670 and Z690 motherboards have their own strengths and weaknesses. Let’s dive into the details.
As we mentioned above one of the most significant differences between the H670 and Z690 chipsets is their overclocking capabilities. Overclocking is a process that allows you to increase the clock rate of your CPU or GPU beyond its base rate, thereby enhancing the performance of your system.
The Z690 chipset supports CPU overclocking, allowing users to push their CPUs beyond their base clock speeds for improved performance. This feature is particularly beneficial for gamers and professionals who run demanding applications and need the extra power. However, it’s important to note that overclocking can lead to increased heat generation, so adequate cooling solutions are necessary to prevent overheating.
On the other hand, the H670 chipset does not support CPU overclocking. This means that while it can still deliver solid performance, it may not be the best choice for users who want to push their systems to the limit.
Data Transfer Speeds
Both the H670 and Z690 chipsets support Thunderbolt 4.0, which offers data transfer speeds of up to 32 Gb/s. This is a significant improvement over Thunderbolt 3.0’s 16 Gb/s, allowing for faster data transfers and improved performance.
Memory Speed and Compatibility
The Z690 chipset is the first Intel chipset to support DDR5 memory, which offers higher speeds and improved performance over DDR4. Depending on whether it uses DDR4 or DDR5 memory, the Z690 can support memory speeds of up to 3200 MHz and 4800 MHz, respectively.
The H670 chipset also supports DDR5 memory, but most motherboards with this chipset still use DDR4. This means that the H670 typically supports a maximum RAM speed of 3200 MHz.
Real-World Testing Results
In real life both the H670 and Z690 chipsets offer solid performance, but the Z690 has the edge in terms of overclocking capabilities and memory speed. However, the best choice between the two will ultimately depend on your specific needs and budget.
Price and Value Considerations
When it comes to choosing between the H670 and Z690 motherboards, price and value are significant factors to consider. Both motherboards offer a range of features that cater to different user needs, but their price points and the value they provide can be the deciding factor for many.
Price Difference Between H670 and Z690
The H670 and Z690 motherboards come at different price points. The H670 is generally considered a mid-range option, with prices typically ranging from $150 to $250. On the other hand, the Z690, being a high-end option, comes with a higher price tag, usually ranging from $200 to over $500, depending on the specific model and its features.
It’s important to note that these prices can vary based on factors like the brand, additional features, and the retailer. Therefore, it’s always a good idea to shop around and compare prices before making a purchase.
Value Offered by Each Motherboard
When it comes to value, both motherboards offer a good return on investment, but in different ways.
The H670 motherboard, with its lower price point, offers excellent value for users who need a reliable and efficient motherboard for everyday computing tasks. It supports 12th and 13th Gen Intel CPUs, has decent PCIe lanes, and offers DDR4 & DDR5 memory support. However, as we mentioned already it lacks overclocking support, which might be a deal-breaker for gamers and PC enthusiasts.
On the other hand, the Z690 motherboard, despite its higher price, provides great value for users who require high-performance computing. It supports cpu overclocking, offers more PCIe lanes, and has better USB connectivity. It also supports DDR4 & DDR5 memory and is compatible with 12th and 13th Gen Intel CPUs. These features make it an excellent choice for gamers, content creators, and professionals who need a powerful system.
Which Motherboard Should You Choose?
Choosing between the H670 and Z690 motherboards is not a decision to be taken lightly. It depends on your specific needs, budget, and future plans. Here’s a detailed guide to help you make an informed decision.
If you’re a gaming enthusiast looking for the best performance, the Z690 is the clear winner. With its overclocking capabilities, DDR5 support, and more USB 3.2 ports, the Z690 offers superior performance that can significantly enhance your gaming experience.
|Gaming||✅ Good||✅✅ Excellent|
For professional work, such as graphic design, video editing, or 3D modeling, both motherboards can serve you well. However, the Z690, with its overclocking capabilities and better memory support, might give you a slight edge in demanding tasks.
|Professional Work||✅ Good||✅✅ Excellent|
General Use and Budget Considerations
For general use, such as web browsing, watching videos, or office work, both motherboards are more than capable. If you’re on a tight budget, the H670 could be a more cost-effective choice. It offers a good balance between performance and cost, making it a great value for money.
|General Use||✅✅ Excellent||✅ Good|
|Budget||✅✅ Excellent||✅ Good|
If you’re thinking about future-proofing your PC, the Z690 is a better choice. Its support for DDR5 memory and overclocking capabilities make it more adaptable to future advancements in technology. Eventhough H670 also supports DDR5 memory and PCIe 5.0, the big majority of motherboard with this chipset do not support DDR5.
|Future Proofing||✅ Good||✅✅ Excellent|
Best H670 and Z690 Motherboards
After a comprehensive review of various sources and user feedback, here are some of the top H670 and Z690 motherboards that stand out in terms of performance, features, and value for money.
Top H670 Motherboards
- ASUS Prime H670-PLUS D4: This motherboard is a great choice for those who want a balance of performance and affordability. It supports both DDR4 memory and Intel’s 12th and 13th Gen processors. It also comes with a good number of PCIe lanes and SATA ports for expandability. Check Price on Amazon
- ASROCK H670M PRO RS: This motherboard is known for its robust build quality and reliable performance. It supports Intel’s 12th and 13th Gen processors and comes with a decent number of PCIe lanes and SATA ports. Check Price on Amazon
- ASUS TUF Gaming H670-PRO WiFi D4: This is a gaming-oriented motherboard with advanced cooling solutions and robust build quality. It supports DDR4 memory and Intel’s 12th and 13th Gen processors. It also comes with integrated WiFi. Check Price on Amazon
Top Z690 Motherboards
- ASUS ROG Strix Z690-F: This is a high-end motherboard designed for gamers and professionals. It supports overclocking, DDR5 memory, and comes with a large number of USB 3.2 ports. It also supports Intel’s 12th and 13th Gen processors. Check Price on Amazon
- Gigabyte Z690 AORUS Master: This motherboard is known for its superior performance and advanced features. It supports DDR5 memory, overclocking, and comes with a large number of PCIe lanes and SATA ports. It also supports Intel’s 12th and 13th Gen processors. Check Price on Amazon
- MSI MAG Z690 Tomahawk: This is a well-rounded motherboard with a good balance of features and performance. It supports DDR5 memory, overclocking, and comes with a good number of PCIe lanes and SATA ports. It also supports Intel’s 12th and 13th Gen processors. Check Price on Amazon
Remember, the best motherboard for you will depend on your specific needs and budget. Always consider the compatibility with your other components, the features you need, and the price you’re willing to pay.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ve delved deep into the world of Intel’s H670 and Z690 chipsets, dissecting their features, performance, price considerations, and even the best motherboard recommendations for each.
We started by understanding what a motherboard is and its function, and then we introduced the H670 and Z690 chipsets. We explored the key features of both motherboard chipsets and compared them in detail, highlighting the differences in PCIe lanes, USB ports, and memory speeds.
We then moved on to performance comparison, where we discussed real-world testing results. We also analyzed the price difference between H670 and Z690 and the value offered by each motherboard chipset.
In conclusion the choice between H670 and Z690 largely depends on your specific needs and budget. If you’re a gamer or a professional who needs high performance and overclocking capabilities, the Z690 is a clear winner. However, if you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option that still offers solid performance and features, the H670 is a great choice.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can I overclock with the H670 and Z690 chipsets?
The Z690 chipset supports CPU overclocking, allowing you to increase the performance of your CPU beyond its base speed. This can be beneficial for demanding software requirements or for gaming. However, the H670 chipset does not support CPU overclocking.
2. What is the difference in USB ports between the H670 and Z690?
The Z690 chipset has a max of 14 USB ports, including four USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 ports (20 Gb/s), ten USB 3.2 Gen 2×1 ports (10 Gb/s), and ten USB 3.2 Gen 1×1 ports (5 Gb/s). On the other hand, the H670 chipset has a max of 14 USB ports, including two USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 ports, four USB 3.2 Gen 2×1 ports, and eight USB 3.2 Gen 1×1 ports.
3. Which chipset is more future-proof, the H670 or Z690?
The Z690 chipset is considered more future-proof due to its support for DDR5 memory, more USB 3.2 ports, and CPU overclocking. While the H670 also supports DDR5 memory and has a similar number of USB ports, it does not support CPU overclocking, which could limit its performance in the future.
4. What are the best motherboards for the H670 and Z690 chipsets?
For the H670 chipset, some recommended motherboards include the ASUS Prime H670-PLUS D4, ASROCK H670M PRO RS, and ASUS TUF Gaming H670-PRO WiFi D4. For the Z690 chipset, recommended motherboards include the ASUS ROG Strix Z690-F, Gigabyte Z690 AORUS Master, and MSI MAG Z690 Tomahawk.
5. What is the difference in PCIe lanes between the H670 and Z690?
Both the H670 and Z690 chipsets support up to 12 PCIe 4.0 lanes. However, the Z690 chipset also supports up to 16 PCIe 3.0 lanes, while the H670 supports up to 12 PCIe 3.0 lanes.
6. Do the H670 and Z690 chipsets support CrossFire/SLI?
Both the H670 and Z690 chipsets support CrossFire, a multi-GPU technology from AMD. However, neither chipset supports SLI, a similar technology from Nvidia, as Nvidia has phased out SLI support.
7. What is the difference in SATA ports between the H670 and Z690?
Both the H670 and Z690 chipsets support up to eight SATA 3.0 ports. These ports can be used to connect HDDs, SSDs, and other storage devices to your motherboard.
8. Do the H670 and Z690 chipsets support WiFi?
Yes, both the H670 and Z690 chipsets support integrated WiFi 6E. However, not all motherboards with these chipsets will have integrated WiFi.
9. Do the H670 and Z690 chipsets support Thunderbolt 4.0?
Yes, both the H670 and Z690 chipsets support Thunderbolt 4.0. This allows for PCIe data transfer speeds of up to 32 Gb/s, which is double the speed of Thunderbolt 3.0.
10. Can I use any 12th an 13th generation desktop processor with the H670 and Z690 chipsets?
Yes, both the H670 and Z690 chipsets are compatible with any 12th and 13th generation Intel Core desktop processor. However, it’s important to note that just because a chipset supports a CPU doesn’t mean it’s the best choice for that CPU. For example, pairing an i9-12900K or 13900K with an H670 chipset may not be the best idea due to the H670’s lack of CPU overclocking support.