H610 Motherboard Roundup: i9-12900K Meets Sub-$120 Micro ATX

Over the last few months, we’ve reviewed all kinds of motherboards supporting Intel’s latest Alder Lake-based processors. We’ve covered flagships and halo products on the Z690 enthusiast chipset to more budget-conscious offerings on the B660 chipset. Today we’ll show how the entry-level H610 chipset fares with a flagship-class CPU. While many will say that it isn’t fair to put such an expensive processor on a cheap-as-they come board, all these boards list support for our Intel i9-12900K. We’ll compare features and specs among our three tested boards (Asus Prime H610M-A D4, Gigabyte H610M S2H DDR4, and MSI Pro H610M-G DDR4) and see how these MicroATX options perform with a power-hungry chip.

The H610 chipset uses a cut-down version of B660 and the enthusiast-class Z690 chipsets. Where the higher-end options get you overclocking, PCIe 5.0 capability and a slew of PCIe lanes and USB connectivity, H610 pares that down, so you’re limited to less of just about everything. From DMI lanes (eight to four) to USB port speed (no 20 Gbps ports), memory channels (dual to single) and networking (2.5 to 1 GbE), there’s simply less to go around. The changes under the hood amount to fewer USB ports, fewer M.2 sockets, and less bandwidth in general. With this, though, the price drops significantly compared to the other chipsets. But you lose all overclocking ability too, even the memory overclocking that’s on offer with B660 boards. For more information on the Intel chipsets, see the table below and our article covering the differences in more detail.

Intel Z690, H670, B660, H610 Specifications

Z690 H670 B660 H610
P & E-Core & BCLK Overclocking Yes No No No
Memory Overclocking Yes Yes Yes No
System Memory Channels Supported 2 2 2 2 (1 DIMM per channel)
DMI 4.0 Lanes 8 8 4 4
Chipset PCIe 4.0 Lanes Up to 12 Up to 12 Up to 6 N/A
Chipset PCIe 3.0 Lanes Up to 16 Up to 12 Up to 8 8
SATA 3.0 (6 Gb/s) Ports Up to 8 Up to 8 4 4
Total USB 2 Ports 14 14 12 10
USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 (20G) 4 2 2 N/A
USB 3.2 Gen 2×1 (10G) 10 4 4 2
USB 3.2 Gen 1×1 (5G) 10 8 8 4
Intel Rapid Storage Technology 19.x Yes Yes Yes Yes
Intel VMD Yes Yes Yes Yes
PCIe Storage Support Yes Yes Yes Yes
PCIe RAID 0,1,5 Support Yes Yes No No
Integrated Intel Wi-Fi 6E (Gig+) Yes Yes Yes Yes

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