What motherboard do I need for an Intel or AMD Ryzen CPU?

The CPU and motherboard are the brain and nervous system of your computer, and while you can (unfortunately unlike your brain) swap them out to replace it with a better one, there’s a lot more to this than just slapping some silicon. You’ll need to make sure the two components are compatible with each other, as certain chipsets will only work when installed on certain motherboards. No processor match with motherboard socket or incompatible chipset, and it doesn’t matter if you have one of the best gaming CPUs – the only component left in your machine will be the case.

Take a few minutes to read this guide, then, and you will surely know which motherboard you will need for your CPU. I updated it to cover the latest Intel 12th Gen Alder Lake processors, as well as their 10th and 11th models, the AMD Ryzen 3000 series, and the latest Ryzen 5000 series.

Step 1: Choose the correct motherboard socket

Take a quick look at any CPU, and you’ll likely see that it has a lot of pins (if it’s an AMD) or very small contact points (if it’s an Intel) on the bottom. These are the slots in the motherboard’s CPU socket, so you’ll need to buy one that fits properly. If you try to put one in the wrong type of motherboard socket, all you will end up with is a load of bent pins and some very broken components.

Intel LGA 1200 socket. The top-facing pins come into contact with the small plates on the CPU.

Intel’s 12th Alder Lake chips use a brand new LGA 1700 socket, which is slightly longer than the LGA 1200 socket used on 11th Gen Rocket Lake and 10th Gen Comet Lake CPUs. AMD’s consistent Ryzen chips use the AM4 socket.

There are a few exceptions when getting into workstation hardware or enthusiast-grade chips: AMD’s Threadripper processors fit into a TR4 socket, while some Intel chips use the LGA 2066 socket. You probably don’t have to worry about these hardware, bear in mind – assuming you’re building For a gaming PC, chips that use the LGA 1700, LGA 1200 or AM4 socket will be very powerful and more cost-effective.

Previous generations of Intel used the LGA 1151 socket, which you might want to look into if you’re cutting costs by choosing one of the oldest 8th / 9th Generation Coffee Lake processors, but here we’ll focus on the latest hardware. Speaking of which, here are all the Intel 12th Gen chips that will go into the LGA 1700 socket:

Core i3 Core i5 Core i7 Core i9 else
Core i3-12300 Core i5-12600K Core i7-12700K Core i9-12900K Pentium Gold G7400
Core i3-12300T Core i5-12600KF Core i7-12700KF Core i9-12900KF Pentium Gold G4700T
Core i3-12100 Core i5-12600 Core i7-12700 Core i9-12900 Celeron G6900
Core i3-12100F Core i5-12600T Core i7-12700F Core i9-12900F Celeron G6900T
Core i3-12100F Core i5-12500 Core i7-12700T Core i9-12900T
Core i5-12500T
Core i5-12400
Core i5-12400F
Core i5-12400T

Next, here are all the processors that will fit in the Intel LGA 1200 socket, including the 11th and 10th generation models:

Core i3 Core i5 Core i7 Core i9
Core i3-11320 Core i5-11600K Core i7-11700K Core i9-11900 K
Core i3-11300T Core i5-11600KF Core i7-11700KF Core i9-11900KF
Core i3-11300 Core i5-11600 Core i7-11700 Core i9-11900
Core i3-11100T Core i5-11500 Core i7-10700K Core i9-10900K
Core i3-11100 Core i5-11400 Core i7-10700KF Core i9-10900KF
Core i3-10320 Core i5-10600K Core i7-10700 Core i9-10900
Core i3-10300 Core i5-10600KF Core i7-10700F Core i9-10900F
Core i3-10100 Core i5-10600 Core i9-10850K
Core i3-10100F Core i5-10500
Core i5-10400

By contrast, AMD has stuck to the AM4 socket since the first generation of Ryzen 1000 chips. However, newer CPUs won’t always work on older motherboards due to incompatible chips, but more on that soon. Here’s what an AM4 socket looks like in the body:

AMD AM4 socket. Note the many holes that the CPU pins will go into.

In any case, it’s best to stick with Ryzen 3000 and 5000 processors if you’re planning a new build – Ryzen 4000 chips aren’t sold individually – so here’s a list of all the AM4-compatible parts.

Ryzen 3 Ryzen 5 Ryzen 7 Ryzen 9
Ryzen 3 3300X Ryzen 5 5600X Ryzen 7 5800X Ryzen 9 5950X
Ryzen 3 3100 Ryzen 5 5600 g Ryzen 7 5700 g Ryzen 9 5900X
Ryzen 5 3600XT Ryzen 7 3800XT Ryzen 9 3950X
Ryzen 5 3600X Ryzen 7 3800X Ryzen 9 3900XT
Ryzen 5 3600 Ryzen 7 3700X Ryzen 9 3900X

Step 2: Choose the right slides

So we’ve narrowed down the type of motherboard socket you need. The next thing is to decide which slides you want to use. This is the circuit inside the motherboard itself. Without going into too much technical detail, a motherboard’s chipset basically determines what kind of features it has, including the types of ports and storage connections it offers. They are also usually designed to work with a particular family of processors, and are often released around the same time as their corresponding CPU family.

Intel especially likes to make things complicated, always releasing a new chipset series along with the new generations of the CPU. The latest is the 600 series, which initially consisted entirely of Z690 chips before lower-spec and cheaper alternatives launched in early 2022. You can see in the table below which Intel chipsets are compatible with Intel CPUs:

Slices 10th Gen Comet Lake 11th Gen Rocket Lake 12th Gen Alder Lake
Z690 X X yes
H670 X X yes
B660 X X yes
H610 X X yes
Z590 yes yes X
H570 yes yes X
B560 yes yes X
H510 yes yes X
Z490 yes Yes (May not support PCIe 4.0) X
H470 yes Yes (May not support PCIe 4.0) X
b 460 yes X X
H410 yes X X

For AMD, the latest Ryzen 5000 processors aren’t released with a completely new chipset: they’re built for existing AMD 500-series chipsets, which already worked with the Ryzen 3000 family. They’re also compatible with some older 400-series chips after a BIOS update, but that’s It will vary between motherboards and manufacturers, so be sure to check that they definitely support Ryzen 5000 before purchasing.

In other words, you won’t necessarily need to swap out your current AM4 motherboard if you’re upgrading from Ryzen 3000 to Ryzen 5000, but for most of the 5,000 users, it’s probably easier to buy a 500-series board. Here’s how Ryzen chips work with Ryzen chips :

Slices Ryzen 3000 Ryzen 5000
X570 yes yes
B550 yes yes
A520 yes yes
X470 yes Selective Beta BIOS update required
B450 yes Selective Beta BIOS update required
X370 Selective Beta BIOS update required X
B350 Selective Beta BIOS update required X

Intel motherboard chipset explained

At this point, you may generally know which chipset works with your CPU, but there aren’t multiple chipsets in a chain just for fun. Each one targets a different level of functionality and pricing, so you can customize your choice of motherboard to fit your budget and need for specific features.

In the case of Intel, the most diverse motherboard chipsets always start with the Z: Z490, Z590 and Z690 being the latest. These devices will almost always support overclocking of the CPU (although some B560, H570, and B460 motherboards also allow for overclocking), and they also have most PCIe lanes. This means that you can install more PCIe devices (such as NVMe SSDs) than other cheaper chips. High-end motherboards also have a wider range of USB ports and better RAID support for multiple storage drives.

However, affordable chips like the B570 and B600 have enough of these lanes to adequately equip most gaming PCs, so they can also perform well. To give an idea of ​​the price differences, here’s how a few Intel chips compare:

It’s worth noting that if you want to install a super-fast PCIe 4.0 SSD, you’ll need at least a 500-series chipset and a Rocket Lake chip. Newer 12th generation devices also support PCIe 5.0, although don’t expect devices that can use the extra performance to arrive anytime soon. In the meantime, you can find some high-quality 4.0 picks in our Best SSDs for Games list.

Image showing the mini-ITX motherboard next to the larger ATX motherboard.
Some chipsets will determine the size of the motherboard as well as the features. The mini-ITX motherboard (left) is much smaller than the ATX motherboard (right), so make sure you get the right board for your case.

One final note about Intel motherboards, specifically the 600 series models built for Alder Lake: CPUs will be able to support both DDR4 and DDR5 RAM, but both Motherboard It will only be compatible with one or the other. So get a DDR4 compatible mobo if you want to stick with the current generation memory, or get a DDR5 ready motherboard if you want to upgrade your RAM as well. So far, there is not much difference between DDR4 and DDR5 for gaming performance.

AMD motherboard chipset explained

Most AMD chips enable overclocking, except for the increasingly outdated A520 and A320, so if OC capability is essential to you, there are more options you can get than Intel. However, there are also benefits to moving to market: the X570 offers more SATA sockets and USB ports than the B550, which in turn supports more than the A520.

Thus, more ambitious PCs will do well to stick to a higher class of AMD X-series chipsets, and conversely, those with very simple storage setups can handle the mid-range B-series or entry-level A-series chipsets. Here’s how Red Team options currently stack up on cost:

Anything else I should know?

From there, it’s largely up to you on what kind of additional features you choose. Some motherboards like the Gigabyte X570 Aorus Master have additional overclocking tools like a LED display for troubleshooting and built-in power/reset buttons, while many others have I/O boards pre-installed for a sleeker look around the back. from your computer.

It probably goes without saying that you should also choose a motherboard that actually fits inside the intended case. There is no point in buying an ATX motherboard when you have a small form factor or mini tower chassis, nor is there much sense in buying a complete jumbo tower case for a mini ITX motherboard.

As for whether PCIe 4.0 support is a must… I won’t say at this exact moment, mainly because you can get some excellent PCIe 3.0 SSDs (such as the WD Blue SN570) that are fast enough. Both 3.0 and 4.0 SSDs will also be able to play nicely with DirectStorage, an exciting piece of Microsoft technology that can see in-game load times cut to strips. It’s not actually supported in any games yet, but you won’t have to base your choice of motherboard on it.

Of course, PCIe 4.0 is still faster overall, and if you’ve bought an Intel 12th Gen Alder Lake CPU, you should get 4.0 support as standard, no matter what motherboard you’re pairing it with.


Do you need help installing the motherboard or CPU in your computer? Read our step-by-step how to install motherboard and how to install complete hardware cpu guides.

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