November 26, 2022
United Kingdom
Buyers Guides Motherboards

Best Motherboards to Buy for the Intel Core i7 13700K

ASUS Prime Z790-A Feature Image

Introduction

Intel’s Core i7 13700K is an excellent CPU that looks to dismiss the threat from its AMD Ryzen 7000 counterparts. But with any new CPU launch comes a plethora of new motherboard options for consumers, that simply raise more questions than they answer. Just which motherboard is the best for the Intel Core i7 13700K? In this article, we’ll be looking at all of the available 13th Gen motherboard designs, and breaking down the best options for a CPU like this.

We’ll also be looking more generally at the most important motherboard features to take stock of, and the difference between the Z690 and Z790 chipsets to really get things cleared up!

Suggested Article: Intel Core i7 13700K Review – Intel’s Hidden Performance Gem

Motherboard Chipsets

Before we get into the juicy part of this article and look at the best motherboards to pick up for the 13700K – there are some factors to consider. First and foremost is chipsets. A chipset is technically part of a motherboard, but they are not one in the same. Effectively, your motherboard’s chipset determines the kind of features on offer from the get-go. This includes things like PCI-E lanes, rear IO, RAM compatibility and more.

Gigabyte Z790 AORUS Master CPU Socket Cover off

Knowing which chipset you’re going to pickup is a good place to start when you’re looking for particular features or you’re constrained by a budget. For example, the Z690 and Z790 chipsets are relatively similar in their feature-sets, but prices will differ significantly. Z790 motherboards will be pricier in general than Z690 as the motherboards are newer, but Z790 boards are likely to have better or more features by contrast. This gives you somewhere to start if you’re building a PC for the first time or looking to potentially upgrade.

CPU Compatibility

One of the biggest concerns is of course compatibility. Intel have a habit of killing off a platform after a couple of generations making consumers face the inevitable reality of having to purchase yet another motherboard for the latest CPU generation. However, with Intel 13th-Gen, the previous 12th-Gen users don’t need to worry about this. Intel’s proverbial ship was righted and prevented from sinking with the release of 12th-Gen and they don’t seem to want to shy away from this success. What I’m getting at is, if you’re using an Intel 12th-Gen motherboard, you don’t need to buy a new board to support the latest generation of CPUs.

Intel 13th-Gen CPU Box Shot

13th-Gen processors use the exact same socket (LGA1700) that 12th-Gen uses. This means you can install one of the brand new CPUs with a simple BIOS update. Although we’re not necessarily advocating using a lower-end board with a CPU like the Core i7 13700K, you can technically do this if you’re not looking to spend extra money on a new board.

Below we’ve created a table of motherboard compatibility with the Core i7 13700K, along with the chipsets we recommend for this particular CPU.

ChipsetsCompatibilityDo We Recommend?
Z790
Z690✅ (with a BIOS update)
B660✅ (with a BIOS update)
H670✅ (with a BIOS update)
H610✅ (with a BIOS update)
Z590N/A
B560N/A
H570N/A
H510N/A
Table of Compatibility and Recommended Chipsets for the Intel Core i7 13700K

Why Not B660?

The reason why we’ve not picked out the B660 chipset for this particular list is based on the available features, overclocking and pricing. One would assume if you’re looking to pickup a Core i7 13700K CPU, you’re probably wanting to build a higher-end gaming PC build. This is where B660 boards don’t quite fit in.

Based on the fact that there’s no CPU overclocking capability, along with the much more restricted feature-set, and limited VRM power phases, we would recommend leaving out B660 boards for the more powerful processors. B660 boards are more than capable of handling the Core i5 and Core i3 ranges and will be better suited for more budget-oriented PC builds.

Z690 vs Z790

To provide some context on the differences between Z790 and Z690 motherboards we’ve put together a comparison table. This highlights the key features that come with each chipset with a small breakdown afterwards discussion options.

Z790 vs Z690 Feature Image
FeaturesZ690Z790
CPU Overclocking SupportYesYes
Memory Overclocking SupportYesYes
Socket SupportLGA1700LGA1700
CPU PCI Express 5.0 Lanes1×16+4/2×8+41×16+4/2×8+4
Chipset PCI Express Revision4.0/3.04.0/3.0
Max Number of PCI Express Lanes2828
Memory SupportDDR4 & DDR5DDR4 & DDR5
Max Number of SATA 6Gb/s Ports88
Max Number of USB 3.2 Gen2x2 Ports (20Gb/s)45
Max Number of USB 3.2 Gen2 Ports (10Gb/s)1010
Max Number of USB 3.2 Gen1 Ports (5Gb/s)1010
Max Number of USB 2.0 Ports1414
Total Number of USB Ports1414

Breakdown of Features

From a brief glance you’ll immediately notice that there aren’t a huge amount of differences between both of these chipsets. Ultimately this is down to the lack of major architectural changes between 12th-Gen and 13th-Gen CPUs. Intel has clearly spent much time refining the processing node, hence the significant improvements to the new 13th-Gen CPUs, even if this doesn’t quite reflect in the new motherboard designs.

Z790 motherboards have seen PCI-E 5.0 become more of a mainstay in comparison to Z690, and will support 13th Gen processors out of the box, with no need for a BIOS update. Some of the new motherboard designs also bring more widespread Thunderbolt 4 support and a wider array of M.2 SSD slots.

MSI Z790 Carbon WiFi PCI-E Slots
The MPG Z790 Carbon WiFi from MSI sports a Gen5 M.2 SSD slot ready for the latest generation of SSDs when they release.
Z690 Force WiFi PCI-E Slot and Heatsinks Wide Shot
A similarly priced motherboard from MSI, the Z690 Force WiFi only has a PCI-E 5.0 x16 slot, demonstrating that there are some (if not many) clear benefits with the Z790 chipset.

In terms of similarities, both Z690 and Z790 motherboards have access to CPU overclocking which means motherboard power phases will generally be stronger, making these boards the only choice for enthusiasts. 13th-Gen motherboards have also retained support for DDR4 memory, with DDR5 inclusions also available from various manufacturers. This was one of the big selling points of 12th-Gen options, and we’re glad to see Intel keeping up this compatibility into 13th Gen.

Top 3 Motherboard Picks

Intel’s Core i7 13700K teeters between the mid-range and top-end market, but based on the price I’d argue that it is more a high-end CPU than anything else. Sitting below the true enthusiast-grade 13900K, and more mainstream i5 13600K chip, the 13700K offers a nice middle ground. This makes it perfect for gaming at 4K, or for a productivity-oriented build.

Best Z690 Board: MSI MAG Z690 TOMAHAWK WiFi D4

MSI MAG Z690 Tomahawk WiFi
Pros
✅ Very reasonably priced.
✅ Perfect for overclocking.
✅ Uses DDR4 RAM DIMMs.
Cons
❌ Design is very plain.
❌ Only a singular PCI-E 5.0 x16 slot.

Check the price on:

Best Z790 Board: ASUS Prime Z790-A WiFi DDR5

ASUS Prime Z790-A Whole Motherboard
Pros
✅ Very cheap for a DDR5 board.
✅ Unique white design.
✅ Plenty of usability features.
Cons
❌ Not ideal for overclocking.
❌ Thunderbolt only available through front panel.

Check the price on:

Best Enthusiast Board: ASRock Z790 LiveMixer DDR5

ASRock Z790 LiveMixer
Pros
✅ Insane amount of USBs.
✅ Gen5 for SSDs and GPUs.
✅ Perfect for productivity.
Cons
❌ Design won’t be for everyone.
❌ No 10 Gigabit LAN capability.

Check the price on:

Best Motherboards for the Core i7 13700K

1. MSI MAG Z690 TOMAHAWK WiFi DDR4

MSI MAG Z690 Tomahawk WiFi

Key Specs:

  • Form Factor: ATX
  • Supported Memory: 128GB DDR4 5333MHz
  • PCI-E x16 Slots: 1x PCI-E 5.0 x16 Slot
  • PCI-E x4 Slots: 3x PCI-E 4.0 x4 Slots, 1x PCI-E 3.0 x4 Slot
  • Rear IO: 1x USB 3.2 Gen2x2 Type-C, 3x USB 3.2 Gen2, 3x USB 3.2 Gen1, 1x USB 2.0
  • Networking: 2.5 Gigabit LAN, WiFi 6

First off is the MAG Z690 TOMAHAWK WiFi from MSI. This DDR4 mid-range board offers consumers plenty of high speed rear IO with a USB 3.2 Gen2x2 (20Gb/s) Type-C port providing excellent transfer speeds. Networking is great, giving you the option between high speed WiFi 6, or 2.5 Gigabit LAN providing a more stable connection. This board is also Gen5 ready allowing you to install the latest PCI-E 5.0 graphics cards when they release. This board is a great all-rounder if you’re looking for something a little bit cheaper using DDR4 memory.

Buy the MSI MAG Z690 TOMAHAWK WiFi DDR4 on:

2. ASUS ROG STRIX Z690-F Gaming WiFi

ASUS ROG STRIX Z690-F Gaming WiFi

Key Specs:

  • Form Factor: ATX
  • Supported Memory: 128GB DDR5 6400MHz
  • PCI-E x16 Slots: 1x PCI-E 5.0 x16 Slot
  • PCI-E x4 Slots: 4x PCI-E 4.0 x4 Slots
  • Rear IO: 1x USB 3.2 Gen2x2 Type-C, 3x USB 3.2 Gen2, 4x USB 3.2 Gen1, 2x USB 2.0
  • Networking: 2.5 Gigabit LAN, WiFi 6E

The ROG STRIX Z690-F Gaming WiFi from ASUS is an excellent looking motherboard giving consumers the option to build a great looking PC. This DDR5 board features a 16+1 power phase design making it ideal for overclocking. The DDR5 memory also has a rated support of up to 6400MHz providing a nice boost with a low latency high performance kit. Rear IO also gives you plenty of great options for USB ports, with the vast majority being USB 3.2 ports providing high transfer speeds. Overall this is a great DDR5 board from ASUS coming in at quite a reasonable price with with plenty of features.

Buy the ASUS ROG STRIX Z690-F Gaming WiFi on:

3. MSI MEG Z690 ACE

MSI MEG Z690 ACE

Key Specs:

  • Form Factor: E-ATX
  • Supported Memory: 128GB DDR5 6666MHz
  • PCI-E x16 Slots: 2x PCI-E 5.0 x16/x8 Slots
  • PCI-E x4 Slots: 4x PCI-E 4.0 x4 Slots, 1x PCI-E 3.0 x4 Slot
  • Rear IO: 2x Thunderbolt 4 Ports, 8x USB 3.2 Gen2, 4x USB 3.2 Gen1, 2x USB 2.0
  • Networking: Dual 2.5 Gigabit LAN, WiFi 6E

MSI’s MEG Z690 ACE is one of the best boards that you can buy for the Z690 chipset. Equipped with as many USB ports as you can imagine (including Thunderbolt 4), along with Dual 2.5 Gigabit LAN, ideal for those looking to build a workstation PC. On the overclocking front this board has a 21 phase power design perfect for pushing the 13700K up to the 6GHz with some trial and error. With the XMP 3.0 profiles and some powerful RAM you’ll also be able to provide an all-important boost in a variety of applications and games.

Buy the MSI MEG Z690 ACE on:

4. ASUS Prime Z790-A WiFi

ASUS Prime Z790-A Whole Motherboard

Key Specs:

  • Form Factor: ATX
  • Supported Memory: 128GB DDR5 7200MHz
  • PCI-E x16 Slots: 1x PCI-E 5.0 x16 Slot, 1x PCI-E 4.0 x16 Slot
  • PCI-E x4 Slots: 4x PCI-E 4.0 x4 Slots
  • Rear IO: 1x USB 3.2 Gen2x2 Type-C, 3x USB 3.2 Gen2, 4x USB 3.2 Gen1
  • Networking: 2.5 Gigabit LAN, WiFi 6E

The ASUS Prime Z790-A WiFi DDR5 is a great board that we’ve taken a look at in a full review for the release of 13th-Gen CPUs. This board features plenty of great features including high speed DDR5 memory overclocking up to 7200MHz. The Prime Z790-A also has onboard WiFi 6E, along with 2.5 Gigabit LAN perfect for file transfers over network, or some good ol’ fashioned lag-less gaming. Rear IO provides plenty of options with zero USB 2.0 in sight giving you only high speed ports for blazing fast transfer speeds.

Buy the ASUS Prime Z790-A WiFi on:

5. Gigabyte Z790 AERO G

Gigabyte Z790 AERO G
Whether you are a streamer or you are looking to edit some videos, if you have plenty of extra peripherals such as a Stream Deck, or multiple external storage drives housing all your videos, you will have plenty of ports that can handle these accessories.

Key Specs:

  • Form Factor: ATX
  • Supported Memory: 128GB DDR5 7600MHz
  • PCI-E x16 Slots: 1x PCI-E 5.0 x16 Slot, 2x PCI-E 4.0 x16 Slot
  • PCI-E x4 Slots: 1x PCI-E 5.0 x4 Slot, 4x PCI-E 4.0 x4 Slots
  • Rear IO: 1x USB 3.2 Gen2x2 Type-C, 3x USB 3.2 Gen2, 4x USB 3.2 Gen1, 2x USB 2.0
  • Networking: 2.5 Gigabit LAN, WiFi 6E

Gigabyte‘s AERO G motherboard is designed to offer options for those wanting to build a multifaceted PC. If you’re looking to game at 4K while having the opportunity to deal with more intensive workloads such as 3D rendering or video editing when you’re not gaming – the AERO G has you covered. This board is designed to hold multiple graphics cards for those that need some extra power behind their system, whilst offering plenty of power phases to sustain a high overclock needed for a performance boost.

Buy the Gigabyte Z790 AERO G on:

6. ASRock Z790 LiveMixer

ASRock Z790 LiveMixer

Key Specs:

  • Form Factor: ATX
  • Supported Memory: 128GB DDR5 6800MHz
  • PCI-E x16 Slots: 1x PCI-E 5.0 x16 Slot, 2x PCI-E 4.0 x16 Slot
  • PCI-E x4 Slots: 1x PCI-E 5.0 x4 Slot, 4x PCI-E 4.0 x4 Slots
  • Rear IO: 4x USB 3.2 Gen2, 4x USB 3.2 Gen1, 6x USB 2.0
  • Networking: 2.5 Gigabit LAN, WiFi 6E

The LiveMixer Z790 board from ASRock is the final board of today geared towards productivity at the forefront, with high-end gaming as a secondary option. This board features a huge amount of USB ports on the rear (14 in total) designed to house various streaming, or creative peripherals such as microphones, cameras or a Stream Deck. For your PCI-E slots you’ve got access to two Gen5 slots for a next-gen graphics card and SSD allowing you to further push the performance boundary. Networking should also provide unhindered streaming with a 2.5 Gigabit LAN port, and WiFi 6E if you’re not in the mood for cable management!

Buy the ASRock Z790 LiveMixer on:

editor
Jay joined Geeka Media in April of 2022, bringing with him a wealth of technical knowledge and a background in Computer Science. Jay is an avid gamer, keyboard-builder and tech wizz with years of PC-building passion under his belt.