November 26, 2022
United Kingdom
Buyers Guides Motherboards

Best Motherboards to Buy for the Intel Core i5 13600K

Introduction

Intel’s latest 13th-Gen CPUs have been a hit success since they landed back in October of 2022, but just which motherboards are best for their new lineup of CPUs? In this piece we’ll be covering off the best budget, mid-range and high-end motherboard designs for the mid-range i5 13600K – a CPU which punches well above its weight class in terms of performance.

We’ll also be covering off what all of the chipset numbers mean, and which chipsets are and aren’t compatible with the new 13th Gen Core i5 13600K.

Suggested Article: Intel Core i5 13600K Review – A Mid-Range Performance Titan

Motherboard Chipsets

One of the most important areas to consider before deciding on a motherboard is, which chipset are you going to pick? We’ve covered all of the chipsets in the above heading within various pieces of content (which we recommend you go and check out), so we’ll keep it brief here. For those that aren’t entirely sure what I’m talking about here, your motherboard chipset effectively determines what features you’ll have access to.

Motherboard Form Factors

Z790 vs Z690 – Chipset Comparison:

Z690 vs B660 – Chipset Comparison:

Unlike AMD, Intel tend to lock features behind a particular chipset. This might like a shame at first, but having different chipsets allows you to spend a little bit less on a motherboard if you don’t need access to particular features. If you’re building a more budget oriented PC it is likely you won’t need access to all of the next-gen features, which gives you the opportunity to save some money by picking a up a cheaper board. For those wanting to build a top-end system with the best features possible, you’re also being catered to as well with slightly more expensive boards that are kitted out with better options.

Regardless, we’d recommend considering your use-case before choosing a motherboard. Determining your budget and the kind of features you’d like to see is a good place to start, giving you a clearer direction of which motherboard to pick up.

Z690 vs B660 vs Z790

To give you a clearer idea of what’s on offer for 13th-Gen users we’ve put together a comparison of the three main chipsets you can utilise. We’ve highlighted some of the key features that come with each chipset with a breakdown afterwards discussing the options you’ll have access to.

The Z-series chipsets will always rank more highly in features than the B chipsets, due to their higher cost, but the differences between Z690 and Z790 are, in truth, very minimal.

MSI Z790 Carbon WiFi CPU Socket
FeaturesZ690B660Z790
CPU Overclocking SupportYesNoYes
Memory Overclocking SupportYesYesYes
Socket SupportLGA1700LGA1700LGA1700
CPU PCI Express 5.0 Lanes1×16+4/2×8+41×16+41×16+4/2×8+4
Chipset PCI Express Revision4.0/3.04.0/3.04.0/3.0
Max Number of PCI Express Lanes281428
Memory SupportDDR4 & DDR5DDR4 & DDR5DDR4 & DDR5
Max Number of SATA 6Gb/s Ports848
Max Number of USB 3.2 Gen2x2 Ports (20Gb/s)425
Max Number of USB 3.2 Gen2 Ports (10Gb/s)10410
Max Number of USB 3.2 Gen1 Ports (5Gb/s)10610
Max Number of USB 2.0 Ports141214
Total Number of USB Ports141214

Features Breakdown

As you can see from the table, there’s a fair amount of information to take in here. Both of the ‘Z’ designated chipsets are quite different when compared to B660 motherboards, but when compared to each other there are barely any changes generationally. B660 motherboards have less features by comparison which means these boards are often cheaper.

You’ll still get access to features such as PCI-E 5.0 slots ready for the next graphics cards and SSDs when they release, but you can’t utilise multiple GPUs in a 2×8 configuration. For that you’ll need a Z690 or Z790 motherboard. USB ports have also taken a slight hit here with the amount of USB 3 ports being cut in half. This means your rear IO might have less high speed options, but still offer a reasonable amount of IO.

Gigabyte Z790 AORUS Elite AX Rear IO
As you can see, this Z790 AORUS Elite AX from Gigabyte has a very bountiful set of rear IO giving you plenty of high speed ports.
B660 DS3H AX - IO
By contrast this B660 DS3H AX also from Gigabyte does not offer near as much, based on the limitations set by the manufacturer making this board cheaper in comparison.

The biggest loss here is CPU overclocking, which has been the case with ‘B’ series chipsets basically forever. This is a bit of a downside, but arguably I can’t see many budget users wanting to overclock their CPU anyway, especially if you’re building a PC for the first time.

Z690 and Z790 motherboards are of course the cream of the crop when it comes to features and performance. These motherboards maximise the amount of USB ports you can have, quantity of PCI-E slots, and they support overclocking out of the box. You’re probably thinking, these boards must be expensive? For the most part, these motherboards compare quite well to B660 boards in terms of price. The B660 chipset will always be cheaper, but Z690 and Z790 motherboards cater to a variety of budgets giving users the opportunity to build something cheaper, or something more powerful with DDR5 RAM.

Motherboard Compatibility

One of the biggest concerns about new chipsets is whether the old motherboards support the new generation of CPUs. Luckily for Intel 12th and 13th-Gen users, you don’t necessarily need to pick up a new board. Z790 motherboards will of course support the Core i5 13600K out of the box, but Z690 and B660 motherboards will require a BIOS update.

This means for those upgrading you’ll simply need to navigate to the to your motherboard manufacturer’s website and grab the new BIOS for a 13th-Gen CPU. For those building a 13th-Gen PC with a 12th-Gen motherboard you’ll likely want a board that supports BIOS Flashback so you can easily install the update without needing to install a CPU.

Motherboard ChipsetsIntel 12th-Gen CPUsIntel 13th-Gen CPUs
Z790
Z690✅ (with a BIOS update)
B660✅ (with a BIOS update)
H670✅ (with a BIOS update)
H610✅ (with a BIOS update)
Z590
B560
H570
H510

Our Top 3 Motherboard Picks

The Core i5 13600K is an awesome mid-range CPU offering exceptional performance in single core and multithreaded performance. For this reason, it can be quite difficult to pick out a motherboard that synergises well with the performance of this excellent CPU. However, we’ve saved you the trouble! We’ve picked out three of the best motherboards from each chipset, that shows off the pros and cons of each board. Further down you’ll find a list that we’ve put together of further recommended options with a breakdown of the specs.

Best B660 Board: MSI MAG B660M Mortar WiFi D4

B660 Mortar - Motherboard Form Factors VS
Pros
✅ Integrated rear IO shield.
✅ Two Gen4 M.2 SSD Slots.
✅ 20Gb/s USB Type-C port.
Cons
❌ Micro-ATX form factor limits features.
❌ Design is very barebones

Buy the MSI MAG B660M Mortar on:

Best Z690 Board: ASUS ROG Strix Z690-A WiFi D4

Whole Motherboard - ROG Strix Z690-A Review
Pros
✅ Awesome alternative white design.
✅ PCI-E 5.0 Ready for GPUs.
✅ Very Simple to use BIOS.
Cons
❌ Quite an expensive board.
❌ No PCI-E 5.0 slots for the latest SSDs.

Buy the ASUS ROG STRIX Z690-A WiFi D4 on:

Best Z790 Board: Gigabyte Z790 AORUS Elite AX DDR5

Gigabyte Z790 AORUS Elite AX Feature Image
Pros
✅ Reasonably priced for DDR5
✅ Bountiful high speed IO.
✅ Plenty of usability features.
Cons
❌ Reasonably priced for DDR5
❌ Bountiful high speed IO.
❌ Plenty of usability features.

Buy the Gigabyte AORUS Z790 Elite AX on:

Best Motherboards for the Core i5 13600K

1. Gigabyte B660 Gaming X AX DDR4

Gigabyte B660 Gaming X AX DDR4

Key Specs:

  • Form Factor: ATX
  • Supported Memory: 128GB DDR4 4400MHz
  • PCI-E x16 Slots: 1x PCI-E 4.0 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 Gen2, 2x USB 3.2 Gen1, 5x USB 2.0
  • Networking: 2.5 Gigabit LAN, WiFi 6

Gigabyte‘s B660 Gaming X is one of the best mid-range DDR4 motherboards on the B660 chipset. Equipped with multiple PCI-E 4.0 slots ready for the Nvidia’s 4000 series cards, along with blazing-fast SSDs. On the networking front you’ve got the choice between the onboard WiFi 6, or for a more stable connection, 2.5 Gigabit LAN. The rear IO also features plenty high speed USB ports providing exceptional transfer speeds, along with extra USB 2.0 options if you run out.

Buy the Gigabyte B660 Gaming X AX DDR4 on:

2. MSI MAG B660M Mortar WiFi D4

B660 Mortar - Motherboard Form Factors VS

Key Specs:

  • Form Factor: Micro-ATX
  • Supported Memory: 128GB DDR4 5333MHz
  • PCI-E x16 Slots: 1x PCI-E 4.0 x16 Slot
  • PCI-E x4 Slots: 2x PCI-E 4.0 x4 Slots, 1x PCI-E 3.0 x4 Slot
  • Rear IO: 1x USB 3.2 Gen2x2, 3x USB 3.2 Gen2, 4x USB 2.0
  • Networking: 2.5 Gigabit LAN, WiFi 6

MSI‘s MAG B660M Mortar is a board that we’ve reviewed in full on the website quite a while ago, and it still holds up well today. The Micro-ATX design means that you’re missing out on some extra PCI-E slots here and there and maybe some RGB, but MSI makes up for these losses with some excellent features. You’ve got Gen4 ready x16 and x4 slots for some of the latest GPUs and drives giving you plenty of options to build a high performance system. This board also features an integrated IO shield reducing any frustration that comes with installing that annoying sharp piece of metal we’ve all come to know. Speaking of the rear IO, you’ve also got plenty of high speed USB ports, providing speedy transfers for your peripherals and accessories.

Buy the MSI MAG B660M Mortar WiFi on:

3. ASUS ROG Strix Z690-A WiFi D4

Whole Motherboard - ROG Strix Z690-A Review

Key Specs:

  • Form Factor: ATX
  • Supported Memory: 128GB DDR4 5333MHz
  • PCI-E x16 Slots: 1x PCI-E 5.0 x16 Slot, 1x PCI-E 3.0 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 6

The ASUS ROG Strix Z690-A is another board that we’ve taken a look at in full before. This board is perfect for those that want an alternative themed gaming PC with an all-white design. The rear IO plate sports an RGB panel that can be fully customised within ASUS’ AuraSync software. This ATX design also comes kitted out with a PCI-E 5.0 ready x16 slot slated for the next generation of graphics cards. For storage expansion you’ve got access to four Gen4 ready slots, which you can equip some of the best SSDs available such as Seagate’s FireCuda 530, or Samsung’s 990 PRO.

Buy the ASUS ROG Strix Z690-A WiFi D4 on:

4. MSI MPG Z690 Force WiFi

Z690 Force WiFi Wide Shot with Box

Key Specs:

  • Form Factor: ATX
  • Supported Memory: 128GB DDR5 6666MHz
  • PCI-E x16 Slots: 2x PCI-E 5.0 x16/x8 Slot
  • PCI-E x4 Slots: 4x PCI-E 4.0 x4 Slots, 1x PCI-E 3.0 x4 Slot
  • Rear IO: 1x USB 3.2 Gen2x2 Type-C, 5x USB 3.2 Gen2, 4x USB 2.0
  • Networking: 2.5 Gigabit LAN, WiFi 6E

MSI’s MPG Z690 Force WiFi is an excellent DDR5 motherboard offering up plenty of features with an impressive amount of power phases perfect for overclocking Intel’s latest 13th-Gen CPUs. With a good overclock and a high performance kit of RAM, you’ll be in a good position to get a performance boost in a variety of games and applications. Much like the above ASUS board, the Z690 Force WiFi sports an alternative design aesthetic giving consumers an option to spice up their build with an all-white style.

Buy the MSI MPG Z690 Force WiFi on:

5. ASUS TUF Gaming Z790-Plus WiFi D4

ASUS TUF Gaming Z790 Whole Motherboard

Key Specs:

  • Form Factor: ATX
  • Supported Memory: 128GB DDR4 5333MHz
  • PCI-E x16 Slots: 1x PCI-E 5.0 x16/x8 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 6

For our first Z790 board we’ve recommended another entry from the the ASUS – the TUF Gaming Z790-Plus WiFi D4. This DDR4 board is absolutely loaded up with features with an awesome set of high speed rear IO with no USB 2.0 ports in sight. All of the M.2 slots on this board are PCI-E Gen4 ready, with the main GPU slot offering Gen5 compliance enabling you to pick up the new generation of PCI-E 5.0 graphics cards. The industrial look to the board also offers a great aesthetic for those looking to build a darker themed PC.

Buy the ASUS TUF Gaming Z790-Plus WiFi D4 on:

6. Gigabyte Z790 AORUS Elite AX

Gigabyte Z790 AORUS Elite AX Whole Motherboard

Key Specs:

  • Form Factor: ATX
  • Supported Memory: 128GB DDR5 7600MHz
  • PCI-E x16 Slots: 1x PCI-E 5.0 x16/x8 Slot, 2x PCI-E 4.0 x16 Slots
  • PCI-E x4 Slots: 4x PCI-E 4.0 x4 Slots
  • Rear IO: 1x USB 3.2 Gen2x2 Type-C, 2x USB 3.2 Gen2, 3x USB 3.2 Gen1, 4x USB 2.0
  • Networking: 2.5 Gigabit LAN, WiFi 6E

For our final Z790 choice we’ve picked out Gigabyte’s AORUS Elite DDR5 AX model. This is one of the best priced DDR5 motherboards that we’ve had in the office, offering plenty of features with a great aesthetic. In terms of PCI-Express slots you’ve got a number of Gen4 slots equipped to handle speedy SSDs holding all of your games and applications. Rear IO is very bountiful giving you the option to plug a number of accessories and peripherals into high speed slots. I’m a big fan of the design of this board too. Gigabyte have kept the RGB to a minimum while showing off parts of the PCB with extended heatsinks here and there.

Buy the Gigabyte Z790 AORUS Elite AX 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.