PC Canada (via momomo_us) has listed nine Asus Z690 motherboards for Intel's impending 12th Generation Alder Lake processors. It's important to take into consideration that the prices may be placeholders so approach them with caution. Furthermore, it's an established fact that computer hardware is more expensive in Canada.
Alder Lake warrants a completely new platform, including an Intel 600-series motherboard and DDR5 memory. At launch, motherboard manufacturers will launch their Z690-based products with the more pocket-friendly chipsets arriving at a later date. Therefore, early adopters will have to pay the premium that Z690 motherboards carry in addition to early DDR5 pricing.
If early U.S. retailer listings are accurate, the Core i5-12600KF, which is the cheapest Alder Lake K-series part, could start at $260. For reference, a standard DDR5-4800 32GB (2x16GB) memory kit retails along the lines of $300. Even without the motherboard, storage or graphics card, a mid-range Alder Lake configuration already costs over $550. Of course, there's also the possibility of picking up a Z690 motherboard with DDR4 support, which could potentially mitigate some of the early-bird tax.
Asus Z690 Motherboard Pricing
|Asus ROG Maximus Z690 Hero||$599||DDR5|
|Asus ROG Strix Z690-F||$401||DDR5|
|Asus ROG Strix Z690-A||$350||DDR5|
|Asus Prime Z690-A||$306||DDR5|
|ASUS TUF Gaming Z690-Plus WiFi D4||$294||DDR5|
|Asus Prime Z690-P WiFi||$255||DDR5|
|Asus Prime Z690-P WiFi D4||$243||DDR4|
|Asus Prime Z690-P||$231||DDR5|
|Asus Prime Z690-P D4||$222||DDR4|
The price difference between DDR4 and DDR5 support with the same motherboard doesn't seem to be very significant. For example, the Prime Z690-P only costs $9 more than the Z690-P D4, while the Prime Z90-P WiFi sells for $12 higher than the Prime Z90-P WiFi D4. Then again, the prospective saving comes from the memory rather than the motherboard.
Unfortunately, we haven't seen any DDR5 listing other than TeamGroup's DDR5-4800 32GB (2x16GB) memory kit, which sold for $310.99 on Amazon and Newegg. We'll have to wait until Alder Lake officially launches to analyze the price variation between DDR4 and DDR5 memory kits. By default, Alder Lake comes with support for DDR5-4800 or DDR4-3200 memory so it'll be even more interesting to evaluate the hybrid chip with both memory formats to see whether Alder Lake benefits from DDR5.
Coming back to Asus' Z690 motherboards, the ROG Strix Z690-A at $350 may be the most attractive option for gamers. The pricing jumps up to $599 for the ROG Maximus Z690 Hero. That's not a good sight at all since the Hero is practically the entry-level SKU to the ROG family unless Asus brings back the Code, which the company has forksaken for a couple of generations now. If PC Canada's pricing is on point, the higher-end models, such as the Formula or Extreme will cost a small fortune.