Intel's new 13th Gen "Raptor Lake" CPUs are the fastest on the market, but don't come cheap. One way to save money on your build is by using a last-gen Intel 600 series motherboard, since those boards use the LGA 1700 socket Raptor Lake requires and Intel says that, all things being equal (like board power delivery and cooling abilities), you should get the same performance as on a 700 series board. (Be sure to check our best motherboards page for the best options we've tested.)
But there’s a catch. Though all 600 series motherboards can support Raptor Lake chips in theory, most (or at least many) will need to have a newer BIOS installed to recognize 13th Gen processors. Try popping a Core i5-13600K, Core i7-13700K or Core i9-13900K into your 600-series motherboard without the right BIOS and it won’t even POST.
That's a shame, because the cheapest Z790 motherboard we found at the time we wrote this cost $169, while the least expensive previous-gen Z690 motherboard was $129. And if you aren't going to overclock your CPU, the less-expensive H610 or B660 chipset boards, which are best suited for pairing with a Core i5 or Core i7, can sell for as little as $89 or $99.
We contacted the four major motherboard vendors (ASRock, Asus, Gigabyte and MSI) to ask if any of their 600-series boards will work with Raptor Lake chips out of the box. Asus and Gigabyte said that some of their recently-produced boards might ship with a Raptor Lake-compatible BIOS, but there’s no reasonable way to know that before you purchase. Asus said that you can tell which BIOS version a motherboard comes with by looking at a sticker on the board itself, but that won’t do you much good unless you are buying at a brick-and-mortar store that allows you to open the box up before purchasing.
Most (if not all) 600 series boards have BIOS updates available that add Alder Lake support, but you need to be able to download and install those updates before you try to boot with a 13th Gen Raptor Lake CPU. If you have access to an older Intel 12th Gen “Alder Lake” CPU, you can put the older CPU in the board, boot into and update the BIOS in the UEFI interface (see how to enter the BIOS if you don’t know how to get there), and then you should be good to go.
But most people buying a Raptor Lake CPU and new motherboard today don’t have a last-gen processor just lying around the house. At one point, AMD, which used the same AM4 socket across five different processor generations, had a loaner program where the company would send you an old CPU to use for the BIOS upgrade, but Intel has nothing like that.
So, if you want to buy a 600 series motherboard to use with a Raptor Lake CPU, your best bet is to buy a model with BIOS Flashback, a feature that allows you to update the BIOS with no CPU installed at all. You just put the BIOS update on a USB Flash drive, plug it into your board and hit the Flashback button on the motherboard and wait a few minutes while it updates.
To help you find out which models you can use to save yourself some money on your new build, we’ve generated a list of all the Intel 600 series motherboards with BIOS Flashback that we could find for sale.
We found 72 600 series motherboards in total that have BIOS Flashback (Gigabyte calls the feature Q-Flash Plus, but it's essentially the same thing). There are roughly another 30 models, most of them Gigabyte SKUs, that are listed on the manufacturer’s website, but that we couldn’t find for sale in the U.S.
|Motherboard||Current Price||RAM Type|
|ASRock B660 Pro RS||$109||DDR4|
|Gigabyte B660 DS3H DDR4||$109||DDR4|
|Gigabyte B660M DS3H DDR4||$109||DDR4|
|Gigabyte B660M Power DDR4||$109||DDR4|
|ASRock B660M Steel Legend||$114||DDR4|
|ASRock H670M Pro RS||$119||DDR4|
|ASRock H670 PG Riptide||$129||DDR4|
|Gigabyte B660 DS3H AX DDR4||$129||DDR4|
|Gigabyte B660M DS3H AX DDR4||$129||DDR4|
|ASRock Z690 Phantom Gaming 4||$139||DDR4|
|Gigabyte Z690I Aorus Ultra Lite DDR4||$139||DDR4|
|ASRock Z690 Pro RS||$144||DDR4|
|ASRock H670 Steel Legend||$149||DDR4|
|Gigabyte B660M Gaming X AX||$149||DDR4|
|Gigabyte B660M Gaming X AX DDR4||$149||DDR4|
|ASRock B660 Steel Legend||$159||DDR4|
|ASRock Z690M PG Riptide DDR5||$159||DDR5|
|Gigabyte B660M Aorus Pro AX DDR4||$159||DDR4|
|Gigabyte B660M Aorus Pro DDR4||$159||DDR4|
|ASRock Z690 PG Riptide||$168||DDR4|
|ASRock Z690 Steel Legend||$171||DDR4|
|Gigabyte B660M D2H DDR4||$171||DDR4|
|Gigabyte B660 Aorus Master DDR4||$179||DDR4|
|Gigabyte B660 Gaming X AX DDR4||$179||DDR4|
|ASRock Z690 Extreme||$182||DDR4|
|Gigabyte B660M Gaming DDR4||$189||DDR4|
|Gigabyte Z690 UD DDR4||$189||DDR4|
|ASRock Z690 Extreme Wi-Fi 6E||$196||DDR4|
|Gigabyte B660 Aorus Elite DDR4||$199||DDR4|
|Gigabyte B660M Aorus Elite DDR4||$199||DDR4|
|MSI Pro Z690-A||$206||DDR4|
|Asus ROG Strix B660-A Gaming WIFI D4||$208||DDR4|
|Gigabyte Z690 Gaming X DDR4||$209||DDR4|
|Gigabyte Z690 UD AX DDR4||$209||DDR4|
|ASRock Z690 Steel Legend WiFi 6E||$219||DDR5|
|MSI Pro Z690-A WiFi||$225||DDR5|
|Gigabyte Z690 Gaming X||$229||DDR5|
|Gigabyte B660M Aorus Pro||$236||DDR4|
|ASRock Z690 Phantom Gaming ITX/TB4||$245||DDR5|
|Gigabyte Z690 Aorus Elite AX DDR4||$249||DDR4|
|Gigabyte Z690M Aorus Elite AX DDR4||$249||DDR4|
|Gigabyte Z690M Aorus Elite DDR4||$249||DDR4|
|MPG Z690 Edge WiFi||$249||DDR5|
|MPG Z690 Edge WiFi DDR4||$256||DDR4|
|MSI Pro Z690-A WiFi DDR4||$256||DDR4|
|Gigabyte Z690 Aero G DDR4||$259||DDR4|
|MSI MAG Z690 Tomahawk WiFi DDR4||$259||DDR4|
|Asus ROG Strix Z690-A Gaming WiFi D4||$269||DDR4|
|Gigabyte B660M D3H DDR4||$269||DDR4|
|Gigabyte Z690 Aero G||$269||DDR5|
|Asus ROG Strix Z690-G Gaming WiFi||$274||DDR5|
|MSI MAG Z690 Tomahawk WiFi||$275||DDR5|
|MPG Z690 Force WiFi||$299||DDR5|
|Asus ROG Strix Z690-F Gaming WiFi||$305||DDR5|
|ASRock Z690 PG Velocita||$309||DDR5|
|Gigabyte Z690I Aorus Ultra Plus||$309||DDR4|
|MSI MAG Z690 Torpedo||$328||DDR5|
|Asus ROG Strix Z690-E Gaming WiFi||$365||DDR5|
|MSI MPG Z690 Carbon WiFi||$369||DDR5|
|Gigabyte Z690 Aero D||$379||DDR5|
|Gigabyte Z690 UD||$387||DDR5|
|Gigabyte Z690 Aorus Elite DDR4||$395||DDR4|
|Asus ProArt Z690 Creator WiFi||$449||DDR5|
|MEG Z690 UNIFY-X||$459||DDR5|
|MSI MEG Z690 ACE||$539||DDR5|
|Gigabyte Z690 Aorus Pro DDR4||$592||DDR4|
|ASRock Z690 Taichi Razer Edition||$619||DDR5|
|ASRock Z690 Aqua OC||$756||DDR5|
|MSI MPG Z690 EK-X||$766||DDR5|
|ASRock Z690 Aqua||$889||DDR5|
|MSI MEG Z690 Godlike||$1199||DDR5|
The best price we’ve found on any 600 series board with BIOS Flashback is $109, a price we’ve seen for a number of B660 SKUs from ASRock and Gigabyte. If you want to overclock your Raptor Lake chip – something a lot of people would want to do with a K-series CPU – you’ll need to spend at least $139, the minimum price we saw for a Z690-powered motherboard in the ASRock Z690 Phantom Gaming 4 and Gigabyte Z690I Aorus Ultra Lite DDR4, both of which are DDR4 boards. If you want a board that uses DDR5 RAM, your least expensive option is the ASRock Z690M PG Riptide DDR5 at $159. By way of comparison, the cheapest Z790 board with DDR4 we’ve seen is $179, and that price rises to $199 for the DDR5 model.
If you want Wi-Fi on your Z690 motherboard, the least expensive option we saw is ASRock Z690 Extreme Wi-Fi 6E for $196. That’s a DDR4 board. If you want Wi-Fi and DDR5 support, the least expensive option is the ASRock Z690 Steel Legend WiFi 6E at $219. The cheapest Z790 board we’ve seen with Wi-Fi goes for $249 so this is still a savings. If you’re spending much more than $250, it makes little sense to go with a Z690 board over a Z790.
And a Celeron G6900 (cheapest Alder) runs $75.
Also I would add to make sure the 12th gen Mobo of interest has recent updates for firmware and management engine in addition to bios or you may be leaving some performance on the table. My Asus boards were fine, but not all are and you might have to piece something together that isn't totally official.
I own the former and intend to put a 13th gen chip in it
I can vouch using bios flashback on it before tossing in a 13700K because I parted off a 12700K before updating the latest BIOS for 13th gen support.
I have the board I mentioned above and added a cheap TP-Link PCI-E WiFi card in the bottom PCI-E slot. Since I got both board and card on sale, saved some money vs. buying the DDR5 WiFi version.
Some (not all) motherboards include a dedicated m.2 slot for wifi. This is an "e key", not compatible with an ssd. You can however install something like https://www.amazon.com/Ableconn-M2MN-150E-Converter-Board-Module/dp/B079NB8J3B to use an m.2 for e key in a m key (regular ssd) slot if you want.