Cheaper Intel Alder Lake Platforms Will Arrive in January, But There's a Catch

(Image credit: Intel)

Intel usually launches two chipset series with its new platforms: a Z-series for enthusiasts and overclockers as well as an H-series for everyone else. This has not been the case with the Alder Lake desktop platform so far, as only the Intel Z690 chipset has been released. As it turns out based, according to unconfirmed reports form IT Home, Intel has cancelled release of its H670 chipset (at least for now), but has decided to proceed with lower-positioned chipsets in early 2022 in its place. 

Apparently, Instead of launching its H670 chipset along with its mainstream 12th Generation Core 'Alder Lake' processors at CES 2022, the company intends to release its more budget-focused B660 chipset early next year, alongside H610 for entry-level PCs, reports IT Home, citing MSI. Intel's H670 core-logic was expected to offer essentially the same feature set as the Intel Z690 chipset, but B660 and H610 will have considerably more moderate specs.  

Apparently, MSI's B660M mortar motherboard comes with two PCIe x16 (Gen 5 + Gen 4) slots, one PCIe Gen 4.0 x1 slot, and two M.2 slots for SSDs (we have no information about version of PCIe here). As added bonuses, the platform will also feature one USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C port and one 2.5GbE connector. Details about Intel H610 motherboards are unclear at this point. 

The release of Intel's B660 and H610 platforms alongside 65W Alder Lake processors is good news still, because there will be cheaper systems powered by the company's latest CPUs. There is one caveat though. If there is no H670 chipset, then the B660 core logic will inevitably take its place under the Z690 platform, which means relatively high prices of those motherboards.  

What remains to be seen is whether Intel cancelled its H670 chipset in general, or postponed its launch to a later date for some reason. Given the ongoing shortage of components, it makes sense for all companies to cut down the number of SKUs in a bid to streamline production and simplify supply chain. However, with most Z690 motherboards selling well above $200, builders and system integrators could certainly benefit from lower-priced, feature-rich alternatives. So could Intel, as the high cost of Z690 boards (and DDR5) helps AMD's Ryzen platform remain fairly attractive, despite Intel delivering better performance in many use cases now. 

Neither Intel or MSI have commented on this information, but with CES coming up in just over two weeks, we should know more about new Intel motherboards soon.

Anton Shilov
Freelance News Writer

Anton Shilov is a Freelance News Writer at Tom’s Hardware US. Over the past couple of decades, he has covered everything from CPUs and GPUs to supercomputers and from modern process technologies and latest fab tools to high-tech industry trends.

  • hotaru251
    honestly not sure why ppl would adopt this early on.

    nothing benefits from gen 5 pcie.
    the ddr5 is costly as heck.

    yes, the chips are fast, but the cost atm to go to it? not worth it unless ur 3+ generations old and need an upgrade.
  • VforV
    Yeah and even the lower tiered motherboards will be more expensive than the AM4 counterparts...

    Alder Lake keeps looking worse than it should, platform price wise, despite the CPUs themselves being cheaper... such irony.

    This is one of the reasons why AMD did not officially drop the prices yet across the board. I think only after Zen3D comes we will see cheaper Zen3 prices.

    I'm glad I got my 5600X with the Black Friday discount, because the prices are up again and don't seem to go down at all... at least not in EU.
  • larkspur
    hotaru251 said:
    not worth it unless ur 3+ generations old and need an upgrade.
    Well, that would be the case for most people who are building a new system today. I wouldn't build an entirely new system if I didn't need it. A quick look at PCPartpicker shows a ~$40 difference between a 5800x and a 12600k platform using the similar Asus Tuf Gaming Z690/x570 Plus DDR4 motherboards (the Intel platform is $40 more expensive). That being said, I don't necessarily need all the extra connectivity that Z690 boards provide although it might be nice in the future. Gaming-wise the 5800x and 12600k are similar. The 12600k wins in ST and MT apps. The 5800x has less peak power though efficiency (renders per day per watt) is pretty close. They'd use the same cooler, same RAM. Overclocking a 12600k shows a ~15% gaming improvement @1080p while the 5800x is ~6% according to Tom's review and that is tempting for the future - something not possible on the Intel without a z690 board.

    So I dunno, still going to wait it out and see what the B660 boards offer and see if the Zen3d chips bring down the price of the regular Zen3 chips some more. 5600x isn't even a consideration for me right now at its waaaaaayyyyyy too high of price at $299. Starting to think I might even wait it out to see what Zen 4 brings. Or at least see what the new Zen3+ Navi2 APUs can do (not getting my hopes up too high) since I just can't imagine paying these dGPU prices. But then there's Arc so who knows... Jeez what a wacky time to be building a new machine!
  • hotaru251
    larkspur said:
    Gaming-wise the 5800x and 12600k are similar
    ya but 5800x is a last gen cpu compared to 12th gen.

    its apple to apple rival would be the 6600 in 2022.

    as both would be new gen AND both require adoptign a new platform to use (so you can compare price vs performance better that way too.