Chinese retailers are already starting to nudge out listings for Intel B660 and H610 motherboards on the popular Taobao online shopping platform. The good news here, alongside the revealing product photography, is the indication that an entry-level H610 board might cost only about $85. Twitter user @ALX550 spotted a quartet of fixed-price listings on Taobao, featuring wares from Intel partners Gigabyte and ASRock. Moreover, the trio of B660 boards are just $100 or a little more, and fixed-price listings of new products like this could reflect the soon-to-be official market prices/MSRPs.
Starting with the cheapest new Alder Lake motherboard, we catch a glimpse of the ASRock H610M-HDV/M.2. It's listed on Taobao for the equivalent of $85, which is a keen price for Intel's newest platform. Pondering over the Micro-ATX board images we can spy one PCIe x16 slot, two of the short PCIe x1 slots, twin DDR4 DIMM slots, two M.2 slots, and two SATA 3 ports. You get a bare minimum of I/O on the back panel with just four USB ports, but there are three video outs – VGA, HDMI, and DP.
Add $15 for B660, and Another $10 for RGB
Two further Micro-ATX ASRock boards are listed; the ASRock B660M-HDV and ASRock B660M PRO RS. These are listed at the local equivalent of $100 and $110, respectively. Extra features evident in the photos of the ASRock B660M-HDV include; an additional fast M.2 storage slot, and two more USB 3.0 ports (including a Type-C port). Other than that, it's hard to see any difference between it and its H610 sibling. Sadly, the ASRock B660M PRO RS listing on Taobao only shows the box, so we can't say much about that other than to expect a couple of further upgrades – at least one of which is ASRock's PolyChrome RGB lighting tech.
Rounding off the sack of goodies, the Gigabyte B660M DS3H is linked at the local equivalent of about $120. It is good to see this listing comes with a clear spec sheet shot highlighting the PCIe 4.0 x16 slot, a quartet of video outs, four SATA 3 ports, two M.2 storage slots, onboard 2.5G Ethernet, a selection of 12 USB ports, and 8-channel audio. Again, this is all on a Micro-ATX form factor board.
We've previously reported on the leaked pricing of MSI B660 boards. These new Mortar, Bazooka, and Pro models seemed to be priced between $167 and $211, so it is pleasing to see the more basic products from ASRock and Gigabyte slash significant chunks from those prices.
Gestalt View, Positioning Against AMD
Stepping back, perhaps the bigger story will be the full platform cost of new entry- and mid-tier Alder Lake desktop PC systems and PC DIY efforts. Intel appears to be preparing a very competitive lineup in this important segment, both in terms of pricing and performance. For example, we have seen some leaked benchmarks showing the Intel Core i5-12400 clearly outshines the AMD Ryzen 5 5600X in gaming.
For the sake of competition, one hopes AMD has some answers for Intel's latest 12th Gen Core processor challengers ready to share at CES next week. If Intel and its partners can deliver the price/performance we have seen indicated by leaks, we only need some affordable new GPUs to spur a new wave of PC platform upgrades.