A Bilibili forum user (opens in new tab) (via La Frite David (opens in new tab)) has shared an alleged prototype of a high-end Z690 motherboard for Intel's forthcoming 12th Generation Alder Lake processors. The leak offers a first look of the new LGA1700 socket that's expected to house at least two generation (Alder Lake and Raptor Lake) of Intel processors.
The manufacturer of the mysterious motherboard is unknown, but it's evident that it's one of the high-end motherboards, judging by its power delivery subsystem. The prototype reveals 20 power phases so the Z690 motherboard is likely oriented towards overclockers and enthusiasts. Being a prototype, it's missing several components, such as the latching mechanism, the 8-pin EPS power connectors and fan headers. The upcoming Alder Lake K-series SKUs, including the Core i9-12900K, Core i7-12700K and Core i5-12600K have been rumored to feature a 228W PL2.
From what we can spot, the motherboard appears to have one PCIe x16 expansion slot and up to three M.2 slots. Alder Lake is rumored to support the PCIe 5.0 standard so it'll be interesting to see whether it comes to fruition. Even the best graphics cards don't benefit from the increased bandwidth from PCIe 4.0, at least in the consumer space. If Alder Lake ends up with PCIe 5.0 support, we'll likely see the arrival of mainstream PCIe 5.0 SSDs before the graphics cards.
The first PCIe 5.0 enterprise SSDs, which will hail from Samsung's camp, won't be available until the second quarter of 2022. The latest Alder Lake rumor claims that that Intel will release the K-and KF-series chips and the corresponding Z690 chipset between October 25 and November 19. If the Z690 chipset embraces PCIe 5.0, there won't be any SSDs to take advantage of the lightning-fast standard anytime soon.
Insyde, an UEFI developer, has already started validating Alder Lake chips with the company's products. Furthermore, clandestine merchants have started selling Core i9-12900K qualification samples and B660 motherboards in the Chinese underground market. It lends some credence to the recent rumor that Alder Lake could debut this fall.