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Intel Core i7-12700K Alder Lake 3.6GHz Twelve-Core LGA 1700 Boxed Processor

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Selecting an Intel Based Motherboard

Motherboards are one of the most essential components of any PC build. The motherboard you choose for your computer will determine all of the other components that are compatible with your PC. Everything from your CPU to storage drives and RAM connects to your motherboard. This importance of motherboards is why they are considered the best starting point for almost any computer build. If you ever need help or want to get estimates for your own build, you can use Micro Center's Custom PC Builder tool for this purpose.

Chipsets and sockets help to distinguish between motherboards. Intel processors require specific sockets to be compatible with Intel motherboards, and chipsets can help inform you as to which components will work with each other. One of the most common Intel based motherboard chipsets is found on Intel Z390 based motherboards. These boards support 8th and 9th generation Intel processors and a maximum DDR4 RAM speed of 2666MHz. Z490 based motherboards are the next step up in terms of cost and features for Intel motherboards. These boards can support 10th and 11th generation Intel processors and higher RAM speeds of 2933 MHz. The newest 11th generation CPUs are best paired with motherboards based on 500-series chipsets. Motherboards for gaming or other high end tasks may utilize the newest Intel Z590 chipset, which features 10 USB 3.2 ports and the fastest RAM speeds possible, however Z590 motherboards do come with a premium cost. Besides chipsets and sockets, the next most crucial motherboard specification is the form factor. The size or form factor of a motherboard tells you which type of PC case your build will fit into and how many additional components you can install. ATX motherboards are the most common and largest size available. The larger size of ATX motherboards makes them much easier to work with and some of the most popular motherboards for gaming. Smaller motherboard form factors such as microATX or Mini ITX are great for office based machines or computers that need to fit specific space requirements, however building with Mini ITX compared to ATX motherboards is more challenging due to their reduced size.