In order to compete with AMD’s complete domination of the CPU market after the release of their Zen 3 Ryzen 5000 CPUs, Intel has launched their 11th generation Rocket Lake processors. These models have respectable single core performance, and are excellent choices for gaming builds. Another inherent advantage of these CPUs is their availability, as AMD’s Zen 3 processors can seldomly be found at their initial MSRP.
Now, if you have chosen to go the Intel route for your next CPU, you are going to want to find the best motherboard to house this processor. Choosing a motherboard can be tricky, as there are so many models to choose from, and the differences between them can be hard to differentiate. Currently, Intel has three different types of motherboards for their 10th and 11th generation CPUs (LGA 1200 chipset): The B560, the H570, and the Z590.
|Socket||LGA 1200||LGA 1200||LGA 1200|
|DMI Gen 3 Lanes||x4||x8||x8 (RKL) x4 (CML)|
|Maximum PCIe 3.0 Lanes||12||20||24|
|PCIe Configuration||1×16+1×4||1×16+1×4||1×16+1×4 or 2×8+1×4 or 1×8+3×4|
|Max USB 3.2 Gen 1×1||2||2||3|
|Max USB 3.2 Gen 1×2||4||4||10|
|Max USB 3.2 Gen 1×2||6||8||10|
|Maximum USB Ports||12||14||14|
|Maximum SATA Ports||6||6||6|
|Bus Speed||8 GT/s||8 GT/s||8 GT/s|
|Raid Configuration||N/A||0, 1, 5, 10 (SATA)||0, 1, 5, 10 (SATA)|
|Integrated Wi-Fi MAC||Wi-Fi 6 AX201||Wi-Fi 6 AX201||Wi-Fi 6 AX201|
|Intel Optane Memory Support||Y||Y||Y|
|Intel ME Firmware Version||15||15||15|
|Intel HD Audio Technology||Y||Y||Y|
|Intel Smart Sound Technology||Y||Y||Y|
|Intel Rapid Storage Technology (RST)||Y||Y||Y|
|Intel Platform Trust Technology (PTT)||Y||Y||Y|
|Overclocking Support||Memory Only||Memory Only||Memory + CPU|
The main differences between the three motherboards are: their number and configuration of PCIe lanes, their connectivity, and their support for CPU overclocking. The B560, being the entry-level option, has the least amount of PCIe & DMI lanes, the least amount of USB slots, and no raid configuration support. However, it is the least expensive of all three options, so, if these shortcoming seem unimportant to you, then this would be the best of the three motherboards to choose from.
The H570, being the mid-level option of the two, does have a bit more connectivity then the B560 – with x8 DMI lanes, 20 PCIe lanes, and 2 additional USB 3.2 slots – but the key missing feature is its lack of CPU overclocking support.
The premium model of the three is the Z590, which not only has the best connectivity, but it also is the only option that allows for CPU overclocking. This is particularly important for those looking to purchase Intel i7 or i9 Rocket Lake CPUs, which are built with premium overclocking technology like Intel’s Turbo Boost Max Technology 3.0 Frequency and Intel Thermal Velocity Boost Frequency.
The best way to choose which motherboard to purchase, in order to house your new Intel Rocket Lake CPU, is to check their connectivity and see which best fills your needs. If you care little about overclocking your CPU, then both B560 and H570 motherboard models have solid options for your choosing. If you don’t need the extra connectivity, the B560 is the way to go, as it is the cheapest of the three, yet offers enough utility to be a respectable option. Given also that RAM overclocking is now possible for any LGA 1200 motherboard model, both the B560 and H570 can be valuable for their price.
If CPU overclocking potential is important for you, then, unfortunately, you only have one option to choose from: the Z590. This motherboard may come at a relatively high price, but the good news is you will have excellent connectivity, and added features that are usually reserved for premium motherboards: like a high-end audio chipset and powerful VRM & cooling solutions.