Z690 Vs B660 Motherboards – What Are The Key Differences?

Z690 Vs B660 Motherboards - What Are The Key Differences

We’ve all been there: You’re ready to build your dream PC, but you don’t know which motherboard to choose.

The Z690 and B660 chipsets are two of the most popular options on the market, but what exactly sets them apart?

Introduction

If you’re looking to build a computer with Intel’s 12th Generation processor line-up, understanding the differences between Z690 and B660 chipsets can help you make an informed decision about which one is best for your needs. With two different chipsets available, it can be daunting to figure out what features each has and which ones are most relevant to your build. 

Starting off with Z690, this is the highest-end chipset available and provides plenty of features for enthusiast builds. It supports overclocking and has more PCI-E expansion lanes than B660. It also offers 8 SATA 3.0 ports compared to 4 on B660 boards, plus 1 x16 or 2 x8 slots for PCI-E 5.0 instead of just 1 x16 lane on B660 boards. Additionally, there are more M.2 slots supported by Z690 than by B660 – great for those who need faster storage solutions. CPU overclocking is officially supported on Z690 boards whereas it isn’t on B660 boards (bummer!)– though both support memory overclocking via XMP profiles if needed.

When it comes to rear/internal IO, there won’t be too much difference other than in terms of quantity; both chipsets offer USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports but Z690 offers up to 4 while B660 only provides a maximum of 2 ports – so keep this in mind when choosing a motherboard model as this could affect your connectivity options down the line!

Additionally, RAID support exists with both chipsets but differs in terms of interface (PCIe/SATA for Z690 and SATA only for B660).

Last but not least, if you’re looking at GPU performance metrics then check out how many PCI Express 5.0 lanes are supported; 116/28 for Z690 vs 116 for B660 – definitely something worth considering if gaming performance matters most!

Having considered all these points you may have already made up your mind as to which chipset suits your needs best – either way there are plenty of great models from both ranges such as ASUS Prime Z690-P DDR4 (budget friendly), Gigabyte AORUS Elite AX (competitively priced), MSI MEG ACE DDR5 (dual GPU setup) or Gigabyte DS3H AX DDR4 (smaller board).

Alternatively opt for higher end options like ASUS TUF Gaming WiFi or ROG Strix WiFi that offer mid-range support plus extra features such as RGB lighting or Thunderbolt 4 ports respectively – so whatever type of computer system you want to build there’s sure to be a suitable motherboard option within either range!

Let’s Talk Differences

We’ll start by taking a look at the differences between Z690 and B660 chipsets when it comes to PCI-E lanes and graphics cards.

Z690 boards can support up to twelve PCI-E 4.0 lanes, and up to sixteen 3.0 lanes, while B660 supports only up to six 4.0 lanes, and eight 3.0 lanes.

Additionally, Z690 supports either 1 x16 or 2 x8 slots for PCI-E 5.0, compared to B660’s 1 x16 lane – meaning that there are more options available for high-end users on the former chipset.

1. PCI-E Lanes

For those looking to maximize graphical performance, it’s important to consider the amount of PCI-E lanes available on a chipset – as this will directly affect the bandwidth and power of your graphics card.

Z690 is the highest-end chipset and supports either 1 x16 or 2 x8 slots for PCI-E 5.0, compared to B660 which only supports 1 x16 lane. This means that if you’re wanting to run multiple graphics cards on a B660 chipset motherboard, this isn’t possible. For gaming, this probably won’t be an issue as practically no titles support dual-GPU operation anyway but for workstations needing graphical power, you’ll need to look at the Z690 boards for dual-GPU operation.

Combined with its support for up to twelve PCI-E 4.0 lanes and sixteen 3.0 lanes (compared to B660’s 6/8) Z690 boards offer more flexibility when it comes to configuring multiple GPU systems – especially in terms of bandwidth available between components connected via PCI-E.

If you’re running a single GPU and SSD then B660 should be fine, but any more than that may see bandwidth restricting performance so it’s best practice to make sure you have access to plenty of lanes before building!

2. Overclocking Support

You will be able to get the most out of your processor with Z690 boards that support overclocking, while B660 motherboards do not officially offer this feature.

When it comes to memory overclocking, however, all chipsets available for 12th generation CPUs support this feature.

XMP Profiles on your motherboard allow you to overclock your RAM up to the rated frequency as validated by its manufacturer. The addition of Intel’s support for DDR5 memory also brings new XMP Profiles; XMP 3.0 has three standard profiles and two customisable ones for manual overclocking.

When it comes to comparing Z690 and B660 motherboards in terms of overclocking support, there are several key differences between them:

Feature Z690 B660
CPU Overclocking? Yes No
Memory Overclocking? Yes (XMP 3.0) Yes (XMP 3.0)
DDR5 Memory Support? Yes No

While Z690 offers more advanced features such as DDR5 memory support and PCI-E 5.0 slots with Thunderbolt 4 ports, B660 still provides great performance metrics at a lower price point – making it an attractive option for those looking for high-end alternatives without breaking the bank. Regardless of which chipset you choose, GeekaWhat can provide you with the perfect options for building your next gaming or workstation PC!

3. Storage

Having enough storage is essential for any build, so it’s important to consider the number of M.2 slots available on your board when choosing between Z690 and B660 chipsets. 

The latest generation of SSDs are based on PCI-E 4.0, providing up to 7000MB/s read and write speeds but only if there is sufficient bandwidth provided by lanes or ports available to them. This makes it even more important that you check how many lanes your chipset provides before buying an SSD – if you’re looking for the maximum performance out of your drive then a Z690 motherboard is likely the better choice due to its larger number of M.2 slots with faster speeds than those available on B660 boards.

4. IO Ports – We all need them!

When it comes to the rear and internal IO of your build, you’ll find that both chipsets have lots to offer – though the quantity may be slightly different.

Rear IO can vary in terms of quantity depending on the physical size of the board. Z690 supports up to 4 USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports while B660 only allows for up to 2.

Internal IO is mostly the same, however B660 has less SATA connections than Z690 with only 4 compared to 8 respectively.

For most builds these days, this isn’t a big issue as many users are taking advantage of fast M.2 SSDs which don’t require a large number of SATA connections. However if you’re looking for lots of storage then Z690 will be more suitable for your needs as it provides more connectivity options than its budget counterpart B660.

5. DMI (4.0 Lane)

When it comes to DMI lanes, the Z690 takes the cake, offering eight versus the B660’s four. This makes a major difference in performance when it comes to data transfer speeds and other operations that rely on direct memory access.

With eight lanes available on the Z690, you’ll be able to achieve faster speeds than with the B660 motherboard. The extra lanes also make it possible for more devices and components to connect directly to your CPU. This means fewer bottlenecks and better performance overall.

The extra DMI lanes aren’t just good for speed either – they can make a difference in compatibility too. If you’re looking for compatibility with certain components or types of RAM, then having more available lanes could help ensure your device will work properly with them. Additionally, some components may need additional bandwidth or power that only an increased number of DMI lanes can provide.

Of course, there are other factors at play too; both motherboards support Intel 12th generation core CPUs and have PCI Express 4.0 and 3.0 as well as Wi-Fi 6E capabilities – all of which contribute significantly to their performance levels too!

But when it comes down to pure speed and connectivity options, the Z690 has an advantage over its lesser counterpart thanks to its improved DMI capabilities.

For those who want advanced features but don’t necessarily need all the bells and whistles of a high-end motherboard like the Z690, then going for something like the B660 is probably a better option – especially if budget is an issue!

However, if you’re looking for maximum performance out of your PC, then investing in a board such as the Z690 is definitely worth considering due its superior Direct Memory Interface (DMI) capabilities alone!

6. Memory Support

Comparing memory support, the Z690 offers more flexibility and options with its DDR5 RAM and higher maximum clock speed compared to the B660’s DDR4 RAM.

The Z690 has a maximum of 16 memory slots that support up to 128GB of RAM, with 32GB per channel. This is double the amount supported by B660 which only has 8 slots for 64 GB.

Additionally, it allows for overclocking memory speeds up to 4800 MHz in contrast to the 3200MHz for DDR4 on B660. Not only does this give users better performance but also greater control over their system’s capabilities.

The Z690 promises to be future-proof too, as it supports both DDR4 and DDR5 RAM modules without any compatibility issues. On the other hand, B660 can only work with DDR4 modules due to its limited PCIe 4.0 lanes configuration.

Furthermore, Z690 also supports RAID 0/1/10 configurations allowing users to set up redundant data storage systems conveniently while no such capacity exists on B660 motherboards.

When it comes down to gaming performance especially at high settings, Z690 motherboards have an edge over their competitors due to their higher bandwidth throughputs and increased power efficiency resulting from its direct 16+1+2 phase VRM design with full thermal covering capability; thus providing gamers with a smoother experience compared to what they get from B660 boards.

Moreover, when used in dual GPU operations or even triple display setups; the features found within Z690 boards make them a preferred choice among gamers who want cutting-edge technology within their PC builds for better gaming experiences at much lower prices than similar gaming rigs equipped with top of the line components like RTX 30 series GPUs and Ryzen 9 processors would cost them otherwise.

In spite of all these features however; there are still certain drawbacks associated with using a Z690 motherboard such as its higher TDPs and significantly more expensive price tag than that of a B660 board – both being factors that should be taken into consideration before making decisions about which one is right for your needs since either option may fit depending on how you plan on using your computer going forward.

7. TDP (Watt Requirements)

We’re discussing the Thermal Design Power (TDP) of Z690 and B660 motherboards. The TDP of both options is 6 watts, so whichever one you choose won’t heat up too much when it’s running at peak performance.

A higher TDP indicates that the processor has more computing power and performs better, but in this case, the wattage is quite low. This means that these motherboards are well suited for those who don’t need to push their CPU and RAM to the limit but still want a reliable system with decent performance.

Since these motherboards have a low TDP, they can be used in smaller form factor systems like those found in HTPCs or mini-ITX cases without worrying about excessive heat buildup. This makes them ideal for people who are building systems with limited space or just don’t want to worry about installation temperatures.

With all this in mind, Z690 and B660 motherboards offer users excellent thermal performance even when under heavy load. Both can handle multiple cores and moderate overclocking without causing any issues with overheating, which makes them great choices for anyone looking for a reliable system on a budget.

8. Finally! – Price Difference

Considering the advanced features and capabilities, the Z690 motherboard comes at a higher price point than the B660, making it a better choice for those who need high-end performance.

  Z690 B660
Initial Price $200 $120
With 12900k Processor $300 -$400
With DDR5 RAM $210 Over $200

The initial price of a Z690 is around $200 while that of a comparable model of B660 is about $120. But, if you want to pair either with a 12900k  CPU then you should increase your budget accordingly as this will cost more for both motherboards with an estimated range of $300-$400 for the former and N/A for the latter due to its lack of support for such CPUs.

Also, if you are looking to pair them with DDR5 RAM then expect to pay more than double on the price tag as this feature is not supported by many models in case of B660 which will cost over two hundred dollars in contrast with just an extra ten dollars on top of its original price tag in case of Z690 motherboard i.e., around 210$.

Conclusion

Comparing Z690 and B660, it’s clear that Z690 offers more features for higher-end builds with its greater PCI-E lanes, USB ports and support for overclocking – although B660 still provides great performance and features at a lower price point.

The maximum number of SATA 6.0 GB/s, RAID support, max number of USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 ports (20Gbps), and the max number of USB 3.2 Gen 1×1 ports (5Gbps) are all higher on Z690 than on B660 motherboards. Additionally, Z690 supports CPU overclocking which is not officially supported by B660 boards; however, both chipsets offer RAM overclocking capabilities via XMP Profiles.

Ultimately, if you’re looking to build a high-end gaming PC then the ASUS Prime Z690-P DDR4 or Gigabyte AORUS Elite AX may be your best bet due to their advanced features such as DDR5 memory support and Thunderbolt 4 ports.

Conversely, if you’re looking for something more budget-friendly then the Gigabyte B660 DS3H AX DDR4 or ASUS TUF Gaming B660M WiFi may be better suited to meet your needs.

No matter what motherboard you choose though, rest assured that either chipset will provide you with an excellent gaming experience!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between Z690 and B660 in terms of overclocking?

The difference between Z690 and B660 chipsets when it comes to overclocking is quite significant. Z690 boards have official support for CPU overclocking, as well as access to more PCI-E 5.0 lanes than B660 boards, allowing for higher RAM speeds and more M.2 slots.

On the other hand, B660 boards don’t officially support processor overclocking but still offer plenty of features such as USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports and up to 6 PCI-E 4.0 lanes for memory overclocking with XMP profiles enabled.

In short, if you’re looking for more advanced features and better performance through overclocking, then Z690 is the way to go!

Does Z690 or B660 support more USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports?

We’ve got great news for you! Z690 and B660 motherboards both support USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports, but if you’re looking for more ports, the Z690 chipset is the way to go.

It supports up to four of these ultra-fast connections, compared to B660’s two, so you can take advantage of faster transfer speeds and more simultaneous connections.

Plus, with its ability to overclock your processor and support DDR5 memory, Z690 provides a level of performance that goes beyond what B660 can offer.

If you want all the bells and whistles without breaking the bank, either one will suit your needs – just be sure to make an informed decision based on your specific requirements!

Are there any recommended Z690 and B660 motherboards?

We’ve done our research and have rounded up some of the best Z690 and B660 motherboards for you.

If you’re looking for a budget-friendly option, ASUS Prime Z690-P DDR4 offers PCI-E 5.0 support with three Gen 4 M.2 slots.

For more advanced features, Gigabyte Z690 AORUS Elite AX has four Gen 4 M.2 slots as well as 6 SATA ports and overclocking support.

MSI MEG Z690 ACE DDR5 is great if you need dual GPU configuration with two Gen 5 PCI-E slots and Thunderbolt 4 ports.

On the other hand, Gigabyte B660 DS3H AX DDR4 is smaller but still offers 2 Gen 4 M.2 slots with onboard Q-Flash and integrated WiFi options.

ASUS TUF Gaming B660M WiFi provides mid-range support for high speed DDR4 memory and Gen 5 PCI-E with multiple USB connections plus two Gen 4 M.2 slots.

ASUS ROG Strix B660-F WiFi offers a high end solution with DDR5 memory support, AURA Sync compatible RGB lighting, and one PCI-E 5.0 slot to round out your build needs!

Does Z690 or B660 support more PCI Express 5.0 lanes?

When it comes to PCI Express 5.0 lanes, Z690 motherboards offer the most support with up to 116/28 lanes available compared to B660’s 116.

This makes Z690 a great choice for those looking for maximum performance and flexibility in their builds, as well as support for multiple GPUs or high-speed storage solutions.

Whether you’re building a powerful gaming rig or an enterprise workstation, you can rest assured that your system will be ready to handle whatever you throw at it with Z690 motherboards.

Conclusion

We’ve covered the major differences between Z690 and B660 motherboards, and it’s clear that each chipset has its own advantages.

If you’re looking for more features and performance, then the Z690 is your best bet. But if you want to save some money or don’t need all of the bells and whistles, then a B660 motherboard may be a better option.

Ultimately, choosing the right motherboard comes down to your budget and needs – but no matter which one you choose, you’ll be sure to have an excellent gaming experience.

Author:
I am a computer engineer holding a bachelor's degree in Computer Science, complemented by a Master's in Business Administration from University of Strathclyde, Scotland. I currently work as a Senior IT Consultant in Melbourne, Australia. With over 15 years of...