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Z690 vs B660 Motherboards | What are the key differences?

Intel released their three new motherboards, including the B660 & Z690, in the CES 2022 organized by CTA in Las Vegas, USA. All the latest 12-generation CPUs will come with one of these chipsets.

The Manufacturing Company describes the Z690 as the most advanced chip chest that allows CPU overclocking and the B660 chipset as an intermediate option between the basic and the advanced chipset for the 12th generation. So, what are the differences between these two chipsets? Let’s know in detail.

What is B660 Motherboard?

The Intel B660 ATX motherboard comes with the B660 chipset. It has eight power stages: the M.2 slots, PCIe 4.0 slots, Realtek 2.5 GB Ethernet, and DisplayPort, and USB 3.2 gen 1 and 2X2 type with Aura sync.

What is Z690 Motherboard?

The Z690 motherboard is specially designed for gaming devices. It has direct 16+1+2 phases with Digital VRM design, PCIe 5.0, fully thermal covering, four PCIe 4.0 with enlarged thermal protectors, and 2.5 GB LAN, with 12th Gen Intel core processors.

It comes with the much-raved Z690 chipset that supports CPU overclocking during gaming sessions. It has innovative technologies to maximize responsiveness with increased PCIe Gen 4.0 and 3.0 lanes support. On top of that, it also offers higher DPI throughput and increased bandwidth.

It supports the integrated Intel Wi-Fi 67E that offers faster internet connectivity, visually stunning 5K60 HDR video compatibility, and better volume management- all you need for an immersive gaming session.

Z690 and B660 Motherboards – Key Differences

While the Z690 is the most advanced chipset, the B660 is ideal for anyone who beds something advanced with fewer features than the Z690 chipset-enabled motherboard. Here is a side-by-side comparison of both motherboards from Intel-

1. PCIe (CPU 5.0 Lane, 4.0 Lane, Chipset 4.0 Lane, 3.0 Lane)

PCIe stands for Peripheral Component Interconnect Express, which connects and accommodates the graphics card with NVME SSDs. The most advanced PCIe is PCIe 5.0, with a speed of 4 gigabytes per second for each lane. The next PCIe is the 4.0 lane. Modern Graphics cards cannot reach their maximum potential with the PCIe 4.0 lane and need support from PCIe 5.0 lanes.

As the 12th generation core for gaming devices, the Z690 has 16 PCIe slots. It can run on these advanced PCIe at full speed alongside the 2×8 configuration. It can also run with 12 PCIe 4.0 lanes and 16 PCIe 3.0 lanes.

On the other hand, the B660 motherboard only supports the PCIe 4.0 lanes. It offers 6 PCIe 4.0 lanes and 8PVIe 3.0 lanes.

You can run multiple graphics cards with the Z690 chipset, but it is impossible with the B660 chipset motherboard. Hence, if you desire higher graphical power, you must use the Z690 motherboard to execute the dual-GPU operation effectively.

But, that doesn’t mean the B660 motherboard is bad. It will work fine but may lead to bandwidth-restricting performance while gaming.

2. DMI (4.0 Lane)

The following parameter here is the DMI or Direct Media Interface 4.0 lane. It links the Northbridge or the memory control sector to Southbridge or the I/O controller Hub on the motherboard of the CPU. While the Northbridge connects the CPU, PCIe, and RAM, the south bridge connects the USB, SATA, and BIOS with the CPU. That means that the DMI is the pathway that connects the CPU with its chipset.

The latest DMI that Intel offers is the DMI 4.0 version which comes with eight lanes with a data transfer rate of 16 Giga Transfers/ second.

The Z690 and B660 motherboards support HDMI 4.0 bandwidth, allowing you to connect multiple devices to the CPU. That means you can harness the capabilities of more devices through all the connectivity ports of the device.

While the Z690 has eight lanes, the B660 has only four. Hence, it can be said that the Z690 performs a bit better than the B660 motherboard.

3. CPU Overclocking and Memory Overclocking Support

Intel has already stated that the Z690 chipset has overclock support. Overclocking can be a great way to get the maximum CPU performance for a better gaming experience. Most 12th-generation Intel chipsets come with overclocking support.

This process allows you to enhance the CPU speed to the XMP speed. You can overclock the CPU through the XMP files located in the BIOS. It allows you to overclock the RAM to a higher frequency and also allows you to get additional and advanced performance.

While overclocking is not essential for advanced and powerful processors, it can be an added feature.

The Z690 motherboards for overclocking support, and Intel officially recognize it. Hence, it is ideal for pairing with the Unlocked K series Intel Processors.

But, the B660 motherboard doesn’t have official overclocking status from its manufacturer. Hence, it is not that advanced. It may be possible to overclock the B660 motherboard unofficially. But this can unintentionally damage your memory and the CPU. It also does not mean you cannot pair the B660 motherboard with the 12600k CPU. It won’t be on par with a Z690 motherboard paired with the same CPU.

4. Integrated Graphic Card

Both of these motherboards support integrated graphics cards. But, as the Z690 is a bit advanced, it may harness some better performance of the Integrated GPU than the B660 version.

5. Memory

  • Generation (DDR4, DDR5)- Both versions use DDR4 and DDR5 memory. While the B660 works fine with DDR4 and DDR5 RAM, the Z690 may work better than DDR5 RAM. The Z690 motherboard supports the DDR4 RAM with a clock speed of maximum 3200MHz. But, it may not offer the best possible speed if you want high-grade performance. Hence, DDR5 RAM with a clock speed of 4800 MHz is the ideal choice. On top of that, it also offers RAM speed overclocking in this motherboard with the XMP files from bios. But, if you want to get the RAM installed, you need to understand one fundamental difference; The Z690 motherboard uses different designs of DDR5 and DDR4 RAM. Hence, always get the compatible model.
  • Channels (Number) – Both Z690 and B6690 support 128GB RAM. Each motherboard supports 32GB on a single channel, with two channels. It also has 2 DIMM per channel, making 128 GB support.
  • Slots (Number) – The Z690 has a maximum of M.2 slots. While some are supported natively, other devices come with add-on cards that allow the integration of two or more slots. Both the Z690 and B660 have four memory slots.

6. RAID Support and Modes

RAID refers to the Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks, a mechanism offering protection against data loss. Both of these motherboards offer four RAID modes- 0, 1,5,10.

While the Z690 offers RAID support for both SATA and PCIe drives, the B660 only supports SATA drives. Hence, it can only offer data theft protection for your SATA drives, not the NVMe SSDs.

Choosing the Z690 may be a better idea if you want complete data theft protection.

7. No of USB Ports (3.2 {20Gbps/10Gbps/5Gbps},2.0 gen)

USB ports are more necessary for high-performance devices as they allow you to connect them to your computer.

The Z690 supports 4 USB 3.2 ports of 20G, 10 USB 3.2 10G, and ten USB 3.2 5G ports. On the contrary, the B660 Motherboard supports 2 USB 3.2 20G ports, 4 USB 3.2 10G ports, and 6 USB 3.2 5G ports.

8. Integrated Wi-Fi

Both Z690 and B660 motherboards support Integrated Wi-Fi 6 E.

9. Thermal Design Power (Watt)

TDP or Thermal Design Power is the power consumption of the device motherboard when it is under its maximum theoretical load. The power consumption will be lower if the load is lower than the TDP.

TDP offers a system with a power target that ensures the CPU gets a proper thermal solution while working. A higher TDP indicates that the processor has more computing power and performs better. Both Z690 and B660 have a TDP of 6 watts.

It is quite a low amount of power, so the motherboard doesn’t heat up much even while working to its full capability.

10. Maximum Number of Supported Displays

In this case, the Z690 scores better as it supports four displays compared to the three-display support of the B660 model.

11. CPU Generation Compatibility

Both Z690 and B660 get the same score in this section. Both of these chipsets support Intel 12th generation core, the latest till now. But, if you compare the performance, the Z690 will probably fare better.

12. Max No. of SATA 6.0 Gb/s (Number)

SATA or Serial Advanced Technology Attachment enables optical and hard drives to connect with the motherboard through serial cables over two pairs of conductors.

The Z690 chipset supports eight SATA of the power 6 GB/s, while the B660 only supports four.

13. Cost

The Z690 has many advanced features. Hence, it had a higher price tag compared to the B660 motherboard.

A Z690 motherboard will have an initial price tag of $200, while a DDR5-supported variant will have a minimum price of $210.If you want to pair it with a CPU of 12900k power, you should increase the budget to $300 or even $400.

On the other hand, the B660 comes a bit cheaper with an initial price tag of $120. But, these can also get costly if you are planning to pair these with DDR5 RAM.

A Glimpse of the Features Through the Table

Key Features Z690 B660
Intel CPU Compatibility 12th Gen Core 12th Gen Core
CPU Overclocking Support Yes No
Memory Overclocking Support Yes Yes
Intel Integrated Graphics Support Yes Yes
Max # of Displays Supported 4 4
CPU PCI Express 5.0 Lane Support 1×16 / 2×8 1×16
CPU PCI Express 4.0 Lane Support 1×4 1×4
Chipset PCI Express 4.0 Lanes 12 6
Chipset PCI Express 3.0 Lanes 16 8
DMI 4.0 Lanes x8 x4
Memory Generation DDR4 &DDR5 DDR4 &DDR5
Memory Channels 2 2
Max Memory Slots 4 4
Max # of SATA 6.0 Gb/s 8 4
RAID Modes 0,1,5,10 0,1,5,10
Max # USB Ports (total) 14 12
Max USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 Ports (20Gbps) 4 2
Max USB 3.2 Gen 2×1 Ports (10Gbps) 10 4
Max USB 3.2 Gen 1×1 Ports (5Gbps) 10 6
Max USB 2.0 Ports 14 12
Integrated Wi-Fi Wi-Fi 6E Wi-Fi 6E
Thermal Design Power (TDP) 6W 6W

B660 vs. Z690- Which is the Winner?

Well, undoubtedly, the Z690 is the best variant, with loads of high features and overclocking support. It is ideal for high-performance gaming devices. But if you need something lighter in your pocket with decent performance, B660 is the best choice.


Intel recently launched the Z690 and B660 motherboards with 12th gen cores. These two offer excellent performance and can efficiently complete many high-performance and complex computing tasks. Depending on your work nature and budget range, you can choose any of these.

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