In brief: Intel is expected to unveil its Alder Lake desktop CPUs in the coming weeks, and motherboard manufacturers like Asus are getting ready for their impending release. The company will have a total of 19 Z690 motherboards, and pricing for nine of them has just leaked via listings on a Canadian retailer's website.
We already know what to expect in terms of pricing for Intel's upcoming 12th generation Alder Lake desktop CPUs, as there have been several leaks from specialized retailers as well as Amazon. Suffice to say, you'll have to pay a premium over Rocket Lake for the new processors, but there are hints that their performance and overclocking abilities may warrant the higher price, especially if you're a fan of Team Blue.
As we get closer to the official launch, LGA 1700 motherboard listings are also popping up online. The latest leak (via @momomo_us) involves Asus' upcoming Z690 motherboard family, which includes ROG, TUF, and PRIME models. Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger did say earlier this year that the first Alder Lake CPUs to hit the market will be targeted at enthusiasts, so naturally manufacturers are scrambling to have higher-end motherboards ready for early adopters.
|Model||Supported memory||Power phase design||CAD Price||USD Price|
|ROG Maximus Z690 Hero||DDR5||20+1||$789||$626|
|ROG STRIX Z690-F Gaming WiFi||DDR5||16+1||$511||$405|
|ROG STRIX Z690-A Gaming WiFi D||DDR5||16+1||$447||$355|
|TUF Gaming Z690-PLUS WiFi D4||DDR4||14+2||$371||$294|
|PRIME Z690-P WiFi||DDR5||14+1||$319||$253|
|PRIME Z690-P WiFi D4||DDR4||14+1||$307||$244|
|PRIME Z690-P D4||DDR4||14+1||$281||$223|
Alder Lake CPUs come with both DDR5 and DDR4 support, and listings at Canadian retailer PC-Canada suggest that both options will be quite expensive. That said, take these prices with the proverbial grain of salt, as they could be just placeholders at this point.
If we assume the leaked Alder Lake CPU pricing is accurate, the cheapest way to upgrade to the new platform would be to keep your current DDR4 memory kit and spend $260 on a Core i5-12600KF and around $220 on a Z690 motherboard. Cooler manufacturers like Noctua are already offering Alder Lake mounting kits for free to their loyal customers, which means some of you won't need more than $500 to make the jump.
However, if you'd like a DDR5 memory kit to go with your Alder Lake CPU, things start to get more expensive. While the price difference between motherboards with DDR4 and DDR5 support isn't significant (around $10), entry-level DDR5-4800 memory kits from Teamgroup can sometimes be found for around $300 for two 16 GB modules.
Early DDR5 vs. DDR4 testing suggests you won't see a major improvement in performance if you opt for an entry-level DDR5-4800 memory kit to replace your existing DDR4-3200 kit, so you'll probably want to hunt for premium DDR5 memory kits, which are expected to cost a small fortune. Either way, it looks like the early adopter tax for Alder Lake will be a hefty one.