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Choosing the Best Motherboard for Intel's Core i3-12100T

Find out what factors you should consider when choosing a motherboard for Intel's 12th generation Core i3 12100T.

12100T Best Motherboard Timur Garifov / Unsplash

Last Updated: August 22, 2022

Written by Kevin Jones

This article will discuss choosing a motherboard for Intel's Core i3 12100T processor. Check out my Recommended Motherboards below, along with compatible CPU coolers and memory.

It's important to note that CPUs with a "T" suffix are not sold in a retail box, as is the case for the 12100T. However, this article may be useful if you want to replace a motherboard for an existing CPU.

Top DDR5 Motherboard
Top DDR4 Motherboard
Check another CPU:

Motherboard Requirements for Core i3-12100T Processors

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For Intel's 12th generation Core i3 12100T processor, you'll need a motherboard with an LGA 1700 socket and a compatible 600-series chipset.

Motherboards for Intel processors are made with chipsets provided by Intel. Each chipset offers a unique set of capabilities. However, motherboards must explicitly support features and capabilities for you to use them. Verify that a motherboard supports the features and capabilities you desire.

The lack of a "K" suffix in the model name 12100T means it doesn't support overclocking. Because of this, there is no need for you to use the top of the line Z690-based motherboards that typically support overclocking. Instead, you can use a motherboard with Intel's other 600-series desktop chipsets (e.g., H670, B660, H610).

Motherboards with the Z690 chipset were the first ones available, while motherboards with the other chipsets (H670, B660, H610) are starting to be released throughout 2022.

The W680 and Q670 chipsets are intended for workstation and business use cases; their availability in stand-alone motherboards is limited.

Intel 600 Series Desktop Chipsets
Z690H670B660H610W680Q670
Recommended Usage For Enthusiast Gamer PCs For General Home and Gaming PCs For Budget PCs For Barebones PCs For High-End Creative/Engineering Workstations For Nicer Business PCs
Motherboard Availability Limited Limited
Launch Date Q4 2021 Q1 2022 Q1 2022 Q1 2022 Q1 2022 Q1 2022
CPU Overclocking
See Exceptions: MOTHERBOARD
Yes Yes Yes No Yes No
Memory Overclocking Yes Yes Yes No Yes No
PCIe 5.0 Slots via Processor One x16 or Two x8 One x16 or Two x8 One x16 One x16 One x16 or Two x8 One x16 or Two x8
PCIe 4.0 Slots via Processor One x4 One x4 One x4 None One x4 One x4
PCIe 4.0 Lanes via Chipset Up to 12 Up to 12 Up to 6 None Up to 12 Up to 12
PCIe 3.0 Lanes via Chipset Up to 16 Up to 12 Up to 8 8 Up to 16 Up to 12
Memory Channels 2 2 2 1 2 2
Integrated Wireless Wi-Fi 6E AX211 (Gig+) Wi-Fi 6E AX211 (Gig+) Wi-Fi 6E AX211 (Gig+) Wi-Fi 6E AX211 (Gig+) Wi-Fi 6E AX211 (Gig+) Wi-Fi 6E AX211 (Gig+)
DMI 4.0 Lanes 8 8 4 4 8 8
USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 (20 Gbps) Up to 4 Up to 2 Up to 2 None Up to 4 Up to 4
USB 3.2 Gen 2x1 (10 Gbps) Up to 10 Up to 4 Up to 4 Up to 2 Up to 10 Up to 8
USB 3.2 Gen 1x1 (5 Gbps) Up to 10 Up to 8 Up to 6 Up to 4 Up to 10 Up to 10
USB 2.0 Ports 14 14 12 10 14 14
Wi-Fi 6E Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
SATA 3.0 Ports Up to 8 Up to 8 Up to 4 Up to 4 Up to 8 Up to 8
PCIe RAID 0, 1, 5, 10 0, 1, 5, 10 None None 0, 1, 5, 10 0, 1, 5, 10
SATA RAID 0, 1, 5, 10 0, 1, 5, 10 0, 1, 5, 10 None 0, 1, 5, 10 0, 1, 5, 10

MOTHERBOARD The motherboard must support overclocking to use overclocking capabilities. Motherboards with Z-prefixed chipsets more commonly support overclocking.

Check out my Recommended Motherboards for the 12th Gen 12100T below.

GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS Master GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS Master Check Price on Amazon Amazon Affiliate Link

DDR4 or DDR5 Memory

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Because DDR4 and DDR5 are not backward compatible, you must decide which one you want to go with before selecting a motherboard.

DDR5 memory is currently more expensive than DDR4.

However, it offers up to double the stock data rates of DDR4. Overclockers could push this limit even further.

Additionally, DDR5 supports higher-capacity DIMMs (256 GB vs. 64 GB).

DDR5 may experience slower timings at initial release but should be much better than DDR4 as the technology matures. However, keep in mind that the timings scale inversely with the clock rate (frequency). The timing values are in units of clock cycles, but more cycles are happening per second with DDR5. For example, DDR3-2133 CL10 has nearly the same latency as DDR5-8400 CL40. So don't let the CL40 timings of DDR5 scare you away; the number just looks bigger!

DDR Generations (Without Overclocking)
DDR4DDR5
Max UDIMM (Unbuffered) Capacity 32 GB 128 GB
Bandwidth 12800–25600 MB/s 38400–57600 MB/s
Transfer Rate 1600–3200 MT/s 4800–7200 MT/s
Base Frequency 800–1600 MHz 2400–3600 MHz
Effective Frequency 1600–3200 MHz 4800–7200 MHz
Voltage 1.2 V 1.1 V
On-die ECC No Yes

Other Considerations When Choosing a 12100T Motherboard

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In addition to selecting a motherboard with a socket type and chipset compatible with the 12100T, here are a few other things to consider when picking a motherboard. Some of these considerations will help determine the best chipset to use.

Memory Overclocking

To be able to overclock DDR memory, such as via an XMP profile, your motherboard chipset needs to support memory overclocking.

Video Output Port

The lack of an "F" in the 12100T model name indicates that the CPU has integrated graphics support. You will need to make sure that your motherboard also has a video output port (e.g., HDMI) if you want to use the integrated graphics.

Even if you primarily connect your monitors to a graphics card, integrated graphics can be beneficial when troubleshooting and fixing graphics card problems.

Storage: M.2 Slots and SATA Ports

NVMe M.2 cards are the latest and fastest form of SSD storage. However, you need to ensure that your motherboard includes enough slots.

The Z690 and H670 chipsets support the most PCIe 4.0 lanes, which means that motherboards with these chipsets are likely to have the most x4 NVMe M.2 slots available.

Learn more about storage types in my article Storage Type Comparison: M.2, U.2, NVMe, SATA, SSDs, HDDs.

Connectivity

USB

Make sure that the motherboard provides enough USB ports at your desired speeds. The Z690 can support the most USB ports at USB 3.2 2x2 (20 Gbps), USB 3.2 2x1 (10 Gbps), and USB 3.2 1x1 (5 Gbps) speeds. The devices that are likely to need the high bandwidth rates will typically be limited to storage devices and high-resolution video devices.

Audio

Make sure that the motherboard has your desired audio outputs.

For example, if you have a surround sound system, ensure that it comes with rear and center speaker ports.

If your audio equipment requires an optical input, consider getting a motherboard with this port.

Alternatively, you can purchase a separate PCIe or USB sound card to add additional port types such as optical or RCA.

Form Factor

Motherboards typically come in one of three form factors. ATX is the most common motherboard form factor for a desktop PC.

You might also consider Mini-ITX or MicroATX form factors to build a mini-PC. Keep in mind that these smaller form factors typically have fewer PCIe card slots, fewer RAM slots, and can not support as many storage devices.

These smaller Mini-ITX and MicroATX motherboard form factors are backward compatible with standard ATX cases. They use a subset of the ATX mounting holes. You can also use Mini-ITX motherboards in MicroATX cases.

You will need a computer case compatible with your motherboard form factor.

PCIe Expansion Slots

The Z690 and H670 chipsets provide the most flexibility, allowing multiple PCIe 5.0 graphics cards in the dual x8 configuration.

The H610 chipset, on the other hand, is very limited, with only a single PCIe 5.0 x16 slot.

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DDR5 Motherboard: Gigabyte Z690 AORUS Master

  • Our recommended DDR5 motherboard to pair with the Core i3-12100T is Gigabyte's Z690 AORUS Master: GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS Master GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS Master Check Price on Amazon Amazon Affiliate Link
    • PCIe 5.0 support
    • It supports up to 128GB of DDR5 memory (DDR5 provides the fastest memory speeds)!
    • 10 Gbps Ethernet port is faster than any home Internet speed available with tons of room to spare for file transfers.
    • Wi-Fi 6E makes it easy to reach the fastest speeds and future-proof your Wi-Fi system.
    • Bluetooth 5.2 is great for streaming music to Bluetooth headphones.
    • Four x4 NVMe M.2 slots, which is fantastic! Three of these run at PCIe 4.0 speeds, and one at PCIe 3.0 speeds.
    • USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 offers 20 Gbps USB speeds!
    • Check the latest price of the GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS Master on Amazon (affiliate link).

DDR4 Motherboard: Gigabyte Z690 AORUS Elite AX DDR4

  • Our recommended DDR4 motherboard to pair with the Core i3-12100T is Gigabyte's Z690 AORUS Elite AX DDR4: GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS Elite AX DDR4 GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS Elite AX DDR4 Check Price on Amazon Amazon Affiliate Link
    • PCIe 5.0 support
    • It supports up to 128GB of DDR4 memory!
    • 2.5 Gb Ethernet port is faster than most home Internet speeds with room to spare for file transfers.
    • Wi-Fi 6
    • Bluetooth 5.2 is great for streaming music to Bluetooth headphones.
    • Four x4 NVMe M.2 slots, which is fantastic! All four of these run at PCIe 4.0 speeds.
    • USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 offers 20 Gbps USB speeds!
    • Check the latest price of the GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS Elite AX DDR4 on Amazon (affiliate link).

Considerations When Choosing a CPU Cooler

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Thermal Dissipation

A CPU cooler's TDP (Thermal Design Power) rating indicates how much heat it can dissipate in watts. If the cooler can't keep your CPU cool enough, your CPU may throttle (slow down), and your cooler will constantly run at full speed.

Intel CPU specifications indicate this power dissipation number as "Processor Base Power" and "Maximum Turbo Power."

Depending on the workload, the Core i3-12100T has a TDP of 35–69 watts.

A CPU cooler can still work with a lower TDP rating than the TDP of a CPU. However, the CPU will eventually throttle itself to a lower frequency to allow itself to cool.

The CPU may not achieve or maintain maximum turbo speeds without adequate cooling.

Types of Coolers

Air coolers use a combination of heatsinks and fans. They are the cheapest, but also the loudest.

A Closed-Loop Cooler (CLC), also called an All-in-One (AIO) cooler, is a type of liquid cooler. All-in-one liquid coolers provide a more straightforward setup in a single pre-built package.

Liquid cooling can provide even better TDP performance at lower noise levels but are more expensive and take up more room. The noise level and ability to cool your CPU will depend on the liquid cooling solution's radiator size and the number and size of the fans.

Find LGA 1700 AIO Coolers on Amazon (affiliate link).

Open-Loop Coolers are also a type of liquid cooler, except you construct them yourself. They allow for more flexibility in building your perfect cooling solution but can also be more complicated to set up. Open-loop systems give you the flexibility to cool additional devices, such as your graphics card's GPU.

Noctua NH-D15, Premium CPU Cooler Noctua NH-D15, Premium CPU Cooler Check Price on Amazon Amazon Affiliate Link

Noise

More fans typically mean better cooling. However, they also mean more noise.

Larger fans are typically quieter than smaller fans, as they can move the same amount of air at lower speeds.

If a cooler is struggling to cool a CPU, it will run at its maximum speed, which will be louder.

Fan noise levels are measured a dB. Lower dB values are quieter.

You can often configure your motherboard's BIOS to use specific fan speeds at particular temperatures. This configurable fan speed allows you to have a near-silent computer while your computer is idle.

Mounting Brackets

CPU coolers can have various mounting brackets to work with different socket sizes. Make sure that your cooler comes with a compatible mounting bracket.

The easiest way to find a CPU cooler that will work for your computer is to search by socket type. For example, the 12100T uses an LGA 1700 socket, so you would search for an LGA 1700 CPU cooler.

In some cases, such as when a new socket size is released, there may not be many compatible coolers. In these cases, you can often purchase a separate mounting/retention kit to work with the new dimensions.

Size

Before buying the biggest cooler possible, ensure that your case and motherboard configuration have room.

Also, ensure that other components on your motherboard won't interfere due to size constraints. For example, do your memory modules (DIMMs) have tall heat spreaders?

Dual-fan coolers often take up quite a bit of room. Liquid cooling solutions typically position fans at the top or bottom of the case.

Lighting

Some CPU cooler fans come with LED lighting. Similarly, liquid cooling pump heads can also come with LEDs or even LCDs!

If you want to turn off the lights when they get annoying, make sure your CPU cooler has that option.

Price

In general, air-based coolers will be lower cost than liquid cooling systems.

CPU coolers that support a higher TDP are also typically correlated with a higher price.

The more advanced lighting features tend to also come at an extra cost. You can decide between a practical, low-cost solution and a dazzling light show.

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The distance between heatsink screw holes for the LGA 1700 socket increased to 78x78 mm from the 75x75 mm spacing typical of recent sockets. This new spacing means you'll need a new cooler/heatsink or upgrade kit that supports the new configuration.

Locked Intel CPUs may come with a stock CPU cooler. These CPU models do not have a "K" in the name. While stock coolers will prevent your CPU from overheating, your CPU will throttle its performance during games and other intensive tasks. Higher TDP coolers will keep your CPU at turbo speeds for longer durations. Stock coolers are often quite loud at their maximum speed.

The LGA 1700 socket will require a CPU cooler that supports the new socket size. Some manufacturers are releasing upgrade kits for LGA 1200 heatsinks to support the new size.

Best AIO Liquid Cooler: Enermax Liqmax III 360

Best Dual-Fan Air CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-D15

  • Dual 140 mm fans provide 220-watt TDP (183 NSPR) of cooling capability.
  • Supports a variety of CPU sockets, including Intel LGA 1700, 1200, 1156, 1155, 1151, 1150, 2011, 2066 and AMD AM4, AM3, AM3+, AM2, AM2+, FM2, FM2+.
  • Quiet operation at 24.6 dBA. Noctua NH-D15, Premium CPU Cooler Noctua NH-D15, Premium CPU Cooler Check Price on Amazon Amazon Affiliate Link

Runner Up - Dual-Fan Air CPU Cooler: Thermaltake TOUGHAIR 510

  • This CPU cooler doesn't have any fancy LED lights, but the dual 120 mm fans do a great job of cooling LGA 1700 CPUs.
  • Suppose you think this cooler will take up too much space. In that case, Thermaltake has a few single-fan TOUGHAIR variants which use different orientations.
  • This CPU cooler has a 2000 RPM max speed for optimal cooling.
  • 180-watt TDP (Thermal Design Power). Thermaltake TOUGHAIR 510 Thermaltake TOUGHAIR 510 Check Price on Amazon Amazon Affiliate Link
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Before purchasing memory, review your motherboard specification to verify which speeds are supported. For example, if a DDR4 motherboard stated that it supports "DDR4 3400(O.C.) / 3333(O.C.) / 3300(O.C.) / 3200 / 3000," that would mean that it could support DDR4-3400, DDR4-3333, and DDR4-3300 with memory overclocking, and DDR4-3200 and DDR4-3000 at stock speeds. Motherboard specifications also indicate the maximum capacity per stick of RAM (DIMM) and across all slots.

  • At an effective frequency of 3200 MHz, this memory hits the fastest DDR4 speed supported by Intel's Core i3 12100T CPU without overclocking.
  • The low-profile form factor ensures that the heat spreaders don't get in the way of other devices, including your CPU heatsink. Corsair Vengeance LPX 32GB (2X16GB) 3200MHz DDR4 Corsair Vengeance LPX 32GB (2X16GB) 3200MHz DDR4 Check Price on Amazon Amazon Affiliate Link

Learn More About the Intel Core i3-12100T

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You can find detailed 12100T specifications on Intel's site.

Other Considerations When Building a PC

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Want to brush up on other new technologies to consider when building a computer? Check out these articles: