This article was updated 3rd January 2023.
The latter part of 2022 felt like a reward for the previous two years of pure hell for PC enthusiasts. With next generation graphics cards, AMD and Intel motherboards, ATX 3.0 PSUs and CPUs all dropping, those wishing to upgrade their PC will be spoilt for choice all the way into mid-2023. The new motherboard offerings from AMD and Intel, however, are the most critical component, as these will pave the way for performance and efficiencies that make all of this new hardware worth buying.
Z790, H770, and B760 motherboard news
In the run up to the eagerly awaited Raptor Lake motherboard release, motherboard giants Biostar managed to one-up competitors in January 2022, and get ahead of other leaks with "official filings" of their Z790 Valkyrie, Z790 Racing GTA, and Z790-A Silver motherboards.
The filing appeared on the Eurasian Economic Commission website, featuring the new boards, which prompted many tech sleuthing blogs to ask Biostar if there were any legitimacy to the listing. However, Biostar contacted Videocardz.com later to confirm "The 790 series are still in the planning stage and the listing is not real".
The source of the information was not without a modicum of merit, however. The Eurasian Economic Commission is a regulatory body of the Eurasian Economic Union, where manufacturers must submit details of their new products for examination before export into countries like Belarus and Kazakhstan. It has often been the case that "leak" websites trawl regulatory websites and patent directories to spot new products long before they surface, as companies try to get a head start on the administration side of a launch. A few years ago, the cunning geeks over on Reddit found patents relating to AMD's own version of Ray Tracing and online filings pertaining to NVIDIA's new Ray Tracing engine, including fun diagrams around "efficient bounding volume hierarchy tree traversal". If that is your bag, then feel free to browse the patents yourself.
Biostar did confirm something, though - that their new mid-range motherboards will be the B760 range, a next-gen equivalent of the B660 (if you were wondering).
DDR4 & DDR5 support
The Raptor Lake chipsets are LGA1700 like their Alder Lake predecessors, so DDR4 was an assumed supported platform during the leaks and misinformation, along with support for DDR5 like we've seen in the B660 DDR5 and Z690 DDR5 motherboards.
Some put a lot of faith in a leaked Intel slide from a presentation in Shenzen, China, which showed the boards having JEDEC DDR5–5600 support. Alder Lake motherboards support 4800 MT/s memory (DDR5-4800), so the next logical step would be to increase performance with JEDEC. This turned out to be true. The MSI MEG Z790 does indeed support JEDEC DDR5–5600 memory out of the box and up to a whopping 7800 MHz overclocked.
JEDEC (Joint Electron Device Engineering Council) provide the standardized speeds/timings RAM is capable of, and Extreme Memory Profile (XMP) are the customised tweaks you can apply in your UEFI for higher speeds. Ergo, using XMP with JEDEC memory in a next-gen motherboard could see some significant gains, especially if we factor in the below official Raptor Lake processor performance.
Which Z790 motherboards have launched?
As of January 2023, you have a raft of Alder Lake and Raptor Lake compatible Z790 boards to choose from. Surprisingly, they are priced so that even a mid-tier build using a lesser powered Core i3 or Core i5 processor is possible, priced under £300 and heading toward the sub-£250 mark very soon.