With the holidays approaching us at light speed (this year went by quickly, didn't it?), it's almost that time of the year again! Holidays are meant to be spent with family, eating delicious meals, and of course, a fair share of gaming and work.
Intel's release of 12th Generation CPUs comes at a perfect time, so what better way to celebrate the holidays than grabbing a processor and motherboard upgrade for your gaming rig?
Picking the Right PC Components for Intel's Alder Lake CPUs
When you're buying hardware parts for your PC, it's critical to balance cost and performance between all of them. Massively overspending on one area while relegating the rest to pennies will only result in an equally massive bottleneck that leaves tons of performance on the table.
So, how do you pick? If you're shopping for parts this holiday season, we've simplified the process for you with a list of components that'll pair well with a 12th Gen Intel system in 2021. You'll find ideal options for every budget – allowing you to grab those coveted Christmas deals as and when you see em!
Best Z690 Motherboards for Intel's Alder Lake CPUs
Premium High-End Z690 Motherboards: MEG Z690 ACE / MEG Z690 UNIFY
If you're shopping for parts with your primary concern being performance, this tier of motherboards will suit you best. They don't compromise on performance at all and deliver a no-compromise computing experience!
The Z690 platform is perfect for those wanting to jump into a platform that supports the latest DDR5 memory and PCIe Gen 5.0 devices. And the high-end of this stack is the pinnacle of this experience.
You'll find robust power designs (Direct 19+1 Phases with 105A Smart Power Stages) on both the Z690 ACE and UNIFY, allowing them to handle even the most demanding 12th Generation Intel CPUs with ease.
Everyone hates running out of SSD storage space. Poring over your install list and wrestling with the idea of deleting one thing over the other is such a pain. And with game sizes crossing the 100GB mark with worrying frequency this year, you're bound to run into such issues more often.
The Z690 motherboards here come equipped with a whopping total of 5 M.2 Connectors, so you can install additional NVMe storage without worrying about swapping anything out.
These boards also offer PCIe Gen 5.0 to make sure you're ready for graphics cards of the future. Add to the Wi-Fi 6E and Dual 2.5 GbE LAN, and you can rest assured that internet speeds and stability, over both wired and wireless connections, aren't compromised for several years.
The MEG Z690 ACE offers Dual Thunderbolt 4 ports, and also comes with gorgeous RGB lighting and Genuine 24-karat gold foil on its heatsink to showcase pure luxury, while the Z690 UNIFY's all-black design makes for a quieter, more tasteful build.
Mid-Range Z690 Motherboards: MPG Z690 CARBON WIFI / MPG Z690 FORCE WIFI / MPG Z690 EDGE WIFI / MPG Z690 EDGE WIFI DDR4
The mid-range Z690 motherboards are ideal for gamers who want to balance price and performance. Here, you don't lose out on performance and only miss out on a few, more premium features.
All the Z690 motherboards in this group boast a premium thermal design that effectively dissipates heat away from the power delivery components. Add to this their premium PCB material – and you get reliable, robust motherboards that can handle Intel's newest CPU offerings with ease.
You won't hold back your high-speed internet or local networking performance, regardless of whether you're going wired or wireless, with the DDR5 boards coming equipped with 2.5G LAN and Wi-Fi 6E.
Built-in USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 (yes, the USB naming standard is a mess) on these motherboards ensures that you're ready for the fastest external storage devices of today and tomorrow – without needing to compromise on speed or running for an upgrade too soon.
These motherboards do have a few distinctions. While most motherboards here showcase familiar, sleek designs that gamers have loved for years, the MPG Z690 FORCE WIFI brings something new to the table. It features a gorgeous silver-and-white design that demands immediate attention.
Value-Oriented Z690 Motherboards: MAG Z690 TORPEDO / MAG Z690 TOMAHAWK WIFI / MAG Z690 TOMAHAWK WIFI DDR4
If you're shopping for value-oriented Alder Lake CPUs, a motherboard within this category would be the best bet.
These Z690 motherboards come equipped with a robust 16+1+1 Duet Rail Power system that ensures stable power delivery even under extreme conditions. The large heatsink over the power stages helps dissipate heat as well, allowing for additional stability when overclocking and pushing your brand-new CPU to the limit.
You don't have to compromise on M.2 slots, as every motherboard in this category offers a total of 4 slots for easy storage expansion.
Add to this Lightning PCIe Gen 5.0 to be ready for the next generation of graphics cards and a premium PCB, and you get an excellent platform for your Alder Lake PC. It won't hold you back in the coming years, even when new technologies like DDR5 and PCIe 5.0 go mainstream!
The MAG Z690 TOMAHAWK WIFI also offers 2.5G LAN and supports Wi-Fi 6E, which ensures you're ready for the next generation of internet connectivity without rushing to buy an upgrade.
Best Liquid AIO Coolers for 12th Gen Intel CPUs
Premium High-End AIO Liquid Coolers for Intel Alder Lake CPUs: MEG CORELIQUID S360 / MEG CORELIQUID S280
If you're shopping for the top-of-the-line 12th Generation Intel CPUs, effective heat dissipation is a must. When using high-end components, you don't want to leave performance on the table with a subpar cooling solution.
MSI's range of S-series Liquid Coolers offers the most premium cooling solutions for high-end CPUs. They look sick and do a solid job of transporting heat away from your processor. Both the 360mm and 280mm AIO coolers in this lineup are engineered for silent but effective cooling.
A customizable IPS display sits atop the pump. From displaying system temps to moving graphics and the weather, your choices are endless. So, go ahead and personalize it to your liking within MSI Center.
Mid-Range & Value-Oriented AIO Liquid Coolers for Alder Lake CPUs: MAG CORELIQUID C360 / MAG CORELIQUID C280
If you're looking for a balance between looks, excellent heat dissipation performance, and price, grab the MAG CORELIQUID C360 or C280. The waterblock is large and is elegantly lit using ARGB lighting. Customize it and match it to your build and/or room with stunning lighting effects using MSI center!
Both coolers here are also ready-to-use with Intel's new LGA1700 socket – making them perfect companions for your brand-new Alder Lake CPU.
Best Power Supply for 12th Gen Intel CPUs
PSUs for 12th Gen Intel Alder Lake PCs: MPG A850GF and MPG A750GF
As you probably already know, the quality of your power supply is as important as its wattage and efficiency. MSI's MPG A850GF and A750GF PSUs are engineered to withstand the demands of new-gen parts from 12th Gen Intel CPUs as well as Nvidia's 30-series Graphics Cards – making them the perfect choice for a premium, top-tier PC build.
Both power supplies boast an 80-PLUS Gold Certification for excellent efficiency and an incredible 10-year warranty that showcases MSI's confidence in the high-end components used to build these PSUs. In addition, they boast flat cables, which ensure that you can now close the back of your case without getting into a wrestling match with your side panel.
Pick the higher wattage PSU (850) if you're planning a build around top-tier parts like an RTX 3080/3090 GPU and a 12th Gen Intel Core i9 / i7 processor. However, for less power-hungry components, the 750W MPG A750GF power supply is the ideal choice.
Note: Please use a reliable power supply calculator for a rough estimate.
Best PC Case (Cabinets) for Intel's Alder CPUs
MPG VELOX 100R / MPG VELOX 100P AIRFLOW
Meet the MSI MPG VELOX 100R and 100P AIRFLOW cases. They combine elegant design with a symphony of tempered glass and metal, resulting in a genuinely stunning PC case. You can't help but stare.
The Velox 100 series brings excellent airflow and outstanding thermal performance – ensuring effective heat dissipation. You can accommodate up to a 360mm radiator (front and back), so you don't need to compromise on cooling performance even when running the very best CPUs from Intel's new 12th Gen Lineup.
The Velox series also has an ARGB LED control panel that makes switching between different lighting effects a breeze. In addition, a front-panel USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 Type C port allows you to connect high-speed external devices without missing a beat. Also a good choice for MEG series with front Gen 2x2 Type C.
If you want a no-compromise thermal solution, the MPG VELOX 100P AIRFLOW is the right case for your PC. Its ventilated front panel allows for much greater airflow – making it ideal for moving heat outside your cabinet and away from parts like your CPU and GPU.
Celebrating the Holidays 2021 – MSI Style
This season brings a ton of deals to stores near you, and we at MSI would love to celebrate these holidays with you with a few rewards of our own! We're feeling particularly festive, and it doesn't end there this year.
Go ahead and grab that deal from your retailer, and we'll add in something extra.
For eligible MSI products you buy during this 2021 holiday season (1st December 2021 to 31st December 2021), you can claim a cashback (amount varies by product) or a steam wallet code of equal value. Your pick!
Head on over to our Christmas deals page for more information. You'll also find a list of all eligible products and their respective cashback rewards.