Hunting for the best motherboards for i5-12600K? Fret not, we’ve got you covered.
The Core i5 12600K is an excellent mid-range processor from Intel’s Alder Lake generation. The processor is quite powerful but more demanding than its Ryzen counterpart, the 5600x. If you already own the Intel Core i5 12600K or intend to build your PC around it in the future, you’ll need one of the best motherboards for i5 12600K to make it run at its full potential.
The 12600K features the new core design, which utilizes 6 performance and 4 energy-saving cores. The other unique thing about this processor, or the Alder Lake generation in general, is the fact that you can use both DDR4 and DDR5 Memory modules with this processor.
The i5 12600K is an ‘unlocked’ processor, which means it has a good overclocking capacity. The processor itself has fairly low requirements, and you can use it with any chipset that is compatible with the LGA 1700 socket. However, to make full use of the potential of this powerful processor, you’ll need to pair it with the best motherboard for the i5 12600K.
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One can say that he loves to get into the nitty gritty details of PC hardware such as PCB analysis, VRM performance, memory/core overclocking potential, cooling potentials of AIOs, and the list goes on and on. His expertise does not come as a surprise, since he has been obsessed with PC hardware from the era of Opterons and Smithfield Pentium processors.
However, we don’t just rely on our experience – we also put every motherboard we review through a rigorous testing process. We test for stability, compatibility, overclocking potential, and more. Our team’s key expertise lies in the area of VRM testing, both for quality and long-term reliability. Of course, we also take into account the user experience when writing our reviews. Whether you are looking for a budget-friendly option or the absolute best motherboard on the market, we can help you find what you need.
How We Choose the Best Motherboard for i5 12600K
Choosing the best motherboard for Intel Core i5 12600K wasn’t an easy task because there were a lot of good options to choose from, having different chipsets, brands, and price ranges. And then, we had to consider the aesthetic and design of the motherboard as well.
To make things easier and a bit more specific, we decided to focus on only one chipset, the Z690, since the other chipsets that support the LGA 1700 socket lack overclocking capacity and performance, and component quality. That helped us narrow down the list to these 7 best motherboards for i5 12600k.
Aside from the chipset, we also had to choose from both DDR4 and DDR5 options for the Z690 Motherboards. The DDR4 compatible motherboards were more budget-friendly but lacked performance, while the DDR5 motherboards offered more room for upgradability and better performance, making them an overall better choice over the DDR4 boards.
Then, we had to take into account the overclock ability of each motherboard. While all the Z690 chipset boards enable both CPU and memory overclocking, some motherboards are definitely much better at it than the others.
Other than performance, we also had to consider the design and aesthetics of a motherboard. Since a motherboard is the biggest piece of hardware inside your casing, you’d want it to look good and stand out or just be pleasing to the eyes.
We included a couple of white motherboards in this list for people who’re going to build a white-themed PC or just prefer a white-colored motherboard over the regular matte-black ones. There are several motherboards that offer good onboard RGB options and some that offer no RGB. In the end, we’ve put everything for people with different tastes so they’ll have an easier time picking out a favorite board for i5 12600K. Also, if you’ve changed your mind about the i5 12600K and want to go for an upgrade to Intel Core i9, then you should pay a visit to our list of the best motherboards for i9-12900K instead. It will help you decide on the perfect board for your system.
1. ASUS ROG Strix Z690-F
Best Overall Motherboard For i5 12600K
- Good Cooling options
- Digi+ VRM
- Lots of AI features
- Lots of USB ports
- No NVIDIA SLI and AMD CrossFire Support
- No ECC RAM Support
- Could use more onboard RGB lighting
Chipset: Z690 | Form Factor: ATX | Memory: 4x DIMM, 128GB, DDR5-6400 | Video Outputs: HDMI 2.1 | USB Ports: 11x rear IO, 9x internal | Network: 1x Intel 2.5Gb, 1x Wi-Fi 6E, 1x Bluetooth 5.2 | Storage: 4x M.2, 6x SATA
ASUS is well known for its high-quality but reasonably priced motherboards, and if you’re looking for a motherboard that falls into the mid-range price bracket but offers great performance and overall good features for your i5 12600K, then the ASUS ROG Strix Z690-F is the best choice for you.
The Digi+ VRM comes with 16+1 power stages, with each consuming about 70A. The VRM is powerful enough fully utilize the overclocking capacity of your processor and memory. The VRM is also heatsinked, so the temperature remains in control. With regards to cooling, the board features thermal pads and heatsinks that cover each of the four M.2 drives. For audio, you have the SupremeFX audio codec that provides high-quality audio for gaming and listening to music.
The board is also quite user-friendly, as it comes with a BIOS flashback button which allows you to easily and safely update BIOS. It also features Q-latch for M.2 drives which lets you remove the SSDs without relying on any tools. The Q-release feature for the PCIe slot is also the same as it lets you securely detach the GPU without putting in any extra effort.
It is also quite amazing how this motherboard features AI overclocking, which automatically chooses the best overclock settings for your CPU and Memory depending on your hardware and temperatures to achieve the best results.
Along with AI overclocking, you also get several other intelligent control options like AI cooling and AI networking. AI cooling controls and manages the fans connected to your motherboard to keep the temperature under control. The AI networking features boost technologies that ensure a smooth and uninterrupted online gaming experience.
One thing the buyer should keep in mind is that the board doesn’t feature NVIDIA SLI and AMD CrossFire support. We’d also like to mention that the board doesn’t support ECC RAM.
The ASUS ROG Strix Z690-F is very good-looking in terms of looks and aesthetics. The board also comes with AURA SYNC RGB options for better personalization.
Overall, this is an excellent motherboard for Intel Core i5 12600K. The AI features, overclock ability, and the huge number of PCIe and USB ports make this motherboard easily one of the best.
2. ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Formula
Best Enthusiast Motherboard For i5 12600K
- Good Cooling options
- Digi+ VRM
- Lots of AI features
- Lots of USB ports
- Two Thunderbolt 4 ports
- VRM can get too hot on air cooling
Chipset: Z690 | Form Factor: ATX | Memory: 4x DIMM, 128GB, DDR5-6400 | Video Outputs: HDMI 2.1 | USB Ports: 2x Thunderbolt 4 ports, 6x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A, 1x USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-C, 3x USB 2.0, 5x USB Internal | Network: 1x Marvell AQtion 10Gb Ethernet, 1x Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.2 | Storage: 5x M.2, 6x SATA
The ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Formula is a white motherboard that can be made even more beautiful using the vast customization options. If budget isn’t an issue and you’re looking for the best motherboard for your i5 12600K in the market, then this motherboard is the perfect choice for you.
This motherboard also features Intelligent Control, which includes AI Overclocking, AI Networking, AI Noise-cancellation, and AI Cooling. The Intelligent Control manages and monitors the live hardware state of your PC and automatically chooses the best action for you. For example, if your PC’s temperature goes too high, the AI cooling feature will automatically increase the fan speeds so that the temperature comes in control.
It has a 20+1 VRM with each power stage rated for 105A. A highly powerful VRM can easily handle more demanding processors from the Alder Lake generation, such as the i9 12900K. Other than that, the board also features ProCool II power connectors.
For cooling, we have VRM heatsinks integrated with the EK CrossChill III solution. The VRM is known to get hotter with regular air cooling, but you also get the ROG water-cooling zone to ensure that you can do all the overclocking while keeping the temperature under control.
The board features thee M.2 slots which are all paired with a heatsink for better temperature control. Note that only two of the three M.2 slots can be used for PCIe 4.0 SSDs. If you need extra storage, you can utilize the ROG Hyper M.2 Card slot, which uses the PCIe 5.0 technology and can perform twice as fast as a regular PCIe 4.0.
The board features a user-friendly design which can be exceptionally helpful for new and veteran PC builders alike.
It also has LiveDash, which enables a lot of personalization options for the user since you can use custom images and animations to display on the motherboard’s OLED panel. Along with that, you also get 2x Intel Thunderbolt 4 ports.
The motherboard features the ROG SupremeFX 7.1 ALC4082 Audio Codec for high-quality and immersive audio output up to 120dB and 113dB recording input. Aside from all this, you also get a one-year free AIDA64 Extreme subscription, which is a software application that provides detailed information about each and every installed hardware and software.
3. MSI PRO Z690-A
Best Budget Motherboard For i5 12600K
- Budget Friendly
- Decent Thermal Solution
- fair number of USB ports
- 4x M.2 drives at its price
- Not Ideal for Heavy Overclocking
- No RGB
Chipset: Z690 | Form Factor: ATX | Memory: 4x DIMM, 128GB, DDR4-5200 | Video Outputs: 1x HDMI, 1x DisplayPort | USB Ports: 9x front (1x Type-C, 4x Type-A, 4x USB 2.0), 8x rear (1x Type-C, 3x Type-A, 4x USB 2.0 )| Network: 1x Intel 2.5Gb, 1x Wi-Fi 6, 1x Bluetooth 5.2 | Storage: 4x M.2, 6x SATA
The MSI PRO Z690-A is an excellent budget option for an i5 12600K. It is one of the cheapest Z690 motherboards available and offers all the basic features you’d want from a decent motherboard, so you can even use the same budget board if you intend to upgrade to i9 12900k.
The board features 4x DIMM DDR4 slots which allow you to install up to 128GB RAM, which can then be further overclocked to 5200MHz. The DDR4 compatibility also makes it easier to upgrade from an older DDR4 motherboard since you can just use the same memory modules for this board. Note that even though this board does support CPU and memory overclocking, it is not recommended to go for this option if your main goal is overclocking due to the 8+4 phase VRM.
For audio, you get the Realtek ALC897/ALC892 7.1 HD Audio along with Nahimic Audio Enhancer. You also get a CPU pump header if you’re looking for a water cooling setup. The board features a ton of connectivity options as it also comes with a wireless antenna. The overall thermal solution of this motherboard is also quite decent as well owing to the M.2 Shield FROZR, which ensures your M.2 drivers are always under the temperature limit.
In terms of design, the board looks quite plain compared to some of the other mid-range motherboards, but that is expected at the board’s price range. There is also no onboard RGB lighting, but you can make up for it using RGB fan headers.
4. GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS PRO
Best Gaming Motherboard For i5 12600K
- Good for overclocking
- Overpowered VRM
- Durable construction
- Good for Value
- Lacks HDMI port
- insufficient onboard RGB lighting
Chipset: Z690 | Form Factor: ATX | Memory: 4x DIMM, 128GB, DDR5-6200 | Video Outputs: 1x DisplayPort | USB Ports: 2x USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 Type-C, 4x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A, 6x USB 3.2 Gen 1, 8x USB 2.0| Network: 1x Intel 2.5GbE , 1x Wi-Fi 6, 1x Bluetooth 5.2 | Storage: 4x M.2, 6x SATA
If you’re looking for a mid-range motherboard primarily for gaming, then the GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS PRO might be just the thing you’re looking for. The board comes in both DDR4 and DDR5 versions, but here we’ll only be discussing the DDR5 version since it is more popular and easily available than the DDR 4 version.
First off, the Z690 AORUS PRO offers next to no onboard RGB lighting except for the AUROS logo. But, to make up for it, the board features a total of x4 RGB headers where x2 of them are addressable RGB fans.
One of the unique features of this mid-range gaming motherboard is the onboard debug LED, which helps you diagnose any hardware issues while and after building a PC.
The 16+1+2 Phase Twin Hybrid Digital VRM ensures smooth power delivery throughout the motherboard. Owing to the robust VRM, the board has exceptional CPU and memory overclocking capacity.
The thermal design of this motherboard is also quite good. The M.2 drives and the VRM have their dedicated heatsinks(MOSFETs for VRM) for better temperature control. Despite the effective thermal design, it is recommended that you use some sort of cooling or airflow plan to make sure the temperatures remain stable since the board is known to run hot because of the GPU under load.
The board also features a total of 13 USB ports on the rear. One thing we found lacking was that this motherboard has no HDMI port at this price range. However, it does feature a DisplayPort 1.4.
The AORUS PRO uses ALC4080 Audio, paired with High-end audio capacitors to provide noise-free and high-quality audio to the user. Overall, the board is quite durable and robust and an excellent choice for any gamer looking for a mid-range yet robust motherboard.
5. MSI MEG Z690 Unify-X Gaming Motherboard
Best Overclocking Motherboard For i5 12600K
- Excellent Overclocking Capacity
- Good onboard Cooling
- 2x PCIe 5.0 x16 expansion slots
- User-friendly overclocking
- No Video Output Port
- No RGB
Chipset: Z690 | Form Factor: ATX | Memory: 2x DIMM, 64GB, DDR5-6800 | Video Outputs: None | USB Ports: 9x front (1x Type-C, 4x Type-A, 4x USB 2.0), 10x rear (1x Type-C, 7x Type-A, 2x USB 2.0 )| Network: 2x Intel 2.5Gb, 1x Wi-Fi 6E, 1x Bluetooth 5.2 | Storage: 5x M.2, 6x SATA
The MSI MEG Z690 Unify-X Gaming Motherboard is an extremely robust and powerful board that can fully utilize the maximum potential of Intel’s Alder Lake CPUs. It does cost a bit, but the performance it offers and the quality of the board make it all worth it. If you’re an overclocking enthusiast who wants to bring the best out of their hardware, then this motherboard is a perfect choice.
It is important to note that there is no onboard RGB available on this motherboard. However, you can make use of the RGB fans and headers to make your board light up.
The Intel Core i5 12600K has some great overclocking potential, and this board’s 19+2 VRM with 105A power stages holds the ability to fully unlock the processor’s potential. Power isn’t the only thing this board offers, as it also has good cooling options as almost half of the board is covered in heatsinks.
The board only has x2 DIMM DDR5 slots, so the max RAM you can get is 64GB. However, the overclocking capacity of this motherboard more than makes up for it as you can push that RAM sticks up to 6800MHz.
Overclocking is also quite easy with this motherboard as it comes with a Tuning Controller. The Tuning Controller has some built-in overclocking profiles, which lets you overclock your PC with the touch of a few buttons. There are also several other onboard options that make PC building quite easy, such as the onboard BIOS flash button.
It doesn’t have any onboard video output ports, so you’ll have to get a dedicated graphics card to get a display.
The other thing about this motherboard is the 2x Lightning Gen 5 PCIe 5.0 x16 slots which can deliver up to double the speed of the previous generation.
It uses the Realtek ALC4080 codec, which is exceptional for delivering high-definition audio. Other than that, the board also supports Nvidia SLI and AMD’s CrossFire.
The motherboard also has great upgradeability as you can also fully overclock the i7 and i9 processors from Intel’s Alder Lake generation.
6. MSI Z690 Force WiFi
Best White Motherboard For i5 12600K
- Decent Overclocking Potential
- Supports Intel XMP 3.0
- Good Design and Build Quality
- Features 5 M.2 Slots
- VRM Runs Hot on Onboard Cooling
- Only 1 Type-C port
Chipset: Z690 | Form Factor: ATX | Memory: 4x DIMM, 128GB, DDR5-6666 | Video Outputs: HDMI 2.1, DisplayPort 1.4 | USB Ports: 10x rear, 4x internal | Network: 1x Intel 2.5Gb, 1x Wi-Fi 6E, 1x Bluetooth 5.2 | Storage: 5x M.2, 6x SATA
There aren’t many options available if you’re looking for a white motherboard for your PC. But, from the few available options, the MSI Z690 Force WiFi is an excellent mid-range motherboard that is both powerful and good-looking.
You’ll see a lot of motherboards in a similar price range with similar features, but what makes this motherboard stand out among the rest is its design and built quality.
The board offers an 18+1+1 power phase configuration VRM that enables stable overclocking. It also has decent cooling options to go with all that power consumption. It has silver-colored heatsinks, which go well with your PC if you intend to build an all-white system.
The board also features onboard debug LEDs to check if your hardware has any issues or not. These debug LEDs can also be very helpful while building a PC, so you’ll know where to look if your PC doesn’t boot up.
The MSI Z690 Force WiFi uses the same audio codec as MSI MEG Unify-X, which is the Realtek ALC4080. The Realtek ALC4080 is an excellent audio codec that delivers high-quality audio.
One thing we noticed was that the VRM of this board ran quite hot under load, despite all the onboard cooling. Other than that, the board offers 5x M.2 slots where you can easily install M.2 drives using the EZ M.2 Clips.
Overall, it is a great motherboard for a white-themed PC. It does cost more than an average mid-range motherboard, but it has all the good features that make a board worth buying.
7. ASUS ROG Strix Z690-G
Best Micro-ATX Motherboard For i5 12600K
- Good temperature control
- Lots of USB and storage options for Micro-ATX board
- decent overclocking capacity
- ASUS ROG Intelligent Control options
- Fairly expensive
- comes without a backplate
Chipset: Z690 | Form Factor: Micro-ATX | Memory: 4x DIMM, 128GB, DDR5-6000 | Video Outputs: HDMI 2.1, DisplayPort 1.4 | USB Ports: 10x rear, 6x internal | Network: 1x Intel 2.5Gb, 1x Wi-Fi 6E, 1x Bluetooth 5.2 | Storage: 3x M.2, 6x SATA
The ASUS ROG Strix Z690-G is ideal for people looking for a motherboard for their i5 12600K sitting inside a Micro-ATX case. It is an excellent motherboard for slightly smaller PC cases. The board does fall in the mid-range price bracket and may not compare to the number of features you find in regular ATX motherboards, but it still is an exceptional piece by ASUS ROG that deserves a place on this list.
This motherboard features 14+1 power stages VRM that comes covered in a heatsink. It also has the M.2 drives covered by a double-sided heatsink and several fan headers for better temperature control.
This board also has some great user-friendly features such as diagnostic LED, M.2 Q-Latch, CPU lever protection, and many others. It also has many ‘Intelligent Control’ AI features like the ASUS ROG Strix Z690-F.
The motherboard itself looks attractive, but you can also pair it with ASUS AURA for better customization options.
Despite being a small build, this motherboard offers 3x M.2 slots and a ton of USB ports, so you’re never out of storage.
Overall, it is an excellent choice if you’re looking for a decent motherboard for your Micro-ATX Casing. You’ll have to be careful with the board, though, as it doesn’t have a proper backplate to support it.
The motherboard serves as the base for the rest of your PC, which is why you should spend some time and effort selecting the best motherboard for your Intel Core i5 12600K. There are several things PC builders have to consider before buying a motherboard, and it is quite difficult to find the perfect motherboard if you don’t know what to look for.
However, we’re at your service and will help you learn about all the important things one should keep in mind while picking out a motherboard for their processor. Now, you might already own a PC or might be thinking of building one. Whatever the case is, you’d want a motherboard that can last for several years, so you don’t have to worry about spending money too soon where it isn’t necessary.
The i5 12600K or all the 12th-Gen Alder Lake processors are based on the LGA 1700 socket. The LGA 1700 is compatible with several chipsets with different properties. The compatible chipsets are listed as follows:
- Z690: The Z690 is the primary choice for anyone owning a 12th Gen Alder Lake processor. This board is capable of overclocking both the CPU and memory. It is also the most expensive one out of the other types. The motherboards with the Z690 Chipset feature a total of 28 PCIe lanes and 12 PCIe Gen 4 Lanes.
- H670: The H670 is a step down from the Z690 chipset. This chipset only allows memory overclocking. It is a decent option for budget gamers or for people with older LGA 1700 processors. The board features a total of 24 PCIe lanes and 12 PCIe 4 lanes.
- B660: The B660 is quite similar to the H670 as it also only allows memory overclocking. With this motherboard, you get 14 PCIe lanes and only 6 PCIe Gen 4 lanes.
- H610: The H610 is the cheapest and the lowest quality option available for the LGA 1700 socket. It would be a better choice to save up and buy any other chipset than this unless you have very basic needs and don’t intend to use it for heavy software, gaming, and editing.
If you’re going for one of the flagship CPUs from Intel’s Alder Lake generation, there’s no choice but to go for the Z690. It is a decent chipset that enables all types of overclocking to fully utilize your CPU’s potential. Additionally, check out our reviews on some of the best motherboards for Ryzen 5000 series CPUs.
Form factor means the size of your motherboard. It is important that you know the form factor of your PC case to have an idea about which motherboard will fit inside it comfortably.
There are four common motherboard form factors: E-ATX, ATX, Micro-ATX, and Mini-ITX. The most common form factor is the standard ATX, and you’ll find that most motherboards on this list are also of the ATX form factor.
Form factor can be an issue if you have a Micro-ATX or Mini-ITX PC Case. In that case, standard ATX form factor motherboards won’t fit inside your PC case, and you’ll have to look for motherboards of the required form factor to make full use of it.
The Intel Core i5 12600K features excellent overclocking potential. To fully unleash the processor’s power, you’ll need to pair it with a strong and powerful motherboard with a robust enough VRM that can handle the processor.
VRM plays a big role in overclocking and the overall performance of your motherboard and processor. If you have an underpowered or low-quality VRM, it won’t last long, and it can also damage your CPU due to being under load.
High-quality and powerful VRMs last much longer and can keep the processor stable under load and during overclocking.
Good cooling plays just as big of a role as power delivery during overclocking. When the CPU or memory eats up more power, it also gets hotter. The temperature can reach dangerously high limits during overclocking if you don’t have a proper cooling solution in place. If you don’t want to spend a lot of money on water cooling, you can just get yourself a couple of budget CPU coolers and see if that makes a positive difference.
The MSI MEG Z690 Unify-X is an excellent motherboard with a powerful enough VRM and cooling solution. If your primary focus is overclocking, then there’s no board better than this one for any of Alder Lake’s flagship Processors.
DDR4 vs. DDR5 compatibility
The i5 12600K is compatible with both DDR4 and DDR5 memory modules. This can be very confusing for new PC builders, but don’t worry because we’ll try to explain it all. There are many Z690 motherboards out there, and some of them are compatible with DDR4, while the other variants are compatible with DDR5.
Keep in mind that a motherboard can only support one type of memory. You can either have DDR4 or DDR5, but not DDR4 and DDR5 both.
So, you’ll have to pick one of the two different types of memory sticks. The DDR4 ones are cheaper, their compatible motherboard is also somewhat cheaper than DDR5 compatible motherboards, but the DDR4 memory is lacking in terms of speed and performance.
The DDR5 memory modules are slightly expensive along with their motherboards, but they are much faster and better in performance.
Overall, DDR5 is a much better option in any case, but if you’re upgrading from an older DDR4 motherboard, and don’t have the budget for a DDR5 PC with separate memory sticks, then you can definitely go for a new DDR4 motherboard to save the older DDR4 sticks from getting wasted.
However, if you think that the whole DDR4 vs. DDR5 thing is very confusing, you can choose to downgrade and switch to an 11th Gen i5. All of those motherboards only support DDR4. If you’re interested, we’ve also made a list of some of the best motherboards for i5-11400 for our readers.
Most modern PC cases are usually transparent on one side, so you can clearly see the insides of the case. It is the reason why it is so important to consider the aesthetics of the motherboard. A board is the biggest part of hardware inside your PC case and serves as the foundation for anything else. If the board doesn’t go with the theme of your PC case, then it might not look as good as you want it to.
That’s why it is important to have an idea about what you want your finished build to look like. It will help you choose the hardware accordingly.
In this list, we’ve got some motherboards with minimal to no RGB lighting, some boards with good onboard RPG, and a few boards that are white-themed. You should get the motherboard that you think will sit well, along with the rest of your hardware.
Best Motherboard For i5-12600K - FAQs
The ASUS ROG Strix Z690-F is the best mid-range motherboard for i5 12600k. If you’re looking for the best high-end motherboard for i5 12600K, then the ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Formula or ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Hero are the best options out there.
The i5 12600K is supported by all the chipsets compatible with the LGA 1700 socket. These chipsets are Z690, H670, B660, and H610. However, the only good recommended choice to go for is the Z690 chipset. Using any other chipset than Z690 is wasting a lot of potential processing power.
Yes, the i5 12600K holds great overclocking potential. But, to bring out that potential, you’ll have to pair it with a robust and powerful motherboard.
The i5 12600K features a total of 10 cores. 6 of these cores are called performance cores. The other 4 cores are called energy cores which are designed on power-saving architecture.
No, the i5 12600K doesn’t come with a fan, like its competitor, the Ryzen 5 5600x. You’ll have to buy fans and coolers separately to keep the motherboard’s temperature under control.
Yes, the i5 12600K primarily uses the Z690 chipset motherboard, which supports both DDR4 and DDR5 memory types. However, keep in mind that a motherboard can only support one type of memory.