Unless you’re a new PC builder, you’ll know that picking the right CPU for a graphics card (and vice versa) is crucial.
Otherwise, one of them will be a bottleneck for the other and cause the overall performance degradation.
The same is the case with RTX 3050. It’s a great 1080p/1440p graphics card targeted towards $1000-$1200 PC builds.
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Best CPU For RTX 3050 Review Guide
In this post, we’ll talk about the best CPUs for RTX 3050 in terms of value. Since 2019, AMD Ryzen processors have been dominating the CPU market.
But it’s good to see Intel finally making a comeback with alder-lake CPUs. Hence, we’ve included both Intel and AMD processors in this roundup.
1: Intel Core i5-12400: Best Gaming CPU For RTX 3050
- Intel® Core® i5 2.50 GHz processor offers hyper-threading architecture that delivers high performance for demanding applications with improved onboard graphics and turbo boost
- The processor features Socket LGA-1700 socket for installation on the PCB
- Its 18 MB of L3 cache is good enough to carry routine data and process them in a flash giving you fast and smooth performance
Our first CPU is the Intel Core i5-12400.
Coming in just a little over 200 bucks, it’s one of the affordable Alder Lake processors Intel has released in 2022.
As far as specs go, you get 6 performance cores, 12 threads, a base frequency of 2.5GHz, and a turbo frequency of 4.4GHz.
Not to forget about a healthy IPC and L3 cache improvement over its predecessors, 11400 and 11400F.
One big difference is the absence of efficiency cores. Also called E-cores, these are low-powered cores designed to handle multi-threaded tasks.
This concept is similar to the big.LITTLE architecture in ARM mobile processors.
Thankfully, it doesn’t have any negative effect on the games we played as they’re dependent on single-thread performance.
We compared it with the Ryzen 5 5600X, i7-11700K, and Ryzen 3700X CPUs during testing.
The games we played include F1 2021, Rainbow Seige Six, Hitman 3, and Far Cry 5 – at 1080p High/Ultra preset.
The 12400 manages to beat them all – even the 5600X by small margins.
Our only concern is the fact that you would need an LGA1700 socket motherboard for 12400 to work.
However, the good thing is that LGA1700 is here to stay. And if you choose wisely, you won’t need to upgrade the board for at least 2 to 3 years.
In case you want no onboard graphics card, you can go with i5-12400F since both are identical. We decided to pick 12400 because there’s only a minor difference in their prices. Also, we like to have a Plan-B if something goes wrong with the GPU.
The TDP is just 65W and is probably the reason why you get a stock cooler out of the box.
But since max. Turbo power is the rate at 117W, temperature can go up to 70° C during heavy loads. But it’s not a big issue considering how much heat Intel CPU processors generally produce these days.
And if CPU temperature is something you want as low as possible, the option of aftermarket coolers is there. You won’t need a 360mm AIO though, since overclocking is not allowed. Any sub-$50 decent cooler will do the job.
2: Ryzen 5 5600X: Best AMD CPU For RTX 3050
- AMD's fastest 6 core processor for mainstream desktop, with 12 processing threads
- Can deliver elite 100 plus FPS performance in the world's most popular games
- Bundled with the quiet, capable AMD Wraith Stealth cooler. System Memory Type: DDR4
If you prefer team Red, here’s Ryzen 5600X for you.
Released back in late 2020, it’s still one of the affordable Ryzen Zen 3 CPUs.
It comes with 6 threads, 12 cores, a base clock of 3.7GHz, and a boost clock of 4.6GHz. The L3 cache is kept at 32 MB.
Although these specs look similar to that of its predecessors (Ryzen 3600 and 3600X), AMD has made one fundamental change in the architecture.
Instead of having two CCX (CPU Core Complexes) in one processor with their dedicated L3 caches, there’s one CCX with 8 cores (two of which are disabled by default). And the whole L3 cache is accessible by each Core.
Due to this change, Ryzen 5600X performs roughly 15% better than the 3600/3600X processors.
The titles we played were Cyberpunk 2077, Hitman 3, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, and Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla.
While 12400 manages to get 1-2% better FPS in all of these games, it consumes 25% more power than the 5600X. And since you can overclock the 5600X (unlike the 12400), there’s still some headroom left for improvement.
And to be honest, this was expected since the 5600X was released 12 months before the 12400.
It comes with a relatively lower TDP of 65W. There’s a wraith stealth stock cooler out of the box that performs above par unless you put multi-threaded workloads. Luckily for you, we’ve already published a guide regarding CPU coolers for 5600X.
As we discussed above with 12400, there’s an additional cost you need to consider when going for the 5600X: the motherboard.
AMD has been very kind in this regard and is using the same AM4 socket since 2017. But going by rumors, the new-gen Ryzen processors will support a new socket (AM5?) altogether.
Hence, if you’re going to have a new motherboard for 5600X, we would only recommend going for budget/midrange model.
3: Intel Core i5-12600K: Best CPU For RTX 3050 Overall
- Intel® Core® i5 Deca-core (10 Core) 3.70 GHz processor offers hyper-threading architecture that delivers high performance for demanding applications with improved onboard graphics and turbo boost
- The Socket LGA-1700 socket allows processor to be placed on the PCB without soldering
- 16 MB of L3 cache rapidly retrieves the most used data available to improve system performance
The last CPU we have is the i5-12600K.
Currently priced at roughly 280 bucks, it comes with 10 cores, 12 threads, and a 20MB smart L3 cache.
Being part of the Alder Lake family, the i5-12600K features a hybrid architecture. It means, out of those 10 cores, 6 are performance cores while 4 are efficiency cores.
The performance cores are base clocked at 3.7GHz and can be boosted to 4.7GHz. On the other hand, those efficiency cores come with 2.8GHz clock speed and 3.6GHz turbo speed.
Thanks to these Hybrid cores, the 12600K performs roughly 15% better than the Ryzen 5600X in gaming and multi-threaded productivity workloads.
Our only concern regarding the 12600K is the power consumption and heat. It comes with a base TDP of 125W and turbo TDP of 150W – considerably higher than that of 12400 and Ryzen 5600X.
On top of this, Intel has made Die and STIM area even thinner to achieve those impressive results. And since you don’t get any cooler out of the box, you will have to spend some extra cash to keep the temperature levels in check.
In short, you must have a capable motherboard, power supply, and CPU cooler for 12600K to work optimally.