Best CPU For RTX 3000 Graphics Cards

Best CPU For RTX 3060 Ti, RTX 3070, And RTX 3080

The RTX 3060 Ti And 3070 are two “entry-level” GPUs by Nvidia for their RTX 30 series, and their best bet to cement their dominance in 1440p PC gaming.

Although both of these GPUs are optimal for 1440p resolution, you can certainly try them on 4K by lowering other settings.

For Ultimate 4K performance though, we would recommend you RTX 3080, which is more than enough for the job with its 10 GB GDDR6X and 320-bit memory interface.

Best CPU For RTX 3060 Ti, 3070, And 3080

Best CPU For RTX 3060 Ti
AMD Ryzen 5 3600 6-Core, 12-Thread Unlocked...
Best CPU For RTX 3070
AMD Ryzen 7 3700X 8-Core, 16-Thread Unlocked...
Best CPU For RTX 3080
AMD Ryzen 9 3900X 12-core, 24-thread unlocked...
MSRP
$225.00
$321.47
$468.99
CPU Speed
4.2 GHz
4.4 GHz
4.6 GHz
Core/Thread
6-Core, 12-Thread
8-Core, 16-Thread
12-core, 24-thread
CPU Socket
AM4
AM4
AM4
Best CPU For RTX 3060 Ti
AMD Ryzen 5 3600 6-Core, 12-Thread Unlocked...
MSRP
$225.00
CPU Speed
4.2 GHz
Core/Thread
6-Core, 12-Thread
CPU Socket
AM4
More Information
Best CPU For RTX 3070
AMD Ryzen 7 3700X 8-Core, 16-Thread Unlocked...
MSRP
$321.47
CPU Speed
4.4 GHz
Core/Thread
8-Core, 16-Thread
CPU Socket
AM4
More Information
Best CPU For RTX 3080
AMD Ryzen 9 3900X 12-core, 24-thread unlocked...
MSRP
$468.99
CPU Speed
4.6 GHz
Core/Thread
12-core, 24-thread
CPU Socket
AM4
More Information

But since games rely on the single-thread performance of a CPU, you must have a capable processor as well.

For the last two years, Intel CPUs were slightly preferred for gaming while AMD was a better option for productivity. This status quo has been changed since the arrival of Ryzen 5000 processors but they are often out of stock these days.

This is the reason why we had to rely on old-gen (but still decent) processors for this roundup. And we will surely update this post once this shortage is over.

So without any more fuss, let’s see what CPUs we’ve picked for these graphics cards.

1. AMD Ryzen 5 3600

Best CPU For RTX 3060 Ti

AMD Ryzen 5 3600 6-Core, 12-Thread Unlocked...
  • The world's most advanced processor in the desktop PC gaming segment
  • Can deliver ultra-fast 100+ FPS performance in the world's most popular games
  • 6 cores and 12 processing threads bundled with the quiet AMD wraith stealth cooler max temps 95°C

Our first pick is the Ryzen 5 3600 processor and, despite being a part of last-gen Zen 2 CPUs, we think it to be perfect for 3060 Ti.

It comes with 6 cores, 12 threads, a 32 MB L3 cache, has a base/boost clock frequencies of 3.6/4.2 GHz, and a TDP of 65W.

Against Ryzen 3600, we had a few options in the form of Ryzen 3600X/XT, Ryzen 5600X, and Intel i5-10600k.

We ditched 3600 X and XT variants because there’s little performance improvement despite them costing $25 and 50$ more respectively. And even this difference can be reduced further by enabling the PBO feature.

Next comes the Ryzen 5 5600X. It’s the successor to 3600/X/XT processors, offers good performance improvement in gaming as well as productivity, but costs $100 more at least and is out of stock in every store out there.

In case you want to switch over to Team Blue, you can consider the 10600K, but there’s little to no reason for it. It offers better gaming performance than 3600 but costs almost $75 more and will require you to buy a separate CPU cooler and a new LGA 1200 motherboard as well.

All of this leaves us with Ryzen 3600 in the sub-$200 price range. It comes with the Wraith cooler, which should be enough unless you want to overclock, and is compatible with a lot of older motherboards as well.

Lastly, it is available on the MSRP level (at least right now).

We tested a large variety of games with it, such as Far Cry 5, GTA V, Rage 2, The Division 2, and Hitman 2, etc., and found it to be perfect for 1080p and 1440p gaming. It reaches the 60 FPS in all of those games but if you want to go higher and have something like a 1440p 144Hz monitor already, then you would have to go for one of the higher options discussed above.

With that said, 3600 is still a great bang for the buck gaming CPU and offers the best cost per frame ratio among all CPUs in the market.

2. AMD Ryzen 7 3700X

Best CPU For RTX 3070

AMD Ryzen 7 3700X 8-Core, 16-Thread Unlocked...
  • The world's most advanced processor in the desktop PC gaming segment
  • Can deliver ultra-fast 100+ FPS performance in the world's most popular games
  • 8 Cores and 16 processing threads bundled with the AMD Wraith Prism cooler with color controlled LED support

For RTX 3070, we would recommend you the Ryzen 7 3700x.

Yes, like Ryzen 3600, it belongs to the last-gen Zen2-based 3000 series processors, but it’s still a good value CPU and the fact that 5600X is nowhere to be found makes it a perfect replacement (unless the pricing/availability don’t go back to normal) because of only $30 price difference between the two.

With 8 cores and 16 threads, it offers a perfect balance between gaming and content creation, at a not so high price. It can help you move past the 120-fps mark @1440p resolution in most games available (except Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020, of course) and performs well in productivity apps like Handbrake as well.

The other specs include base/boost clock frequencies of 3.6/4.4 GHz, 32 MB L3 cache, and TDP of 65W.

It faces competition with several processors in the form of Ryzen 2700X, the new Ryzen 5800X, and 10700K, etc., but all of them are either too expensive or too cheap than 3700X.

Both Intel i7-10700k and 5800X performs better in gaming (and productivity as well, in the case of 5800X) than 3700X but when considered their extra cost on top of the added cost of AIO cooling solutions for them (and a new motherboard too in 10700K’s case), 3700x seems to be a better value option.

If there’s any little downside in 3700x, then it would be the limited overlooking headroom which is why we would advise you against it.

Lastly, if you want to use your RTX 3070 for gaming only, it’s better to pair it with a 3600/3600X processor because you would not be able to utilize the 3700X’s extra cores/threads in that case.

3. AMD Ryzen 9 3900X

Best CPU For RTX 3080

Sale
AMD Ryzen 9 3900X 12-core, 24-thread unlocked...
  • The world's most advanced processor in the desktop PC gaming segment
  • Can deliver Ultra-fast 100+ FPS performance in the world's most popular games
  • 12 Cores and 24 processing threads, bundled with the AMD Wraith Prism cooler with color controlled LED support

The Ryzen 9 3900X is our pick as the best CPU For RTX 3080.

It comes with 12 cores, 24 threads, 105W TDP, and 64MB L3 cache. In addition to extra cores and threads, it’s also clocked slightly faster as compared to other 3000 series models with 3.8/4.4 GHz base/boost frequencies.

It performs better than any Intel processor when it comes to productivity tasks like 3d rendering and video transcoding.

Like Ryzen 3700X, the single-core performance of 3900X is slightly lower as compared to intel offerings due to their higher clock speed. Since games rely on the single-core performance, this processor has a low value if used as a gaming CPU primarily.

Then, there’s the limited overclocking headroom especially if you stick with the stock cooler. Lastly, many apps can’t actually utilize these many cores and threads, so you’re essentially future-proofing.

On the other hand, the 7nm architecture and PCIe 4.0’s inclusion are something Intel has no answer for. Even after 18 months of 3900X’s release. The 5800X and 5900X perform better in games but unless AMD solves their availability issues, 3900X remains the only good option for RTX 3080.

Written By Aamir Irshad
Written By Aamir Irshad

Aamir is the founder and chief editor of PCBuilderz.com. For the last decade and a half, he’s been building PCs for himself and his friends. From those Core 2 processors to the latest Ryzen 5000 models, he has seen it all.

His aim for this website was to help people make the right decisions for their PC component upgrades.

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