Best CPUs For RTX 3080 & 3070

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best cpus for 3070 3080

The wait is over; the new RTX 3000 series GPUs from Nvidia are almost here. Announced last week and expected to be officially released in two weeks, the new GPUs definitely got people thinking about a PC upgrade or a completely new build. If you were thinking a bout an upgrade, now may be the perfect time to do.

The presented performance of the NVIDIA 3000 series cards blew everyone’s minds away. Even the RTX 3070 outperforms the RTX 2080 TI, so here’s a worthwhile upgrade you shouldn’t miss.

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If you happen to be in a hurry, here’s a quick summary of the best CPUs for the 3070 & 3080.

Budget-Pick
Intel Core i7-10700K Desktop Processor 8 Cores up to 5.1 GHz Unlocked  LGA1200 (Intel 400 Series Chipset) 125W (BX8070110700K)
Professional Pick
AMD Ryzen 9 3900XT 12-core, 24-Threads Unlocked Desktop Processor Without Cooler
Gamers Pick
Intel Core i9-10900K Desktop Processor 10 Cores up to 5.3 GHz Unlocked  LGA1200 (Intel 400 Series Chipset) 125W
Intel Core i7-10700K Desktop Processor 8 Cores up to 5.1 GHz Unlocked  LGA1200 (Intel 400 Series Chipset) 125W (BX8070110700K)
AMD Ryzen 9 3900XT 12-core, 24-Threads Unlocked Desktop Processor Without Cooler
Intel Core i9-10900K Desktop Processor 10 Cores up to 5.3 GHz Unlocked  LGA1200 (Intel 400 Series Chipset) 125W
Best Budget Gaming Chip
Best Video Editing Chip
Best Gaming Chip
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Budget-Pick
Intel Core i7-10700K Desktop Processor 8 Cores up to 5.1 GHz Unlocked  LGA1200 (Intel 400 Series Chipset) 125W (BX8070110700K)
Intel Core i7-10700K Desktop Processor 8 Cores up to 5.1 GHz Unlocked  LGA1200 (Intel 400 Series Chipset) 125W (BX8070110700K)
Best Budget Gaming Chip
-
Professional Pick
AMD Ryzen 9 3900XT 12-core, 24-Threads Unlocked Desktop Processor Without Cooler
AMD Ryzen 9 3900XT 12-core, 24-Threads Unlocked Desktop Processor Without Cooler
Best Video Editing Chip
Gamers Pick
Intel Core i9-10900K Desktop Processor 10 Cores up to 5.3 GHz Unlocked  LGA1200 (Intel 400 Series Chipset) 125W
Intel Core i9-10900K Desktop Processor 10 Cores up to 5.3 GHz Unlocked  LGA1200 (Intel 400 Series Chipset) 125W
Best Gaming Chip

Intel I9 9900K

Core Clock Speed3.6 GHz(base), 5 GHz(boost)
Cores8(cores), 16(threads)
MicroarchitectureCoffee Lake Refresh
SocketLGA1151
Max Memory Support128 GB
Integrated GraphicsIntel UHD Graphics 630
Lithography14nm
TDP95W

Regardless of which path you choose, paring the RTX 3080 or RTX 3070 with the right CPU can make or break your configuration. As we all know, newer triple-A titles can be a bit more demanding from the CPU, so the most powerful GPU is no longer enough to get the most out of it. With the vast number of CPUs available on the market, which one should you go for?

A lot of you may reach for the newest and most expensive CPU, but that may not be necessary. With the new Comet Lake CPUs released earlier this year, going for a Coffee Lake may be a good bargain. As the prices dropped over the past several months, now may be the right time to get the Intel I9 9900K.

Even though you are looking at a two-year-old CPU, the architecture is the same, and not a lot if changed. This 14 nm CPU has eight cores and sixteen threads paired with 16 MB Intel Smart Cache. It may not sound like much, but it can give newer CPUs a run for their money. The base clock is 3.6 GHz, and the single-core boost is 5.0 GHz, while the all-core boost is 4.7 GHz. In return, these numbers show impressive benchmark results. The single-core results have been and usually will be almost identical, but the multi-core performance is excellent. The 9900K is definitely not the king of the hill, even in its own generation, but it manages to beat most of the Coffee Lake CPUs and even some of the newer Comet Lake.

Having that in mind, this CPU is one of the few that you can pair with the new RTX GPUs, and you can expect to get excellent performance out of it. The biggest reason why you need to pair the RTX 3080 or RTX 3070 with the 9900K is because of the framerates. When you run a game at 1080p, the GPU will be able to put out a lot of framerates because it does not have to deal with too many pixels. In return, that means that the CPU will need to handle them, which can be a stressful job. For 4K gaming, most of the strain falls on the GPU due to the higher resolution. This combination will have no problem even with CPU intensive games like GTA V or Assassins Creed: Origins.

With everything said here, the Intel I9 9900K is an excellent CPU to pair with the RTX 3080 or RTX 3070. The fact that it’s a previous-generation model only means that you would be getting it at a lower price, without sacrificing performance. 

Pros
  • Proficient Gaming Processor
  • Great single-core performance
  • Works on Z370 motherboards
  • 5GHz core peak for single-threaded applications
  • Come with integrated graphics
  • Great overclockability
Cons
  • No stock cooler

Intel I7 10700K

Core Clock Speed3.8 GHz(base), 5.1 GHz(boost)
Cores8(cores), 16(threads)
MicroarchitectureComet Lake
SocketLGA1200
Max Memory Support128 GB
Integrated GraphicsIntel UHD Graphics 630
Lithography14nm
TDP125W

Getting a new CPU that you can pair with the new RTX 3080 or RTX 3070 may not be as simple as possible. A common misconception in the PC building world is that the GPU is what gives you the highest framerates. Even though that is true, it’s not entirely. Unlike the olden days when games depended on the GPU for the most part, today, we see modern titles that don’t perform well when used on a “weaker” CPU. If that is the case, what CPU should you go for?

Intel’s Comet Lake CPU lineup offered a good number of CPUs with their 14 nm architecture. Even though its been years since they updated it, there are still some excellent performing CPUs that you can pair with the new GPUs, like the I7 10700K.

Packing eight cores with sixteen threads and 16 MB of Intel Smart Cache, the Intel I7 10700K runs at a base clock of 3.8 GHz and a single clock boost of 5.0 GHz, while the all-core boost reaches 4.7 GHz. The numbers may seem like nothing special, but when it comes to benchmark tests, this CPU does not disappoint. In the single-core tests, there is a slight increase when compared to last year’s counterpart but still falls slightly behind the I9s of that era. The multi-core performance tells a different story. The 10700K manages to barely get ahead of some of last year’s I9 models.

The impressive benchmark results usually mean that you should expect impressive real-world results as well, and that is true for this processor.

Putting the I7 10700K and an RTX 3080 or RTX 3070 on the same motherboard and you are looking at an excellent gaming machine with almost no compromise. As modern games need a higher computing power to be able to deliver more frames in games, this CPU will not be a bottleneck, and you would be getting the most out of the GPU. This applies even for games like GTA V or Cities: Skylines, which can get intensive with CPU demands.

In regards to the number of frames you will be getting, that will depend on the resolution you intend to play. A lower resolution like 1080p will put a strain on the CPU because the GPU will be putting out many more frames per second. On the other hand, the CPU will get some break if you game at 4K, where the GPU will be putting out fewer frames for the CPU to work with.

Sure, it may not outperform some of the I9s, but since it’s unlocked, you can easily overclock it and get some more performance.

Overall, the I7 10700K is an excellent CPU that you can pair with the new RTX GPUs.

Pros
  • Fantastic price/performance
  • Best single-core performance behind 10900K
  • Hyperthreading is back for the I7
  • Great at overclocking
Cons
  • Large TDP

Intel I9 10900K

Core Clock Speed3.7GHz(base), 5.3GHz(boost)
Cores10(Cores), 20(Threads)
MicroarchitectureComet Lake
SocketLGA1200
Max Memory Support128GB
Integrated GraphicsIntel UHD Graphics 630
Lithography14nm
TDP125W

What most people seem to forget these days is that CPUs play a massive role in the gaming experience, so pairing a GPU like the new RTX 3080 and RTX 3070 with a mid-range CPU is not the best approach. Since modern games rely more on the CPU for the framerates, you may not get the performance you paid for.

With all the new CPUs released this year, there are quite a few to choose from, and one of them is the Intel I9 10900K. Even though Intel’s Comet Lake CPUs are still running on a 14 nm architecture, they are no slouch, and the same can be said for their I9 lineup, especially the 10900K.

This ten core twenty thread premium CPU has a base clock of 3.7 GHz with a turbo clock of 5.3 GHz on a single core and 4.9 GHz on all cores. Combine that with the 20 MB of Intel’s smart cache, and you get the recipe for the most powerful Intel CPU in their current lineup, something that may remain the same even when the new Rocket Lake CPUs are released. As it stands at the moment, the 10900K outperforms last year’s I9 CPUs in multi-core performance with ease, while the single-core performance remains almost unchanged.

The numbers on paper may seem impressive, but they will mean nothing if it cannot deliver on the promised performance. Luckily, the Intel I9 10900K does not disappoint.

Pairing it with either RTX 3080 or RTX 3070 means that you will altogether avoid any kind of bottlenecking from the CPU. All the latest triple-A titles will run as smooth as possible with the highest number of frames per second as possible. It means that even games like Far Cry 5 or Assassins Creed: Origins will run buttery smooth.

Considering the performance the new RTX cards will have, moving up the resolution range means that the bottleneck is moved to the GPU. If you are running a game at 1080p, the CPU will need to work much harder than the GPU to work with the framerates you are getting. On the other side of the spectrum, at 4K resolutions, the GPU will be working harder to put out as many frames as it can. In that case, the CPU will have much less frame to work with, so it will not be a bottleneck. 

As a bonus, since you are getting a K CPU means that it comes with an unlocked multiplier from the factory. That means that overclocking will not be a problem, as long as you have an X or a Z motherboard in your system.

To sum it all up is the I9 10900K a good CPU to pair with the RTX 3080 or RTX 3070. Yes, it is. The performance increase from last year makes it a perfect match for the new GPUs.

Pros
  • Current Gaming King
  • Great Multi-core performance
  • Thinner die, better cooling
  • New motherboard socket
  • Decent overclocking potential
Cons
  • Power hungry

AMD Ryzen 9 3900XT

Core Clock Speed3.8 GHz(base) 4.7 GHz(boost)
Cores12(cores), 24(threads)
MicroarchitectureZen 2
SocketAM4
Max Memory Support128 GB
Integrated GraphicsNo
Lithography7nm
TDP105W

Getting one of the new RTX 3080 or RTX 3070 and pairing it with any CPU you could find or already have may not provide the results and performance as you may have been hoping. This is especially true if you have a mid-range or entry-level CPU that barely manages to get out of its own way. the main reason for this is that games these days depend more on the CPU than in the past, so an expensive GPU with a cheap CPU is a bad idea.

AMD has been killing it ever since they released the new Ryzen lineup a few years ago, and if you’re not interested in waiting for the new generation, a CPU from the third generation is an excellent choice – a CPU like AMD Ryzen 9 3900XT.

Equipped with twelve cores and twenty-four threads, the 3900XT runs at a base clock of 3.8 GHz and a 4.7 GHz single-core boot. Regarding all-core boots, you are looking at 4.1 GHz. On top of that, you have 70 MB of cache, which is much higher than what we are used to. When it comes to performance, it is excellent. The single-core performance is more or less the same across most of Ryzen CPUs from this era, but in the multi-core tests, you are looking at the second most powerful, apart from the Threadripper family.

So, will a second-best Ryzen CPU work with an RTX 3080 or RTX 3070 GPU? Of course. All those cores and threads will have no problem handling all the frames that either of the GPUs can put out. This implies even for CPU intensive games like Civilization or Stellaris, where the 3900XT will have no problem putting out as many frames as possible.

The resolution that you will be running may have an impact, but nothing that the 3900XT cannot handle. A resolution like 1080p is where the GPU can put out a lot of frames per second, putting the CPU in a situation where it may struggle with them. In cases with 4K resolution, the framerates drop significantly, and the CPU will not need to work as hard.

One of the best features of these Ryzen CPUs, the 3900XT as well, is that they come unlocked out of the box, so even if you feel the need to get a little more, you can overclock it. The only requirement is to have a motherboard that will allow that.

Are the AMD Ryzen 9 3900XT and the RTX 3080 or RTX 3070 a good pair? Of course, they are. The top of the line Ryzen CPU paired with the top of the line Nvidia GPU will provide an excellent gaming experience.

Pros
  • Faster than the 3900x
  • Amazing future proof multi-threaded performance
  • Even better gaming performance
  • Supports PCI-E 4.0
  • Priced same as I9 9900K
Cons
  • Lacking single-core performance

AMD Ryzen 9 3950X

Core Clock Speed3.5 GHz(base), 4.7 GHz(boost)
Cores16(cores), 32(threads)
MicroarchitectureZen 2
SocketAM4
Max Memory Support128 GB
Integrated GraphicsNo
Lithography7nm
TDP105W

Getting a high-end GPU is excellent, but the results can be terrible if you don’t pair it with a CPU capable of “dealing” with it. This is a common problem for inexperienced PC builders, where the most powerful GPU will find itself on the same motherboard as a cheaper CPU and will not have the ability to stretch its legs. Now comes the big question: which CPU should you pair with an RTX 3080 or RTX3070?

For the past several years, AMD has been the kind of developing excellent performing CPUs, and what better model to pair your RTX GPU than the best of what they have to offer – Ryzen 9 3950X.

If you put the Threadripper lineup aside, the 3950X is the most powerful CPU AMD has to offer, and it has the specs to prove it. The sixteen cores and thirty-two threads and a total of 73 MB cache are a very impressive set of features.

The clock speeds go from 3.5 GHz base clock all the way to 4.7 GHz on a single core, while the all-core boost should be around 4.1 GHz. The numbers may not sound impressive, but combined with the number of cores and threads and you begin to see the picture. On the benchmark side of things, the single-core performance is similar to most of the high-end Ryzen CPUs, but the multi-core performance is where it excels, even beating a few Threadrippers.

Combining one of the most powerful GPUs with one of the most powerful CPUs is the perfect combination. Even though in modern game titles, you may find that often the CPU can bottleneck your gaming experience, that will not be the case with the 3950X. This applies even for games like Civilization or Far Cry 5, which can be very CPU intensive.

The reason for the need for a more powerful CPU is the framerates that the GPU is pushing. Gaming on a 1080p means that the GPU can pump out a lot of frames, and the CPU will need to deal with them. 4K gaming is a bit different because the GPU will work more to hand the resolution and the framerates will be lower, so the CPU can rest.

If by any chance, you feel like the 3950X is not powerful enough for you, AMD’s policy to unlock their CPUs means that you can give it a boost and improve performance.

To recap, if you haven’t already figured it out, the AMD Ryzen 9 3950X is one of the best CPUs that you can pair with the new RTX 3080 or RTX 3070.

Pros
  • Cheaper then HEDT segments
  • Extremely powerful
  • Supports PCI-E 4.0
  • Decent gaming performance
  • Power efficient
Cons
  • May require better cooling

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