Best CPUs For RX 6700 XT 2022

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The Radeon RX 6700 XT is part of AMD’s 6000 series as direct competition for NVIDIA’s 3000 series GPUs. Featuring the RDNA 2 architecture, the RX 6700 XT is also capable of ray-tracing thanks to its 40 ray tracing acceleration cores. The 12GB GDDR6 VRAM ensures that the GPU can handle nearly every AAA title at 4K resolution which is its aim.

However, the best of the 6700 XT lies in its clocking limit. With a theoretical upper limit of 2.95 GHz, compared to 2.8 from the 6800, it is ideal for overclocking. Even with only the fans cooling it, the 6700 XT still clocks in at 2.65GHz which is very impressive by itself.

The GPU is easily a powerhouse and with AMD’s history, is surely going to be a staple for mid-range gaming setups. Its performance easily rivals NVidia’s 3060 Ti and the 3070 with its only drawback being the absence of a DLSS alternative. This causes frame rate loss when ray tracing is enabled.

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Ryzen 9 5950xRyzen 7 5800xIntel I9 12900KIntel I7 12700KIntel I5 12600K
Cores & Threads16 Cores/32 Threads8 Cores/16 Threads16 Cores/24 Threads12 Cores/20 Threads10 Cores/16 Threads
Max Clock Speed4.9 GHz4.7 GHz5.2 GHz5.0 GHz4.9 GHz
OverclockableYesYesYesYesYes
TDP105W105W125W Base/241W Turbo125W Base/190W Turbo125W Base/150W Turbo

If you’re in a hurry, here’s a quick summary of the best processors on this list.

Budget-Pick
AMD Ryzen 7 5800X 8-core, 16-Thread Unlocked Desktop Processor
Professional Pick
Intel Core i7-12700K Desktop Processor 12 (8P+4E) Cores up to 5.0 GHz Unlocked  LGA1700 600 Series Chipset 125W
Enthusiasts Pick
AMD Ryzen 9 5950X 16-core, 32-Thread Unlocked Desktop Processor
Overkill Pick
Intel Core i9-12900K Desktop Processor 16 (8P+8E) Cores up to 5.2 GHz Unlocked LGA1700 600 Series Chipset 125W
AMD Ryzen 7 5800X 8-core, 16-Thread Unlocked Desktop Processor
Intel Core i7-12700K Desktop Processor 12 (8P+4E) Cores up to 5.0 GHz Unlocked  LGA1700 600 Series Chipset 125W
AMD Ryzen 9 5950X 16-core, 32-Thread Unlocked Desktop Processor
Intel Core i9-12900K Desktop Processor 16 (8P+8E) Cores up to 5.2 GHz Unlocked LGA1700 600 Series Chipset 125W
Best Budget Gaming Chip
Best All Purpose CPU
Best Processor For Enthusiasts
Best Processor For Professional Use
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Budget-Pick
AMD Ryzen 7 5800X 8-core, 16-Thread Unlocked Desktop Processor
AMD Ryzen 7 5800X 8-core, 16-Thread Unlocked Desktop Processor
Best Budget Gaming Chip
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Professional Pick
Intel Core i7-12700K Desktop Processor 12 (8P+4E) Cores up to 5.0 GHz Unlocked  LGA1700 600 Series Chipset 125W
Intel Core i7-12700K Desktop Processor 12 (8P+4E) Cores up to 5.0 GHz Unlocked  LGA1700 600 Series Chipset 125W
Best All Purpose CPU
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Enthusiasts Pick
AMD Ryzen 9 5950X 16-core, 32-Thread Unlocked Desktop Processor
AMD Ryzen 9 5950X 16-core, 32-Thread Unlocked Desktop Processor
Best Processor For Enthusiasts
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Overkill Pick
Intel Core i9-12900K Desktop Processor 16 (8P+8E) Cores up to 5.2 GHz Unlocked LGA1700 600 Series Chipset 125W
Intel Core i9-12900K Desktop Processor 16 (8P+8E) Cores up to 5.2 GHz Unlocked LGA1700 600 Series Chipset 125W
Best Processor For Professional Use
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Intel I9 12900K

i9 12900k is a great workstation processor that can go great with the rx 6700 xt

TECH SPECS:

  • Core Clock Speed: 3.2 GHz(base) 5.2 GHz(boost)
  • Core Count: 16(performance + efficiency cores) 24(performance + efficiency threads)
  • Microarchitecture: Golden Cove
  • Socket: LGA1700
  • Max Memory Support 128GB
  • Integrated Graphics: Yes
  • TDP: 125W(base) 241W(turbo)

BENCHMARK RESULTS:

  • Cinebench Single-core Score: 2018
  • Cinebench Multi-core Score: 27858

WHAT WE LIKE & DON’T ABOUT IT:

The I9 12900K is a processor that is overkill in many aspects, and we’re a big fan of overkill PC builds. This is practically a no-compromise processor, so if you’re looking for the most performance whether it’s for gaming or video editing, the 12900K will easily have you covered. The single-core performance is more than enough to handle the RX 6700 XT, so in gaming situations, you will get the most FPS possible.

Not everyone wants to frequently upgrade their PC every time a new processor comes out, the I9 12900K will have you covered as it’s set to last several generations of CPUs. This means the I9 12900K is future-proof, over time you will save quite a bit of money, so when you upgrade your RX 6700 XT, the 12900K will still be viable.

The amount of performance the 12900K has means it will draw a lot of power, we’re not a fan of huge power drawing processors as it takes quite a lot to cool them. If you have enough cooling such as a 360MM AIO, then the 12900K should run as intended. Also, since it gets pretty hot, overclocking might be an issue since OCing your CPU will generate more heat.

WHAT BUYERS HAVE SAID:

Buyers of the I9 12900K have urged users not to use this processor for a single-use, this is quite a waste of performance. If you’re going to be strictly gaming, then you’d be better off with an I5 12600K, but the I9 12900K is more of a multipurpose CPU. This means the 12900K is a better option if you do a lot more than run a single task, it’s evident by the number of cores it has.

FEATURES:

A feature with a lot of Intel processors is that they’re unlocked, and Intel processors are known to overclock pretty well. So if you’re dedicated to overclocking, the 12900K could generate a lot more performance for you. You may be able to push the 12900K to 5.3GHz+ which will result in higher FPS in games. But, ensure you have sufficient cooling before overclocking.

Also, with the 12 series CPUs, they’ve opened support for DDR5 RAM which is a direct upgrade from DDR4 RAM. Using this RAM over DDR4 RAM will result in higher frame rates if you pick the right modules. But since DDR5 is fairly new and not ready, there are still DDR4 compliant motherboards if you’re not ready to upgrade immediately.

ALTERNATIVES:

The main competitor to Intels I9 processors are AMD’s flagship Ryzen 9 processors, and they both target an audience looking for high-performing processors. The direct competitor to the 12900K is probably the Ryzen 9 5950x, this is the only worthy competitor as it features similar multicore performance for a cheaper price.

The I9 12900K isn’t for everyone as it’s pretty overkill and pricy, it shouldn’t be used for a strict gaming PC. You could honestly get a similar gaming experience for a fraction of the price if you go with an I5 12600K or an I7 12700K and use the rest of the money to get a better GPU. But if you’re adamant about having a beast CPU with no compromises, then the 12900K is a good option.

Pros
  • Best gaming performance on the market due to the highest single-core performance.
  • Best multicore performance on the market
  • Ideal for multithreaded applications such as video editing
Cons
  • Can get quite hot, you will need a decent AIO or AIR cooler

Intel I7 12700K

the i7 12700k is the perfect balanced processor that can handle gaming situations pretty well.

TECH SPECS:

  • Core Clock Speed: 3.6 GHz(base) 5.0 GHz(boost)
  • Core Count: 12(performance + efficiency cores) 20(performance + efficiency threads)
  • Microarchitecture: Golden Cove
  • Socket: LGA1700
  • Max Memory Support 128GB
  • Integrated Graphics: Yes
  • TDP: 125W(base) 190W(turbo)

BENCHMARK RESULTS:

  • Cinebench Single-core Score: 1959
  • Cinebench Multi-core Score: 23003

WHAT WE LIKE & DON’T ABOUT IT: 

We really like the I7 12700K because it gives the feel of having an I9 12900K processor for a cheaper price. While the 12900K is a no-compromise processor, the I7 12700K is a cutback version of it, but it still maintains the amazing single-core performance for gamers. The biggest difference between the two processors is the core count and the price.

So, if you really need a top-performing processor, but trying to be more reserved with your money then the I7 12700K is the best processor for you. We like the fact it is able to handle professional workloads with ease, so video editors won’t have to worry about performance.

A slight downside to the I7 12700K is the fairly high TDP when turbo, while it’s not as bad as the 12900K, it will still require a decent cooler to keep it tame. So a beefy air cooler or a 360MM AIO may be necessary, and even more so if you’re looking to overclock.

WHAT BUYERS HAVE SAID:

Although a lot of new technology has been released with the 12 gen processors such as DDR5 RAM, many buyers have stated that it’s better to go for a DDR4 motherboard. This is a good idea as DDR4 is a more established interface, and you can save money if you already have DDR4 modules laying around.

FEATURES:

The best feature with the 12700K is the overclockability, it will be able to overclock better than the 12900K due to the lower TDPs. So for gamers, this may be the better option as you could easily overclock past 5.1GHz. Keep in mind, overclocking will increase heat and power consumption, so be prepared.

The I7 12700K is pretty efficient due to the hybrid architecture it has which essentially means there are two different sets of processing cores. There are performance cores that focus more on heavy lifting, and efficiency cores that focus more on casual computing. This asymmetrical design allows for cheaper prices and more performance.

ALTERNATIVES:

I7 processors are a mid-top tier processor by Intel, and they’re competing with the Ryzen 7 CPUs for the same target audience. The closest competitor at the moment would be the Ryzen 9 5900x, if you notice, the I7 12700K is punching way above its weight making this CPU pretty strong.

The I7 aims to give the best of both worlds of the I5 and I9 processors, this is why they’re pretty great when it comes to single-core and multi-core performance. The I7 12700K may not be a good choice if you’re on a budget looking for a gaming build, for this we would recommend the I5 12600K. There are also different variants of the I7 12700K, there is a 12700KF that does not come with integrated graphics, you could save money going with this CPU.

Pros
  • Top-tier single-core performance for gaming
  • Decent multi-core performance
  • Brand new architecture for desktops (hybrid)
  • Overclockable
Cons
  • Can get pretty hot, 190W turbo TDP

Ryzen 9 5950x

the Ryzen 9 5950x is a great competitor to the 12900K as they feature similar multicore performance, and is cheaper

TECH SPECS:

  • Core Clock Speed: 3.4 GHz(base) 4.9 GHz(boost)
  • Core Count: 16(cores), 32(threads)
  • Microarchitecture: Zen 3
  • Socket: AM4
  • Max Memory Support 128GB
  • Integrated Graphics: No
  • TDP: 105W

BENCHMARK RESULTS:

  • Cinebench Single-core Score: 1632
  • Cinebench Multi-core Score: 26349

WHAT WE LIKE & DON’T LIKE ABOUT IT: 

What we like most about the Ryzen 9 5950x is that it’s the only Ryzen 5000 processor that can compete with the I9 12900K. They are both multicore processors which is great for workstations and professional workloads. But our favorite aspect is the fact it’s cheaper than the 12900K, so it gives the buyer incentive to think about both processors.

Another great feature we enjoy about the Ryzen 9 5950x is the fact it is far more power-efficient than the 12900K, this is evident through the TDP. The Ryzen 9 5950x has a TDP of 105W which is insane for a 16 core 32 thread processor, so pair this with a decent cooler and you will never worry about thermals again. Single-core performance-wise, the 5950x is able to game well, so there’s no need to worry about it bottlenecking the RX 6700 XT, the single-core performance is similar to the 11900K

Although the Ryzen 5950x is a great processor in many ways, it still loses in single-core performance to the 12900K. So, the 12900K is a better processor if you really value frames per second. As a professional processor, they’re pretty similar in performance with the 12900K being slightly better in multi-core tests.

WHAT BUYERS HAVE SAID:

A common aspect among the buyers of the Ryzen 9 5950x is that they all recommend you buy a decent cooler so you can get the most out of it. The recommendation seems to be a decent air cooler or a 360MM AIO cooler, this should allow all cores to work at optimal performance and also give some overclocking headroom.

FEATURES:

With the Ryzen 5000 series processors, AMD has implemented huge IPC increases which are often measured to be around 15% compared to Intel 10th gen CPUs. This means the Ryzen 9 5950x despite being a multicore processor is still a better option for gaming compared to Intel 10th and 11th gen chips.

Due to infinity fabric, your Ryzen processor is more sensitive to the selection of RAM, this means you should take RAM more seriously. This is because selecting the right RAM can result in huge performance gains, The general rule of thumb is to match the RAM clock with the infinity fabric clock.

ALTERNATIVES:

The Ryzen 9 processors are high-end processors than competed with Intel I9 processors, they both compete in the high-end CPU market. In terms of raw performance, the Ryzen 9 5950x has similar performance to the I9 12900K in multicore scenarios, but single-core-wise, it matches the I9 11900K. So for gamers, the 12900K may be the better choice if you game on the side.

The Ryzen 9 5950x also has a slightly weaker counterpart which is the 5900x, but this processor is not recommended at all if you’re building a new PC. The Ryzen 9 5900x is a great processor, but in terms of performance to price, it loses to the I7 12700K. So you will be able to get more performance out of a cheaper CPU going with the 12700K.

Pros
  • Strong single-core performane, competes with the I9 11900K
  • Cheaper than the 12900K
  • Top-tier multicore performance, perfect for professional workloads
Cons
  • Can run pretty hot, may require a 360MM AIO

Ryzen 7 5800x

ryzen processor that is able to game and stream well

TECH SPECS:

  • Core Clock Speed: 3.8 GHz(base) 4.7 GHz(boost)
  • Core Count: 8(cores), 16(threads)
  • Microarchitecture: Zen 3
  • Socket: AM4
  • Max Memory Support 128GB
  • Integrated Graphics: No
  • TDP: 105W

BENCHMARK RESULTS:

  • Cinebench Single-core Score: 1617
  • Cinebench Multi-core Score: 15425

WHAT WE LIKE & DON’T LIKE ABOUT IT: 

The Ryzen 7 5800x processor falls in the same boat as the I7 processors being that they’re pretty good at everything. More precisely, the 5800x is a great option if you’re looking to stream, game, and video edit as the multi-core performance and single-core performance are pretty good. Our favorite aspect about the 5800x is that it’s pretty affordable as it’s cheaper than the 12700K.

One reason we recommend the 5800x is if you’re a budget seeker looking for a processor that is good at streaming and gaming. All around, the 5800x is a consistent CPU for multithreaded loads, 8 cores and 16 threads is more than enough for streaming and 4K video editing, we’d usually recommend 6 cores. For gaming, the Ryzen 7 5800x has single-core performance similar to the I7 11700K, it really shouldn’t bottleneck the RX 6700 XT.

Despite the TDP being 105W, the 5800x is a pretty hot-running CPU which I don’t particularly enjoy. Compared to the Ryzen 5 5600x, the TDP is significantly higher which is the cause of the heat being generated, so you will need a beefy cooler for this CPU.

WHAT BUYERS HAVE SAID:

As suspected, personal users of this chip have said it runs unnecessarily hot which means you will have a beefy cooler to keep it cool. The hotter the CPU runs, the less performance you will get out of the processor, this is obviously a big problem. A 360MM AIO or an NH D15 should keep this CPU tame for heavy CPU workloads. Don’t forget to activate precision boost overdrive which is a form of automatic overclocking.

FEATURES:

Despite the Ryzen 7 5800x running hot, it’s an unlocked processor, this is a huge advantage for gamers as it gives you the chance to boost the single-core performance. 4.7GHz with the IPC increases is pretty good, but you have the chance to reach 5GHz which will result in huge FPS gains in most video games.

Just like the 5950x, due to infinity fabric, the faster the RAM the better the performance of your PC across the board. If you’re able to match your infinity fabric clock speed, then you should have an optimal performance coming from your CPU. Intel isn’t as sensitive to RAM, but for AMD it matters a lot.

ALTERNATIVES:

Ryzen 7 are mid-top tier processors that compete with I7 processors, but the Ryzen 7 5800x competes directly with the I7 10700K. In terms of single-core performance, the Ryzen 7 5800x surpasses the 10700K due to the IPC increases, also in multi-core tests the 5800x wins. So, the 10700K falls quite behind its main competitor.

Ryzen 7 5800x is still an amazing processor to this day, but there are better options for multipurpose uses. Such processor is the I5 12600K which will produce higher frame rates in most games, and the multi-core performance is also superior.

Pros
  • Great single-core peformance for gaming
  • Top tier streaming & video editing processor
  • Beats Intel 10th generation processors (IPC Wise)
  • Multipurpose processor – good at most things
Cons
  • Slight price increase from 3000 series
  • TDP increase & doesn’t come with stock cooler

Quick CPU Buyer’s Guide

To help you make the right choice when purchasing a CPU, we would like to discuss some of the most important aspects you should consider before buying. This will help you pick the right processor for your needs whether it’s for gaming, video editing, or streaming. We understand that picking the right processor at some times can be quite difficult.

The main points we would like to go over in this quick buyer’s guide is single-core, multi-core, and overclockability. These three factors is enough to pick the right processor for you, gamers typically want fast single-core performance and overclockability. Workstations and professional builds usually want good multi-core performance for video editing, and much more.

With overclockability, most processors should come with it, you can see this with AMD processors which are mostly unlocked. Intel processors aren’t always unlocked, and you can tell this by what variant the processor is. If the processor is denoted with a ‘K’ at the end, then this means the processor is unlocked and ready for overclocking.

Single-Core Performance

Single-core performance describes the performance of a single physical core, it refers to how fast it can process instructions. The easiest way to get an idea of the single-core performance of the CPU is to take a look at the clock speed. The clock speed defines how fast a single core is able to run, not all the cores as a collective.

The clock speed of a processor is measured in GHz(Gigahertz), and it means 1 billion hertz per second. So if your processor has a clock speed of 4.5GHz, then a single core will cycle 4.5 billion times per second. Looking at the clock speed is just one method of finding the performance of a single-core, so you shouldn’t only focus on it. Video games heavily rely on clock speed, this is because they’re often coded to utilize one core. This essentially makes the other cores redundant when it comes to generating more frames per second.

Single-core performance is a combination of two metrics, so don’t just focus on clock speed. Single-core performance relies on IPC which stands for instructions per cycle, so a CPU with a higher IPC will perform more work per cycle. Newer processors will often have higher IPC gains compared to previous older CPUs, this is why newer CPUs will often outperform older CPUs despite them having lower clock speeds.

Multi-Core Performance

Now that we’ve discussed the single-core aspect of a processor, there is also multi-core performance which is very different, it relies on the core count of the processor. So having more cores means your CPU runs faster when it comes to multithreaded applications, but gamers, they don’t share this benefit. Multiple cores are definitely important, but FPS just doesn’t scale well with it.

With multicore performance, there’s also another aspect of it that can improve the processor performance, and this is SMT. SMT which stands for simultaneous multithreading is a method where the CPU takes advantage of stalls to process another dataset, this increases the efficiency of each core. Intel and AMD often have SMT, with Intel it is Hyperthreading. Threads are basically physical cores split into two logical cores, many CPUs will display their core and thread count, and it will look something like (6c12t).

Now that we understand multi-core performance, understanding what types of applications benefit from it is important. Multithreaded workloads benefit most from having more cores, such workloads are video editingstreaming(software encoding), and 3D modeling. Nowadays, you don’t need to worry about whether an application is multithreaded as most of them are parallelized, but games are the exception.

Overclocking Capabilities

Overclocking is one of the best ways to get the most performance of your CPU, if your CPU is unlocked, it’s worth using this feature. Overclocking is pretty safe if you know what you’re doing, so it should have no impact on the lifespan of your CPU. Intel processors are overclockable if they’re a ‘K’ variant, and Ryzen processors are mostly unlocked(overclockable) by default with some exceptions.

Overclocking your CPU is pretty easy nowadays, all you really need to do is gain access to the BIOS so you can modify the clock speed modifier. BIOS overclocking is preferred as you have more control over the voltages, OS overclocking can result in huge voltage increases. The goal is to increase the clock speed modifier by small increments so you can find the limit at that specific voltage.

Overclocking can be extremely safe if you have sufficient cooling, and you don’t increase the voltages. It’s when you start tampering with the voltages for more core stability at higher clocks that your processor can be in harm’s way. But besides that, overclocking can result in higher FPS in games, better streaming performance, and faster video editing rendering times.

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