Best CPUs For RTX 2080 (2022)

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The RTX 2080, 2080 SUPER, and TI, are high-end graphics cards, they’re typically used for 2K & 4K gaming. In this post, you’ll find the best CPU to fulfill your needs, there are a variety of processors ranging from affordable to overkill. With the 2080 graphics cards, you will need a competent processor to pair with them considering they can generate a lot of frames.

As of now, you shouldn’t consider purchasing a CPU for the RTX 2080, SUPER, OR TI pair unless you already have one of these cards. The new Ampere RTX 3000 series GPUs are better than the Turing 2000 GPUs in every single way. The RTX 3070 is more powerful than the 2080 TI, and it’s more than half the price.

The RTX 2080, SUPER & TI are part of the NVIDIA 20 Series released back in late 2018, and they’re still regarded as high-end graphics cards used to run triple-A games at the highest settings. The RTX 2080 graphics cards are competent at more than just gaming, they can make for great video editing GPUs, and streaming GPUs.

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Ryzen 9 5950xIntel I5 12600KIntel I9 12900KIntel I7 12700K
Cores & Threads16 Cores/32 Threads10 Cores/16 Threads16 Cores/24 Threads12 Cores/20 Threads
Max Clock Speed4.9 GHz4.9 GHz5.2 GHz5.0 GHz
OverclockableYesYesYesYes
TDP105W125W Base/150W Turbo125W Base/241W Turbo125W Base/190W Turbo

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

Budget-Pick
Intel Core i5-12600K Desktop Processor 10 (6P+4E) Cores up to 4.9 GHz Unlocked  LGA1700 600 Series Chipset 125W
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
Intel Core i5-12600K Desktop Processor 10 (6P+4E) Cores up to 4.9 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
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
Intel Core i5-12600K Desktop Processor 10 (6P+4E) Cores up to 4.9 GHz Unlocked  LGA1700 600 Series Chipset 125W
Intel Core i5-12600K Desktop Processor 10 (6P+4E) Cores up to 4.9 GHz Unlocked  LGA1700 600 Series Chipset 125W
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 rtx 2080

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: 

Our favorite aspect about the I9 12900K is the fact that it’s an overkill processor, you can essentially do whatever you want with it. Gaming? No problem, Video editing? No problem. This is because the I9 12900K has the strongest single-core and multi-core performance out of the 12th gen processors.

We’re a huge advocate of future-proofing, when using the I9 12900K, you should never feel like you need to upgrade it again for a long time. The performance of the processor should be top-tier even 5 years from now. You will likely replace your RTX 2080 (SUPER, TI) before you replace this processor.

What we don’t particularly like is the huge TDP requirements, it’s quite obvious where the direction processors are going now. CPUs are frequently asking for huge power requirements and cooling solutions which can get quite tedious. If you don’t have sufficient cooling, at least a 360MM AIO, then you’re at risk of overheating, never let your CPU get past 80C.

FEATURES:

With I9 processors, they’re the top-of-the-line processors, but they still have headroom to overclock which is insane. The overclocking feature should allow your 12900K to get past the 5.3GHz mark, this should result in huge FPS gains ingame, and performance across the board. Since the 12900K is already a hot-running CPU, ensure you have sufficient cooling.

The 12 series processors can support for DDR5 RAM which is superior to DDR4 as they’re faster, you should experience a performance boost going for DDR5 RAM. However, upgrading isn’t crucial as there is still support for DDR4 memory, so you should not feel the pressure to upgrade immediately. DDR4 is still more established, so you can probably pick up affordable high performing RAM.

ALTERNATIVES:

In the top-tier processor market, you have I9 processors by Intel, and Ryzen 9 processors by AMD. These processors feature high core counts and high clock speeds, but they do come at a costly price. But in terms of raw performance, the 12900K will compete directly with the Ryzen 9 5950x, they’re quite similar in multi-core performance tests, but the I9 12900K pulls ahead in single-core tests.

Keep in mind, the I9 12900K is a really strong processor which can be quite unnecessary in a lot of situations. We don’t recommend this processor for someone that’s just looking for a gaming build, this can turn out to be a bad deal. If you’re looking to just game, we recommend the I5 12600K or the I7 12700K.

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: 

What’s great about the I7 12700K is its ability to provide enough performance to do almost anything you want, this is quite similar to the 12900K. We say this because the 12700K is essentially a slightly weaker 12900K, it has slightly lower clock speeds and fewer cores but performs in a similar manner. Also, it’s cheaper which is a huge plus.

The I7 12700K is a processor we’d heavily recommend to someone that’s just getting into video editing, taking the jump to the 12900K can seem quite unnecessary. We say this because the I9 12900K can often feel like it’s too much, the performance it provides is practically overkill for most situations.

For a mid-top tier processor, we do feel like the TDP is too high especially when turbo-boosting, this means you will need a beefy cooler. Make sure you have a competent enough power supply for this thing as it can draw a lot of power, soon 1000W PSUs will be the minimum requirement for builds.

FEATURES:

A feature we like with the I9 12900K is the hybrid architecture which increases the performance of the 12gen processors at a cheaper cost. The asymmetrical design results in these processors having two different set of processing cores which are performance and efficiency cores. They both have different purposes.

Just like the 12900K, the I7 12700K can overclock as well, this means you can probably push the 12700K to similar speeds to the 12900K. So, if you’re a gamer, a little overclock can result in similar in-game frame rates an I9 12900K would generate. Keep in mind, this performance boost isn’t for just gamers, you will experience more performance for multithreaded applications too.

ALTERNATIVES:

In the mid-top tier CPU market that is focused on high-end gaming and professional workstation builds, you will find the I7 processors and they compete with the Ryzen 7 processors. Performance-wise, the I7 12700K will compete way above its class going head to head with the Ryzen 9 5900x. The 12700K is actually faster in single-core and multi-core tests in Cinebench.

The I7 processor is a multitasking processor just like the 12900K, and with multitasking CPUs, the extra performance can be seen as unnecessary, especially for gamers. If you’re a strict gamer, then we’d recommend the I5 12600K as it has really high clock speeds which can clock just as high as the 12700K.

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:

Here is the Ryzen 9 5950x which is probably our favorite multitasking processor, this is because it’s nearly able to beat the I9 12900K in multicore Cinebench tests. Although it’s weaker on the single-core side, it can make for the perfect workstation for professional workloads, if you’re a video editor, this CPU is perfect.

Also, the single-core performance isn’t anything to ridicule, its still a really competent gaming processor, it most definitely will not bottleneck the RTX 2080, SUPER, and TI graphics cards. Honestly, what makes this a huge competitor to the 12900K is the fact it’s cheaper, so you can pick up a beast processor for slightly cheaper. But the 12900K is still faster in single-core tests making it better for gaming.

We can really appreciate the efficiency of the Ryzen 9 5950x, it can still get pretty hot, but the TDP is 105W which is significantly lower than what the I9 12900K is asking for. With a decent 360MM AIO, you shouldn’t have to worry about thermal problems.

FEATURES:

A great hidden feature with the Ryzen 9 5950x is the huge IPC increases which essentially make it compete with the Intel 11th gen processors. This is the reason why the 5950X is still a great gaming processor despite it having lower clock speeds. It even beats Intels 10th gen processors which are meant to be their direct competitor.

When building a PC around the Ryzen 9 5950x, keep in mind that Ryzen processors are more sensitive to the RAM you select, this is to do with Infinity fabric. Most people will pick the fastest RAM they can find, and experience huge performance gains.

ALTERNATIVES:

For top-tier consumer processors, the Ryzen 9 processors will compete directly with the I9 processors. As for the Ryzen 5000 gen processors, they’re meant to compete with Intel’s 10th gen processors, but due to IPC increases, the Ryzen 5000 processors compete with Intel’s 11th gen chips.

For single-core performance, the Ryzen 5950x will compete with the I9 11900K, and for multicore performance, it will compete with the I9 12900K. As for different versions of the Ryzen 9 processors, we don’t really recommend the Ryzen 9 5900x as the price to performance ratio is unjustifiable. It loses to the I7 12700K and it costs less

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

Intel I5 12600K

LGA 1700 cpu for budget gamers

TECH SPECS:

  • Core Clock Speed: 3.7 GHz(base) 4.9 GHz(boost)
  • Core Count: 10(performance + efficiency cores) 16(performance + efficiency threads)
  • Microarchitecture: Golden Cove
  • Socket: LGA1700
  • Max Memory Support 128GB
  • Integrated Graphics: Yes
  • TDP: 125W(base) 150W(turbo)

BENCHMARK RESULTS:

  • Cinebench Single-core Score: 1915
  • Cinebench Multi-core Score: 17468

WHAT WE LIKE & DON’T ABOUT IT: 

Sometimes overkill isn’t necessary, we understand that and this is why we’re recommending our favorite affordable processor which is the 12600K. Breaking the bank is largely unnecessary especially if you’re not going to be multitasking a lot. The I5 12600K despite being budget is able to still perform well in multithreaded applications, it has 10 cores and 16 threads, which is more than enough for streaming and video editing.

But why we’ve really included this processor is for those who are looking for strict gaming builds, you don’t need a 12900K or a 12700K to game well with the RTX 2080, SUPER, and TI graphics cards. In terms of single-core performance, it’s more than enough to not bottleneck these cards, I mean it performs practically as fast as the 12700K.

For an I5, it can get pretty hot which is unusual, I5s are meant to be cool running chips, because of this you will need a beefy cooling solution to keep this CPU cool. It’s not often you will pair a top-tier CPU cooler with a budget processor.

FEATURES:

As for features, the I5 12600K is able to support super-fast DDR5 RAM which can result in huge FPS boosts in gaming situations. But, if you already have fast DDR4 memory modules laying around, you can still pick up a DDR4 supported motherboard to save some extra money. As DDR5 becomes more established, then you can upgrade.

As for single-core performance, the I5 12600K is pretty much identical to the I7 12700K, so using the overclocking feature can result in similar or superior performance to the 12700K. For gamers, this is ideal as you can save money, and overclocking allows you to get more performance out of your buck. At 4.9GHz out of the box, you can easily overclock past 5GHz.

ALTERNATIVES:

For the budget/gaming PC market, there are two processors, I5 CPUs by Intel, and Ryzen 5 CPUs by AMD. The I5 12600K is meant to compete directly with the Ryzen 5 5600x, but performance-wise, it competes more closely with the Ryzen 7 5800x in terms of multicore and single-core Cinebench tests.

But if you’re really looking for a bang for your buck, then the Ryzen 5 5600x is a better processor, the performance may be less, but the money you will save will be nice. You can also enjoy the 16% IPC increase it has over the Intel 10th generation processors.

Pros
  • Decent single-core peformance for gaming
  • Great bang for your buck (performance & stock cooler)
  • Entry level multi-core performance for streaming
  • Beats Intel 10th generation processors (IPC Wise)
Cons
  • Slight price increase from 3000 series

Quick CPU Buyer’s Guide

In this quick buyers guide, you will learn how to select the right processor by taking certain metrics into consideration. Whether you’re streaming, gaming, or video editing, you’ll know exactly what you need to run these applications correctly, We understand that picking the right processor is hard, so we intend on gaming it easier.

There are really three metrics that need to be taken into consideration and that’s single-core performance, multi-core performance, and overclockability. Gamers, they’re more focused on single-core performance and overclockability, which impacts their FPS the most. For casual and professional computing, the multi-core performances have more of an impact, this includes video editors and streamers.

For AMD, their processors mostly come unlocked with some exceptions, unlocked means overclockable. With Intel processors, some of their processors are unlocked, and these are the ‘K’ variants. So if you’re really looking for the right processor, it’s quite easy to pick up the wrong one.

Single-Core Performance

Single-core performance refers to how fast a single-core can process the instructions sent to them, and it’s usually understood by looking at the clock speed. The clock speed will define how fast each core is running, not how fast they run simultaneously. If you have a processor clocked at 5.2GHz, then each core will individually clock 5.2billion times per second.

So, GHz is just a measurement of frequency, nothing more it only defines how fast your cores clock but not how fast they actually are in the real world. When it comes to single-core performance, just looking at the clock speed isn’t enough to get an understanding of how fast the processor really is, there’s a hidden metric called IPC.

IPC stands for instructions per clock cycle, and it refers to how much work your processor can do per clock cycle. So even though there are processors with really high clock speeds, they can often get outperformed by processors with lower clock speeds. This is due to huge IPC increases typically found in newer processors, this is a result of the processor’s architecture improving over time.

Multi-Core Performance

Multicore performance is another important performance metric that doesn’t quite influence games, but other areas of computing. Having a lot of cores really influences how fast certain applications run, typically multithreaded applications. This is why you will often see a lot of high-end professional workstations feature Threadripper CPUs.

As well as core count, there is also threads, and some processors will come with SMT/Hyperthreading capabilities which will split a physical core into two logical cores. This hugely impacts the multi-core performance, often resulting in a 30% increase in multithreaded tasks. In reality, its huge applications dependant, and sometimes you may not experience a huge performance gain.

We’ve talked about multi-core performance and it’s influence on multithreaded tasks, but what applications are mutlithreaded? Well, Video editing, Streaming, Software Encoding, and even some aspects of video games are. When we’re talking about multithreading, we’re just referring to an application’s ability to split two or more parts of a process so they can run simultaneously.

Overclocking Capabilities

Overclocking is your processor’s ability to push its cores clock speeds past their rated limits, this will usually result in more performance across the board. Overclocking is extremely important to gamers, this is because overclocking can usually result in huge FPS gains. In terms of safety, overclocking is pretty safe, you don’t need to worry about overclocking unless you’re going crazy with voltages.

Some motherboards can overclock better than other motherboards, so overclocking is largely motherboard dependant too. We say this because a motherboard VRM has a huge influence on the stability of your overclocks, and overclocking usually involves going through the BIOS. When overclocking, slowly increase the clock speed modifier so you can find the true limit of your CPU.

Don’t worry about decreasing your CPU lifespan unless you’re pushing the CPUs voltage limits, this is what will ruin your CPU over time. When overclocking, you will also need sufficient cooling, heat is a major cause of failing components, never let your CPU exceed 80C.

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