The Red and Blue teams are doing their best at providing the public with powerful processors. Intel Alder Lake and Ryzen 5000-series processors are a fine demonstration of this competition. The next-generation processors are due for at least six months, if not more, which is why you will have to cope with the current-generation processors if you want a rig right away.
Intel 12th-generation processors are based on Alder Lake architecture, and the specialty of this architecture is that there are two kinds of cores in the processors, the performance cores and the efficient cores. The efficient cores consume much less power, so as a result, the thermal issues are not a problem anymore. To couple this monster with a suitable processor would be quite a task, which is why we will look at the best CPU for RTX 3090 in this article.
Meanwhile, we saw a new addition to the Ryzen 5000-series processors, i.e. Ryzen 7 5800X3D, Ryzen 7 5700X, Ryzen 5 5600x, and Ryzen 5 5500. The Ryzen 7 5800X3D comes with new technology, AMD 3D V-cache, making its L3 cache even larger than Ryzen 9 5950X, but the overall performance of Ryzen 9 processors is still much better due to more cores.
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NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090 used to be the flagship graphics card based on Ampere architecture before the release of RTX 3090 Ti. Both these graphics cards are similar, and the performance in real-world applications is close enough too. The RTX 3090 is an extremely powerful graphics card that can play every modern game at 4K resolution, providing more than 60 FPS at ultra settings.
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Best CPU for RTX 3090 Reviews
A chip specially designed for gamers. Comes with AMD’s new 3D V-Cache technology that unlocks massive gaming performance by enabling 96MB of L3 cache at an extremely competitive price point of $449. It even shakes Intel’s latest $740 Core i9-12900KS in terms of gaming. It utilizes a hybrid bonding technology that allows it to fuse more cache on processing cores, a new feat by AMD.
Thanks to the Ryzen 7 5800X3D’s huge L3 cache, we saw huge performance gains in nearly every title you throw at it. In fact, AMD claims a gaming performance game of 15% compared to its 5900X. That’s why AMD claims it as their gaming-focused CPU. But do note, that if you’re trying to use it for single and multi-threaded work beyond gaming purposes, this is not the CPU for you.
This chip is packed with 8 cores and 16 threads, which is 4 cores and 8 threads lesser than the 5900X. It also has a lower base speed of 3.4GHz and a boost speed of 4.5GHz. There are some caveats though. The 5800X3D does not support core overclocking and does not include integrated graphics or a stock cooler. So you will have to buy your own cooling solution separately for this CPU.
The reason why we say it’s a gaming-focused CPU is that you’re technically trading four cores for an additional 64MB of L3 cache which means losing performance in many applications used in creative work. Intel on the other hand offers a more balanced performance between work and gaming.
The Ryzen 7 5800X3D is a huge upgrade if you already own an existing Ryzen build — this CPU will likely fit into any AMD AM4 motherboard but do note that you may need to upgrade its BIOS in order for it to work.
The 5800X3D is a no-brainer for gamers looking to squeeze the most gaming performance for the money and is an excellent processor to match with the RTX 3090.
This 12th gen Alder Lake beast, the Core i9-12900K, is currently the fastest consumer gaming and productivity processor by Intel. With 16 cores, 24 threads, and a base frequency of 3.2GHz, this CPU boasts a turbo frequency of 5.2 GHz that outperforms every other CPU in the market. It also surpasses the AMD Ryzen 9 5950X in gaming performance. It is notably remarkable when it comes to heavy multi-threading use. The only department where the AMD counterpart has an edge is in rendering. Otherwise, the Intel i9-12900K trumps the AMD 5950X in all other aspects.
Looking closer into its specifications, the i9-12900K has 16 cores, There are 8 P-cores (performance cores) and 8 E-cores (efficiency cores). P-cores run at a standard 3.2 GHz up to 5.2 GHz in turbo and are utilized in high-performance tasks such as games and heavy applications where hyperthreading comes into play. E-cores on the other hand runs at 2.4 GHz, maxing at 3.9GHz, which are responsible for allowing the chip to run efficiently and provide seamless multitasking capabilities.
It is designed to support PCIe 4.0 and 5.0. Although it does support both DDR4 and DDR5, motherboards do not have DIMM slots that fit both types. Thus, it is important to choose either a DDR4 or DDR5 motherboard. For the i9-12900K, it is a no-brainer that you should buy a motherboard that supports DDR5 RAM. In terms of power consumption, it can reach up to a whopping Maximum Turbo Power of 241 watts.
Another benefit in getting the i9-12900K versus its AMD counterpart is the fact that it is cheaper overall since even budget Z690 motherboards will be able to handle it just fine. This means that you aren’t compelled into buying the most high-end Z690 motherboard for this processor if your budget is tight. However, this CPU does run hot, especially in productivity tasks. Therefore, you will likely need to buy a high-end cooling solution to prevent thermal throttling issues. Overall, the i9-12900K is the best CPU for RTX 3090 Ti you can get.
AMD’s flagship Ryzen 9 5900X has the top-of-the-line performing enthusiast CPU that can take any triple-A title you throw at it. This processor is the obvious choice for any serious gamer. Packed with 12 cores, and 24 threads, with a base frequency of 3.7GHz up to 4.8 GHz in boost frequency. It also packs 64MB of L3 cache and is built on AMD’s latest Zen 3 7nm node architecture with huge IPC performance and efficiency gains.
However, it falls short when compared to its Intel counterpart. We’re not even talking about the i9-12900K. It falls short even in 1080p gaming to the Intel Core i7-12700K. But the biggest plus point is that if you already have an AM4 motherboard (400-500-600 series), chances are that you may just need a BIOS update. As for the Intel 12th gen, you have no choice but to buy a new motherboard that supports the new LGA 1700 socket.
Compared to its predecessor, the Ryzen 9 3900X, it has an overall 24% performance increase in 1080p gaming. Unfortunately, AMD no longer includes the wraith prism cooler for newer Ryzen chips unlike the 3000 series did. It does run quite hot if you compare it to its Ryzen 5 series so do consider the budget for a decent third-party cooler in your build as well.
Since the 3900X and 5900X both come with the same 7nm process node, it has the same TDP. However, under load, the 5800X showed a higher wattage draw.
The 5900X is a spectacular choice for gamers and creators. Although succeeded by the next model Ryzen 9 5950X, the gaming performance between the two is insignificant. Therefore, just grab the 5900X and save some bucks as you do not need the extra cores present in the 5950X unless your creative work demands it.
As for pairing with an RTX 3090, it is a solid choice! However, if you only game in 1440p or 4K, the fps gains in games are almost negligible even when compared to Ryzen 5 5600X.
The 12-gen Alder Lake Intel Core i7-12700K is the best CPU you can buy with the highest gaming performance at a competitive price point. Packed with gaming performance similar to the more expensive i9-12900K, it also beats the Ryzen counterpart in almost all benchmarks. The lower price point of $409 makes it an exceptional CPU choice for gamers.
This CPU has 12 cores, 8 P-cores (3.6-5.0 GHz / base-clock) for hyper-threading, and 4-E cores (2.7-3.8 GHz / base-clock) for single-threading, with a total of 20 threads. Performance cores and efficiency cores are created with different architectures and run at different frequencies. Performance cores process 19% more IPC than its predecessor while E-cores help balance the energy efficiency and the overall performance of the chip.
The processors also have 25MB of L3 cache as well as Intel’s UHD Graphics 770 (iGPU). The iGPU is extremely useful during troubleshooting discrete GPU issues. Alternatively, you can also buy the i7-12700KF which does not include an iGPU, and save a few bucks. Its power consumption is rated at 125 watts up to 190 watts MTP. This processor also supports both DDR4 and DDR5.
As an unlocked K-series CPU, it is overclockable when paired with a Z690 motherboard. Due to Intel using the new LGA 1700 socket, the older LGA 1200 motherboards will not be able to support this CPU. Essentially, this CPU always runs at 190 watt MTP under load and consumes much more power than its AMD counterpart, the 5800X which consumes only 105 watts TDP compared to the 125 watts in the i7-12700K.
However, if you already do own an AMD motherboard (400,500,600 series), it would make more sense to upgrade your CPU to a Ryzen 5800X as Intel Z690 motherboards with DDR5 memory can get quite expensive.
Overall, we recommend it as the best CPU for RTX 3090 with little to no bottleneck when it comes to 1440p and 4K gaming.
AMD’s Zen 3 Ryzen 7 5800X has stellar performance. Packed with 8 cores and 16 threads, it is a solid CPU choice for gaming with huge improvements in speed and efficiency than its predecessor, the Ryzen 7 3800X.
Coming to its raw performance, the 5800X was 18% faster in single-core performance and up to 12% faster in multi-core performance than its predecessor. As for gaming performance, it was 20% faster than the Intel i9-9900K in single-core performance, even outperforming the i9-10900K.
This CPU is perfect for creators that need single and multi-core performance for their work thanks to the 8 cores and 16 threads. Although gamers are getting a massive leap in performance compared to the Ryzen 3000 series chips — creators that use creative applications do not get the same performance bump. The $449 Ryzen 7 5800X, despite being the big brother of the $299 Ryzen 5 5600X, unfortunately, provides minimal gaming performance increase with an added cost of $150.
Not to mention, the 5800X has a higher TDP rating (105W) compared to the 65W TDP in the 5600X. The 5600X also comes bundled with a wraith cooler and has much lower temperatures than the 5800X.
Despite the performance and price increase, AMD decided not to include its bundled cooler in the package expecting that users buying CPUs in this price range are going to buy their own aftermarket cooling solutions that offer much better cooling.
However, the +$50 price increase compared to its previous gen was disappointing for many users. Since it runs on the same AM4 socket as previous generations, and you have an existing 400 or 500 series board, you can simply update the board’s BIOS and save a couple of bucks.
The 5800X can be a great upgrade choice if you have an existing AM4 motherboard and its the best CPU for RTX 3090 with only a 5% bottleneck in FPS in games.
Thinking of skipping the Intel Core i9-10900K and buying the Intel Core i9-11900K because you think its successor is better? Unfortunately, this isn’t the case with this CPU. Although this 14nm Rocket Lake CPU comes with a new addition to Intel’s new microarchitecture known as Cypress Cove, the i9-11900K comes packed with only eight cores and sixteen threads. This essentially is a downgrade to the previous ten-core Comet Lake i9-10900K.
Both of these processors are, however, no match to AMD’s flagship: 16-Core, 32 Threads Ryzen 9 5950X. This Rocket Lake CPU does have some notable improvements though. Such as faster single-thread performance as well as faster DRAM speeds, and finally the switch to PCIe 4.0 interface, but its PCIe 4.0 performance is quite limited. The iGPU is the major upgrade for this CPU. It comes with the Intel Iris Xe UHD Graphics 750 which is able to support 4K resolutions at 60Hz.
Since Intel launched this CPU with fewer cores and an older and less efficient 14nm node, they have tried to make up for the fewer cores by cranking up its power consumption to increase the performance. This, in turn, required users to use high-end cooling solutions to prevent thermal throttling. Although it has good performance, it simply does not provide enough plus points to justify its hefty price tag — especially when the AMD equivalent is much cheaper with much better performance.
Overall, the gaming performance gains are minimal as compared to its predecessor. In fact, Cinebench scores are way below satisfactory, with most of its performance losses due to CPU thermal throttling. The Ryzen 9 5900X on the other hand is approximately 40% faster than the i9-11900K, which placed Intel in dark times. Especially when both of these CPUs have the same price point.
Lastly, if you are looking to pair your RTX 3090 with this CPU, you are better off getting the AMD counterpart or just looking into the 12th generation Intel Core series instead.
The Ryzen 5 5600X has earned its spot as the best mid-range gaming CPU of the year. Despite being more expensive than its predecessor, its price is justified by its performance gains over the previous. It is a six-core, twelve-thread processor with base clock speeds of 3.7 GHz and a boost clock speeds of 4.6GHz. It comes bundled along with AMD’s signature wraith stealth cooler and is power efficient with a TDP of only 65 watts — opposed to the previous gen’s 95 watts.
Luckily, it runs on the same AM4 socket and is hence compatible with the older 400 and 500 series motherboards. Just make sure you update the BIOS. It also includes overclocking capabilities, but the performance gains from overclocking aren’t too mind-blowing.
Gaming is where this CPU shines. It performs better than the blue team’s i9-10900K although being only two years older, it is still a high-end Intel flagship chip. Which by the way, costs twice as much as the 5600X. Adding to that, Intel’s $600 10-core CPU also demands more juice, requiring a higher wattage power supply.
It also runs quite cool compared to AMD’s flagships such as the 5800X and 5900X which are spiking high temperatures of above 75°C even with a hefty AIO cooler.
This puts the Ryzen 5 5600X as the best price-to-performance CPU for mid-range gaming. However, it does lack the integrated graphics that some buyers might be looking for. To compensate for that, AMD did release the Ryzen 5 5600G which does include great integrated graphics.
As for pairing with an RTX 3090, the 5600X will not bottleneck the RTX 3090 at 1440p or 4K and can prove to be a great budget option for gamers that do not need extra cores and threads.
The Intel Core i5-12600K is the direct rival to the Ryzen 5 5600X at the same price point. It offers a 19% single-core performance increase compared to its previous generation for the same MSRP which makes it a solid choice for gaming.
Taking a deeper dive into its specifications, the i5-12600K comes with 10 cores, 6 of which are threaded performance cores that have clock speeds of 3.7GHz / 4.9 GHz (base/boost). Along with these six performance cores, it has 4 efficiency cores that run at 2.8GHz / 3.6GHz (base/boost). While P cores focus on single-core workloads, E cores are responsible for boosting multi-threading capabilities.
In benchmark results, the Intel i5-12600K offers a similar gaming performance to the Intel i9-12900K. This makes it a no-brainer to buy the i5-12600K for $300 less. Not only that, it beats the Intel 11th gen Core i9 in raw gaming performance and multi-threaded testing, making it the 11th gen Intel killer.
Huge improvements can be seen in its single and multi-core performance compared to its predecessor and also includes PCIe 5.0 support which doubles the bandwidth for solid state drives. Support for DDR5 RAM also maximizes its performance in the memory department.
Although it has better power efficiency compared to other 12th Gen chips such as the i9-12900K, it still utilizes more than double the amount of power compared to its Ryzen counterpart.
Since the 12th Gen Intel chips come with a new LGA 1700 socket, you are compelled to buy the Z690 motherboard for the CPU. This may incur more budget into the build you are looking for. Not only that, DDR5 RAM is way much more expensive but much quicker which may lead you to spend more than you need leaving a lot less budget for the rest of the components.
If budget is a concern, I would highly recommend looking into the Intel i5-12400F paired with a B660 motherboard. Overall its the best CPU for RTX 3090 or any other flagship processor.