Best CPU for 3090: The Top Five Selections

The Nvidia RTX 3090 is one of the best graphics cards available. With great features, getting a compatible CPU that works excellently with the 3090 should be a must-have. However, only a few CPUs can provide optimal performance for the RTX 3090 to function competently.

Getting a compatible CPU for your Nvidia RTX 30 should be easy. Although it requires patience to find that compatible CPU, it’s all worth it. Never worry; we’re here to help make your PC-building journey much easier by providing you with a list of the best CPUs for the RTX 3090.

Here, you’ll learn about the benefits of each CPU, along with the pros and cons of each. The buying guide section will help you make better decisions when purchasing. Plus, there’s an FAQ section to clarify some questions further. This piece is all worth it if you’re looking for the best CPU for your 3090. Keep reading.

Top List of Products

Intel Core i9-12900K

Our Pick

Intel Core i9-12900K

4.8/5 1,022 Reviews

The Intel Core i9-12900K processor offers impressive performance as the leading processor of the 12th generation intel family. This high-end processor shows improvement from the 11th generation series, offering great multitasking and revolutionary performance. It’s great if you’re looking for a high-end processor with a superb all-around output.

  • Great high-end CPU
  • Supports PCIe 4.0 and 5.0
  • Better multithreaded function
  • Supports both DDR4 and DDR5
  • Outstanding gaming execution
  • Consumes power
  • Unpredictable performance with Windows 10

It comes with a 16-core processor divided into eight cores, each of performance and efficient cores, making 24 thread count. The performance cores are more like intel’s core class, while the efficiency cores are similar to the atom class. 

Each core type of the i9-12900K has its clock speed. The performance core has a base speed of 3.2GHz, maxing out at 5.2GHz, while the single E-core has a base speed of 2.4GHz, with a maximum speed of 3.9GHz. This core i9 12th generation CPU has a processor base power of 125W and doesn’t require discrete graphics. There’s an intel smart cache of 30MB, an L2 cache of 14MB, and a total CPU PCIe lanes of 30.

Although the i9-12900K supports DDR4, the intel company introduces the new DDR5 memory speed, offering more flexibility. Therefore, you must pick which memory speed to pair with your i9-12900K since you can’t combine both. 

AMD Ryzen 9 5900X

Our Pick

AMD Ryzen 9 5900X

4.8/5 8,449Reviews

Your gaming experience just got better with the AMD Ryzen 9 500X. Ever since the introduction of the first Ryzen series CPUs, each new release has seen significant upgrades. The launch of the Ryzen 9 5900X offers a more competitive market with the most powerful processors around. You do not need a new motherboard for this processor, and it’s a great option if you want an AMD CPU for your Nvidia RTX 3090.

  • Supports PCIe 4.0
  • Good power efficiency
  • Compatible with various AMD chipsets
  • Enhanced gaming performance
  • It doesn’t require a new motherboard
  • It doesn’t come with a cooler
  • More expensive than its predecessors

Featuring 12 cores and 24 threads, the Ryzen 9 5900X is designed to give you a smooth experience while using your PC. In high-end games, this CPU can provide 100+ FPS output. Also, it has a base clock frequency of 3.7GHz, with a maximum boost of 4.8GHz, 70MB of cache size, and a wattage of 105 watts.

The AMD brand has worked to improve branch prediction, minimize latencies, and utilize faster caches in the Ryzen 9 5900X. All current motherboards compatible with the AMD 400 or 500 series will function efficiently with this processor. Another advantage is its compatibility with Socket AM4, and like its predecessor, it comes with the same 105W TDP rating. Furthermore, it supports PCIe 4.0 on B550 and X570 motherboards, and the chips can provide improved memory overclocking. Dedicated gamers and content creators will surely revel in this genius made by AMD.

Intel Core i7-12700K

Our Pick

Intel Core i7-12700K

4.9/5 1,479Reviews

Like its i9 counterpart, the Core i7-12700K comes with similar gaming expectations, although less costly than the i9. This Alder Lake processor has two microarchitectures for more power efficiency and optimum performance. It’s well-suitable for those who want a CPU around the mid-high range with a tremendous performance boost. Aside from the four efficiency cores in the i7-12700, the hyperthreading and eight performance cores give this processor the required speed.

  • Overclockable
  • Better power efficiency
  • Inbuilt graphics controller
  • Close in performance to the Intel Core i9 12900K
  • It doesn’t include a cooling solution
  • New motherboard with the socket

The Intel Core i7-12700K comes with 20 threads. It features a single P-core base speed of 3.6GHz and a maximum of 5.0GHz. Also, the single E-core has a 2.7GHz base speed, with its maximum at 3.8GHz. The P-cores come with Golden Cove architecture, while Gracemont architecture powers the E-cores. Cruise through the high clock speeds and excellent architecture to push your gaming experience to new altitudes while other apps are active in the background.

It supports DDR5 and PCIe Gen 5, and the architecture works well with other innovations, giving you a much better experience. Furthermore, you experience more graphics and detailing as the device has an inbuilt Intel UHD Graphics 770 controller. That means you don’t need to purchase a graphics card along with the processor. Also, the 11MB secondary cache, and 23MB of L3 cache, help to enhance computer performance and quick processing of instructions.

Intel Core i5-10600K

Our Pick

Intel Core i5-10600K

4.8/5 1,820 Reviews

Consider the Intel Core i5-10600k if you’re on a budget and looking for a cut-price CPU that gives you that edging performance. Gamers looking to beat the market by opting for an optimum performance CPU without going overboard for a flagship processor always look to the Core i5. The Intel series is unlocked for overclocking and boasts a gaming prowess that few processors within its price range can claim.

  • Easy to cool
  • Affordable processor
  • Good value for money
  • Great multi-core performance
  • It needs a new motherboard
  • Absence of bundled cooler
  • It doesn’t support PCIe 4.0 or 5.0

The Intel Core i5-10600K comes with a six-core 12-thread design, a single P-core base speed of 3.7GHz, and a max of 4.9GHz. Meanwhile, the single E-core has a base speed of 2.8GHz, and a maximum of 3.6GHz. Also, it supports DDR5 and PCIe Gen 5 for better optimum performance. Unlike the i5-9600K, clock frequencies are raised in the i5-10600K, and an improved L3 cache size of 12MB. 

Asides from the Z-490 motherboards, older motherboards aren’t compatible with this processor. It has a processor base power of 125W, and Intel compensates for this with a thin silicon layer and a thicker heat spreader. Unlike the flagship i9 chipsets that come with Turbo Boost 3.0 Max, the Core i5-10600K comes with the usual Turbo Boost 2.0. Also, the i5-10600K CPU features UHD 630 Graphics and can maintain a 4.5GHz clock speed on all cores. Therefore, if you’re looking for that budget option for your RTX 3090, you can’t go wrong with the Core i5-10600K.

AMD Ryzen 7 5800X

Our Pick

AMD Ryzen 7 5800X

4.8/5 13,546 Reviews

The AMD Ryzen 7 5800X is one of the best CPUs for your Nvidia RTX 3090. It offers excellent value for money, and improved performance makes this processor ideal for the 3090. The new Zen 3 architecture provides the Ryzen 7 5800X with top-notch PC performance that similarly priced Intel processors will strive to compete with. While many CPUs try to excel at a particular aspect, the AMD Ryzen 7 5800X is quite different. This impressive processor from AMD offers an all-around performance at a competitive level.

  • Overclockable
  • Consumes low power
  • Great overall performance
  • Outstanding single-core performance
  • No inbuilt graphics
  • It doesn’t include a cooler
  • Might underperform with heavy multitasking

Featuring an eight-core processor count and 16 threads, the Ryzen 7 5800X comes with DDR-3200 support and 36MB of cache. The L3 cache has 32MB, while the L2 cache features 4MB. On the world’s most popular games, this processor can provide top-notch 100+ FPS performance. The base and boost clock speeds are faster than its mid-range counterparts, with a base speed of 3.8GHz, with a maximum of 4.7GHz.

It supports PCIe 4.0 technology, offering better bandwidth than the 10th Gen Intel CPUs. This CPU delivers excellent single-core performance on your RTX 3090 and features the Socket AM4. Despite the clock speed and IPC ratings, this AMD processor includes the same TDP rating of 105W as its predecessor. It’s unlocked for overclocking and functions correctly on Windows 10 64-bit operating system.

Buying Guide: Things to Consider When Purchasing the Best CPU for 3090

Considering some factors before purchasing any processor for your 3090 is necessary to get the best from your computer. Whether you’re a hardcore gamer or a casual computer user, getting a suitable CPU gives your computer a smooth performance for different PC tasks. Although deciding on the best CPU for 3090 may be challenging, this buying guide provides the necessary guidance. Let’s go over them.

Cores and Threads

We have single-core and multi-core processors, which dictate the number of tasks the processor can handle simultaneously. About a decade ago, single-cores were the norm, but nowadays, multi-core processors have taken over. The higher the number of cores, the more efficient the CPU will multitask. Threads refer to the tasks that a computer processor can perform at any time. Recent software includes hyperthreading or multithreading, allowing the computer to use underused CPU parts. Therefore, choosing suitable cores and threads for any CPU, you intend to purchase will help your 3090 function smoothly.

Clock Speed

The clock speed determines the speed at which the CPU functions. It’s usually measured in gigahertz (GHz) and depicts how fast the CPU can handle different tasks. The clocking speed of a processor improves the overall performance of the computer. Although overclocking may not be necessary for many users, it’s vital if you’re into gaming or graphics work. The higher the clock speed, the better it is for your computer. You should note that overclocked CPUs are generally more expensive than locked ones.

Cache Size

By paying attention to specifications like the cache size, you can compare your options. The CPU’s cache is similar to your computer’s memory and is temporary storage for retrieving files. It becomes vital when many apps run on your computer frequently. The larger the cache size, the more files it’ll store for fast retrieval.


Understand your budget before purchasing any processor. Some CPUs are high-end, which means they’re costlier than mid-range processors. CPUs like the Intel Core i5-10600K and AMD Ryzen 7 5800X are affordable and fantastic if you’re on a budget. In contrast, Intel Core i9 12900K processors are great if you’re looking for a high-end processor. While considering cost, ensure you get one that offers you good value. Knowing the price range you want will help you narrow your options, making it easier to research and purchase the ideal CPU.

Socket Type

Picking a socket compatible with your motherboard is a primary concern when buying CPUs. The CPU socket refers to the motherboard socket where one plug in the CPU. Not all processors can fit different CPU sockets. For example, an Intel processor cannot work with an AMD socket and vice-versa. As a result, ensure you pick a processor with a socket type compatible with your motherboard. When choosing your CPU, be sure of compatibility with your processor socket. Doing this will ensure the motherboard works well with the current CPU.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What RAM storage will work best for the RTX 3090?

Your RAM choice should depend on use and workload. Although you do not need a certain amount of RAM for the Graphics Processing Unit (GPU), you’ll need a minimum RAM specification for what you do with the GPU. The Nvidia RTX 3090 is more compatible with resolutions up to 3840×2160. Generally, opting for RAM storage of at least 16GB will ensure optimal performance of the 3090. If you’re into content creation or video editing, the 32GB RAM is more suitable. However, if you’re into 3D animations or other heavy usages, the 64GB RAM is more compatible.

Can I use my current motherboard with the above CPUs?

As discussed earlier, the motherboard and processor must use the same socket type before using your motherboard with any processor. However, because they fit the same socket doesn’t necessarily mean they’re compatible. Therefore, you should always verify the motherboard’s compatibility with your CPU of choice. Asides from this, check the chipset compatibility and manufacturer compatibility of the motherboard with the CPU. Both AMD and Intel are different manufacturers with entirely different builds. In addition, also check if the memory is compatible with the CPU before making a purchase.

Which is more critical, the clock speed and core count?

The answer to this isn’t direct, as this is a question people have asked repeatedly for years. In some situations, the clock speed is more important, while the core count is more important in other scenarios. Multiple cores will let the processor handle different tasks simultaneously, while a fast clock speed quickens the time to complete a task. For gamers, smaller fast-paced games will benefit from a high clock speed. However, high-end games will experience an enhanced performance with more core counts. In simpler words, if you heavily multitask, prioritize core count.

Bottom Line

Choosing the best CPU for 3090 comes down to specific considerations. Gone are the days when AMD was the underdog in the industry. Nowadays, AMD processors have stepped up their game and provided fierce competition with their Intel counterparts.

If you need help picking a CPU, check out our buying guide section for guidance. All the CPUs on our top five list deliver excellently and pair well with the 3090. Depending on your preference, and budget, you’ll surely get what you need from this list.