RTX 3080 Ti is a monstrous card that can easily provide a fantastic 4K gaming experience. However, you can ruin its performance by using a low-end CPU. CPU-GPU combo needs to be perfect, so you won’t experience stutter, lag, or FPS throttle issues during gaming. Even when rendering, a suitable CPU with 3080 Ti can do a much quicker job converting a high-end video. In contrast, a low-end CPU will throttle, forcing your graphics card to reduce its performance too. So, if you have gotten an RTX 3080 Ti and want to upgrade your CPU, this article covers the best CPU for 3080Ti in terms of price and performance.
Best CPU for 3080Ti
A thumb rule to choosing the best CPU for high-end graphics cards is to choose the generation they came out with. For example, RTX 3080 Ti arrived in June 2021, so if you choose CPUs that arrived in 2020 and 2021, you’ll get the best performance.
- Intel Core i9-10900K – 10 Cores and 20 Threads for Ultimate Performance
- AMD Ryzen 9 5950X – Most Efficient for Power Consumption
- Intel Core i9-12900K – High-end CPU for RTX 3080 Ti
- AMD Ryzen 5 5600X – Most Budget-friendly CPU
1. Intel Core i9-10900K – 10 Cores and 20 Threads for Ultimate Performance
Intel is the leading CPU brand providing one of the best CPUs in terms of performance and price. Many people’s first choice is Intel when it comes to gaming, so we added Intel Core i9-10900K to our list. While this is not a budget option, this CPU can coop up with 3080 Ti and deliver a performance like no other. With its ten cores and 20 threads, you can expect it to help your GPU to deliver consistent FPS while high-end gaming easily.Pros: Cons:
It might not be a good option for multi-purpose tasks, but for gaming, this is the best CPU under a $500 price tag. With the base clock of 3.7GHz and 5.3GHz Max Turbo Boost, this CPU can do justice to 3080 Ti performance.
You won’t have to get an expensive motherboard for this CPU as it is compatible with all Intel 400 series mobos. While running at max power, this CPU takes up to 125-watt power. You can find CPUs taking much less power, but they won’t be able to provide the same performance. So, if you decide to use this CPU with 3080 Ti, you’ll need a power supply of 800 watts or more.
Since this is a K series processor, you can overclock it without worrying about its life expectancy. Make sure the motherboard has the overclocking feature and use a liquid cooler for better performance. You won’t get a stock cooler with this CPU costing you a hundred more dollars for a good CPU air cooler.
2. AMD Ryzen 9 5950X – Most Efficient for Power Consumption
AMD Ryzen 9 5950X has been in the market for almost two years as one of the most overpowered CPUs. This CPU has 16 cores and 32 threads to give a behemoth of a performance. Pair this with RTX 3080 Ti, and you have more than 150 FPS on 2K and easily three-figure FPS in 4K gaming. If that is not surprising, the base clock of this processor is 3.4 GHz with a boost clock of 4.9 GHz, and you can increase it via overclocking. AMD guarantees that this CPU paired with any minimal GPU can deliver up to 100 FPS easily.Pros: Cons:
While many AMD CPUs tend to show high temperatures at prolonged gaming sessions, this CPU keeps things cool by not reaching more than 60 Celsius with a liquid cooler. Don’t bother spending money on cheap coolers if you want to use this CPU at its peak. Invest in an air or liquid cooler so you can overclock the CPU without issues.
The biggest advantage of this processor is its price. The performance you can get from this CPU, you’ll need to spend $250 more if you want the same performance from an Intel CPU. Use an AMD motherboard with this chipset to overclock or underclock without restarting your PC.
3. Intel Core i9-12900K – High-End CPU for RTX 3080 Ti
If you have no problems with the budget and want a beast CPU for the ultimate experience, choose Intel Core i9-12900K. It comes with 16 cores of which eight are performance, and eight are efficiency cores. The base clock of this process is 3.2 GHz but it can reach up to a whopping 5.2GHz in turbo mode. However, while running at the max speed, this processor can eat up to 241 watts. Not a good CPU if you want to save power, but if you want performance, it is unmatched at its price range.Pros: Cons:
Intel Core i9-12900K is the best if you want to play and stream games simultaneously. It has one of the best multi-core performances providing the absolute best performance regardless of your requirements.
This CPU starts impressing as soon as you unbox it. First, its golden disc boxing leaves a good impression covered by a soft foam ensuring that nothing happens to the CPU. This is the only process matching the top dogs by AMD with a price range that you might not see in any other processor. With its overclocking capabilities, you can easily increase its core speed without damaging the CPU. However, its power consumption will increase even when the CPU is idle, so we don’t recommend overclocking it.
4. AMD Ryzen 5 5600X – Most Budget-friendly CPU
If you want a processor that’ll run all games in 2K resolution at a budget price, there is no one better than AMD Ryzen 5 5600X. Apart from budget, this processor comes with a stock cooler that’ll keep it in working condition in winter. However, as the temperature rises, you might need to upgrade its cooler to a liquid or air cooler.Pros: Cons:
AMD Ryzen 5 5600X has six cores and 12 threads, which are enough for multitasking. This CPU allows you to game and stream without stutters or FPS lag. One thing to worry about is its high temperature while gaming. If you run high-end games at 2K, it will peak at 95 Celsius at the stock cooler. On the other hand, the money you can save on this processor allows you to purchase anything else to improve overall performance. The only significant downside is that you can’t play 4K games on this CPU at 60 FPS.
Content creators will love this CPU because of its performance at a low price. They can spend more money on getting better equipment so they can work fast. If you want to work and do some little tasks at the back, you can expect this CPU to perform without problems.
Another noticeable feature of this CPU is its power efficiency. On idle, it won’t even take more than 5 watts, and even at full capacity; this CPU only takes 65 watts. This is the only processor you need if you don’t want to put an extra burden on your pocket but want to play competitive games.
Buying Guide to Choose a CPU for Rtx 3080 Ti
Here are some factors to help you choose the right CPU for your 3080 Ti.
Here is an easy way to get the best CPU for this graphics card. Instead of choosing among the thousands available, get the ones that were released during 2020-2022. If money is not the problem, you can make things simpler by choosing the previous generation CPU. In the case of Intel, that would be the 12th gen, and for AMD, it would be the Ryzen 9 series.
Since the 3080 Ti is a powerful graphics card, you can only do justice with it, if you own a six-core or more processor. All the CPUs mentioned above have six or more cores offering the best performance with your graphics card.
Sometimes you might need to overclock your CPU to play some 4K games at max settings. Your GPU will easily handle such a burden, but your CPU might not, even at the max speed. So, while choosing an Intel CPU, make sure it is the K version and for AMD, check the CPU specs to see if you can overclock it.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. Can I buy a CPU under $200 for RTX 3080 Ti?
AMD Ryzen 5 5600X is the best CPU that you can get under $200 to have the best performance with RTX 3080 Ti. It might not be the best CPU for this processor, but you can play games at 2K without any problem. If you are a fan of Intel, their Intel Core-i9 9900k is another great processor for 3080 Ti. However, the only problem with intel is that you’ll have to spend extra money on the cooler. In comparison, AMD Ryzen 5 5600X comes with a stock cooler that is enough to keep the CPUs temperature in check. Once you have enough money, you can spend and get the AMD 240mm liquid cooler for ultimate performance.
2. What is the best CPU for RTX 3080 Ti?
If you are okay with spending a lot of money on a CPU that can pack a huge performance punch with 3080 Ti, the Intel Core-i9 13900k is the best option. If you want an AMD CPU, then AMD Ryzen 7 5800X is the best option. Both these processors have enough performance and efficiency cores allowing you to play any games at 4K with max settings.
One thing to remember is that if you don’t want to see high temperatures on these processors, make sure to use a 380mm liquid cooler. Since they are powerful hardware, they’ll get hot rather quickly.
3. What to do if I don’t get enough FPS using RTX 3080 Ti?
While it can be the issue with a low-end CPU paired with your beast GPU, sometimes the problem is different. We don’t expect you to open the entire PC and check, but here are some fixes. First, use a hardware monitor app to check which part is getting hotter the most during games. If that is your CPU, check its cooler and thermal paste and change them if necessary. If the problem is your GPU, check its fans and see if there is any dust. You might need to upgrade the CPU if you are using the 8th generation because that might throttle your 3080 Ti performance. If nothing else works, take your PC to a shop and let the professionals have a look.
4. What do you need to run an RTX 3080 Ti?
3080 Ti is a high-end GPU from Nvidia that requires a good amount of power to run. First, you’ll need a motherboard that can support this GPU without causing compatibility and performance issues. After that, you’ll need a case with lots of fans to keep the 3080 Ti cool. You can attach three 120mm fans for inflow and outflow, allowing lots of air to pass through for better cooling. After that, a CPU that can work well with this GPU so you can have an ultimate gaming experience. You should use a power supply of at least 700 watts so everything in the case can run without getting disconnected.
RTX 3080 Ti is the best GPU if you want the ultimate gaming performance under $1200. However, pairing it with a poor CPU will bottleneck its performance. We covered four of the best CPUs you can use with 3080 Ti, without bottlenecking it, and playing games and streaming simultaneously.