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Best CPU for RTX 3090 Ti – our top picks from AMD & Intel

We've lined up a selection of processors to pair with the prime of the 30-series
Last Updated on May 9, 2024
A box of amd ryzen 7 5800x3d processor, the best CPU for RTX 3090 Ti, on a blurred background, featuring prominent branding and specification details.
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The RTX 3090 Ti is the top GPU of Nvidia’s 30-series, offering a boost from even the 3090 itself. The unit is known for delivering the most powerful and reliable performance of the previous-gen graphics cards. But, as is commonly the case, this strong GPU needs a strong CPU to match that power in order to bring you the best possible experience. Whether you’re looking for high clock speeds, plenty of cores, or a balance of both, we’ve got you covered with a selection to help you find the best CPU for RTX 3090 Ti.

The Nvidia RTX 3090 Ti is equipped with cutting-edge Ampere architecture and boasts an impressive 10,752 CUDA cores and 24 GB of high-speed GDDR6X VRAM, connected through a wide 384-bit memory bus. Using Samsung’s advanced 8N process technology, the card operates with a base clock speed of 1560 MHz and a boost clock speed of 1860 MHz. With a TDP of 450W, the RTX 3090 Ti offers remarkable performance. It can handle demanding games and applications effortlessly. Furthermore, a 1,008 GB/s memory bandwidth further enhances the overall system performance, promising speedy data transfer.

Needless to say, the right processor should probably be from around the high to mid-range, with a strong single-threaded performance and sufficient cores for multitasking. As you can tell from its specs, the RTX 3090 Ti is one of the most powerful from Team Green, so a powerful CPU will ensure you steer clear of getting bottlenecked. So which CPU should accompany this fine GPU? Read on to find out.

Products at a glance

How we picked the best CPU for the 3090 Ti

Choosing the best processor for any graphics card requires a holistic overview, which we’re able to achieve with our fine combination of our extensive topic knowledge of CPUs and PC building, and extensive research. Where we can, we make sure to draw on our hands-on experience from our various CPU and GPU reviews, and prioritize recommending products that we’ve approved first-hand. While we haven’t reviewed the 3090 Ti per say, we have reviewed the RTX 3090 itself, so we’ve got a really clear idea of where the Ti sits on the performance podium, and how it feels in gaming and productivity workloads – a perfect base of knowledge for selecting some CPU pairings.

By synthesizing data from our own benchmarks, reviews from in-house and online, and expert analysis, we ensure that our recommendations for the best CPU for the RTX 3090 Ti are well-informed, trustworthy, and cater to a wide range of needs; whether it’s for high-end gaming or demanding professional work. We also looked at several price points, as while we understand that the 3090 Ti buyer is somebody that is willing to invest money in a valuable component, nobody likes to pay for an overpriced piece of tech. We thus chose CPUs that provide the very best bang for your buck for your gaming PC. However, if you are looking more specifically at the lower end of the price range, we’ve got you covered with some picks of the best budget CPUs. 

Another important aspect we checked before picking out CPUs for the 3090 Ti was the compatibility of the CPU. We decided to prominently feature the newer generation of CPUs from AMD and Intel: if somebody has forked out for the 3090 Ti, it would be good if they could enter a generation of CPU and components that will set them up with a long-lasting and up-to-date rig. While we’re still unsure about exactly when we’ll be getting the RTX 50 series, it could be even more affordable to get an Ada-based upgrade in the near future should that be something you want.

Our top picks

Best CPU for the RTX 3090 Ti
01
  • An Intel Core i9-13900K processor installed in a motherboard socket, surrounded by circuits and components.
Best in ClassHighly Recommended
Specifications
  • Cores: 24 (8P-16E)
  • Threads: 32
  • Boost speed : P-Core 5.7GHz / E-Core 4.3GHz
  • Base speed: P-Core 3.0GHz / E-Core 2.2GHz
  • L3 Cache: 36 MB
  • TDP: 253W
  • Platform: Intel (LGA 1700)
Reasons to Buy
  • Unmatched performance in gaming aside from the current flagship, so well-matched to the 3090 Ti
  • Significant overclocking potential for extreme speeds in all-round use
  • Supports both DDR4 and DDR5 memory
Reasons to Avoid
  • Requires advanced cooling, and has high power consumption too – especially when maxed out
  • Like the 3090 Ti, it’s still pricey even in 2024
  • Obviously, it’s been replaced by the 14900K too

Dive into the heart of Intel’s fantastic 13th generation of CPUs with the i9-13900K. This CPU should never bottleneck with the 3090 Ti, and its high processing capabilities mean it’s the best partner for the unit, offering value even above the newer flagship, the 14900K. With a CPU like the i9-13900K, you’ll no doubt be able to enjoy some seriously top-notch performance that comes out of a high-end CPU/ GPU pairing.

The Intel Core i9-13900K is a powerful CPU with high-end specs that make it an ideal choice for the RTX 3090 Ti. With 24 cores and 32 threads, it provides ample processing power for demanding tasks such as content creation and gaming. The P-Core base clock speed of 3.0 GHz and boost clock speed of 5.8 GHz ensures fast performance for demanding applications, while the E-Core base clock speed of 2.2 GHz and boost clock speed of 4.3 GHz provide energy efficiency for lighter tasks. Naturally, this was proved true in our 13900K review’s in-house benchmarks, which saw the processor still being more than competitive when it comes to powering today’s games.

Built upon the LGA 1700 socket, this leading Raptor Lake model is more than fast enough for today’s intensive games and the demands of productivity and creative workloads, too. 

PC Guide

For the overclocking enthusiasts out there, the i9-13900K is a dream too, presenting substantial scope to enhance performance beyond its already formidable base. Its support for the latest DDR5 memory and PCIe 5.0 empowers users to create a top-of-the-line system equipped with the most advanced components available. However, it has to be said that this performance comes with a price tag, which is at the high-end of the market, although it’s frequently discounted these days. This is to be expected due to the specs this CPU carries, but the fact that you don’t have to update the motherboard or move up to DDR5 to get it to work helps offset the price.

The CPU also features 32 MB of L2 cache and 36 MB of L3 cache, which work together to provide fast data access and an overall smooth system performance. With a TDP of 125W, the i9-13900K offers a good balance between performance and energy efficiency. Overall, the Intel Core i9-13900K is a well-rounded CPU that enables a great performance from the RTX 3090 Ti.

Best AMD CPU for the 3090 Ti
02
  • A retail box for an AMD Ryzen 9 7950X3D desktop processor, featuring prominent orange and black design elements and AMD branding.
Excellent
Specifications
  • Cores: 16
  • Thread: 32
  • Base Clock Speed: 100 MHz
  • Boost Clock Speed: 5.7 GHz
  • L3 Cache: 128 MB (shared)
  • TDP: 120 W
  • Platform: AMD Socket AM5
Reasons to Buy
  • Leading performance for gaming, and with a lower TDP than the 7950X
  • Has second-generation 3D V-cache, and is feature-rich
  • A dream for overclockers
Reasons to Avoid
  • As one of the best, it has a high entry cost
  • 7950X variant is better for the non-gamers
  • Doesn’t have support for DDR4 RAM

AMD never disappoints with their CPUs, and with the 7000 series Team Red comes even closer to matching the productivity capacity of Intel; although Hybrid cores are still taking the lead. Basically, AMD’s raw power is capable of much more than we expected, and in gaming and some multithreaded tasks, the 7950X3D has the advantage. This is one of the few reasons why we chose the Ryzen 9 7950X3D to be the best AMD CPU for the RTX 3090 Ti. You’re going to have to upgrade to the newest AM5 motherboard and DDR5 but, again, at this level, who cares about a few more bucks if they’re going to get you the best performance?

The Ryzen 9 7950X is a powerful AMD processor that’s well-suited for use with the RTX 3090 Ti. With 16 cores and 32 threads, it provides ample processing power for demanding tasks such as gaming and content creation. The base clock speed of 4.5 GHz and boost clock speed of 5.7 GHz ensure fast performance, while the 128 MB of L2 and L3 cache work together to provide quick data access and improve the overall system performance. Of course, you’re also benefitting from second-generation 3D V-cache, meaning that in our in-house benchmarks from our Ryzen 9 7950X3D review, the Zen 4 flagship chip displayed outstanding figures in the likes of CS2, Cyberpunk 2077, Days Gone, and Monster Hunter World. However, if you’re a creative user as opposed to a gamer, you might find the 7950X alternative a better fit for your rig, as its higher power draw lends it to improved synthetic performance.

The AMD Ryzen 9 7950X3D is far from the cheapest chipset on the market, but with unparalleled performance, it’s also one of the best.

PC Guide

Built using the TSMC 5nm process node, the Ryzen 9 7950X3D offers excellent energy efficiency and performance. With a TDP of 120W, it provides a good balance between power consumption and performance. Additionally, the CPU supports DDR5-5200 memory, which provides fast data transfer speeds and an improved overall system performance. In conclusion, the Ryzen 9 7950X 3Dis a well-rounded CPU that provides great performance for the RTX 3090 Ti. Its combination of cores, threads, clock speeds, and memory support make it a top choice for demanding tasks.

Best gaming CPU for the RTX 3090 Ti
03
  • Product packaging of an AMD Ryzen 7 7800X3D processor featuring 3D V-Cache technology, with an orange and black color scheme.
Specifications
  • Cores: 8
  • Threads: 16
  • Boost speed : up to 5 GHz
  • Base speed: 4.2 GHz
  • L3 Cache: 96 MB
  • TDP: 120 W
  • Platform: AMD (AM5)
Reasons to Buy
  • Enormous 96MB L3 cache enhances gaming performance
  • Low power consumption, and low price point too
  • Supports PCIe 5.0 and DDR5
Reasons to Avoid
  • The support for DDR4 RAM is limited
  • You will need to have a suitable cooling setup, as it’s known to run hot
  • Not the best choice for productivity tasks, but epic for gaming

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, that’s what we say! And for those planning to game on that GPU, you can’t avoid the best gaming CPU so far: the Ryzen 7 5800X3D. This neat little gaming processor has remained top of the game despite the 7000-series X3D units hitting the shelves, and stands as an ideal pick for pairing up with a 3090 Ti. This CPU is specifically optimized for gaming with advanced 3D V-cache technology, offering improved performance in demanding games and applications.

With its large and high-speed cache optimized for 3D rendering, the 5800X3D allows the GPU to access data more quickly, resulting in a smoother and more efficient gaming experience: you’ve got 96 MB at your disposal. The advanced power-saving technologies, including the 3D V-cache, reduce power consumption, providing a more energy-efficient gaming setup. Combining with this are 8 cores and 16 threads, and a boost speed that will take you nicely beyond the 5 GHz threshold.

This neat little gaming processor has remained top of the game despite the 7000-series X3D units hitting the shelves, and stands as an ideal pick for pairing up with a 3090 Ti.

PC Guide

For those focused solely on gaming, the Ryzen 7 5800X3D is the ideal choice, and it comes in at a really competitive price point. Its powerful performance, advanced features, and optimized design make it the go-to CPU for an exceptional gaming experience with the RTX 3090 Ti. Of course, for systems planning on leveraging the full power of the 5800X3D, we’ve taken a look at the best motherboards for the Ryzen 7 5800X3D too.

Best CPU for the 3090 Ti for the money
04
Highly Recommended
Reasons to Buy
  • 12 cores and 24 threads excellent for multi-tasking, and it’s great for overclocking too
  • So, you’re getting excellent value for your performance
  • You can frequently find it at a nice discounted price tag
Reasons to Avoid
  • Boost clock is on the lower side of things
  • Unlike other chips, it doesn’t have support for DDR5 so it’s not the most future-proof

The Ryzen 9 5900X is a fantastic choice for pairing with the RTX 3090 Ti – it’s a beast, and offers seriously powerful multi-core performance suitable for demanding workstations and gaming loads. With its high core count of 12 Cores and 24 Threads, it can handle intense workloads efficiently and supply the 3090 Ti with ample data to process. We certainly found this to be the case in our Ryzen 5900X review, where we rated the processor a solid 4 out of 5 stars. It’s got all the horsepower you need for modern gaming, despite being a few years old.

Built on the Zen 3 architecture, this CPU boasts 12 cores and 24 threads with a base clock speed of 3.7 GHz and a boost clock up to 4.8 GHz. These cores and threads are well-utilized in terms of both single-core and multi-core performance, and our benchmarks were a reflection of that – this CPU had no trouble reaching 154 FPS in Starfield and 145 FPS in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. You might find it to be especially power efficient compared to its successors with a respective 105W TDP.

With its high core count of 12 Cores and 24 Threads, it can handle intense workloads efficiently and supply the 3090 Ti with ample data to process.

PC Guide

Due to the release of AMD’s Zen 4 CPUs, older generations like the 5900X are being discounted, making it a cost-effective option for those who can grab it on sale. In summary, the Ryzen 9 5900X is a solid choice for those seeking top-notch gaming performance without breaking the bank.

Features and considerations

Firstly, we must recognize that despite being part of a previous generation, the 3090 Ti remains a top-tier graphics processing unit. It might still be built on the GA102 architecture as the original 3090, but you’re getting a wealth of upgrades across the board: you’re getting a marginal boost to 10,752 CUDA cores, a boost clock of 1,860 MHz, and a 21Gbps memory speed on a 1,018GBps bandwidth. It is perfect for intensive tasks such as video editing and high-end gaming, with a lot of gamers no doubt wanting to utilize it for gaming at 4K resolution. In all of these scenarios, the graphics card will excel, but it will need a high-performance CPU.

The first thing to consider is the number of CPU cores. The higher the core count, the more effectively the CPU will pair with the RTX 3090 Ti. We recommend opting for a CPU featuring no less than 16 cores, as this amount guarantees the smooth handling of multitasking activities – naturally, this number will fluctuate with your budget though. Unless your usage solely revolves around gaming, it’s advisable not to compromise on core count for creative or work station tasks.

The next step is to focus on the CPU clock frequency, as the clock speed of the CPU must be sufficiently high to match the performance demands of the RTX 3090 Ti. It’s suggested to have a minimum base clock speed of 3.0 GHz, and luckily our selection of picks above all tick this box. However, if you’re looking for a CPU that’s absolutely maxed out on power, it’s worth checking out our picks of the best CPU for gaming.

Camilo is a contributor for PC Guide. He's been into tech since he was a teen, surfing through the web and local stores trying to find the cheapest way to play the latest Half-Life on his old Windows