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Best CPU for Cyberpunk 2077 in 2024 – our top Intel and AMD picks

Dive into the Night City with the best CPU for Cyberpunk 2077
Last Updated on May 3, 2024
Best CPU for Cyberpunk 2077
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Diving deep into Cyberpunk 2077 requires not just skills but also a well-equipped gaming rig. In this article, we’re zoning in on the best CPU for Cyberpunk 2077, ensuring you have the horsepower needed to experience every street brawl, high-speed chase, and intimate character interaction with the smoothest performance possible.

The game’s beauty and vastness come at a price, pushing many PCs to their limits. While the developers suggested a Core i7 4790 paired with a GTX 1060 for high settings at 1080p, in reality, it’s clear that players need a much more formidable setup. That’s precisely what we’ll be guiding you toward in this article, recommending the processors that are going to allow you to enjoy the blend of reality and dystopia of Cyberpunk at its best performance.

How we picked

Sifting through the sea of CPUs to find the perfect match for Cyberpunk 2077 isn’t a task we’ve taken lightly. Alongside our CPU topic knowledge, we’ve scoured the internet, looking through public benchmarks and gamer testimonials to get a comprehensive understanding of each CPU’s performance in the context of the game. We also put each CPU through rigorous in-house tests to find its upper and lower limits. If you’re interested in learning about how we do it, head on over to our PC Guide Testing Lab for more details.

This helped us identify CPUs that consistently deliver optimal performance levels for Cyberpunk 2077 and will engage the impressive graphics and ray tracing without inducing tearing or stuttering.

Another aspect that we paid attention to is the hardware specifications which provide vital insight into the system requirements to consider when choosing a compatible processor for Cyberpunk. The minimum requirements are an Intel Core i7-6700 or an AMD Ryzen 5 1600, so this is used as a base level for our own processing recommendations. 

However, to prepare for some potential bottlenecks and challenges, a CPU of a similar level to the recommended specs, an i7-12700 or a Ryzen 7 7800X3D, will serve you better overall. We’ve made sure to cater to all budgets and preferences, choosing processors for those on a budget, for playing 1440p 60fps, and for 1080p high settings. Furthermore, we’ve considered the broader gaming landscape.

Cyberpunk 2077 is indeed a demanding game, but a CPU upgrade will likely serve many other titles in your library. As such, our selections are not just tailored for this game alone but also ensure a future-proofing aspect, catering to upcoming titles and ensuring longevity. For an overview of other market-favorite CPUs, we’ve got guides on the best CPU for gaming, as well as the best CPUs for integrated graphics.

Best CPU for Cyberpunk 2077

Best CPU for Cyberpunk 2077 overall
01
Best in ClassHighly Recommended
Specifications
  • Cores: 12
  • Threads: 24
  • Boost clock speed: 5.6 GHz
  • Base clock speed: 4.4 GHz
  • L3 Cache: 128MB
  • TDP: 120W
  • Platform: Socket AM5
Reasons to Buy
  • Top-notch gaming performance
  • Great power-efficiency and thermal design
  • 128MB of L3 cache
Reasons to Avoid
  • The creative performance is lacking compared to the non-3D variant
  • It doesn’t offer a complete solution despite its premium price tag

The glistening landscape of Night City deserves to be experienced in all its glory, and having the most powerful gaming processor powering your rig just makes sense. However, we didn’t choose this CPU for no reason. In our Ryzen 9 7900X3D review, we saw that it had exceptional gaming performance and could easily churn out 168 FPS in Cyberpunk 2077 on 1080p low settings. 

The Ryzen 9 7900X3D has 12 cores, 24 threads, a max boost clock of 5.6GHz, and a whopping 128MB of L3 cache. These features are impressive not only on paper but also in real life, as we found in our testing. Out of the 128MB L3 cache, 64MB is the 3D V-cache, meaning the 64MB is stacked on top of the L3 cache. This allows more data to be stored on the die, leading to reduced access times, faster processing, and better in-game results.

It also has an impressive number of cores and threads and should be able to multitask efficiently. However, our single- and multi-core R23 tests scored 1,720 and 25,958, respectively. This performance is decent but falls a bit short compared to Team Blue’s i9-13900K and 14900K. This doesn’t mean this processor won’t be able to handle creative or professional tasks, but its specialty lies in its gaming rather than professional performance.

The AMD Ryzen 9 7900X3D works best when it comes to gaming

PC Guide

The 7900X3D features a comparatively low TDP of 120W, which certainly works in its favor when we compare it to the 7900X and its 170W TDP. However, with the hardware it packs and depending on the ambient temperature, it wouldn’t be surprising if it runs a bit hot. That said, we recommend using the best cooling solutions for the Ryzen 9 7900X3D to keep it tame and performing optimally. 

This processor is an enthusiast pick, and its price shows that. At the time of writing, it is going for $391.48 on sale, whereas its upgrade, the 7950X3D, has a price tag of $577.21 on sale. While its gaming performance is exceptional, it doesn’t offer a complete approach to workloads, which one would expect from a CPU in this price bracket.

Overall, given its in-game performance, this is one of the best CPUs for Cyberpunk 2077. Its snappy processing should handle the processor-reliant AI NPCs and other elements without a hitch. 

What users say

The user reception of the Ryzen 9 7900X3D paints a similar picture regarding its gaming and creative performance. One review stated that this is the “Best gaming processor that has been released in the past few years.” Besides that, only one review reported that this CPU runs hot, so it should work well during heavy loads.

Best performance CPU for Cyberpunk 2077
02
  • An Intel Core i9-13900K processor installed in a motherboard socket, surrounded by circuits and components.
Highly Recommended
4 /5
Editor’s Rating
How We Review
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
  • Excellent gaming and professional performance
  • Compatible with both DDR4 and DDR5 RAM
  • Unlocked for more performance per watt
Reasons to Avoid
  • Prone to high-temperature
  • It needs a robust water CPU cooler
  • It comes with a premium price tag

Next, we have the flagship CPU from Intel’s 13th-generation lineup, the i9-13900K. Not only is it jam-packed with features and impressive hardware, but during our in-house testing, it performed exceptionally well in gaming and synthetic benchmarks. 

Another reason to choose this CPU over the i9-14900K was the price difference and the minimal performance gap. You can read more about that in our i9-14900K review. In Cyberpunk 2077, at 1080p low settings, this processor managed a whopping 342 FPS. This is quite impressive, given that low-resolution gaming relies more on the CPU churning out more instructions per second. On top of that, this title is notoriously demanding, but the i9-13900K made quick work of it.

However, gaming isn’t the only thing it’s good at. It had excellent multi-core scores across a number of tests like CPU-Z, Cinebench R23, and Geekbench. What this means is that you should be able to run resource-intensive tasks in parallel without experiencing performance degradation. 

The Intel Core i9-13900K is still more than competitive when it comes to powering today’s games.

PC Guide

One thing to note is that this CPU will most likely run quite hot during heavy loads. It reached its maximum of 100°C during our stress testing, even with a 360mm AIO cooler installed. That said, gaming or professional tasks shouldn’t push it to that limit, but we still recommend pairing it with the best CPU cooler for i9-13900K

All this performance is courtesy of its 24 cores, 32 threads, 36MB L3 cache, and a maximum frequency of 5.8GHz. On top of that, it comes unlocked from the manufacturer, so you can overclock each independent core for the most optimal performance.

What users say 

According to the Amazon reviews of the i9-13900K, it’s a versatile powerhouse capable of handling anything you throw at it. One review stated, “This processor is an excellent investment.” Other praised features include its reliability, gaming, and professional performance, which includes 3D modeling and rendering. 

Best 1440p CPU for Cyberpunk 2077
02
Highly Recommended
4 /5
Editor’s Rating
How We Review
Reasons to Buy
  • Offers great performance without burning a hole in your pocket
  • Excellent gaming and professional results in 2024
  • Low TDP of 105W
Reasons to Avoid
  • Doesn’t leave many options to upgrade other than the Ryzen 9 5950X
  • The value will drop since the AM5 platform has been introduced

The era of 1080p gaming is seemingly ending, and 1440p is the sweet spot for most gamers. To comfortably run Cyberpunk 2077 in 2K, we recommend pairing the Ryzen 9 5900X with your GPU. In our Ryzen 9 5900X review, we were glad to see it performing well in our gaming and synthetic tests, especially in 2024, four years after its release. 

This CPU managed 154 FPS in Starfield, paired with an RX 7900 XT, which is generally considered as demanding as Cyberpunk 2077 if not more. This result was in 1080p low settings, so the higher you go, the better FPS you should get as the workload shifts onto the GPU. 

Besides that, it also had decent single- and multi-core scores, which shows that it is still a viable option for creative endeavors and that the AM4 legacy continues to be strong. Another great aspect of this CPU is that it is compatible with the AM4 socket.

The AMD Ryzen 9 5900X is still an excellent CPU for gaming and productivity even in 2024, thanks to its 12 cores and 24 threads.

PC Guide

This means that if you’re running an AMD chipset and want to upgrade it, you can slap this on your motherboard and start gaming without worrying about stability or compatibility issues. That said, it also means you won’t be able to install next-gen components such as DDR5 RAM. 

However, pairing it with the best DDR4 RAM and the best SSD for gaming should result in a significant boost in performance, both in gaming and other applications. This shouldn’t cost a lot, especially compared to the cost of shifting to the AM5 platform.

Overall, if you want to stick with the AM4 platform and want a CPU for top-notch gaming and professional results, the Ryzen 9 5900X shouldn’t disappoint, and its mid-range price point also makes it a steal. 

What users say

Sporting a rating of 4.8 out of 5.0, it isn’t surprising that the Ryzen 9 5900X is well-liked among the users. Its reviews are filled with praise for its performance, ease of use, and the value it brings to the table. One user stated, “This is an absolute beast of a CPU,” which we believe perfectly sums up this CPU.

Best budget CPU for Cyberpunk 2077
04
  • AMD Ryzen 5 7600X CPU in front of its packaging, featuring the "7000 series processor" label.
  • AMD Ryzen 5 7600X processor with visible pins on a white background.
Excellent
4.5 /5
Editor’s Rating
How We Review
Specifications
  • Cores: 6
  • Threads : 12
  • Boost speed : 5.3 GHz
  • Base speed: 4.7 GHz
  • L3 Cache: 32 MB
  • TDP: 105W
  • Platform: AMD (AM5)
Reasons to Buy
  • A pocket-friendly option with top-notch overall performance
  • Has an unlocked multiplier for even faster processing
  • Has a low TDP of 105W
Reasons to Avoid
  • The shift to the AM5 platform is expensive
  • Will need to invest in a good cooler to keep it from overheating
  • 6 cores might not be great for heavy workstations

The last choice on our list is the Ryzen 5 7600X. It’s based on the AM5 platform, which brings the next generation of technology with it, but it’s still a pocket-friendly option with good performance. 

In our Ryzen 5 7600X review, we put it through several real-world tests such as video encoding as well as gaming benchmarks. It passed with flying colors and churned out 295 FPS in Cyberpunk 2077 when paired with an RTX 4070 Ti Super. 

This processor features six cores, 12 threads, a max boost clock of 5.3GHz, and a 32MB L3 cache. While these cores and threads might not seem impressive, the Zen 4 architecture is capable of delivering top-notch results, as we saw in our in-house tests. Furthermore, despite its performance, it has a low TDP of 105W, which should keep things relatively cool. However, you can’t go wrong with a robust CPU cooler, and if you’re interested, we recommend you check out our best AIO water cooler guide for the top picks available. 

The CPU is more than capable of gaming at a high end, with enough oomph to keep up with the latest GPUs. 

PC Guide

One downside to opting for this CPU would be that if you don’t have an AM5 motherboard, you’ll have to purchase one because AMD moved from their PGA chips to the LGA design. So, it won’t be compatible with an AM4 motherboard or DDR4 RAM. However, we’ve got you covered in that case as well. Our best AM5 motherboard and DDR5 RAM guides have the top picks available on the market, so be sure to check them out. 

Overall, if you want to experience the capabilities of next-gen technology and open up the landscape for future upgrades, the Ryzen 5 7600X would be a great place to start. It should serve you well in various games, whether it’s Cyberpunk 2077, a competitive shooter, or a chill open-world exploration-type game. 

What users say

We weren’t the only ones impressed by the Ryzen 5 7600X’s performance. Users on Amazon have left countless reviews, showcasing its gaming prowess, value for money, and smooth everyday usage. However, there are also reviews stating its high temperature, which is normal given its specifications, but a good air or AIO cooler is recommended to keep it from unnecessarily overheating.

Is Cyberpunk 2077 CPU or GPU heavy?

Both, but there’s an emphasis on CPU. Cyberpunk 2077 leverages the CPU extensively, especially for its AI routines that govern countless NPCs and their behaviors. This means that while a robust GPU is essential for handling the game’s stunning visuals, the CPU is equally critical for managing the bustling life and activities that make Night City feel alive and dynamic.

Marla writes across a wide range of topics across PC Guide, including AI, PC hardware, and news on the latest tech releases. She's a passionate writer that's interested in the future of technology.