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Best CPU for RTX 3060 Ti in 2024 – Our top picks

Our top picks for NVIDIA’s RTX 3060 Ti GPU
Last Updated on April 29, 2024
A gigabyte geforce rtx 3060 ti graphics card and its box displayed on a wooden table against a red foam panel background, ideal for pairing with the best CPU for RTX 306
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The RTX 3060 Ti is a mid-range GPU – halfway from the entry-level and the real mid-high-end GPUs. This is a graphics card that you can easily buy and use for gaming, working, studying, and introducing yourself to the world of building PCs. If you’ve got a GPU of this caliber and are considering building your rig on it, in this article, we’re presenting some of the best CPU options for you.

The best CPU for the RTX 3060 Ti will have to be a CPU that can endure the processing power of 4864 CUDA cores, 1,410 MHz of base clock speed, 1,665 boost clock speed, and 8GB of GDDR6 memory. This is not a super strong GPU, but the GA104 processor and the Samsung 8nm node found on the GPU have given this Ampere unit enough power to run any game you need: and it’s stood the test of time too, still standing as a reliable unit despite being on the older side.

If that’s enough information for you and you just want to dive straight into our recommended products, we’ve outlined our products at a glance below – top of that list is the Core i5-13600K because of the value it brings to a system equipped with a 3060 Ti, but you should find any of these processors to be more than capable pairings.

Products at a glance

How do we pick the best CPU for RTX 3060 Ti?

When choosing the best CPU for the RTX 3060 Ti, there are several factors to consider. First, you need to make sure that the CPU is compatible with your motherboard and other components. Consider the processor brand and architecture, with Intel and AMD being really the only two brands to choose from, but they each have a plethora of different motherboard generations associated with them.

One of the main considerations to keep in mind is that the processor speed, measured in GHz, will also impact performance, with a higher speed generally leading to better performance. The number of cores a CPU has is important as well, as more cores allow for better multitasking. Additionally, the cache size, a high-speed memory used by the CPU, is another imperative factor, with a larger cache size improving performance.

Of course, more importantly than specs, we value hands-on experience and have prioritized CPUs that we’ve reviewed in-house, to give you a bit more of a guarantee that you know exactly what you’re getting – and that it’s been approved by our expertise. Luckily, we’ve reviewed the Intel Core i5-13600K, the Ryzen 5 7600X, and the Ryzen 9 7900X, and deemed them all worthy of receiving high ratings of 4.5 stars across the board. You can read in more detail about precisely how we test our CPUs in the PC Guide Testing Lab, but the most important thing to take away is that there’s a lot to dig into as to why these processors in particular make such competent pairings for the reliable RTX 3060 Ti.

If you’re looking for more RTX 3060 Ti recommendations, you can check out our opinions on the best GeForce RTX 3060 Ti unit overall, then head over to our Best Motherboard for RTX 3060 Ti guide for more hardware recommendations. For the time being, strap in for the journey across our top processors cherry-picked for the 3060 Ti.

Best CPU for RTX 3060 Ti

Best CPU for RTX 3060 Ti
  • Close-up of a computer's motherboard featuring a mounted Intel Core i5-13600K processor with visible socket and screws on a detailed circuit background.
  • Close-up of an Intel Core i5-13600K processor in focus, with a blurred blue computer case in the background.
  • An Intel Core i5-13600K processor displayed in front of a blurred computer case.
  • Intel Core i5-13600K CPU against a plain white background.
  • Cores: 14 (6P-8E)
  • Threads: 20
  • Boost speed : P-Core 5.1GHz / E-Core 3.5GHz
  • Base speed: P-Core 3.5GHz / E-Core 2.6GHz
  • L3 Cache: 24MB
  • TDP: 181W
  • Platform: Intel (LGA 1700)
What We Think

The 13600K offers the best value to performance for the 3060 Ti, and is more than capable of supporting it up to 1440P  resolutions.

Reasons to Buy
  • Great price, and offers amazing gaming performance considering
  • Supports either DDR4 or DDR5
  • Overclockable
  • Just as good as the 14600K, but costs less
Reasons to Avoid
  • High power consumption, and needs sufficient cooling requirements as a result
  • If you haven’t yet, you’ll need to upgrade to an LGA 1700 motherboard
  • Performance isn’t as good when using DDR4

You need the power to match the 3060 Ti’s speeds, and the Core i5 13600K comes up as hands down the best option. You might wonder why the Intel 14th gen isn’t here, and that’s because, for this GPU, we don’t consider the minimal performance increase over the 13th gen for the money a valuable investment, especially when we’re trying to create value with our choices.

With this CPU your rig will be ready to take on 1080p gaming easily. In reality, you’d probably be able to handle some older games in 1440p, so you’d be on your way to climbing into the big leagues.

The Intel Core i5-13600K boasts an impressive 14 cores and 20 threads, making it a top contender in the CPU market. Its MSRP of $320 is incredibly affordable given the level of performance it offers. It’s also important to note, that this CPU can now be found cheaper given its age, and even better deals can be found on the second-hand market. What’s more, our Intel Core i5-13600K review saw us award the processor 4.5 stars, so it’s got our seal of approval as one of our favorite CPUs from Team Blue.

An excellent CPU through and through with fierce single and multi-core performance for the money. The LGA 1700 and DDR4 + DDR5 compatibility makes it a fantastic choice no matter what rig you have.

PC Guide

Compared to its Alder Lake predecessor, the Core i5-12600K, the i5-13600K doubles the number of E-cores and comes equipped with a total of 8 efficient cores (E-cores) and 6 performance cores (P-cores). The P-cores also support Hyper-threading, which contributes to the total number of threads reaching 20. All this processing power is contained on a chip with a TDP of only 181W; it’s not too demanding, but you might want to invest in solid cooling nonetheless, as the last thing you want is overheating.

In layman’s terms, this design results in excellent performance for lightly threaded tasks such as gaming, and competitive performance for multi-thread workloads. The improvement is due to the increased number of cores and better clock speeds. The single-core performance is superior to AMD alternatives and is not far behind the Core i9-13900K, with a higher base clock but a lower boost.

For gaming purposes, the performance is nearly comparable to the Intel Core i9 with only a slight drop in frames per second, but with a lower cost and power consumption that makes it perfect for an RTX 3060 Ti setup. It’s worth noting though, that the Intel Core i5-13600KF is a similar CPU without an integrated GPU and is priced at $30 cheaper. If you already have a graphics card in your setup, this is a cost-effective way to achieve the same performance.

What users say

Just like us, users on Amazon have highly praised the Intel Core i5-13600K, leading it to an average rating of 4.8 stars. As you’d expect, some favorite features include its value and performance, but also how easy it is to install which is always an extra benefit. One user in particular described it as having the “Best price-to-performance ratio in a CPU you would find today”, and another similarly commented that ” the price to performance boost is outstanding”. However, there are a few mentions of the CPU running hot under load, so as mentioned prior, cooling is an important consideration.

Best Ryzen 7000 series CPU for 3060 Ti

Best Ryzen 7000 series CPU for 3060 Ti
  • 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.
  • Cores: 6
  • Threads : 12
  • Boost speed : 5.3 GHz
  • Base speed: 4.7 GHz
  • L3 Cache: 32 MB
  • TDP: 105W
  • Platform: AMD (AM5)
What We Think

The Ryzen 5 7600X is one of the best value AM5 processors money can buy, and it would make a fantastic pair with the RTX 3060 Ti.

Reasons to Buy
  • Six cores, 12 threads gives it good performance for its price
  • 105W TDP means its not as power hungry as Intel alternatives
  • Amazing performance-per-watt ratio
  • DDR5 PCIe 5.0 AM5
Reasons to Avoid
  • No DDR4 support, and AM5 can be an expensive upgrade
  • Fewer cores than Intel, so might not be strong for heavy workstations

Intel is not the only brand capable of delivering great CPUs at good prices; AMD has been known for being the top-chose brand in mid and low-entry builds. And with its 7000-series CPUs, AMD introduces to the world one of the best mid-range processors for gaming. Like in Intel’s case, you will be able to perform great at any 1080p and 1440p resolution when gaming, and you should be able to find it priced close to $200 when on offer.

The Ryzen 5 7600X is considered one of the best processors from AMD. However, if you’re upgrading from an older system, keep in mind that the Ryzen 7000 processors from AMD only support DDR5 RAM and require a new motherboard with the AM5 socket and DDR5 RAM. With 32MB of total cache, the Ryzen 5 7600X excels at handling heavy loads, and this was an element that we praised in our Ryzen 5 7600X review – it seems 6 cores go a long way these days!

if you’re looking for a well-rounded entry-level CPU that behaves and performs more like a mid-range CPU, then we have the chip for you. Its performance in games is astonishing, not to some of the more intense productivity benchmarks.

PC Guide

It boasts 6 cores and 12 threads, that can reach a boost frequency of 5.3GHz, which is a remarkable performance compared to previous generations where overclocking was necessary to achieve such speeds. This processor is capable of reaching these speeds on its own, as long as you have a sufficient CPU cooler as it tends to run hot. On the whole though, it’s a lot less power-hungry than the i5-13600K, with a TPD of only 105W compared to 181W.

The Ryzen 5 7600X is still one of the best options in AMD’s current lineup, despite being over a year old. Unless you have specific needs for a high number of threads, such as for streaming or creative work, the Ryzen 5 7600X is the ideal choice. Additionally, the AM5 socket is expected to be supported for a considerable amount of time, so although there may be an added expense now, you can be assured that your setup will be compatible with future generations of processors.

What users say

As another one of our top picks, it’s no surprise that the Ryzen 5 7600X is also highly reviewed on Amazon, getting an average rating of 4.7 stars. In terms of what users like about this CPU in particular, its performance is definitely up there, as well as how versatile it is: “There is simply no CPU with as much performance, versatility, and general range of use in terms of its cost”. However, there are similar concerns of overheating, with a few buyers mentioning how this processor “can run a little hot when running under full load”.

Best future-proofing CPU for 3060 Ti

Best future-proofing CPU for RTX 3060 Ti
  • AMD Ryzen 9 7900X processor in a transparent case set beside its box on a table with a purple and pink lit background.
What We Think

This CPU is a little overkill for this GPU, but if you want to future proof your system, and you intend on the 3060 Ti being a mere stepping stone, it might be worth the investment now.

Reasons to Buy
  • The strongest single and multi-thread performance
  • High boosted frequencies
  • Overclockable to up to 5.6 GHz
  • DDR5 and PCIe 5.0
Reasons to Avoid
  • DDR5 is pricey, and AM5 can be a costly upgrade
  • Maybe too much for the 3060 Ti in some cases
  • Can run hot under load, and doesn’t come with a stock cooler

There’s always that one person who loves putting a high-end component to the budget rig. Let’s say that one person is each one of us, and the minimum chance we have to build a Ryzen 9 7900X into our rig will be taken.

With this processor, you can forget about any possibility of any bottlenecking; the CPU is so strong that at some point it’ll carry out the GPU! In big sandbox games, you’ll have no regret about having purchased this processor. If you do content creation tasks, you’ll no doubt be feeling the boost too.

The Ryzen 9 7900X by AMD is a top-of-the-line CPU with a price point of $549, which falls between Intel’s premium Core i9 and Core i7 chips. But it can be found for cheaper now, especially as it’s getting a bit older and there’s a potential of new Ryzen chips on the horizon. However, despite its upper mid-range placement in terms of price, the Ryzen 9 7900X boasts performance that surpasses the competition with its 12 cores and 24 threads, delivering powerful gaming performance that matches or exceeds that of Intel’s best CPUs. What’s more, it’s still more power efficient than the i5-13600K with a TDP of 170W – no stock cooler though.

This CPU can work hard, and play hard too. It is just as comfortable gaming as it is in workstation and productivity scenarios, a real jack of all trades, if you will.

PC Guide

In addition, it has strong performance in desktop PC applications. With its combination of affordability, gaming performance, and powerful desktop application capabilities, the Ryzen 9 7900X is a strong contender for our list of the best CPUs and our CPU benchmark hierarchy. There is much more to consider than just the price when it comes to choosing the best CPU. Of course, we weighed in on all these things and more in our Ryzen 9 7900X review, so it can be worth checking that out for the full ins and outs of this processor – and why we awarded it 4.5 stars.

The Ryzen 9 7900X boasts impressive specifications with its 12 cores and Zen 4 architecture, which results in a ~13% improvement in IPC, manufactured on the advanced 5nm process. This allows for remarkable peak clock speeds of 5.6 GHz, nearly reaching the 5.7 GHz of the top-of-the-line Ryzen 9 7950X. The high clock speed is even ahead of Intel’s current fastest offerings and sets the bar for future releases.

What users say

As you’d expect from AMD’s top-end CPUs, the performance and gaming capabilities of the Ryzen 9 7900X were highly commended in its reviews on Amazon. One user in particular commented that the “core clocks scale to system demands instantly and running multiple programs and monitor windows is effortless”, and another highly praised this processor as “an absolute BEAST at gaming and anything else you can throw at it”. If you can, it might be worth holding out to get this CPU at a discounted price, just to make sure you’re getting the most value for your money.

Best AM4 CPU for 3060 Ti

Best AM4 CPU for RTX 3060 Ti
  • A close-up photo of an AMD Ryzen 5 5600X processor box on a blurred background.
  • AMD Ryzen 5 5600X gaming CPU on a plain white background.
  • Cores: 6
  • Threads : 12
  • Boost speed : up to 4.6 GHz
  • Base speed: 3.7 GHz
  • L3 Cache: 32 MB
  • TDP: 65W
  • Platform: AMD (AM4)
What We Think

Don’t let it’s age fool you, the 5600X still brings enormous value to any system. Sure, you can’t push it as hard as newer CPUs, but what it lacks in power, it more than makes up for in value.

Reasons to Buy
  •  Good gaming performance, and is still overclockable too
  •  Strong single and multi-threaded, with a TDP of only 65W
  •  IPC gain, boost frequency
Reasons to Avoid
  • Doesn’t come including integrated graphics
  • Unfortunately, not compatible with the latest AM5 tech

You can always find a better price, and if you need the best budget for the 3060 Ti, then you can choose the Ryzen 5 5600X. This CPU from the previous Gen has ensured great gaming capabilities into rigs for a long time and has never disappointed. You’ll have the power of running 1080p games but if you want to go for the 1440p resolution, you’ll find a bit of a struggle.

The AMD Ryzen 5 5600X is the best budget option for those who want to save money. Despite having a larger bottleneck of around 12%, the price of this CPU is significantly lower, especially if you can find it on sale under $150 due to the release of the 5000 series CPUs.

Overall, the Ryzen 5 5600X is a formidable force in the mid-range market, boasting six cores and twelve threads powered by the advanced Zen 3 architecture and manufactured using 7nm process technology. This combination leads to a significant improvement of ~19% in instruction per cycle (IPC) throughput, making the 5600X a top pick for the best budget CPUs list.

This CPU from the previous Gen has ensured great gaming capabilities into rigs for a long time and has never disappointed.

PC Guide

The 5600X still offers impressive core speeds of up to 4.6 GHz max, however, it may limit the performance of your GPU at lower resolutions. Surprisingly, it’s actually recommended to use this CPU and GPU combination for 1440p resolution for optimal performance.

Further optimizations such as an improved boosting algorithm, better memory overclocking, and revised cache topology eliminate any remaining performance advantages held by Intel and deliver a new level of power efficiency. In fact, it could even perhaps be said that the Ryzen 5 5600X is one of the most energy-efficient desktop PC chips tested to date.

What users say

In its Amazon user reviews, the Ryzen 5 5600X is praised for being a stellar CPU that “strikes an excellent balance between price and performance”, and is described as a “powerful and affordable CPU” for pairing with the RTX 3060 Ti. What’s more, this is one of the only CPUs included in this list that has been praised on Amazon for running cool and consuming less power, and it comes with a decent stock cooler too to further keep temps down.

Main features and considerations

The first thing you will need to consider is the type of workload you’re going to be asking of your PC. This type of build is mainly for budgeted gamers, however, you can still apply plenty of day-to-day productivity tasks to it. If that’s the case, you would need to consider which type of games you play. Keep in mind, that big sandbox games are more CPU-heavy than other AAA games. In that case, specifically, you will need a stronger unit, perhaps one of the best CPUs for gaming.

So among all the things to check on a CPU, the first one would be the number of cores. The more cores, the better the CPU’s ability to handle multiple tasks simultaneously. This should be paired with core speed to determine the effectiveness of the CPU.

Something else to consider is the architecture of those cores and the whole GPU. For example, at this level, AMD has a better architecture to perform on AAA games, thanks to its great rasterization power; while Intel is more capable of enduring sandbox games due to its multi-threading abilities. However, these factors obviously change when considering the CPUs and price.

This takes us to the next point. The 3060 Ti is an entry-level GPU, so the build will be based on a budget that can always allow the fanciest stuff. Keeping that in mind, you must consider price-to-performance balance. One of the best sensations when building a budget rig is knowing that you have the best piece for the best price.

Is it worth buying AM4 in 2024?

An interesting question from this guide arises; is it worth buying AM4 in 2024? Given that AMD is pushing toward AM5, they assured us that AM4 wouldn’t die immediately. To our surprise, 2024 brought us the last known AM4 CPU to release, the 5700X3D, showing us that even n 2024, AMD isn’t done supporting AM4.

It might be lagging a little behind in terms of technology, but it’s safe to say that immense value can be found in an AM4 system today. I still use AM4 in my personal gaming rig, and it’s not once felt like I needed to upgrade. You just have to decide whether PCIe Gen 5 storage and DDR5 memory speeds are more important to you than saving money.

What is the best Intel CPU for the RTX 3060 Ti?

Our top pick for the best Intel CPU  this time around is the Intel Core i5-13600K. This CPU is a great budget option that offers a high base clock speed – perfect for your gaming needs while not reaching massive price points.

Is the RTX 3060 Ti still good?

That’s a subjective question and depends on what games you play. The 3060 Ti does great in older titles at 1080 / 1440p, but it’ll struggle on newer AAA titles. If you’re someone who enjoys these older games, then yes, the 3060 Ti is still great. If you’re someone who’s into the latest games, then you might need to manage your expectations a little.

Always check benchmarks before buying a GPU to determine if you’ll be happy with the performance.

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

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!1:!0};return b}(function(c){function b(a,d){var e=c.call(this)||this;e._videoConfig=a;e._component=d;e._stickyRelatedOnPage=!1;e._relatedMediaIds=[];a=void 0;void 0===a&&(a=navigator.userAgent);a=/Windows NT|Macintosh/i.test(a);e._device=a?"desktop":"mobile";e._potentialPlayerMap=e.setPotentialPlayersMap();return e}v(b,c);b.prototype.setPotentialPlayersMap=function(){var a=this._videoConfig.players||[],d=this._filterPlayerMap();a=a.filter(function(e){return"stationaryRelated"===e.type&&e.enabled}); d.stationaryRelated=a;return this._potentialPlayerMap=d};b.prototype._filterPlayerMap=function(){var a=this,d=this._videoConfig.players,e={stickyRelated:[],stickyPlaylist:[],stationaryRelated:[]};return d&&d.length?d.filter(function(f){var g;return null===(g=f.devices)||void 0===g?void 0:g.includes(a._device)}).reduce(function(f,g){f[g.type]||(q.event(a._component,"constructor","Unknown Video Player Type detected",g.type),f[g.type]=[]);g.enabled&&f[g.type].push(g);return f},e):e};b.prototype._checkPlayerSelectorOnPage= function(a){var d=this;a=this._potentialPlayerMap[a].map(function(e){return{player:e,playerElement:d._getPlacementElement(e)}});return a.length?a[0]:{player:null,playerElement:null}};b.prototype._getOverrideElement=function(a,d,e){a&&d?(e=document.createElement("div"),d.insertAdjacentElement(a.position,e)):(d=this._checkPlayerSelectorOnPage("stickyPlaylist"),a=d.player,d=d.playerElement,a&&d&&(e=document.createElement("div"),d.insertAdjacentElement(a.position,e)));return e};b.prototype._shouldOverrideElement= function(a){a=a.getAttribute("override-embed");return"true"===a||"false"===a?"true"===a:this._videoConfig.relatedSettings?this._videoConfig.relatedSettings.overrideEmbedLocation:!1};b.prototype._checkPageSelector=function(a,d,e){void 0===e&&(e=[]);return a&&d&&0===e.length?("/"!==window.location.pathname&&q.event("VideoUtils","getPlacementElement",Error("PSNF: ".concat(a," does not exist on the page"))),!1):!0};b.prototype._getElementSelector=function(a,d,e){if(d&&d.length>e)return d[e];q.event("VideoUtils", "getPlacementElement",Error("ESNF: ".concat(a," does not exist on the page")));return null};b.prototype._getPlacementElement=function(a){var d=a.pageSelector,e=a.elementSelector;a=a.skip;var f=da(d),g=f.valid,h=f.elements;f=S(f,["valid","elements"]);var k=ca(e),l=k.valid,p=k.elements;k=S(k,["valid","elements"]);return""===d||g?l?this._checkPageSelector(d,g,h)?this._getElementSelector(e,p,a)||null:null:(q.error("VideoUtils","getPlacementElement",Error("".concat(e," is not a valid selector")),k),null): (q.error("VideoUtils","getPlacementElement",Error("".concat(d," is not a valid selector")),f),null)};b.prototype._getEmbeddedPlayerType=function(a){(a=a.getAttribute("data-player-type"))&&"default"!==a||(a=this._videoConfig.relatedSettings?this._videoConfig.relatedSettings.defaultPlayerType:"static");this._stickyRelatedOnPage&&(a="static");return a};b.prototype._getMediaId=function(a){return(a=a.getAttribute("data-video-id"))?(this._relatedMediaIds.push(a),a):!1};b.prototype._createRelatedPlayer= function(a,d,e,f){"collapse"===d?this._createCollapsePlayer(a,e):"static"===d&&this._createStaticPlayer(a,e,f)};b.prototype._createCollapsePlayer=function(a,d){var e=this._checkPlayerSelectorOnPage("stickyRelated"),f=e.player;e=e.playerElement;var g=f?f:this._potentialPlayerMap.stationaryRelated[0];g&&g.playerId?(this._shouldOverrideElement(d)&&(d=this._getOverrideElement(f,e,d)),d=document.querySelector("#cls-video-container-".concat(a," > div"))||d,this._createStickyRelatedPlayer(y(y({},g),{mediaId:a}), d)):q.error(this._component,"_createCollapsePlayer","No video player found")};b.prototype._createStaticPlayer=function(a,d,e){this._potentialPlayerMap.stationaryRelated.length&&this._potentialPlayerMap.stationaryRelated[0].playerId?this._createStationaryRelatedPlayer(y(y({},this._potentialPlayerMap.stationaryRelated[0]),{mediaOrPlaylistId:a}),d,e):q.error(this._component,"_createStaticPlayer","No video player found")};b.prototype._shouldRunAutoplayPlayers=function(){return this._isVideoAllowedOnPage()&& (this._potentialPlayerMap.stickyRelated.length||this._potentialPlayerMap.stickyPlaylist.length)?!0:!1};b.prototype._determineAutoplayPlayers=function(){var a=this._component,d="VideoManagerComponent"===a,e=this._config;if(this._stickyRelatedOnPage)q.event(a,"stickyRelatedOnPage",d&&{device:e&&e.context.device,isDesktop:this._device}||{});else{var f=this._checkPlayerSelectorOnPage("stickyPlaylist"),g=f.player;f=f.playerElement;g&&g.playerId&&g.playlistId&&f?this._createPlaylistPlayer(g,f):q.event(a, "noStickyPlaylist",d&&{vendor:"none",device:e&&e.context.device,isDesktop:this._device}||{})}};b.prototype._initializeRelatedPlayers=function(a){for(var d=new Map,e=0;e