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Best CPU for RTX 3070 in 2024 – our top Intel and AMD picks

Last Updated on May 9, 2024
Best CPU for RTX 3070
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Choosing a CPU for a GPU isn’t as simple as slapping on the most powerful chip from Intel or AMD and calling it a day. There are various factors that need to be considered, such as the budget, performance, and whether the match-up even makes sense or not.
That said, the RTX 3070 is a good mid-range card, and choosing a CPU that complements its performance might be challenging, given the number of options available. You have the latest processors as well as the previous generation, which is very much alive and kicking. 

So, to make your journey easier, we did the research for you and put together this buying guide, which lists multiple options, their details, and pros and cons so you can make an informed decision.

How we picked 

There are various aspects you need to consider while pairing any CPU with a GPU. As for the RTX 3070, it requires a CPU that complements its prowess as a mid-range card. We take the brand, architecture, cores, threads, base and boost frequencies, motherboard compatibility, and other important factors into account. 

However, other than specifications that anyone can read, we take a more hands-on approach by thoroughly testing the CPUs for synthetic and real-world performance. If you’re interested in learning more about that, we recommend you check out our Testing Lab guide, which takes you through the process in detail.

Best CPU for RTX 3070

Best CPU for RTX 3070 overall
  • 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.
Best in ClassExcellent
  • 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)
Reasons to Buy
  • Low TDP of 65W
  • Offers great performance at a low price point
  • It comes bundled with a Wraith Stealth cooler
Reasons to Avoid
  • No integrated graphics

The Ryzen 5 5600X has all the specifications that make it a perfect match for the mid-tier powerhouse of the Nvidia 3000 series GPU. On top of that, it offers a great balance between performance and value, which gave it the top spot on our list. 

It has six cores, 12 threads, a max boost clock of 4.6GHz, and a 32MB L3 cache. While the cores and threads might not seem impressive on paper, they enable this CPU to handle various competitive gaming or professional tasks. Its maximum boost clock and impressive L3 cache should also help deliver seamless processing without stuttering or lag. 

However, if you’re still concerned about the performance output, you always have the option to overclock the CPU. That said, running a highly overclocked processor for extended periods isn’t recommended, as the additional heat can reduce its lifespan. If you plan on overclocking this CPU, we recommend investing in a robust cooling solution to keep the temperature under control and we’ve got you covered with our best CPU cooler guide. 

The Ryzen 5 5600X has a default TDP of 65W. What this means is that it should remain relatively cool under varying workloads. On top of that, it comes bundled with a Wraith Stealth cooler, which should be fine unless you plan on overclocking it. 

This processor is compatible with the AM4 socket and runs with DDR4 memory. Since the AM5 socket and PCIe 5.0 devices have hit the market, you should be able to find fast DDR4 memory and a compatible AM4 motherboard for cheap. This means you should be able to increase the overall performance of your setup due to faster memory and a board that facilitates overclocking efforts. If you’re interested in exploring some options, check out our best DDR4 RAM guide, which has the top picks available. 

A downside to the 5600X is that it doesn’t have integrated graphics, so you’ll have to run a dGPU with it to complete the system. However, its performance and price point more than make up for the lack of integrated graphics and make it the best CPU you can pair with an RTX 3070. 

What users say

Boasting a rating of 4.8 out of 5.0 and over 25,000 ratings, it isn’t surprising that this CPU is well-liked, and its Amazon reviews say the same. One user stated, “With its snappy processing speed and six cores, my PC now handles everything I throw at it with ease.” Overall, its versatility, easy installation, compatibility, and competitive price were major satisfaction points among the users.

Best high-end Intel CPU for RTX 3070
  • An Intel Core i7-14700K processor displayed in front of its packaging box with an "unlocked" label, ready to go in a machine.
  • An Intel Core i7-14700K processor on a white background.
  • A computer processor chip, specifically the Intel Core i7-14700K, centered on a plain white background with the word "guide" in the corner.
  • Intel Core i7-14700K
  • Cores: 20
  • Threads: 28
  • Boost Speed: P-Core 5.5GHz / E-Core 4.3GHz
  • Base Speed: P-Core 3.4GHz / E-Core 2.5GHz
  • L3 Cache: 33 MB
  • TDP: 125 W
  • Platform: LGA 1700 (Raptor Lake)
Reasons to Buy
  • It has great synthetic and real-world performance
  • It can handle multitasking easily
  • Can be overclocked to go above 5.5GHz
Reasons to Avoid
  • Needs a robust cooling solution
  • The performance jump from the 13700K isn’t a lot
  • The 14600K performs similar and costs less

Next, we have a performance pick from Team Blue, the Intel Core i7-14700K. Many people look to future-proof their builds by installing high-end components because each new game release pushes the benchmark even further. However, you should be good with the latest 14th-generation Intel CPU for a while.

Our review of the i7-14700K showed that it performed exceptionally well at 1080p low settings in games like Cyberpunk 2077 and Sons of the Forest, which had 225 and 165 FPS, respectively. We tested the CPU at 1080p because that is when it is put under stress. It has to churn out more instructions per second, as the GPU is easily able to process low-resolution elements. 

That said, its 20 cores, 28 threads, and 33MB L3 cache could easily keep up with simultaneous workloads, so you shouldn’t worry about a CPU bottleneck when pairing it with an RTX 3070. Its 20 cores are divided between 8 performance (P-cores) and 12 efficient cores (E-cores).

The Intel Core i7-14700K is a fantastic CPU for gaming with its strong multi-core performance making it ideal for creatives and those looking to also engage in high-end productivity.

PC Guide

The P-cores kick in when a resource-intensive task is at hand. When that is handled, the E-cores take over to handle background and other minor tasks. This provides a good balance between performance and efficiency. It should also help you keep costs and the temperature under control, as the P-cores aren’t working all the time. 

That said, the maximum boost clock of a P and E-core is 5.5GHz and 4.3Ghz, respectively, with the cap at 5.6Ghz. This should be more than enough to handle a number of complex tasks across the board. However, if you want, you can always take the performance output to the next level by overclocking this CPU, as it comes unlocked by the manufacturer.

For that, we recommend you use a solid CPU cooler and ensure adequate airflow. We recommend you check out our best CPU cooler for Intel 14th Gen, the best 140mm case fans, and the best airflow PC guides for the top picks. 

Overall, the i7-14700K is an excellent processor that should be able to handle more powerful GPUs than the RTX 3070. So, if you ever plan on upgrading your GPU, you shouldn’t run into bottleneck issues. That said, pairing it with an RTX 3070 should work well, and you should see it shine during more CPU-intensive games. 

What users say

As our top Intel pick, it shouldn’t be surprising that the i7-14700K also has stellar reviews on Amazon. Showcasing its 4.6 out of 5.0 rating, users praised its performance, speed, and overclocking capability. One user stated, “Whether it’s gaming, video editing, or heavy multitasking, the i7-14700K performs flawlessly, showcasing its superiority in both speed and power.” However, there were reviews of people saying that it runs hot, and understandably so, but investing in a high-end cooler is recommended to keep this CPU at a comfortable temperature.

Best mid-range Intel CPU for RTX 3070
  • 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)
Reasons to Buy
  • Has great single- and multi-core performance
  • Similar performance at 14600K but costs less
  • Compatible with both PCIe 4.0 and 5.0
Reasons to Avoid
  • Can run hot during heavy loads
  • Compatible only with LGA 1700 motherboards
  • A solid CPU cooler is needed to keep its temperature under control

The Intel Core i5-13600K is an all-rounder that works well in mid-range and high-end builds. In our i5-13600K review, it passed with flying colors in both synthetic and real-world scenarios. 

This CPU managed 186 FPS in GTA V and 179 FPS in Cyberpunk 2077 paired with an RTX 3080. So, its performance with the RTX 3070 shouldn’t be far off, and it just shows that you can upgrade your GPU later on without worrying about bottleneck issues.

The i5-13600K has 14 cores, 20 threads, a base clock speed of 2.6GHz, and a boost clock speed of 5.1GHz. What this means is that this CPU should have enough power to make quick work of anything you put in front of it. This was also seen during our in-house testing, as it scored 830 and 9,846 points in CPU-Z’s single and multi-core benchmark, respectively. 

The very real performance means it excels in both Gaming and workstation tasks such as editing and rendering.

PC Guide

According to Intel, the base power for this CPU is 125W but it could reach 181W under heavy loads. While 125W is acceptable, even though it’s a bit higher than Team Red’s equivalent, 181W will need serious cooling solutions. On top of that, since this processor comes unlocked, you can overclock it, but the more you push it, the more cooling it’ll require. That said, if you plan on doing that, we recommend you check out our best water-cooling kit guide for the top picks.  

A neat aspect of this CPU is that it is compatible with PCIe 4.0 and 5.0. This means that if you upgrade your motherboard and RAM, you can move this CPU to it without facing compatibility issues. If you’re interested in exploring some options, we recommend you check out our best PCIe Gen 5 SSD and the best DDR5 RAM guides for the top picks. 

Overall, this is one of the best mid-range CPUs on the market. It should work well with several GPUs, including the RTX 3070, and enable seamless gaming at 1080p and 1440p. 

What users say

The Amazon reviews of the i5-13600K paint a similar picture, as people who purchased the CPU are more than happy with its performance, multitasking ability, and top-notch gaming results. One user stated, “The temps are low even when heavily gaming,” and another said, “This processor has far exceeded my expectations, providing seamless multitasking and blazing-fast performance for all my computing needs.” Looking at these reviews, we can see how powerful this CPU is and is truly an all-rounder.

Best budget Intel CPU for RTX 3070
Intel Core i5 12400F - 3.0 GHz
  • Cores: 6
  • Threads: 12
  • Boost speed: 4.4GHz
  • Base speed: 2.5GHz
  • L3 Cache: 18MB
  • TDP: 65W
  • Platform: Intel (LGA 1700)
Reasons to Buy
  • Great CPU for gaming on a budget
  • Supports a maximum of 4800 MT/s DDR5 memory
  • Has a maximum TDP of 117W
Reasons to Avoid
  • It can’t be overclocked
  • Doesn’t have any E-Cores
  • Has a boost clock of only 4.4GHz

The i5-12400F is the last CPU on our list and a pocket-friendly option. While some may have concerns about bottlenecking, let’s look at a real-world example. 

The RTX 3070 is a mid-range card that performs well at 1440p and 1080p. However, lower-resolution gaming is more dependent on the CPU. So, if you go to 720p, it’ll put more strain on the CPU than the GPU. The ideal strategy is to play toward the GPU’s strength to avoid CPU bottlenecks. 

That said, this processor should have enough juice to handle basic and slightly more demanding tasks. Powered by six cores, 12 threads, and a max turbo frequency of 4.4 GHz, it should ensure that your gaming sessions are free of stuttering and lag. 

This CPU has a base and maximum TDP of 65W and 117W, respectively. This means this CPU should remain cool during causal and heavy loads. However, a solid CPU cooler should bring its temperature back down if it does heat up during working due to ambient temperature or other factors, such as poorly used or placed thermal paste. If you’re interested in exploring options, check out our guides for the best thermal paste, the best AIO water cooler, and how to apply thermal paste for detailed instructions and top picks. 

Lastly, the i5-12400F supports a maximum of 4800 MT/s DDR5 and 3200 MT/s DDR4 memory, which means that it is compatible with PCIe 5.0 and 4.0. So you can pair PCIe 5.0 devices without running into compatible issues. 

What users say

According to Amazon reviews, this CPU offers excellent performance on a budget and has a 4.8 out of 5.0 rating. It was praised as a “great budget CPU for gaming” and “best you can get for the money.” One user stated, “This is a good mid tier CPU that can run AAA games in 1080p when paired with a 3070 / 3080 / 4060 GPU.” The satisfaction of the buyers speaks for this processor’s prowess.

Best high-end AMD CPU for RTX 3070
  • Product packaging of an AMD Ryzen 7 7800X3D processor featuring 3D V-Cache technology, with an orange and black color scheme.
  • Close-up view of an AMD Ryzen 7 7800X3D processor installed in a motherboard socket
  • A close-up of an AMD Ryzen 7 7800X3D processor
  • A close-up of an AMD Ryzen 7 processor on a white table
  • 7800X3D facing down showing contact pads on a white table
4.5 /5
Editor’s Rating
How We Review
  • 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
  • Excellent performance for gaming on all resolutions
  • Has a massive 96MB L3 cache
  • Has good multitasking capabilities as well
Reasons to Avoid
  • Requires an AM5 motherboard and DDR5 RAM
  • It can run hot and will need a good CPU cooler
  • Doesn’t come bundled with a CPU cooler

We’ll move on to Team Red and look at one of their best-performing CPUs you could pair with your RTX 3070. The Ryzen 7 7800X3D is a gaming behemoth that should be capable of supporting gaming across all resolutions, from 1080p to 4K, without breaking a sweat. 

For starters, this processor has eight cores, 16 threads, a max boost clock of 5 GHz, and a hefty 96MB L3 cache. What this means is that this processor should have enough power to handle graphical tasks without a hitch. 

One thing to note is that this CPU is compatible with the AM5 socket, meaning you’ll have to upgrade your motherboard if you haven’t already and purchase DDR5 RAM as well. This means that your overall cost will increase, but you’ll have the latest technology, which should enable better and faster processing. If you’re interested in checking out some options, we recommend giving our best AM5 motherboard guide a shot. 

It also has multithreading or SMT, which means that professional tasks that require more resources should be a breeze for this GPU. Having a 120W default TDP might make it run a bit hot, but a good AIO cooler should keep its temperature under control. 

Overall, this is one of the best processors for gaming and should power your rig through various GPU changes. That said, pairing it with the RTX 3070 should enable you to comfortably game at 1080p and 1440p. 

What users say

User reception of this Ryzen 7 7800X3D shows similar results and high satisfaction levels. It’s praised for being “extremely efficient,” and one user stated, “If you care about gaming performance, you cannot currently do better than this chip.” This processor is, without a doubt a beast at gaming and should be able to easily handle other tasks as well.

Best mid-range AMD CPU for RTX 3070
  • 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.
Reasons to Buy
  • Good thermal design keeps it cool
  • Offers a good balance between performance and value
Reasons to Avoid
  • Upgrading to the AM5 platform is overall expensive
  • Performance might be lacking for workstation level workloads

Team Red still has more to offer, and their Ryzen 5 7600X is one of the best mid-range CPUs to pair with an RTX 3070. In our review of the 7600X, it managed 236 and 295 FPS in Days Gone and Cyberpunk 2077, respectively. It also had great single- and multi-core results during the synthetic benchmarks.

Regarding its specifications, it has six cores, 12 threads, a base clock speed of 4.7GHz, and a boost clock speed of 5.3GHz. This means that it has enough hardware under the hood to handle various tasks simultaneously without breaking a sweat. Besides, it packs more transistors on each core due to the 5nm process. The higher the number of transistors, the more instructions the CPU can process per clock. 

The Ryzen 5 7600X scored 766 and 6,192 points in CPU-Z’s single- and multi-core tests, meaning that its single-core performance, which is needed for gaming, is great. However, it should also be able to handle resource-intensive tasks easily. 

If you want an affordable CPU in complex workstation benchmarks and can still push frames to the GPU when gaming, then this CPU is the best entry-level choice for you.

PC Guide

One thing to keep in mind is that the AMD 7000 series CPUs require the AM5 socket. So, if you don’t have an AM5 motherboard, it might be worth going for an AM4 option, like our top pick. With a new motherboard, you’ll also have to purchase new RAM. This will only increase the overhead cost, which could be used for faster RAM or an SSD. 

This CPU also utilizes Precision Boost 2.0, which uses sensors to detect your PC’s condition and automatically increase the boost clock whenever necessary. For example, if you’re running a heavy application, Precision Boost 2.0 should detect this and increase the CPU’s performance, leading to smooth processing and avoiding lag. 

The 7600X is a great option to pair with your RTX 3070, given its performance, price tag, and next-gen features. 

What users say

In its Amazon reviews, the Ryzen 5 7600X was praised as a “formidable choice for gaming enthusiasts” and how well it handles multitasking. However, that isn’t surprising, given the results we saw during our in-house testing. One reviewer stated that “this processor is designed to cater to the needs of gamers seeking high-speed, multitasking capabilities.” That said, some reviews also said that this CPU runs hot, but that shouldn’t be surprising, and a robust CPU cooler should do the trick.

Best budget AMD CPU for RTX 3070
  • Cores: 8
  • Threads: 16
  • Boost speed: 4.4GHz
  • Base speed: 3.6GHz
  • L3 Cache: 32MB
  • TDP: 65W
  • Platform: AMD (AM4)
Reasons to Buy
  • Comes with a Wraith Prism cooler
  • Good gaming and productivity performance
  • Gives more room to upgrade to better AM4 CPUs
Reasons to Avoid
  • Doesn’t have any integrated graphics
  • Not a lot of headroom for overclocking

The last option on our list is the Ryzen 7 3700X. While it might be two generations old now, it still packs a punch and should do well paired with the RTX 3070. 

This processor has eight cores, 16 threads, a max boost clock of 4.4 GHz, and an impressive 32MB L3 cache. What this means is that it should have enough processing power to handle gaming and other tasks. Multitasking with this CPU should also be a breeze due to its 16 threads.

On top of that, it has a default TDP of 65W, which means it should remain relatively cool during heavy and casual workloads. However, the temperature of your CPU can vary depending on the ambient temperature. Investing in a solid water cooler should keep the 3700X cool if you’re located in a hot region. 

This CPU also comes bundled with a Wraith Prism cooler, which should work well and enhance your build aesthetically. It doesn’t have integrated graphics, so your system will need a dedicated GPU. 

The Ryzen 7 3700X is a good CPU, and it works on the AM4 socket, meaning you can go up to the Ryzen 5000 series without worrying about compatibility issues.

What users say

The Ryzen 7 3700X was praised in its Amazon reviews for its great performance, easy installation, and the value you get for the price. One reviewer stated, “This is by far the best computer processor I have ever used, it is fast and powerful.”

How to pick the best CPU for RTX 3070

There are a handful of factors that you need to consider before choosing a CPU. We’ve listed some of those factors below so you can make an informed decision on your next CPU, regardless of application. 


One of the main factors to consider is your budget. Operating within it is the ideal way to go, as overspending on a CPU wouldn’t be recommended. A new CPU with the latest technology will also need a new motherboard and RAM, increasing the overall cost. 

For a mid-range, previous-generation GPU like the RTX 3070, a mid-range Ryzen 5 or Intel 12th-generation CPU would be more than adequate. So, carefully filter the options based on your budget and opt for a processor that offers a good balance between power and value. 


Different options will suit your needs depending on the level of performance you want from your rig. For example, if you want to play casual games without a custom water loop to keep your CPU cool, an Intel CPU with the “F” moniker might be your option. It can’t be overclocked, meaning its temperature remains relatively low without compromising performance.

However, if you want to squeeze every bit of performance out of the CPU by overclocking it and don’t mind using a water block to control temperature, then opt for an Intel “K” processor or any AMD CPU. These processors can be overclocked and should do well in an enthusiast build. 

Cores and threads

The more cores and threads a CPU has, the better it handles demanding tasks in parallel. Single-core performance is considered for gaming since those applications don’t utilize all of the cores. However, a CPU’s multi-core capabilities determine how well it’ll do for resource-intensive professional tasks such as video editing and rendering. 

That said, consider your daily usage. If you’re not running heavy applications, you should be fine with a processor with a moderate number of cores and threads, like the 5600X, which has six cores and 12 threads.

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