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Best CPU for RTX 4090: Top options for the new flagship

Perfect processors for the new BFGPU
Last Updated on November 23, 2022
Best CPU for RTX 4090

You’ve got a few options for the best CPU for RTX 4090 from both sides of Intel and AMD. We’ve now got options from both the latest generations of Raptor Lake and Zen 4 to choose from. We’re helping you to make the best decision that’s right for you. The good news is that there are already a ton of Black Friday deals for Ryzen – which we detail below and you can find out more about here

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As the flagship Ada GPU takes full advantage of PCIe 5.0 bandwidth, the best CPU for RTX 4090 needs to be up to the task of facilitating those figures. Fortunately, there are more than a couple of chipsets up to the task that we’re detailing down below. You won’t want to be left in the lurch with Ada now unleashed.

Products at a Glance

How we chose the best CPU for RTX 4090

We made the choices for the best CPU for RTX 4090 by analyzing which processors are out on the market right now.

Judging by the fact that this PCIe 5.0-compliant graphics card needs all the available bandwidth it can get, you’re going to ideally want either a Raptor Lake or Zen 4 CPU. Fortunately, both team blue and team red’s latest chipsets are up to the task.

With such similar specs between them, we’ve chosen to take the pricing and availability into consideration, as well as the motherboard sockets that the processors will run on.

Historically, AMD tends to hang onto its socket types for longer, with AM5 likely to persist across the next few generations at least. By contrast, we know that Raptor Lake is likely to be the last LGA 1700 socket processor line from the company, with LGA 1700 giving way to Meteor Lake in 2023.

Our Recommended

Best CPU for RTX 4090: Top options for the new flagship

1
PROS
  • Market leading single-core performance
  • 5nm process
  • Overclockable to 5.60 GHz
CONS
  • Limited to DDR5 RAM

The Ryzen 9 7900X is our pick for the best CPU for RTX 4090. This is because the 12-core (24 threads) processor is easily able to keep up with the bandwidth demand of the RTX 4090. This is possible due to the reliance on DDR5 memory, which alongside the other added bandwidth of components, means the new BFGPU can perform at its best.

Let’s be honest, the RTX 4090 is a power-hungry card. This is evident by some third-party PCIe 5.0 cables allowing up to 600W power delivery. Bandwidth is the name of the game, with the latest AMD Ryzen 9 flagship able to perform up to the task, especially when overclocked to 5.6 GHz. If you want the smoothest and most consistent gaming experience, opting for an AM5 motherboard and corresponding high-end chipset is the way to go.

2
PROS
  • Outperforms 12th Gen i9
  • Aggressive price point
  • Excellent value for money
CONS
  • You'll need a Z690 motherboard

As far as budget processors go for the RTX 4090, the AMD Ryzen 7600X holds its own from a price-to-performance perspective. This 6-core (12 threads) processor actually outperforms the previous market-leading performance of the Alder Lake i9 CPU.

What does that mean for you? Excellent value for money with the plucky and powerful Ryzen 7600X. The reliance on DDR5 memory means that you’re getting the fastest bandwidth possible for your money. Granted, you’ll need an AM5 motherboard to take advantage, but making the jump on a budget will save you a bundle when all is said and done.

3
PROS
  • Leading performance
  • Competitive asking price
  • DDR4 and DDR5 memory
CONS
  • LGA 1700 motherboards can get pricey

Being on a budget doesn’t mean you lose out on excellent performance. The Intel Core i5-13600K is living proof of that, as its 14-core (20 threads) makeup easily makes it the fastest and most powerful mainstream chip for the money. That’s what’s so exciting about the leaps and bounds made in the jump to Raptor Lake from the foundation laid last year. What’s more, you can use both DDR4 and DDR5 here, too.

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The biggest innovation of Raptor Lake appears to be in the clock speeds, as things are much faster on the Intel 7 process. This is because the Intel Core i5-13600K runs with a boost clock of 5.1 GHz, pushing passed the frequency for the first time. Single-core performance is bolstered by the added speed here, so you’ll be in half hands to push the RTX 4090 without breaking the bank. You can see a complete list of Intel deals right here – just in time for Black Friday.

4
PROS
  • Current generation i7
  • Overclockable to 5.4 GHz
  • Supports DDR4 and DDR5
CONS
  • More expensive than previous generation

The Intel i7-13700K is the current high-end Raptor Lake CPU to beat. While it’s a little pricier than its Alder Lake predecessor, the latest i7 chipset justifies its $489.99 asking price with performance that’s unparalleled. That’s because of the 16-core (24 threads). It’s a lot more powerful than Alder Lake and ready to push RTX 4090 with that high overclocking potential.

This processor really is the model to beat from a price-to-performance ratio. A major benefit here is that the chipset is backward compatible with older Z690 and alternative LGA 1700 motherboards which can save a pretty penny in the building process, too. Simply put, if you want the best you can get for under $500, you’ll find it here.

The RTX 4090 is resource intensive

We would be lying if we said that the RTX 4090 stayed in its line. In fact, the Ada flagship GPU eats through its fair share of wattage in basic operation. If you’re thinking of investing in the newest BFGPU then you’ll need to keep this fact in mind.

The RTX 4090 carries a total potential TDP of 600W. This is to say nothing of the rest of your machine, meaning you may need to consider the best PSU for RTX 4090 in the same breath. The case size is something to keep in mind, too. The RTX 4090 is a big boy, so will be a tight squeeze even inside the liberalist of mid-towers.

For efficient overhead, we recommend a full tower with breathing room for an AIO water cooler for the CPU and GPU. The larger PC components get, the more that cooling needs to be considered a priority. We wouldn’t recommend skimping on cooling a machine on the bleeding edge. Fortunately, with the best AIO coolers, you won’t have to,

Why is the RTX 4090 so power hungry?

The latest BFGPU requires a lot of power due to its theoretical output. With the power input of 600W, the second-generation BFGPU needs to be juiced up at all times. This is compounded by the performance potential. The RTX 4090 roughly doubles what the first iteration of the flagship GPU was capable of. You’re very much paying for power here.

When will RTX 4090 graphics cards be available?

RTX 4090 GPUs are now available. Several partner cards along with the Founders Edition model have hit the market. If you’ve held out for the premium graphics experience then this card can provide it. October 12 is the official release date for Nvidia’s model, with more AIB iterations to follow shortly afterwards.

Our Verdict

The latest AM5 socket Zen 4 chipset is our number one ranked CPU for the RTX 4090. This is because, with its 12-core (24 threads) makeup, the latest 5nm processor, featuring native PCIe 5,0 compatibility, takes full advantage of the bandwidth afforded by the latest BFGPU.