Best CPU for RTX 3060 in 2024 – top picks from Intel and Ryzen

Best CPU for RTX 3060 in 2024 – top picks from Intel and Ryzen
Rory Greig Updated on by

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If you’re looking for the best CPU for RTX 3060, we’ve got you covered right here with our top picks.

The RTX 3060 is one of the best GPUs for 1080p and is a brilliant all-around graphics card. The balance it strikes between price and performance has proved very popular with gamers worldwide.

Best CPU for RTX 3060 at a glance

AMD Ryzen 9 7900X

Cores

8

Threads

16

Base speed

4.7GHz

Boost speed

5.6GHz

Cache

L3 64MB

TDP

170W

Intel Core i5 13600K

Cores

14

Threads

20

Base speed

P-cores 3.5 GHz / E-cores 2.6 GHz

Boost speed

P-cores 5.1 GHz / E-cores 3.9 GHz

Cache

20MB

TDP

125 W / 181 W boost

AMD Ryzen 7 5800X3D

MD Ryzen™ 7 5800X3D Desktop Processor (8-core/16-thread, 96MB L3 cache, up to 4.5 GHz max boost)

Core Count

8

Thread Count

16

CPU Speed

4.5 GHz

TDP

105W

However, while the graphics card may be the focal point of your rig, a good gaming build needs more than just a good GPU. You need to make sure all the components are working together, and having the right CPU to pair with your graphics card is vital for this.

It’s been a big year for processors so far, and many on this list came out recently. Each one has been selected to pair well with the RTX 3060, ensuring there is no bottlenecking on either side.

As there is a bit of variety between each card we’ve listed, there is also a brief description of each one. This should give you an overview of what’s available so you can decide which one is for you. Let’s get into it.

Best overall CPU for RTX 3060 – AMD Ryzen 9 7900X

AMD Ryzen 9 7900X

Cores

8

Threads

16

Base speed

4.7GHz

Boost speed

5.6GHz

Cache

L3 64MB

TDP

170W

Pros
  • Great overclocking
  • Powerful single- and multi-thread performance
Cons
  • Needs AM5 motherboard

This is a powerful CPU with the internal hardware necessary to unlock the full potential of your RTX 3060. This comes in the form of 12 cores and 24 threads. It is designed to compete with some of the most powerful chips out there and lives up to the task, being great for anything you can throw at it from 4K gaming to Photoshop editing.

One thing to note is that the power consumption of this card is pretty high at 170W, so you’ll need to make sure you’ve got a suitable PSU. If budget is a big concern for you, you can keep costs down by pairing this chip with one of the best budget CPU coolers.

The boost speeds on this thing are also premium and it has a cache size that can almost compete with the CPUs in the X3D range. Overall, this is a powerful card that will allow your RTX 3060 to let rip and with a price tag of around $500, it will prove a logical choice for many.

Best Intel CPU for RTX 3060 – Intel Core i5 13600K

Intel Core i5 13600K

Cores

14

Threads

20

Base speed

P-cores 3.5 GHz / E-cores 2.6 GHz

Boost speed

P-cores 5.1 GHz / E-cores 3.9 GHz

Cache

20MB

TDP

125 W / 181 W boost

Pros
  • Competitive price
  • High core count
Cons
  • Can run hot

This is a versatile and powerful card from Intel that boasts 14 cores and a huge 20 threads. This means it is perfect for a multitude of intensive PC uses and, crucially, will be able to keep up with your RTX 3060 when gaming.

The card makes use of Intel’s P-core and E-core technology. The E-cores have a focus on efficiency, reducing power draw when doing less demanding tasks. When the demand on the processor starts to grow the P-cores kick in. These are high-performance and give the i5 a boost clock just shy of 5GHz. Throw in some hyperthreading and you’ve got a seriously powerful chip for your RTX 3060.

One thing to note is that this chip can be known to run slightly hot, so we’d recommend getting some of the best thermal paste for CPUs, to help keep your cooling solution efficient.

Best Ryzen CPU for RTX 3060 – AMD Ryzen 7 5800X3D

AMD Ryzen 7 5800X3D

MD Ryzen™ 7 5800X3D Desktop Processor (8-core/16-thread, 96MB L3 cache, up to 4.5 GHz max boost)

Core Count

8

Thread Count

16

CPU Speed

4.5 GHz

TDP

105W

Pros
  • Game performance surpasses i9-12900K
  • Good value
Cons
  • Slightly poorer single-core performance

This is a card that focuses its power on high-level gaming performance, in fact, it is among the best CPUs for gaming. This is because the modern technology that gaming uses relies heavily on a CPU’s cache.

A cache is essential storage for certain bits of data, which the processor uses more often. It can be accessed far father than the rest of the data which the processor must retrieve from general memory. This means that increased cache size often leads to increased performance in games, and the Ryzen 7 5800X3D has it in buckets, thanks to its 3D V-cache.

The whole X3D range is entirely about gaming performance, so you can expect top performance here, but at the cost of single-core uses. If you’re confident that gaming will be the only demanding task you regularly ask of your rig, the Ryzen 7 5800X3D has spectacular performance for its price range. This means it can unlock the full potential of the RTX 3060, which is one of the best graphics cards for ray tracing and high resolutions.

Frequently asked questions

When it comes to CPUs, we’re often seeing the same questions come up again and again. We’ve answered a few of them here.

Is the RTX 3060 still good for gaming?

Yes, the RTX 3060 is still a powerful GPU, capable of handling the latest games. While its ray tracing and 4k performance might not be as impressive as the latest Nvidia RTX 40-series’, it still packs a punch.

What does PCIe 5.0 mean for CPUs?

PCIe 5.0 is the latest generation of PCIe. This means it has a significantly higher bandwidth for transferring information, and thus can facilitate faster speeds. If your CPU only supports PCIe 5.0, you’ll need to make sure that your motherboard does too.