Best CPU for AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX & 7900 XT – picks from Intel & Ryzen (2024)

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The RX 7900 XTX & RX 7900 XT are AMD Radeon’s latest flagship graphics card releases. Alongside all the new hardware you might pick up for your new gaming rig – choosing the best CPU for RX 7900 XTX & XT might be the most important choice for you to make.

The RTX 4090 & RTX 4080 both demanded new CPUs due to their reliance on PCIe 5.0. Lovelace architecture in the RTX 40-series GPUs allows for double the data transfer between the GPU and processor due to PCIe 5.0’s higher bandwidth versus PCIe 4.0. The innovation doesn’t stop there either. Now that AMD Ryzen 9 7900X3D release date has been confirmed, a 3D cache CPU is not far away.

Best CPU for RX 7900 XTX & RX 7900 XT at a glance

Intel Core i9-13900K

Architecture

Raptor Lake

Core Count

24

Thread Count

32

Boost Speed

5.8GHz

Cache

36MB

Ryzen 9 7950X

Cores

16

Threads

24

Base speed

4.5GHz

Boost speed

5.7GHz

Cache

65MB

TDP

170W

Intel Core i5-12600K

Cores

10

Threads

16

Base Clock

3.7GHz

Boost Clock

4.9GHz

Cache

20MB

TDP

125W

AMD Ryzen 7 5700X

Cores

8

Threads

16

Base Clock

3.4GHz

Boost Clock

4.6GHz

Cache

32MB

TDP

65W

So, with the release of the RDNA 3 in late 2022, and sales displaying healthy demand, an obvious question is do you need a new CPU for the RX 7900 XTX or RX 7900 XT?

It’s likely that if you’re looking for the latest CPU for the RX 7900 XTX or RX 7900 XT, you’re going to be on the lookout for the best new CPUs like the Ryzen 9 7900, Ryzen 9 7900x or Intel 13th Gen CPU. That being said, unlike the RTX 40-series, the RDNA 3 graphics cards should be fully compatible with older CPUs. This process of selection has gotten even harder now that Ryzen has announced their new ‘Non-X’ versions of their 7000 range.

There is a chance that older processors with lower clock speeds and cache might throttle your new GPU slightly. Alongside that, something often overlooked in PC builds is the motherboard, of which we have suggested the best motherboard options here.

To cover all bases, we’re going to be offering a selection of processors that don’t compromise on quality and price throughout each processor generation, whilst also offering high-end performance options for your gaming pc at various price points.

Best Intel CPU for AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX & XT – Intel i9-13900K

Intel Core i9-13900K

Architecture

Raptor Lake

Core Count

24

Thread Count

32

Boost Speed

5.8GHz

Cache

36MB

Pros
  • Incredible all round performance
  • Generous Core Count
Cons
  • Expensive

We’ve selected the Intel i9-13900K as the best Intel CPU for the RX 7900 XTX & RX 7900 XT. Released as Intel’s flagship Raptor Lake CPU, the 13900K is a high-performing CPU is one of the best processors around, and will future-proof your gaming rig for generations of tech releases to come.

Read now: AMD Ryzen 7 5800X3D vs 9 7900X3D

With a max frequency of 5.8GHz, you likely won’t find a better CPU for gaming performance on the market at the moment. Alongside that, the specs showcase 24 cores and 32 threads, meaning that the interconnected relationship between CPU and GPU is going to be lightning-fast and efficient.

The i9-13900K is rivaled by the Ryzen 9 7950X & Ryzen 9 7900X, both of which feature in our top picks for the best CPU for RX 7900 XTX & RX 7900 XT.

Costing upwards of $600 from popular tech retailers, the 13900K will set you back a significant amount. However, if you can afford it – this might just be the best CPU for gaming at the moment, which CPU specialist, Jack Horworth, has dove into with his Intel Core i9-13900K review.

If you do decide to take the plunge on this powerful CPU and are worried about it overheating, check out our article advising on the best cooler for i9-13900K.

Best AMD Ryzen CPU for AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX & XT – Ryzen 9 7950X

Ryzen 9 7950X

Cores

16

Threads

24

Base speed

4.5GHz

Boost speed

5.7GHz

Cache

65MB

TDP

170W

Pros
  • Good boost speed
  • Power efficient
Cons
  • Needs AM5

The Ryzen 9 7950X is the most offensive rival to the Intel i9-13900K, and is also vying for the top spot as the best CPU for RX 7900 XTX & XT.

Built on Zen 4 architecture, the AM5 socket supports much higher data bandwidth, whilst also offering future-proofing for the latest hardware releases such as PCIe 5.0 and more.

Aside from that, the RX 7900 XTX & XT will pair well with the Ryzen 9 7950X for gaming performance, and you won’t have to worry about the 7950X throttling FPS or resolution as the CPU is proven as one of the best for gaming.

Read now: What is a normal CPU temperature while gaming?

The Ryzen 9 7950X is currently resting in a similar price range to the 13900K, so the decision between the two really depends on a few things: your current hardware, your end-game hardware, and how much you’re willing to spend.

Best budget Intel CPU for AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX & XT – Intel i5-12600K

Intel Core i5-12600K

Cores

10

Threads

16

Base Clock

3.7GHz

Boost Clock

4.9GHz

Cache

20MB

TDP

125W

Pros
  • Brilliant performance
  • High boost speeds
Cons
  • Needs a lot of power

The Intel i5-12600K is great for those looking for a CPU at a lower price point for RX 7900 XTX & RX 7900 XT graphics cards. Costing slightly more than the Ryzen 7 5700X, both options provide prices at varying ends of the budget CPU spectrum.

The 12600K is loaded with an LGA 1700 socket and support for PCIe 5.0, making the processor future-proof and compatible with the latest and upcoming computer hardware.

Read more: Best CPU for RTX 4070 Ti

Even better is the 3.7 – 4.9 GHz clock speed range – making this a lightning fast CPU for the price you’ll likely end up paying for it. Our personal recommendation is that this is a better overall budget CPU than the Ryzen 7 5700X, which we have covered in the section below. You will end up paying slightly higher for it, though it’s completely worth the money.

Best budget Ryzen CPU for AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX & XT – Ryzen 7 5700X

AMD Ryzen 7 5700X

Cores

8

Threads

16

Base Clock

3.4GHz

Boost Clock

4.6GHz

Cache

32MB

TDP

65W

Pros
  • Good efficiency
  • Large cache
Cons
  • Lower core count

The Ryzen 7 5700X is a fantastic budget CPU available for as little as $200 at the moment, also making it likely to be the best budget CPU for RX 7900 XTX & XT.

With clock speeds between 3.4 GHz and 4.6 GHz, your PC won’t be lacking in cycle speed at any moment – making it even easier for the GPU to maintain consistent refresh rates while playing performance sensitive games such as Overwatch 2 and Valorant.

Read now: AMD Ryzen 7 5800X3D vs 9 7950X3D

Compared to the 7000-series CPUs, the 5700X does lack in terms of cores and thread-speeds, and it’s important to consider this when you’re playing graphically intensive games in which level load times and waiting screens might not be as quick as the latest generation of hardware.

That being said, the 5700X is a fantastic budget and entry level CPU for high-performance gaming that won’t break the bank.

Best CPU for AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX & XT – final word

The Intel i9-13900k is the best CPU for gaming with an RX 7900 XTX & RX 7900 XT. This is due to its superior performance in all aspects: gaming, workload processing and rendering. This makes it perfect for gamers, but also for graphics designers and data processors who are executing tasks that will be intensive on the CPU.

Read more: Best CPU for RTX 4080

With the LGA 1700 socket, this is future-proof and compatible with all the latest hardware – making it without a doubt the best CPU for RX 7900 XTX & XT.

Intel Vs Ryzen – which is better for the RX 7900 XTX & XT?

Intel’s 13th Gen CPUs were released in October, and they applied significant improvements over the previous generation. Jack Howarth’s WePC Intel i9-13900k CPU review exemplifies the performance alongside the AMD Ryzen 9 7900X, with the results shown in the following graphic:

With this in mind, the choice between Intel & Ryzen isn’t easy, as the performance advantages are distributed evenly across the two generation’s flagship processors. However, the price difference between the two is significant and should be considered.

Read more: Ryzen 5 7600 vs Ryzen 5 7600X

If you’re in the market for a new LGA 1700 socket or AM5 socket CPU – you’re likely going to also need one of the best motherboards for gaming with support for either Intel or AMD CPUs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are the RX 7900 XTX & RX 7900 XT compatible with all CPUs?

Most CPUs dating as far back to the early 2010s will likely be compatible with the RX 7900 XTX & XT, however we don’t recommend using CPUs dated before the Ryzen 3000 series or Intel 10th Gen as they may not be up to the task of working alongside such a powerful GPU.

Do the RX 7900 XTX or XT need an AMD CPU?

This is a common misconception, though if you’re building your own PC with the latest graphics card you don’t have to worry about pairing and Intel CPU with and AMD graphics card. They are designed for cross architecture support.

Can you use an AMD GPU with an Intel CPU?

Yes – Intel’s chips are designed to be compatible with all the most popular GPUs, this means they are compatible with all of AMD’s cards.

What features should I look out for in a CPU?

Make sure that your CPU matches your graphics card power and performance. You’ll need a high cache memory and the ability for your CPU to achieve high clock speeds. Though it’s tempting to go for the highest-performing CPU, you should check that your GPU won’t bottleneck first.

How much better is the RX 7900 XT than the 6950 XT?

The RX 7900 XT should perform about 1.4 – 1.6X better than the 6950 XT. It boasts 10752 FP32 cores and is helped by 5nm RDNA3 architecture. The 7900 XT GPU has a base clock of 1.5GHz and 2.4GHz boost. This is all while offering 20GB of GDDR6 memory, to help cut costs.

About the Author

Amaar Chowdhury

Amaar loves retro hardware and boring games with more words than action. So, he writes about them daily.