The Best CPUs For RTX 4080 (Our Top Picks)

The Best CPUs For RTX 4080 GamesBustop

The recent release of Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 4090 is something that had many on the lookout to upgrade their other components so that once they get their hands on it, it isn’t bottlenecked by the other hardware.

The RTX 4080, which is set to be released next month, is no exception to that. But with how rapidly the GPU market is moving ahead, many forget that upgrading other components is also equally important. Regardless, this article aims to help you choose the right processor for your RTX 4080, so you’re in luck.

It would’ve been hard to list down the best CPUs for Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 4080 if not for Nvidia’s sudden cancellation of the GPU’s 12GB edition.

Since the two editions had a prominent VRAM difference, we would’ve had to separately list the CPUs for both of them. But since the 16GB edition is the only one to look forward to, finding out the best CPUs for the RTX 4080 wasn’t a tough job. 

Much like the RTX 4090, the RTX 4080, too, utilizes the PCIe 5.0 bandwidth to its fullest. In that case, the best processors for both GPUs will have to be great enough to make the best use of them. While the number of processors in this list will be limited due to the article solely focusing on already released processors, all of them will meet the compatibility requirements for the RTX 4080. 

For a graphics card that demands a lot of bandwidth, an Alder Lake or Zen 4 CPU would be the most optimal choice. Though, unlike the RTX 4090, high-end Zen 3 processors like the AMD Ryzen 9 5950X would also be worthy options.

However, specifications and price alone aren’t the only aspects that matter since motherboard sockets also have an important role. 

While this in no way determines the best processor for the RTX 4080, those who prefer AMD processors have the advantage of the processors’ much longer reliance on certain boards.

While the AM5 motherboards are likely to last throughout the next few processor generations, the case is different for Intel’s LGA 1700 processor sockets since the Raptor Lake processors are going to be the last compatible line for them. 

Important Features When Shopping CPUs for Your 4080 GPU

Pricing and specifications may be the most important aspect of a processor, but before we list the best CPUs for the Nvidia GeForce RTX 4080, it’s essential to have a look at some important aspects to know before making a choice.

1. Bandwidth

An extremely valuable aspect of demanding GPUs. Processors with a higher bandwidth find it easier to communicate with other hardware, and since the RTX 4080 uses PCIe 5.0, higher bandwidth is compulsory. 

2. Processor Speed

The core performance of a processor is measured through MHz or GHz. The number determines how many cycles a CPU’s internal clock completes in a second. A 1 GHz CPU’s clock ticks a billion times per second. 

3. Cores

The higher the number of cores is, the more bandwidth the processor will be able to handle. Each core has its own cache, which organizes the functioning of a processor and thus makes it quicker. AMD processors also have Accelerated Processing Unit (APU) technology, which features the GPU core. The technology allows greater graphical computation in the CPU itself and boosts overall performance. 

4. Motherboard Compatibility

As discussed above, motherboard compatibility is one of the most important aspects to consider before getting a CPU. AMD typically sticks with its motherboards for a longer time.

The Best CPUs for RTX 4080

Here are the best CPUs for your Nvidia RTX 4080 graphics card.

1. Intel Core i9-12900K – The Best CPU for Nvidia GeForce RTX 4080

Intel Core i9-12900K
CPU Pros
  • Can be overclocked to 5.20 GHz 
  • Supports DDR5 and DDR4 memory
  • Latest Core i9 processor generation
  • Compatibility with the Z690 motherboards
  • Currently on sale.
CPU Cons
  • Expensive price-tag.

While ranking the processors may not be an easy task due to the variety of the needs of the users, it’s essential to start the list with the most powerful and efficient CPU for the RTX 4080.

Intel Core i9-12900K may be a bit expensive to buy alongside the RTX 4090, but since the 4080 is significantly more affordable, an expensive processor like it becomes a great option. It’s generally one of the fastest and most powerful processors and outdoes even the AMD Ryzen 9 5950X in terms of raw gaming performance. 

Its higher core count allows better handling of the bandwidth. At 16 total cores (24 threads), it comes with a maximum turbo frequency of 5.20 GHz. It supports both DDR4 and DDR5 RAM sticks, which might make it affordable for those who plan to upgrade to DDR5 later. 

Like RTX 4090, the RTX 4080 is a very demanding card and its use of PCIe 5.0 cables alone shows that. Even its power supply requirement is 320W at the very least, although Nvidia recommends a 750W PSU. A strong processor like the Intel Core i9-12900K is the best choice, especially since it can currently be found on sale at Amazon.

2. AMD Ryzen 9 7950X – The Strongest and the Most Expensive CPU for RTX 4080  

AMD Ryzen 9 7950X – The Strongest and the Most Expensive CPU for RTX 4080 
CPU Pros
  • Can be overclocked to 5.70 GHz
  • High core count
  • Phenomenal single-core performance
  • Made to withstand higher temperatures 
  • AM5 sockets.
CPU Cons
  • Expensive price-tag
  • No support for DDR5 memory.

AMD has once again revolutionized the domain of CPUs with the Ryzen 9 7950X. The processor offers the strongest specs compared to the rest of the CPUs on this list, which also explains its expensiveness. It still remains this year’s most expensive flagship processor. 

The AMD Ryzen 9 7950X has a vigorous core count of 16 cores, with 32 processing threads. It has a base frequency of 4.5 GHz, which can be overclocked to a bolstering 5.7 GHz frequency, which marginally outclasses every other CPU on the list.

The lack of DDR5 support is one of the few things that put it below the Intel Core i9-12900K. The processor is so heavy-duty, that as per AMD, even a temperature as high as the 95°C mark is to be considered normal because the Ryzen 9 7950X is designed to function at high temperatures.

This beast of a processor also features a fully unlocked multiplier, which makes multiplier-depending overclocking of all the cores much less complicated.

Since this article is about the best processors for RTX 4080, you might be wondering why the Ryzen 9 7950X didn’t top the list.

But the main aspect that puts it below the Intel Core i9-12900K is the latter’s recent price decrease, which makes it a better option in terms of both: performance and price. However, the Ryzen 9 7950X is also currently on a discount (albeit only -13%), which almost brings it to the top position. 

3. AMD Ryzen 9 5950X – The Best Budget AMD CPU for Nvidia GeForce RTX 4080

AMD Ryzen 9 5950X – The Best Budget AMD CPU for Nvidia GeForce RTX 4080
CPU Pros
  • Can be overclocked to 4.9 GHz
  • High core count
  • Phenomenal single-core performance
  • Currently on sale.
CPU Cons
  • No support for DDR5 memory.

One of the frontrunners of AMD’s Vermeer series. The AMD Ryzen 9 5950X rivals the Intel Core i9-12900K with a core count of 16 (32 threads). Despite the latter being a better option overall, the Ryzen 9 5950X is still the fastest 16-core CPU. 

Its base frequency may be 3.4 GHz, but the turbo mode can allow it to go up to as much speed as 4.9 GHz. That may fall short compared to the Intel Core i9-12900K, but the GPU still offers great value for its price, especially due to its recent 31% discount. 

On top of that comes the benefit of AMD’s longer reliance on sockets, which may save you from motherboard expenses in case you upgrade your CPU. An AM5 motherboard is ideal for the RTX 4080. AMD’s APU technology also makes the Ryzen 9 5950X a formidable choice because it uses a GPU core for additional graphics processing. 

It’s arguably the best non-overkill CPU for the Nvidia GeForce RTX 4080, especially for those who tend to prefer AMD processors. The only possible drawback is its lack of support for DDR5 RAM, but the raw power of the 5950X greatly makes up for it.

4. Intel Core i7-12700K – The Best Budget CPU for Nvidia RTX 4080

Intel Core i7-12700K – The Best Budget CPU for Nvidia RTX 4080
CPU Pros
  • Extremely affordable
  • Can be overclocked to 5 GHz
  • Supports DDR5 and DDR4 memory
  • Compatibility with the Z690 motherboards.
CPU Cons
  • Will soon be outdone by Raptor Lake.

The Intel Core i7 is easily the strongest budget CPU for Nvidia RTX 4080. It may not have the raw strength to rival the Core i9-12900K, but it still offers great value for its price. So, if you have a limited budget or are willing to spend on other important components like RAM, the Intel Core i7-12700K is the processor to opt for. 

It has about 12 cores (20 threads), which is a phenomenal number for a high-end GPU like the RTX 4080. It also has a strong base clock frequency of 3.80 GHz, which can be overclocked to 5 GHz.

Although, despite the CPU’s lower cost, you might have to spend on high-quality CPU coolers for unproblematic overclocking due to higher frequencies producing more heat. Intel’s constant socket upgrades may complicate things for future upgrades, but the processor’s compatibility with both DDR4 and DDR5 also puts it ahead. 

This processor may not be the strongest option for the Nvidia RTX 4080, but it’s still the best choice for 2K gaming alongside the GPU. Due to how great it is for its price, we could’ve ranked it higher, but the Intel Core i9-12900K and the ongoing discount of the AMD Ryzen 9 5950X certainly changed things.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I upgrade my processor to an Nvidia RTX 4000 GPU?

The answer to this depends on what your current processor is. If you’re using a CPU that is equivalent to a Core i5 8th gen, then while your GPU will be a bit stronger – it won’t be bottlenecked in terms of power, and you will be able to run all of the latest games perfectly.

But if you want to have something more powerful or are buying a new computer with a CPU lower than an i5 – then an upgrade is very much necessary. You should make sure your processor is great and our recommendations will help you achieve that.

Should I buy an AMD CPU or an Intel one?

The answer to this comes down to both preference and budget. All of the processors from both companies cost different and have distinctive features. Not to mention that video games include requirements for both pieces of hardware too – not just one. Even things like the power usage of each will help in making the decision since you might already own a power supply.

It’s impossible to call one better than the other – so it’s just up to you. From our very detailed guide, you can make the decision by looking at the prices and features of both and then purchase the one you want.

What is bottlenecking?

If you have been thinking about getting an RTX 4080 and people keep telling you to avoid bottlenecking it – that’s good advice. Bottlenecking a GPU or processor is when your hardware is unbalanced.

For example, using a Core i3 with an RTX 4080 would mean that it’s severely underpowered and despite having such a great GPU, you can’t run new games. So, to avoid it, you need to have a great CPU, like the Core i9, so that you can make the best of your gaming PC.

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