The best AMD and Intel CPUs for Nvidia RTX 4090.

The best AMD and Intel CPUs for Nvidia RTX 4090.

If someone were to choose a Desktop PC today capable of running any title in 4K resolution, arguably the first piece of hardware they’d choose would be the Nvidia RTX 4090. With this graphics card, Nvidia has exceeded every gamer’s expectations and, of course, crushed all competition. There is no one who can deny that it is the best graphics card on the market right now. However, there is a question that plagues many who decide to get the RTX 4090: Which processor from either AMD or Intel is a good match for the best graphics card on the market? In this article, we’ll evaluate the processors worth considering so that you can get the most out of the incredibly powerful RTX 4090.

A few words about the Nvidia RTX 4090.

As mentioned above, the Nvidia RTX 4090 is currently the most powerful graphics card on the market. Although users experienced some problems related to the power supply of the card in the early stages of its release, today, it is the apple of the eye for every gamer who wants to enjoy their favorite titles at the highest possible resolution.

In the technical specifications of the card, we find the incomprehensible number of 16.384 CUDA Cores, while its maximum clock frequency reaches 2.52GHz. The memory of the RTX 4090 is 24 GB GDDR6X, and it features 3rd generation Ray Tracing Cores, 4th generation Tensor Cores, and belongs to the ADA Lovelace architecture. The maximum resolution is 4K at 240Hz or 8K at 60Hz with DSC and HDR. The basic output layout includes 1 HDMI port and 3 DisplayPorts.

Which processor works best with the RTX 4090?

nvidia geforce rtx 4090
Source: Nvidia.

One question most users have is whether they should combine the RTX 4090 with a flagship CPU. Since the RTX 4090 is a powerful graphics card capable of generating the highest FPS numbers in games, it makes sense to pair it with a top-of-the-line CPU as well. However, beyond the top CPUs from both AMD and Intel, there are more affordable options to pair with the RTX 4090 and avoid worrying about the bottleneck that could occur between your CPU and this top-of-the-line graphics card. You can refer to the bottleneck calculator we’ve created to check for any bottlenecks that might occur with the CPU you’re considering getting, “The Most Accurate CPU & GPU Bottleneck Calculator.

So it’s time to take a look at the best AMD and Intel CPUs that work well with the Nvidia RTX 4090.

1. Ryzen 7 5800X3D – The most affordable CPU for RTX 4090.

Although belonging to a previous generation, the Ryzen 7 5800X3D stands out as an excellent and affordable choice to pair with the RTX 4090. While there may be a significant difference between these two pieces of hardware, the Ryzen 7 5800X3D, equipped with 3D V-Cache technology, excels at handling the load of games and demanding titles exceptionally well. Though its lower clock speed and core count may not quite match up to the powerful RTX 4090, it still represents a very good and affordable option.

The Ryzen 7 5800X3D features 8 cores and 16 threads, boasting a base clock frequency of 3.4GHz and a maximum boost of 4.5GHz. While its core frequency might not match that of some other processors, it leverages 3D V-Cache technology. This vertically stacked memory enables exceptional gaming performance by facilitating faster information transfer to the CPU. One of the standout features of the Ryzen 7 5800X3D is its sizable L3 Cache of 96MB, which significantly enhances performance in many gaming scenarios.

It is compatible with DDR4 RAM and utilizes the PCIe 4.0 protocol, while also supporting the AM4 Socket in motherboards. Manufactured on TSMC’s 7nm architecture, it operates with a TDP of 105W. It’s important to note that the package does not include an air-cooler, necessitating a separate cooling solution for the processor. Additionally, it lacks integrated graphics.

2. Ryzen 7 7800X3D – The ideal choice for pairing with the RTX 4090.

If one were to select the ideal AMD CPU to pair with the powerful RTX 4090, it would undoubtedly be the Ryzen 7 7800X3D. While not the most potent CPU in the Ryzen 7000 series, it holds a special place for most gamers. This is primarily due to its relatively affordable price tag, comparable gaming performance to the superior Ryzen 7950X3D, and the inclusion of 3D V-Cache technology, which has garnered significant favor among gaming enthusiasts. Additionally, it boasts compatibility with DDR5 RAM and the PCIe 5.0 protocol, showcasing the latest technological advancements.

The Ryzen 7 7800X3D features 8 cores and 16 threads, with a base frequency of 4.2GHz and a maximum boost clock of 5.0GHz. Constructed on TSMC’s 5nm architecture, it is designed to work seamlessly with AM5 Socket motherboards. Exclusive compatibility with DDR5 RAM and support for the PCIe 5.0 protocol ensure optimized performance. With a substantial 96MB L3 Cache, it excels in multitasking and gaming scenarios, while its default TDP stands at 120W. Notably, the package does not include a cooler, and AMD recommends pairing it with a liquid cooler. However, it does feature built-in RDNA graphics clocked at 2.2GHz.

For those interested, a compelling comparison between the Ryzen 7 7800X3D and the Ryzen 7 5800X3D awaits here.

3. Ryzen 9 7950X – AMD’s flagship CPU, the best choice for the RTX 4090.

From AMD’s perspective, the current top CPU undoubtedly stands as the Ryzen 9 7950X. We’re now stepping into the realm of flagships, moving beyond exclusive gaming. The Ryzen 9 7950X excels in delivering remarkable levels of productivity and multitasking, while also showcasing exceptional gaming capabilities, promising a unique user experience. Naturally, its cost resides at the higher end, targeting high-end users, yet it remains the premier choice to complement the incredible RTX 4090.

The Ryzen 9 7950X boasts 16 cores and 32 threads, with a base clock frequency of 4.5GHz and a maximum boost clock of 5.7GHz, with further overclocking potential, thanks to its unlocked nature. It belongs to AMD’s Zen 4 generation of CPUs and supports DDR5 RAM and PCIe 5.0. Manufactured on TSMC’s 5nm process node, it is compatible with AM5 Socket motherboards and operates with a default TDP of 170W. Notably, it does not come bundled with a thermal solution, necessitating additional investment for cooling. Additionally, it features integrated graphics with a frequency of 2.2GHz.

4. Intel Core i5-14600K – The most affordable Intel CPU option for entry into 4K gaming.

Although the Intel Core i5-14600K doesn’t offer a significant upgrade over its predecessor, the Intel Core i5-13600K, Intel has maintained the same MSRP, making it more appealing. Therefore, if you’re seeking a solid mid-range CPU to venture into the realm of 4K gaming, especially when paired with the RTX 4090, the i5-14600K proves to be an excellent choice. It’s unquestionably a CPU capable of performing admirably in gaming scenarios while handling any PC task satisfactorily.

The Intel Core i5-14600K features 16 cores and 20 threads, with 6 P-Cores and 8 E-Cores among them. The P-Cores operate at a base frequency of 3.5GHz, reaching a boost clock of 5.3GHz. It’s compatible with the LGA 1700 motherboard socket and supports both DDR4 and DDR5 RAM, as well as PCIe 4.0 and PCIe 5.0. Integrated with IntelĀ® UHD Graphics 770 clocked at 1.55GHz, it boasts a maximum TDP of 181W.

You can read the article detailing the differences between the Intel Core i5-13600K and i5-14600K here.

5. Intel Core i7-14700K – The best CPU overall for 4K gaming.

The Intel Core i7-14700K falls into a category between mid-range and flagship CPUs, making it an excellent choice overall for pairing with the RTX 4090 and enjoying unique 4K gaming experiences. It’s an extremely capable CPU for productivity and multitasking, serving as a future-proof option in every aspect.

The Intel Core i7-14700K boasts 20 cores and 28 threads, with 8 of the 12 cores belonging to the P-Cores and the remaining 12 to the E-Cores. The P-Cores operate at a base clock frequency of 3.4 GHz and can reach a maximum of 5.6 GHz, with potential for further overclocking. It is compatible with motherboards featuring the LGA 1700 socket and supports both DDR5 RAM with PCIe 4.0 and DDR4 RAM with PCIe 5.0. With a maximum TDP of 253W, it also features integrated IntelĀ® UHD Graphics 770 with a frequency of 1.6 GHz.

You can find the full review of the Intel Core i7-14700K here.

6. Intel Core i9-14900K- The best CPU for RTX 4090.

If budget isn’t a concern and you’re seeking the best CPU to pair with the RTX 4090, then the Intel Core i9-14900K stands as the ultimate choice. This processor represents Intel’s pinnacle of power, delivering unparalleled levels of multitasking and productivity while also leading the gaming arena.

The formidable Intel Core i9-14900K boasts 24 cores and 32 threads, with 8 cores allocated to the P-Cores and 16 cores to the E-Cores. It operates at a base clock frequency of 3.2 GHz (for the P-Cores) and can achieve an astounding maximum of 6.0 GHz. The combination of its core count and clock speed solidifies its position as the ideal companion for the RTX 4090. As part of Intel’s 14th generation of processors, it supports both DDR5 RAM and DDR4, as well as the PCIe 4.0 and 5.0 protocols. Compatible with the LGA 1700 socket, it boasts a maximum TDP of 253W.

Gaming Benchmarks.

Numbers and CPU specifications are informative, but what we really want to see is how these CPUs perform in gaming when paired with an RTX 4090. To provide practical insights, we conducted tests on some of the most demanding and widely played games at both 1440p and 4K resolutions. Do these CPUs exhibit significant differences in gaming performance? Let’s delve into the graphs below to find out.

Best CPUs for RTX 4090 Hogwarts Legacy 1440p & 4K Benchmark.
Best CPUs for RTX 4090 Elden Ring 1440p & 4K Benchmark.
Best CPUs for RTX 4090 Red Dead Redemption 2 1440p & 4K Benchmark.
Best CPUs for RTX 4090 Red Dead Cyberpunk 2077 1440p & 4K Benchmark.
Best CPUs for RTX 4090 Red Dead Cyberpunk 2077 1440p & 4K Benchmark.

As you can see, if gaming is the sole criterion for selecting a CPU for the RTX 4090, opting for the flagship models like the Ryzen 9 7950X and Intel Core i9-14900K may not offer the best value for money (VFM). More appealing choices for 4K gaming include the Ryzen 7 7800X3D and the Intel Core i7-14700K. Both of these CPUs demonstrate the capability to deliver ample FPS, with the difference between them and the flagships in gaming performance being subtle. Additionally, it’s worth mentioning the Ryzen 7 5800X3D, which, despite belonging to a previous generation, performs surprisingly well as a budget-friendly option to pair with the RTX 4090.

Power Consumption.

Given that the RTX 4090 is renowned for its high power consumption and stands as the most demanding graphics card in its category, it’s crucial to examine the power consumption of the best processors for this GPU. For individuals constrained by the capacity of their power supply, this consideration may prove pivotal in selecting the most suitable CPU. Let’s delve below to observe the peak power consumption of the aforementioned CPUs.

Best CPUs for RTX 4090 Peak Power Consumption

It is worth noting that the Ryzen 7 7800X3D consumes significantly less power than any other CPU on the list. This, along with its 3D V-Cache and gaming capabilities, undoubtedly places it among the top choices to compete head-to-head with the RTX 4090.

However, Intel’s flagship, the i9-14900K, despite being the best CPU available, is not a value-for-money (VFM) option if gaming is your primary consideration.

Final Thoughts.

Nvidia’s RTX 4090 is arguably the best graphics card on the market. However, it’s designed for maximum performance in games and 4K resolution experiences. Therefore, choosing a suitable CPU capable of handling these demanding tasks is crucial for proper system operation. Above, we’ve explored some great options for all budgets so you can maximize the potential of this impressive graphics card.

Undoubtedly, the top choices in processors to pair with the RTX 4090 are the Ryzen 7 7800X3D from AMD’s lineup and the Intel Core i7-14700K from Intel’s side. However, the choice is ultimately subjective. The Ryzen 7 7800X3D offers better power management and excellent gaming performance, while the Intel Core i7-14700K excels in other areas such as productivity and multitasking. Regardless of your decision, you’ll certainly enjoy the RTX 4090 to its fullest potential, as demonstrated above.

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