7 Best CPUs for RTX 3060 in 2021

The RTX 3060 is one of the most popular Nvidia 30 Series Graphics Cards out there thanks to a good price-performance ratio if you can get it at MSRP. However, to get the most out of your RTX 3060 GPU, you need to pair it with a good CPU that suits your particular needs. Therefore, we have reviewed the best CPUs for RTX 3060 to find the optimal setup for your computing requirements and budget.

Whether you’re a fan of AMD’s latest line of processors or Intel, we’re going to discuss the best options from each manufacturer. We will also include a few old-generation budget options that work well with the RTX 3060 without causing a performance bottleneck. There’s a CPU out there for every budget and every task. The RTX 3060 is an efficient card that requires very little to function at peak performance, thus allowing you to choose from a wide range of processors.

1AMD Ryzen 5 5600X

Specifications

Architecture: Zen 3 | Socket: AM4 | Cores/Threads: 6 / 12 | Base Frequency: 3.7GHz | Top Boost Frequency: 4.6GHz | TDP: 65W

Key Features

  • PCIe 4.0 for better graphics and storage bandwidth
  • 7nm architecture
  • 35MB total cache
  • Wraith Prism Cooler with Razer Chroma support included
  • AMD Ryzen Master Utility for simple overclocking
  • AMD StoreMI technology

The Ryzen 5 5600X is becoming one of the top CPU choices for midrange builds. Due to its excellent price-performance ratio, it’s highly recommended to be used together with Nvidia’s RTX 3060.

The 5600X is a 6-core processor that sits at a 3.7GHz base frequency but can be further boosted up to 4.6GHz. That’s an impressive amount of performance that can be squeezed out of such an affordable CPU. In combination with the RTX 3060, you won’t have to worry about any kind of performance bottleneck or anything along those lines. However, don’t expect the smoothest 4K gaming experience in most games because the RTX 3060 GPU isn’t built for that and it’s not the CPU’s job to compensate.

The 5600X boasts impressive architecture that is capable of achieving a 4.6GHz frequency while demanding only 65W from your power supply. This is good news for those of us who don’t have a large PSU budget. Furthermore, the Zen 3 chip supports PCIe 4.0, making it perfectly compatible with the 3060. This means your system will reduce the data transfer rates in most games and applications, as well as the loading times. PCIe 4.0 is the future and by combining the RTX 3060 with the 5600X CPU (or any other Zen 3 processor), you’ll make sure your new system won’t become obsolete over the next few years.

Finally, it’s important to look at the cache size as well. Cache size affects performance. Fortunately, the 5600X has an impressive cache memory when considering the price tag. At 35MB total cache size, this CPU allows a lot of information to be stored for rapid access. Remember that this type of memory is closer to the CPU than RAM, and therefore it’s much faster to access.

All in all, the 5600X is an impressive processor that doesn’t break the bank. It is an ideal partner for the RTX 3060.

2AMD Ryzen 7 5800X

Specifications

Architecture: Zen 3 | Socket: AM4 | Cores/Threads: 8 / 16 | Base Frequency: 3.8GHz | Top Boost Frequency: 4.7GHz | TDP: 105W

Key Features

  • PCIe 4.0 for better graphics and storage bandwidth
  • 7nm architecture
  • 36MB total cache
  • AMD StoreMI technology
  • AMD Ryzen Master Utility for simple overclocking

If the 5600X doesn’t satisfy your multi-core processing needs, the Ryzen 7 5800X might be exactly what you’re looking for. This 8-core processor is ideally paired with the RTX 3060 if you frequently find yourself multitasking as well as gaming. With a base frequency of 3.8GHz that can be boosted up to 4.7GHz, the 5800X becomes a jack of all trades that can be used to efficiently run several demanding tasks. Its power requirements are surprisingly low with a TDP of 105W, which is slightly higher than its smaller sibling, the 5600X.

When it comes to its features, the 5800 is a future-proof processor that offers full PCIe 4.0 support. Since the RTX 3060 offers is also PCIe 4.0 compatible, all you need to do is make sure you have a motherboard that supports this feature and your system will be as efficient as possible for years to come. The 5800X on its own is a powerful CPU that offers more processing power than what most games require and it’s also a good choice for demanding software.

In essence, the Ryzen 7 5800X is similar to the 5600X. The main difference is that it has two additional cores and one extra MB of cache memory. If you require higher multi-core processing power, the 5800X is a great choice, especially if you don’t plan to make any upgrades to your system over the next few years. In other words, you can’t go wrong by pairing the RTX 3060 with the Ryzen 7 5800X.

3AMD Ryzen 7 3700X

Specifications

Architecture: Zen 2 | Socket: AM4 | Cores/Threads: 8 / 16 | Base Frequency: 3.6 GHz | Top Boost Frequency: 4.40 GHz | TDP: 65W

Key Features

  • PCIe 4.0 for better graphics and storage bandwidth
  • 7nm technology
  • 36MB total cache
  • Wraith Prism Cooler with Razer Chroma support included

Despite being one generation old, the Zen 2 line of processors is still relevant and even future-proof, especially when combined with an RTX 30 graphics card like the RTX 3060. The Ryzen 7 3700X is particularly impressive since it’s the older counterpart of the 5800X.

In a nutshell, the only real difference between the 3700X and the new 5800X is the frequency. The 3700X clocks in at a base frequency of 3.6 GHz that can be boosted up to 4.4 GHz. We lose 200 MHz on the base frequency and 300MHz on the boost frequency. As a result, the TDP is also lower as the 3700X requires only 65W from the power supply. The core count remains the same as this is an 8-core processor, and it also offers PCIe 4.0 support. The 3700X remains a valid option for future-proof systems.

If you’re restricted by your budget and you don’t require the slightly higher clock speeds you get from the Zen 3 processors, the Ryzen 7 3700X is a great choice in combination with the RTX 3060. The risk of a bottleneck is non-existent so there’s no need to worry about limiting your GPU by using an older processor that offers the same features as the next-gen counterpart.

4Intel Core i7-10700K

Specifications

Architecture: Comet Lake | Socket: LGA 1200 | Cores/Threads: 8 / 16 | Base Frequency: 3.8 GHz | Top Boost Frequency: 5.10 GHz | TDP: 125W

Key Features

  • Can be overclocked up to 5.1 GHz using Turbo Boost Max 3.0
  • Hyper-Threading technology
  • Easy to use overclocking controls
  • Intel Optane Memory support

While the Zen 3 line of processors from AMD is taking much of the spotlight nowadays, Intel still has a few excellent choices of CPUs to go with the RTX 3060. The Intel Core i7-10700K is one of them.

This 8-core processor has a base frequency of 3.8 GHz that can be increased to a whopping 5.10 GHz. Intel is known for achieving extreme clock speeds, and this CPU doesn’t fail to deliver. High single-core processing power makes it ideal for gaming and having 8-cores adds to its versatility and multitasking ability. However, that’s where the benefits of using the 10700K end.

The major drawback is that the 10700K doesn’t support PCIe 4.0. As more games and applications start taking advantage of this new technology, this processor will become outdated in the near future. If you purchase it now, you might not lose out on anything for another year, maybe two, but if you’re looking for a long-term solution you might want to wait for Intel to release its next-gen line of processor or go with AMD instead.

All in all, the i7 10700K is a powerful processor. It blows most CPUs out of the water when it comes to clock speeds. Therefore, if you’re building a gaming system that can also multitask, the 10700K is still a good choice in combination with the RTX 3060.

5Intel Core i5-10600K

Specifications

Architecture: Comet Lake | Socket: LGA 1200 | Cores/Threads: 6 / 12 | Base Frequency: 4.10 GHz | Top Boost Frequency: 4.80 GHz | TDP: 125W

Key Features

  • Turbo Boost 2.0
  • Hyper-Threading technology
  • New overclocking controls for more efficient tuning
  • Intel Optane Memory support

If you’re looking for a budget-friendly option from Intel, the i5-10600K might be the best option for you. Being a 6-core processor might not sound interesting, but this i5 offers impressive clock speeds. At a 4.1 GHz base frequency, this CPU will offer all the power you need for a gaming system built around the RTX 3060. If that’s not enough, you can boost that frequency up to 4.8GHz. Just make sure your power supply is good enough because the power draw will increase with the frequency.

Intel excels at providing CPUs with strong single-core processing power which is excellent for games in particular, as well as multi-core processing power which is important for demanding applications and multitasking. Therefore, if you want to stick to Intel without spending a lot of money, the 10600K offers a hard-to-beat price-performance ratio.

That being said, you need to keep in mind that this CPU doesn’t offer PCIe 4.0 support. Therefore, your system won’t be able to benefit from this feature despite the RTX 3060 supporting it. As a result, the 10600K is an excellent processor for the time being, but you might have to change it in the near future to benefit from the latest tech.

6AMD Ryzen 5 3600X

Specifications

Architecture: Zen 2 | Socket: AM4 | Cores/Threads: 6 / 12 | Base Frequency: 3.8GHz | Top Boost Frequency: 4.4GHz | TDP: 95W

Key Features

  • PCIe 4.0 for better graphics and storage bandwidth
  • 7nm technology
  • 35MB GameCache memory for boosted performance
  • Wraith Prism Cooler with Razer Chroma support included

If you’re restricted by your budget and you’re simply looking for a versatile system, the Ryzen 5 3600X might precisely what you’re looking for. Since the new line of Zen 3 processors is out, the old Zen 2 generation became more affordable. With 6 cores and a 4.4 GHz boost frequency, the 3600X offers a lot of performance per dollar. Furthermore, it’s a future-proof processor, just like its 5600X counterpart because it supports PCIe 4.0 and it’s built using the same 7nm architecture.

All in all, the 3600X is more than capable when paired with the RTX 3060. As long as you aren’t working with extremely demanding software, this processor will be more than enough. However, the jump to the 5600X is fairly small. If you can spare an additional ~$50 you can invest in the Zen 3 CPU, which is more efficient and provides you with slightly higher clock speeds.

7Intel Core i5-10400F

Specifications

Architecture: Comet Lake | Socket: LGA 1200 | Cores/Threads: 6 / 12 | Base Frequency: 2.90 GHz | Top Boost Frequency: 4.30 GHz | TDP: 65W

Key Features

  • Turbo Boost 2.0
  • Hyper-Threading technology
  • Intel Optane Memory support
  • Cooler included

The i5-10400F is one of the most popular under-$200 processors from Intel. It is a budget 6-core CPU that is good enough for light multitasking, as well as 1080p gaming when paired with a good GPU like the RTX 3060. 

Putting the low 2.90 GHz base frequency aside, the 10400F is a locked processor. That means that to achieve the 4.30 GHz boosted frequency, you need to adjust the base clock speed instead of using the base-clock multiplier. Furthermore, there’s not much future-proofing to think about when looking at this CPU, since it doesn’t support PCIe 4.0.

In essence, the i5-10400F is a simple CPU that gets the job done as long as it’s not too demanding.

Final Thoughts

The RTX 3060 is a versatile GPU that will offer you a solid gaming experience as long as you pair it with a suitable CPU. Take note that your decision also depends on whether you need a processor capable of handling demanding software and multitasking. The CPUs on this list are all solid options that will not bottleneck the RTX 3060. It all depends on what you want to get from your system and whether you’re looking for a long-term solution or not.

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