7 Best CPUs for RX 6800 XT of 2021

AMD launched three powerful graphics cards, built using the new RDNA 2 architecture. Each one of them falls into a different performance category and they all have something great to offer. But our focus is on the middle child, the RX 6800 XT, which is AMD’s answer to Nvidia’s equally impressive RTX 3080. This middle of the pack GPU is anything but average, but to squeeze out every drop of performance we need to make sure we match it with an equally powerful processor. To do that, we’ll explore a list of best CPUs for RX 6800 XT and discover what each one of them has to offer.

The RX 6800 XT is essentially the RX 6800 taken to another level. It’s similar in that it has 16GB of VRAM and a 128MB cache, but from that point on it goes on its own path. AMD squeezed another 200MHz out of it and increased the number of computing units and ray accelerators. However, that also means the RX 6800 XT requires more power and it’s physically larger than its younger brother. So keep that in mind when choosing the CPU. If you’re performing a full upgrade to your PC, you’ll also need to make sure you invest in an adequate PSU that can handle the GPU and the perfect case to ensure proper airflow. That being said, let’s examine some of the best CPUs for the RX 6800XT and see what works best.

1AMD Ryzen 7 5800X

Specifications:
Architecture: Zen 3 | Socket: AM4 | Cores/Threads: 8 / 16 | Base Frequency: 3.8GHz | Boost Frequency: 4.7GHz | TDP: 105W
Key features:
  • PCIe 4.0 support
  • 7nm architecture
  • 36MB total cache
  • AMD StoreMI technology
  • AMD Ryzen Master Utility

The new generation of Zen 3 processors is packed with choices that go well with the RX 6800 XT. The most well-balanced CPU from the line has to be the Ryzen 7 5800X, and that’s because it’s a high-end 8-core processor that offers you pretty much everything you need.

When it comes to gaming and high-resolution graphics, the GPU does most of the work. In fact, even today there are few games that could push the 5800X to maximum load. So if you’re building a 4K setup, this CPU is an easy choice. Even if you perform a lot of computing tasks where multithreading shines, the 5800X has 16 threads and we can boost its frequency up to 4,7GHz, which is plenty. Furthermore, the 5800X comes with PCIe 4.0 support, just like the RX 6800 XT, but remember that you need a motherboard that supports this feature as well.

All in all, the Ryzen 7 5800X is the perfect processor for most computer users and high-end gamers. It offers plenty of raw power and the included features make it future-proof for years to come, especially when matched together with the RX 6800 XT GPU.

2AMD Ryzen 9 5900X

Specifications:
Architecture: Zen 3 | Socket: AM4 | Cores/Threads: 12 / 24 | Base Frequency: 3.7GHz | Boost Frequency: 4.8GHz | TDP: 105W
Key features:
  • PCIe 4.0 support
  • 7nm architecture
  • 70MB total cache
  • AMD StoreMI technology
  • AMD Ryzen Master Utility

The Ryzen 9 5900X is a high-end processor that goes beyond gaming. Most games won’t take full advantage of what this CPU has to offer. In fact, most games powered by the RX 6800 XT graphics card will be happy even with the 5600X. However, this process is a great choice for those who have room in their budget and want to make sure their build will stay relevant for many years to come. Furthermore, thanks to the high core/thread count, this CPU is ideal for rendering, 3D modeling, and other heavy operations that involve demanding software.

With a boost frequency up to 4.8GHz, this 12-core CPU will easily overpower most of the competition, so buying it is a safe bet. In addition, it also comes with a sizable 70MB cache, which is quite impressive. And all of this power demands only 105W of power so we won’t have to go overboard with the PSU.

In essence, the Ryzen 9 5900X is a high-end CPU for the enthusiasts who love getting the best that the CPU market has to offer. Together with an RX 6800 XT, you’ll build a PC that won’t require any serious upgrade for the next few years because games need to start catching up first.

3AMD Ryzen 9 5950X

Specifications:
Architecture: Zen 3 | Socket: AM4 | Cores/Threads: 16 / 32 | Base Frequency: 3.4GHz | Boost Frequency: 4.9GHz | TDP: 105W
Key features:
  • PCIe 4.0 support
  • 7nm architecture
  • 72MB total cache
  • AMD StoreMI technology
  • AMD Ryzen Master Utility

The Zen 3 flagship, the Ryzen 9 5950X is the most powerful processor AMD has to offer if we choose to ignore the infamous Threadripper. This CPU is meant for the enthusiast who isn’t tied down to a budget. The 5950X is a 16-core/ 32-thread processor that will turn any PC into a processing powerhouse. Built purely for multi-threaded processing power and speed, this CPU will handle any demanding software you throw at it and is, therefore, the ideal choice for professional use. Just make sure you can invest in the best cooling system you can afford if you plan to boost this CPU up to 4.9GHz because that’s going to generate a whole lot of heat.

But when it comes to gaming, you won’t notice much or any real improvement by using a 5950X processor over the 5900X or even the 5800X. Hardware is simply far ahead of the games that are currently being developed, and high-resolution graphics are powered by powerful graphics cards like the RX 6800 XT anyway. You should choose the Ryzen 5950X if you don’t care about your budget or if you need it for more than just gaming.

4Intel Core i9-10900K

Specifications:
Architecture: Comet Lake-S | Socket: LGA 1200 | Cores/Threads: 10 / 20 | Base Frequency: 3.7GHz | Top Boost Frequency: 5.30GHz | TDP: 125W
Key features:
  • 10 cores in the affordable range
  • Thermal Velocity Boost technology for high overclocking
  • New overclocking controls
  • Hyper-Threading technology

While the RX 6800 XT works at peak performance when used with an AMD processor, that doesn’t mean an Intel CPU won’t work just as well. For example, the i9-10900K is more than powerful enough to work in perfect unison with this GPU. With 10 cores and 20 threads that can be boosted up to an impressive 5.3GHz frequency thanks to Intel’s Turbo Boost Max technology, we’ll certainly have enough power to enjoy 4K gaming and heavy computational workloads.

But even though the i9-10900K is powerful, it comes with a series of disadvantages. First of all, it requires 125W of power and even more when overclocking. This is partly because of Intel’s 14nm manufacturing process, while AMD switched entirely to 7nm, which significantly boosts efficiency and performance. Secondly, it offers PCIe 3.0 support only, so it’s not the most future-proof CPU out there. And finally, there’s the price, which isn’t quite as competitive anymore when we consider the disadvantages.

All in all, i9-10900K is a good choice if you find a good deal for it. Otherwise, there are some better options out there especially if you really care about future-proofing your system. Besides, if you want to stick to Intel, you might want to wait for them to release their next-gen line of processors which is around the corner.

5AMD Ryzen 5 5600X

Specifications:
Architecture: Zen 3 | Socket: AM4 | Cores/Threads: 6 / 12 | Base Frequency: 3.7GHz | Boost Frequency: 4.6GHz | TDP: 65W
Key features:
  • PCIe 4.0 support
  • 7nm architecture
  • 35MB total cache
  • Wraith Prism Cooler with Razer Chroma support included
  • AMD Ryzen Master Utility
  • AMD StoreMI technology

You don’t need the most powerful processor on the market to enjoy 4K gaming and all the power the RX 6800 XT has to offer. In fact, for most setups, all you really need is a 6-core CPU like the Ryzen 5 5600X.

This CPU that can go up to 4.6GHz is enough for high-end gaming and is even future-proof due to its 7nm architecture and PCIe 4.0 support. It also has a very low power requirement of 65W at normal clock speeds.

In essence, the Ryzen 5600X is a budget next-gen CPU that will provide your RX 6800 XT build with plenty of processing power. However, you plan to use demanding software that works better with a higher thread count, you should look for another option.

6AMD Ryzen 9 3950X

Specifications:
Architecture: Zen 2 | Socket: AM4 | Cores/Threads: 16 / 32 | Base Frequency: 3.5 GHz | Boost Frequency: 4.70 GHz | TDP: 105W
Key features:
  • 16 cores
  • PCIe 4.0 support
  • 7nm technology
  • 72MB GameCache memory
  • Supports up to 128 GB DDR4 3200 MHz

Once AMDs enthusiast-grade CPU, the Ryzen 9 3950X still maintains a solid reputation even after the launch of the next-gen 5000 series of processors. Despite its older Zen 2 architecture, this CPU is still one of the best you can buy, and now it’s even more affordable.

This 16-core workhorse can be boosted up to 4.70GHz and has a massive 72MB cache, so it’s certainly fast and more than enough to go together with the RX 6800 XT. It even offers PCIe 4.0 support, despite being one generation old. This CPU can easily be compared to the 5950X because it used to fulfill the same role. And it still does, except it’s cheaper, so if you want high-end hardware without the high-end price, this CPU is a great choice. Your build will be future-proof because it comes with all the features that AMD includes in their new line of Zen 3 processors.

However, make sure to invest in a serious cooling system if you plan to boost the frequency. This processor heats up quickly and it’s recommended to get a large 280mm air cooler or a high-end water cooling system. If you can keep the temperatures under control, the 3950X is a no-brainer.

7AMD Ryzen 9 3900X

Specifications:
Architecture: Zen 2 | Socket: AM4 | Cores/Threads: 12 / 24 | Base Frequency: 3.8GHz | Top Boost Frequency: 4.60GHz | TDP: 105W
Key features:
  • PCIe 4.0 support
  • 7nm technology
  • 70MB total cache size
  • Wraith Prism Cooler with Razer Chroma support included

The Ryzen 9 3900X is a high-end processor that is still a valid choice even nowadays when everyone’s eyes are on the 5900X. The 3900X remains a strong competitor because it’s equipped with the same next-gen features as the 5000 series. So you can easily build a future-proof setup using this CPU together with the RX 6800 XT, despite the older Zen 2 architecture.

The 3900X might not offer the same performance as its Zen 3 counterpart, but it still has 12 cores / 24 threads, and it can reach a frequency of 4.6GHz. These specs are more than enough for a 4K gaming system or a midrange workstation. Remember that gaming at high resolution is made possible by powerful GPUs like the RX 6800 XT, and the processor has a secondary role to play. As long as the CPU doesn’t bottleneck the graphics card, we’re good to go. And the 3900X most certainly doesn’t. Furthermore, the high thread count makes it ideal for a system that has to run demanding software. Games don’t take full advantage of multiple cores and threads, but software usually does.

So don’t ignore the Ryzen 9 3900X because it still has plenty of life left in it. It’s still an impressive processor equipped with the same features we see on its stronger sibling, the 5900X. Besides, being a generation old means that we get to enjoy all that power at a discount.

Final Thoughts

The RX 6800 XT is a powerful graphics card meant for mainstream high-end builds. But to have access to the features and level of performance it has to offer we need an equally high-end processor. Remember that by skimping on the CPU, you can end up bottlenecking the graphics card and therefore never get to experience the performance you paid for. So choose between AMD’s next-gen Zen 3 processors if you’re looking to use the most modern hardware currently available, or the Zen 2 line if you want performance on a budget. Intel is also a solid contender, but due to a lack of certain features, it might be wiser to wait for their next-gen CPUs to be launched and then make your final decision.

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