Best CPUs for RTX 2070 Super Builds

Best CPU for RTX 2070 Super
Best CPU for RTX 2070 Super

When it comes to building a PC, the GPU and CPU are your two main building blocks. With a RTX 2070 Super, you know you will be getting a powerful GPU perfect for 1440p 144hz gaming. The 2070 Super has some other uses, but it’s mainly a consumer gaming card so this guide will be focused towards providing an equally capable gaming CPU.

If you are looking to play 1080p 240hz, there is no existing consumer CPU that is too powerful. An i9-9900k will struggle to push a constant 240hz on all games, as would the Ryzen 8 3900x. Similarly, if you are choosing a 2070 Super and not a 2080 Ti, we assume you are looking for price-performance, or at least taking budget into account. This is why our four choices are all within the $200-$350 price range; if you are considering spending more than that and are focused on gaming, it would be better to invest more in your graphics card and go for a 2080 Super than to spend the additional money on the CPU. And if you do decide to go for a 2080 Super, check out our useful guide on the best CPU pairings for that GPU.

With that in mind, our four recommendations (in descending order) for partners for the 2070 Super are:

  1. Ryzen 3600
  2. Intel i7-9700k(f)
  3. Ryzen 3700x
  4. Intel i5-9600k(f)

Then, if you are either on a tight budget or really want to push your overclock, we have two more alternatives that we recommend to a lesser degree:

  1. Ryzen 2600
  2. Ryzen 3600x

Best CPUs for RTX 2070 Super Builds – My Recommendations

Best CPUs for RTX 2070 Super BuildsDesignCores / ThreadsBoost Clock
AMD Ryzen 5 3600Ryzen-5-36006 / 124.2 GHz
Intel Core i7-9700KIntel-Core-i7-9700K8 / 84.6 GHz
AMD Ryzen 7 3700XRyzen 7 3700X8 / 164.4 GHz
Intel Core i5-9600Kcore i5-9600K6 / 64.6 GHz

1. Ryzen 5 3600

Ryzen-5-3600

A build based around the 2070 Super is a combination of awesome power but still reasonable budget. The computer will be a gaming powerhouse, playing most titles in 1440p at over 100 FPS with high graphics quality, but if we really were not budget conscious, we would get a 2080 Ti and have the best available.

So because we know we are on a budget, we want the absolute best bang-for-your-buck CPU that will allow the 2070 Super to work at full steam without holding anything back. And for that, the Ryzen 5 3600 is the perfect complement.

With six cores and 12 threads and a boost up to 4.2Ghz without overclocking, the newest Ryzen 5 processor is the most versatile gaming CPU available. The six cores and high clock speed, along with strong IPC improvements over previous generations, mean this CPU will keep your average FPS high while also avoiding major drops in your 1% and .1% FPS lows. Hyperthreading also means this CPU should stay relevant for years to come, as no games are using more than six cores today and multi-core/thread optimization is just beginning for most new titles. Finally, even though this is clearly a gaming focused build, the Ryzen 3600 is also strong in light productivity loads and won’t hold you back if you decide to dip a toe into the video editing or rendering world.

At $200, this CPU is a diamond and gives you access to the AM4 socket and plenty of natural upgrade paths in the future. All in all, if you have a budget, this is the best CPU available to complement your 2070 Super and if you have any additional money, we would recommend buying this CPU and putting the extra cash into a more powerful GPU as the Ryzen 3600 will handle 144hz gaming easily for years to come.


2. Intel Core i7-9700K

Intel-Core-i7-9700K

Team Blue is yet to release their 10th generation processors that should compete more favorable with the newest Ryzen 3000 series CPUs, so for now, the best bang-for-your-buck processor from Intel is the i7-9700k(f).

The 9700k is the 8 core/8 thread offering from Intel that boasts up to an enormous 4.9Ghz clock speed out of the box. This single-thread performance is unmatched by anything AMD has to offer currently, and is one of the reasons that Intel is still king for current pure gaming needs. In addition, Intel CPUs have always had strong overclocking capability, and this unlocked CPU (as denoted by the ‘k’ suffix) is no different. The (f) suffix denotes the lack of integrated graphics and since your build has a 2070 Super, if you can find the 9700kf and save a few bucks, there is no need to have the integrated graphics of the 9700k.

After all that, to explain why we have it listed second after the processor above, the reasons we prefer the Ryzen 3600 for a 2070 Super build are:

  1. The 9700k typically runs close to $150 more not including the need for a CPU cooler with the Intel CPU while offering only marginal improvement in FPS (and largely depends on which games you play);
  2. The 8 core/8 thread is more than enough for games today, but we imagine games will begin to implement better multi-threading optimization, which could give boosts to the 12-threaded Ryzen 3600;
  3. The Ryzen 3600 is considerably stronger in non-gaming applications that can use the increased thread count, making it the more versatile CPU.
  4. Intel has said the next generation of CPUs (tentatively titled Comet Lake) will use a new socket. This means there is not real upgrade path from the 9700k without switching motherboards as well.

So essentially, if you are really looking for pure performance today and will only use your new PC to game, and you have the extra cash and do not want to spend it on upgrading your GPU, the 9700K is the CPU to choose. Its single core clock speeds and still very impressive 8 cores will offer gaming FPS better than anything on the market (other than the 9900k, and even that offers only a 3% improvement at a significant price premium). But if you are on a budget or are thinking about a long-term build (with potential upgrade paths), the Ryzen 3600 may be a better choice.


3. Ryzen 7 3700X

Ryzen 7 3700X

If you are planning on using your PC for the more than occasional productivity task, and you have the extra budget, the Ryzen 3700x may be the perfect CPU for your build.

In comparison to the two CPUs above, the major advantage of the Ryzen 3700x is the increased performance for non-gaming applications. With its 8 cores and 16 threads, the 3700x offers a boost to any multi-threaded applications that can take advantage. In addition, the additional cores/threads will benefit anyone looking to stream while gaming, and if you are a frequent streamer, the Ryzen 3700x and its 8c/16t will offer better performance than the Ryzen 3600. However, for pure gaming, the Ryzen 3600 will give almost identical performance at 40% less cost and the 9700K will perform stronger in most current titles at a more similar price point.

If you are a believer that games will quickly be able to take advantage of a 16 thread processor or stream regulalry, than perhaps the 3700x will be more appealing than the 9700k. But considering the major advantage of the 3600 vs the 9700K is pricing, and the 3600 and the 3700x perform almost the same for gaming, its hard to recommend the 3700x for any gaming reasons.

Still, at a very reasonable $330, the Ryzen 7 3700x is a strong contender for any gamer/productivity/streaming combination user that will allow the 2070 Super to fully stretch its legs without problems. It faces stiff competition in the gaming space from the Ryzen 3600 and the Intel I7-9700k, but it still offers an attractive option to any 2070 Super build, especially for a mixed gaming/productivity usage or streamer.


4. Intel i5-9600K(F)

core i5-9600K

Our fourth recommendation is the Intel i5-9600K(F). This CPU is a bit controversial, as many see it as obsolete when compared to the similarly priced Ryzen 3600 (the Ryzen 3600 is actually slightly cheaper still as of writing this).

The sole reason to recommend the 9600K over the other options is its combination of price and single-core performance. It will cost less than the 9700K, but will provide a single-core performance better than both the Ryzen 3600 and Ryzen 3700X. With 6 cores and 6 threads, which are very capable for games today, the 9600K will still edge out the Ryzen 3600 and 3700x in most titles due to its 4.6Ghz stock boost clock speed (which has plenty of overclocking headroom).

For pure gaming performance looking to eke out every last FPS possible, at the $200-$220 price point, the 9600K is the best CPU available. However, as soon as we start factoring future gaming, 1% lows, price-performance, and versatility for other workloads, the Ryzen 3600/3700x and 9700K become more interesting propositions to complement at 2070 Super build.


Alternative CPUs for RTX 2070 Super Builds

Aside from the four major processors above, two other alternatives that are worth mentioning are the Ryzen 3600x and Ryzen 2600.

If you are on a very constrained budget, the Ryzen 2600 is an attractive option. At around $130, last generation’s Ryzen 5 processor still has many things going for it: 6c/12t, large overclocking headroom, and a strong upgrade path for future CPU improvements in the AM4 socket. We still think the Ryzen 3600 is worth the extra cost due to the variety of improvements, but the 2600 is a great processor that should still let you get the most out of your 2070 Super for the majority of games.

On the other hand the Ryzen 3600x is more difficult to recommend, but given its existence, it is worth discussing quickly. At $250, or $50 more than the 3600, the improvements are very limited and almost disappear with an improved CPU cooler on the 3600. The 3600x essentially offers a minor improvement in clock speed to 4.4Ghz instead of 4.2Ghz by pumping an extra 30W into the processor (which you could do yourself if you are comfortable overclocking the CPU). Based on available reviews, the Ryzen 3600x is basically an overclocked 3600 and so you are guaranteed to get a better binned chip or a chip higher in the silicon lottery, but at $50, we are not sure it’s worth the price.


Conclusion

Best CPUs for RTX 2070 Super BuildsDesignCores / ThreadsBoost Clock
AMD Ryzen 5 3600Ryzen-5-36006 / 124.2 GHz
Intel Core i7-9700KIntel-Core-i7-9700K8 / 84.6 GHz
AMD Ryzen 7 3700XRyzen 7 3700X8 / 164.4 GHz
Intel Core i5-9600Kcore i5-9600K6 / 64.6 GHz

Any of the six CPU’s listed above, and especially the first four, will offer you a great CPU to pair with the 2070 Super to form the building blocks of a great gaming build. Based on your planned usage (whether it is pure gaming, or mixed with some productivity/streaming) and budget, you should be able to narrow down the list to the one that is right for you. We recommend starting with the Ryzen 3600 if you have a close to $200 budget or the Intel 9700K if you are close to $340-$350 or so, but any of the listed options should allow your 2070 Super to shine and give you smooth gameplay at 1440p. There is no bad choice, but that does not mean some choices are not better than others!

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