Nvidia has released the RTX 3060 Ti and it’s the performance-per-dollar star of the Ampere line-up so far. The RTX 3060 Ti starts at $399 but make no mistake, this is no entry-level GPU. With performance surpassing the outgoing RTX 2080 Super, this GPU can deliver high framerates even in demanding games and at high resolutions. With advanced technologies like RTX cores and DLSS 2.0 for upscaling, it brings high-performance graphics to a price point not seen before, and can also utilise advanced features like OPTIX enabled rendering in 3D graphics production or tensor core enabled AI training. This makes it a versatile and desirable graphics card, but to get the most out of it you’ll need to partner it with a CPU that’s up to the task. In this article, we’ll run you through the best CPUs to pair with the RTX 3060 Ti – whatever your price point and intended use.
Best CPUs for RTX 3060 Ti – Our Recommendations
|Best High-FPS Gaming CPU for RTX 3060 Ti||Ryzen 5 5600X|
|Best Intel Gaming CPU for RTX 3060 Ti||Intel Core i5-10600K|
|Best Budget CPU for RTX 3060 Ti||Ryzen 5 3600|
|Best Budget Intel CPU for RTX 3060 Ti||Intel Core i5-10400|
|Best All-rounder CPU for RTX 3060 Ti||Intel Core i7-10700K|
|Best Productivity CPU for RTX 3060 Ti||Intel Core i9-10850K|
Best High-FPS Gaming CPU for RTX 3060 Ti
AMD’s Zen 3 CPUs have redefined the upper limits of performance and the Ryzen 5 5600X is the new CPU to beat for outright gaming performance without breaking the bank. If every last frame matters to you in competitive online play, then this CPU will run games as fast as any processor currently available but costs $300. It uses 6 cores and 12 threads, giving it ample headroom and our testing has shown it runs games like COD: Warzone and Rainbow 6 Siege just as fast as its 8 Core bigger brother the 5800X. It is supplied with a stock CPU cooler but for best performance, we’d recommend a pairing with a better 240mm AIO cooler such as the Arctic Freezer 2 240mm Water cooling loop: Keeping temperatures low will ensure the CPU doesn’t throttle when working hard. For a focussed gaming PC aimed at the highest frame rates possible at 1080p, this is the CPU to get and a perfect pairing with the RTX 3060 Ti.
Best Intel Gaming CPU for RTX 3060 Ti
One downside of the Ryzen 5 5600X is that being in high demand and limited supply, it can be hard to find and prices may be inflated. In that case there’s little lost in opting for the intel competitor instead. The Intel Core i5-10600K is around $50 cheaper than the 5600X but uses the same 6-core and 12 thread basis for a high performance gaming CPU. It really shines when overclocked so we recommend that you pair it with a decent Z490 motherboard to unlock the potential, and invest that $30 saving in a capable CPU cooler to keep temperatures down. This CPU will perform within a couple of percent off the 5600X, and whilst it lacks PCIe 4.0 functionality that is no detriment to performance as the 3060 Ti cannot exceed the bandwidth of PCIe 3.0 and PCIe 4.0 NVMe solid-state drives offer no practical benefit for a gaming PC. Overall the i5-10600K is no poor relation to the Ryzen 5 5600X, and you will not be disappointed with the performance on offer.
Best Budget CPU for RTX 3060 Ti
If you’re looking to maximise the potential of the 3060 Ti without breaking the bank, the Ryzen 5 3600 is an excellent option. This capable Zen 2 CPU performs well in a wide range of games with 6 cores and 12 threads and a 4.4GHz boost clock. At 1440p the demanding resolution will properly load the GPU and ensure that very high frame rates do not trouble the Ryzen Zen 2 CPU, but you still get the ability to reach 144FPS in fast-paced titles, whilst AAA titles like Red Dead Redemption 2 and Cyberpunk 2077 will run excellently as they rely more on the GPU than the CPU. It has proven its capability running the most demanding titles at good frame rates, and it makes an ideal pairing with the RTX 3060 Ti at 1440p for an all round gaming PC. However, if you are looking to play at 1080p and achieve very high frame rates, we’d advise you to look at one of the higher performance options to ensure you achieve the full potential of the RTX 3060 Ti.
Best Budget Intel CPU for RTX 3060 Ti
Stiff competition from AMD throughout 2020 has seen intel increase the performance and features of it’s CPUs and this has made the Core i5-10400 is a compelling option. The Comet Lake CPU has gained hyperthreading so it now mirrors the Ryzen 3600’s 6 core/12 thread specification. It boosts to 4.3 GHz and whilst that’s not directly comparable to the Ryzen 5 owing to their architectural differences, testing shows them very evenly matched in benchmarks. This CPU can also use a cost-effective B460 motherboard keeping costs down. Whilst it can’t be overclocked, it is more than fast enough for a gaming and general-purpose PC. If you’re squeezing every last dollar out of your build, it makes sense to focus on getting a high-performance GPU like the RTX 3060 Ti, and the i5-10400 lets you do that. There is also an F variant which lacks the integrated graphics of the non-F CPU – at time of writing it’s more expensive, and you should only consider it if it’s at least $20 cheaper than the vanilla 10400: An iGPU is useful for troubleshooting, swapping GPUs, and it even assists in some video encoding tasks making it a worthwhile feature unless the price is right to do without it.
Best All-rounder CPU for RTX 3060 Ti
The Intel Core i7-10700K is Intels ‘Comet lake’ 8 core offering. With a 5.1 GHz boost speed and hyperthreading presenting 16 logical cores, it’s equally adept at gaming and productivity. The $350 price point sees it outperform the AMD Ryzen 7 3800X in per-core performance, but it saves $100 over the 10 core i9-10850K and the new Zen 3 Ryzen 5800X which also has 8 cores but is slightly faster. The i7-10700K makes a strong case as the ‘do it all’ CPU if you mix work and pleasure on the same PC but need a cost-effective pairing with the RTX 3060 Ti. This CPU will happily support high-performance games as well as demanding titles like Cyberpunk or Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020, but will also be capable in productivity tasks like photo and video editing and rendering or graphic design. Use a Z490 Chipset motherboard to gain access to overclocking of both the CPU and RAM and extract maximum potential from this CPU. With intel now being forced to compete on price, this is a great value CPU considering the performance on offer.
Best Productivity CPU for RTX 3060 Ti
Intel may have lost the ultimate performance crown to AMD but it would be unwise to dismiss their products as outdated. The Core i9-10850K is a 10-core, 20-thread CPU with a 5.2GHz boost clock and ideally runs on the Z490 platform. It is in effect a slightly downclocked i9-10900K, but loses very little in actual performance. It shines in tasks that can use high core counts, like rendering video and 3D scenes but it’s no slouch for gaming either. It will also work well in audio production and Games development environments like Unity. At $400 it significantly undercuts even the last generation Ryzen 3900X, whilst the Ryzen 5900X outperforms the i9 but costs at least $150 more and is suffering supply restrictions at present. Therefore the i9 CPU makes a good alternative and isn’t lacking performance at the price point. It’s a great pairing with the RTX 3060 Ti and will form the basis of a powerful workstation whilst keeping costs in check.
Whilst it’s easy to get trapped by the halo effect of the top-performing products, it’s usually the case that you get best value looking a little bit lower down the price list. The CPUs in this article are all recent high-performance CPUs that excel in the areas we’ve described: Pick one of these and you’ll be sure that you maximise the performance of your next RTX 3060 Ti-based PC whilst keeping a firm check on the budget.