There are plenty of CPUs from AMD and Intel that will work well with the AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT, but we'd have to recommend AMD's range simply because the two components will be able to talk to one another better for improved performance. The Radeon 6900 XT is the best graphics card from AMD, and these are the best CPUs to use with it.
Best Overall AMD
This processor is simply ridiculous. It houses 16 physical cores with thread support, so you have 32 channels to work with. What this means is you can do a lot with this CPU, including running the most demanding games at 4K. If you can afford it and have a compatible motherboard, you won't regret buying this CPU.
Best Overall Intel
You'll need a specific Intel x299 series motherboard for the Core i9-10900X since it's an X-series processor, but this is what must be done to achieve greatness. This processor is a monster, rocking 10 cores and 20 threads with plenty of headroom in both single and multi-core applications.
Even though this is a step-down from the Ryzen 9 5950X and is considered the entry point for the Ryzen 9 series, it still has a whopping 12 cores and 24 threads. That's a crazy number, and it's really good at gaming, too, making this one of the best processors to use with the Radeon RX 6900 XT.
The Intel Core i9-10850K is a little less capable than the excellent Core i9-10900K we reviewed favorably, but only just. It still has 10 cores and 20 threads but comes with a lower TDP rating and slower clock speeds. It's still unlocked, meaning you can bump these up a little and pretty much match the 10900K in games and more.
Best Value AMD
Moving into the mid-range and we're greeted by the Ryzen 7 5800X. It's crazy to consider this a mid-range processor since it houses 8 cores and 16 threads, which would have been reserved for the absolute best from AMD and Intel just a few years ago. If you want to save a little while still enjoying a rock-solid performance in games, this is a brilliant choice.
Best Value Intel
Like the Ryzen 7 5800X from AMD, Intel also packed 8 cores and 16 threads into the Core i7-10700K, making this one fine mid-range processor. It has a small edge on the Ryzen 7 5800X in terms of single-core performance, as well as the integrated GPU, but other than that, it's about even. This choice depends on which platform you prefer.
Best Budget AMD
How do 6 cores and 12 threads worth of exceptionally well-priced performance sound? That's what the Ryzen 5 5600X offers in a value-focused package. There's plenty of performance here, allowing you to keep up with more expensive builds in games without breaking your budget.
Best Budget Intel
Intel also managed to cram inside the Core i5-10600K 6 cores and 12 threads at a reasonable price. If you already own an Intel motherboard or prefer Intel's chipsets, you'll be able to save money with this processor and still be able to run more demanding games without issue.
Choosing the best CPU for AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT
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Really, the choice of processor largely comes down to what games you plan on playing, at what settings (your monitor resolution), and if you plan to do any other intense workloads. It's possible to enjoy plenty of games at 4K with nothing more than an AMD Ryzen 3, but for the best possible experience with no chance of bottlenecks, you'll want an AMD Ryzen 9 5950X (opens in new tab).
But really, you likely won't require such high levels of multi-core performance, which is where the AMD Ryzen 9 5900X (opens in new tab) comes into play. It's a little cheaper, has fewer cores, but is more reasonable for gaming. For an Intel motherboard and PC build, you'll want to go with the exceptionally powerful Intel Core i9-10850K (opens in new tab).
If you're all about value, the AMD Ryzen 7 5800X (opens in new tab) is a great middle-ground that balances performance and price. The same goes for the Intel Core i7-10700K (opens in new tab), which is almost as good as the i9-10900K sibling. There are other value options, too, if you feel comfortable with going for a processor with fewer cores and threads.
Rich Edmonds is Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him over on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.