Best CPU for NVIDIA RTX 3080 in 2024

NVIDIA's beastly RTX 3080 brought our lofty dreams of gaming at 4K with smooth framerates to reality for the first time when it launched in late 2020, and ever since then, it's remained one of the best high-end graphics cards that money can buy. Though it's been outperformed by newer NVIDIA and AMD GPUs, it's still a top option, with gradual price drops over time ensuring it's still competitive.

Like any card, however, the RTX 3080 needs a performant CPU to fuel it with processing power. Thankfully, both Intel and AMD have plenty of great chips on the market that'll do the job wonderfully, so you've got tons of options. From them, here's a list of some of the best CPUs for the RTX 3080 I recommend using.

Intel vs. AMD: Which to choose?

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Team Blue and Team Red have been at war for dominance in the CPU market for years, but I don't think things have ever been as fiercely competitive as they are right now. The best chips from both Intel and AMD deliver excellent performance at competitive prices, and ultimately, you can't go wrong as long as you avoid Intel 14th Gen, which offers mediocre improvements over 13th Gen for too high of a price hike.

Overall, I'd say Intel has the lead right now in terms of raw power and pricing, especially with amazing CPUs like the i5-13600K and i7-13700K available. That being said, though, AMD's newer 7000 series processors are the first generation of chips on the AM5 platform, while Intel's latest 14th Gen CPUs are the last ones for its LGA 1700 socket that's soon to be retired. That means Team Red gives you a better upgrade path in the long run since you won't need to buy a new "AM6" motherboard for a long time, though it's worth noting that you will have to get newer DDR5 RAM to go with AM5. LGA 1700 motherboards, on the other hand, work with both DDR4 and DDR5, allowing you to reuse old memory if you have it.

Choosing the best CPU for NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080

Even though it's over three years old at this point, NVIDIA's RTX 3080 is still a fantastic graphics card for gaming in 4K at a smooth 60 FPS, even with settings turned up. It's also awesome for driving high-performance 1440p gameplay, as well as for use with ultrawide monitors.

All of the processors I listed above are some of the best CPUs you can pair with an RTX 3080, and while I'd say the i7-13700K is the top option overall, there are valid reasons to consider the others, too. The i5-13600K, for example, is pound-for-pound the best if all you care about is gaming, while AMD's incredible Ryzen 9 7950X3D is perfect for gamers that also want top notch productivity performance.

Brendan Lowry

Brendan Lowry is a Windows Central writer and Oakland University graduate with a burning passion for video games, of which he's been an avid fan since childhood. You'll find him doing reviews, editorials, and general coverage on everything Xbox and PC. Follow him on Twitter.

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