The Best CPUs for The RTX 2080 Ti

written by jacob tuwiner Jacob Tuwiner

Here’s the deal:

You’re looking for the best CPU for the RTX 2080 Ti.

I feel you bro, the last thing you want to do is screw yourself by making the wrong decision.

Choosing the right CPU will make or break your build.

Spend too much, and you’ll waste money. Spend too little, and you’ll be plagued by bottlenecks.

The importance of getting your CPU selection just right cannot be overstated.

Without further adieu, let’s talk about the top 3 CPUs for the RTX 2080 Ti:

3 Best CPUs for 2080 Ti Graphics Card

CPU Image Benefit See Price
AMD Ryzen 7 3700X best cpu for 2080 ti
  • Top Pick
View on eBay
Intel Core i9 9900K RTX 2080 ti cpu
  • Runner Up
View on Amazon
Intel Core i5 9400 Best budget CPU for 2080 ti
  • Budget
View on Amazon

RTX 2080 Ti CPU Bottleneck

Bottlenecking is a term commonly heard in the gaming PC world. It means one piece of a system is causing the others within the system to slow down.

For example:

Imagine you pair a 2080TI with an Intel Core 2 Duo E4500. Even though the 2080 TI is an amazingly fast card capable of 100s of FPS, you might only get 30 FPS. This slowdown is because the E4500 is bottlenecking the GPU, making the whole system run slower.

The 2080TI is a mighty card, and needs a powerful CPU to go with it. For this reason, I would not recommend going with any CPU slower than the Ryzen 5 2600 or the Core I5-9400. Any slower CPU will cause a significant drop off in performance, and you won’t be using your GPU to its full potential.

Is the RTX 2080 TI better than the 1080 TI?

Simply put, yes it is

But the long answer is the 2080ti is about 30% faster than its last-gen counterpart and includes Nvidia’s new Ray-Tracing.

Ray-Tracing is a sophisticated new technology that makes the lighting in some games appear infinitely better but at a steep FPS penalty.

Pros
  • Best CPU for the money
  • Insane overclocking
  • 8 cores, 16 threads
  • Terrific multitasking
  • Great value
Cons
  • Isn't #1 in terms of raw power
Clock
3.6GHz
Boost
4GHz
Cores
8
TDP
65W
Type
Zen 2
Cooler
Yes

At a sub 300$ price tag, you get eight cores, 16 threads and a base clock of 3.6GHZ, which in most cases can boost up to 4GHZ with some simple overclocking.

Specs aside, this CPU is also based on AMD’s brand new Zen 2 Architecture. Zen 2 means tons of extra goodies like PCI-E 4.0, delivering BLAZING fast storage speeds for SSDs equipped for it.

Overclocking is another considerable advantage this CPU has over its competitors. With a pretty beefy stock cooler (not to mention the sweet, sweet RGB goodness), overclocking is easier than ever.

What’s the bottom line here?

The Ryzen 7 3700X is undoubtedly the best CPU to pair with the 2080 Ti

Pros
  • Raw performance is insane
  • Great multitasking chip
  • Great base/boost clock
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Added performance probably not worth the extra cash
Clock
3.6GHz
Boost
5GHz
Cores
8
TDP
65W
Type
Coffee Lake
Cooler
No

The 9900K boasts some of the highest performance numbers we’ve ever seen from a consumer chip.

This insane performance is a direct result of Intel having to “step it up” due to their AMD competition.

Just like our top pick, this CPU comes with eight cores, 16 threads, and a base clock of 3.6GHZ.

But where this CPU separates itself from the pack is its boost clock. It can boost up to 5GHZ stock!!

It was not long ago that those kinds of speeds were only attainable with liquid nitrogen cooling.

The other main attraction of this CPU is its overclocking potential.

If you win the “silicon lottery” there’s a chance you could use this CPU to run stable at 5GHz, all the time.

But even if you don’t get that lucky, almost all 9900Ks will overclock to at least 4.6GHZ.

But there are two reasons why this CPU isn’t our number one pick.

The first one is cost - coming in just over 500 US dollars on Newegg, the i9 9900K is best for a super expensive build. Otherwise, Ryzen 9 will give you 90% of the performance for almost 200$ less.

The 2nd reason we gave the Ryzen the number one spot is because of the motherboards that the i9 requires.

The Z390 chipset is pretty expensive. They are also not near as backward compatible as the AMD motherboards.

Overall, the Ryzen 9 line is probably a better choice for the money, but in terms of raw performance, you can’t argue with the i9 9900K.

Pros
  • Cheap
  • Great gaming CPU
  • Superior gaming performance
Cons
  • Ryzen is better all-around
  • Locked (no overclocking)
Clock
2.9GHz
Boost
4.1GHz
Cores
6
TDP
65W
Type
Coffee Lake
Cooler
No

While AMD remains the undisputed budget king in most people’s eyes, the i5 9400 outperforms the AMD 3600 in almost all games.

With both processors sporting the same price tag, if it’s purely gaming performance you’re after, the i5 is your best bet.

From a specs standpoint, the i5 9400 comes in strong with six cores, six threads, and a max boost frequency of 4.1 GHz.

Based on Intel’s tried and true 14nm manufacturing process and compatible with Intel Optane, the 9900K can make the slowest of hard drives stupid fast.

As for motherboards, anyone with the B360 or H370 chipset will do fine. The unfortunate part and only downfall of this CPU is that it doesn’t support overclocking. But thanks to cheap motherboards, the overall cost goes down as well.

So, if it’s bang for your buck that you’re after, the Intel i5 9400 is the best option. However, if you’re a fan of Team Red, the Ryzen 5 3600 can serve you just as well.

CPU Image Benefit See Price
AMD Ryzen 7 3700X best cpu for 2080 ti
  • Top Pick
View on eBay
Intel Core i9 9900K RTX 2080 ti cpu
  • Runner Up
View on Amazon
Intel Core i5 9400 Best budget CPU for 2080 ti
  • Budget
View on Amazon

Compare CPUs

If you want to compare different CPUs to help you decide which is best for your 1060, here are some awesome resources for you:

Those links should help!

How to Choose a Gaming CPU

Choosing a gaming CPU is an essential part of any build as it will affect what kind of motherboard, RAM, and even storage you’re going to buy.

Here are three factors to consider:

Price - When planning a build, I would say a CPU should account for about 15-35% of your total budget. If it’s gaming performance that you’re after, remember that you’re better off spending more money on the GPU then you are buying a better CPU.

Core Count - Having extra cores is always a good thing because they allow you to run more applications at once.

For example, if you plan on gaming, streaming, and listening to Spotify at the same time, then it’s probably wise to look for a CPU with at least eight cores. If you’re purely gaming, however, six or even four cores should suit you just fine. The other thing you see on most CPU’s is the thread count.

Threads are very similar to cores. Most CPUs have hyperthreading, which means that they have twice as many threads as they do cores, but some have the same amount of cores and threads.

Clock Speed - The speed of a CPU is essential to its performance, and there are a few key specs you need to consider.

The first is the base clock; this is the speed the CPU is rated to perform in most light workload situations. The 2nd is the boost speed, which will always be faster than the base clock. The boost clock is the speed the CPU can ramp up to for a short time when it’s under a heavy load like gaming, streaming, or editing.

Overclocking - Lastly, consider whether your CPU is overclockable. Overclocking your CPU can make it run a lot faster and give you way more performance in games.

There are a few drawbacks to overclocking, however. It produces more heat, makes the system more unstable, and uses more power. The faster you go, the worse these side effects get.

Best CPU for Other Graphics Cards

Check out our other CPU recommendations:

CPU Image Guide
Best CPU for GTX 1070 best cpu for 1070 Read the Guide
Best CPU for GTX 1060 best cpu for 1070 Read the Guide
Best CPU for GTX 1080 Ti best cpu for 1080 Ti Read the Guide

Compare CPUs

If you want to compare different CPUs to help you decide which is best for your 1060, here are some awesome resources for you:

Those links should help!

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