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Best CPU For RTX 4090 (Gaming, 4K, Intel, AMD, Cheapest)

Our top picks for the best CPU that are compatible with RTX 4090. This includes the latest generation of CPUs from both AMD and Intel.

The RTX 4090 is a very powerful graphics card that supports PCIe 5.0, which is the latest version of the PCI Express interface. PCIe 5.0 offers double the bandwidth of PCIe 4.0, which means faster data transfer between the GPU and the CPU. However, not all CPUs support PCIe 5.0, so you need to choose carefully if you want to get the most out of your RTX 4090.

Intel’s 12th and 13th generation Core, code-named “Alder Lake” and “Raptor Lake” CPUs that support PCIe 5.0, for and AMD’s Ryzen 7000 series processors.

If you’re going to use Intel CPUs with 4090, you need a motherboard with an LGA 1700 socket and a Z690, Z790 or B760, B660 chipset. If you want to pair AMD CPUs with RTX 4090, look for motherboard with an AM5 socket and a X670E or B650E chipset. These motherboards will have at least one PCIe 5.0 slot for your RTX 4090, and some may have more depending on the design.

Want to spend less? Check Out Best CPU for RTX 4080.

The RTX 4090 is a powerful graphics card that requires a powerful CPU to avoid bottlenecks. Below are some of the best CPUs you can pair RTX 4090.

Recommended list of the Best CPU For RTX 4090

  1. AMD Ryzen 9 7900X : Overall Best CPU For RTX 4090
  2. Intel Core i9-13900K : Best Intel CPU For RTX 4090
  3. AMD Ryzen 7 7800X3D : Best AMD CPU For RTX 4090
  4. Intel Core i7-13700K : Best Value CPU For RTX 4090
  5. Intel Core i5-13600K: Best Budget CPU for RTX 4090
  6. AMD Ryzen 7 7700X : Cheap CPU for RTX 4090

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1. AMD Ryzen 9 7900X : Overall Best CPU For RTX 4090

AMD Ryzen 9 7900X Overall Best CPU For RTX 4090

After intense testing I can say that the AMD Ryzen 9 7900X is the Overall Best CPU For RTX 4090.

Nvidia’s new flagship RTX 4090 graphics card delivers truly mind-blowing performance, but you’ll need an equally capable processor to match. That’s where AMD’s Ryzen 9 7900X comes in as the best CPU option to pair with the RTX 4090. With 12 cores, 24 threads and a max boost clock of 5.6GHz, it has the muscle to keep up with Nvidia’s monster GPU.

In head-to-head benchmarks, the combination of the 7900X and RTX 4090 simply dominates. You’ll see frame rates up to 50% higher in 4K gaming compared to last-gen hardware. even the most demanding titles like Cyberpunk 2077 or Microsoft Flight Simulator run beautifully thanks to the raw power on tap.

This chip also handles creative workloads like 3D modeling, video editing and game streaming with ease thanks to its high core counts. Tasks that leverage multi-threading see a major uplift in performance compared to older parts. Content creators will be able to work faster and more efficiently.

Overclocking is another area where the 7900X shines. AMD’s automated Precision Boost Overdrive makes it easy to achieve all-core clocks beyond 5.0 GHz. There’s still plenty of headroom beyond stock speeds, which further boosts gaming FPS. No other consumer CPU can keep up.

If you’re building the ultimate gaming rig with Nvidia’s outrageously powerful RTX 4090, the Ryzen 9 7900X is hands-down the CPU to get. With its combination of cutting-edge performance, accessible overclocking and great overall value, it’s the perfect match to extract every last frame from this beastly GPU.

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2. Intel Core i9-13900K : Best Intel CPU For RTX 4090

Intel Core i9-13900K Best Intel CPU For RTX 4090

The Intel Core i9-13900K truly shines as the best Intel CPU to pair with the RTX 4090. The Nvidia RTX 4090 sets a new bar for graphics performance, but you’ll need an exceptional processor to prevent bottlenecking.

With its hybrid Raptor Lake architecture featuring 24 cores (8 performance + 16 efficiency) and DDR5 memory support, the 13900K delivers the raw gaming power to match the RTX 4090. In 4K benchmarks, you’ll see sizeable framerate gains over previous-gen CPUs. Even at ultra settings, you’ll achieve well over 120 FPS in demanding titles.

Intel has also improved thermals and overclocking potential with the 13900K. A massive 32MB of L3 cache and support for up to 5.8GHz turbo clocks on the P-cores mean you can push this chip even further with adequate cooling. Squeezing out every last frame is easy.

For content creators, the improved multi-threaded performance is a boon for workflows like 3D rendering, video editing, and code compilation. The 13900K also introduces PCIe Gen 5 support for the first time, enabling you to take advantage of the fastest NVMe SSDs.

If you want the ultimate top-tier build focused on Intel and Nvidia’s latest offerings, the Core i9-13900K is hands-down the CPU to choose. While not cheap, it delivers best-in-class performance to complement the RTX 4090’s power. This dream combo will chew through 4K gaming and content creation workloads with ease.

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3. AMD Ryzen 7 7800X3D : Best AMD CPU For RTX 4090

AMD Ryzen 7 7800X3D Best AMD CPU For RTX 4090

The AMD Ryzen 7 7800X3D is arguably the best AMD CPU for RTX 4090 right now for high-end gaming. Featuring AMD’s new 3D V-Cache technology, the 7800X3D has an incredible 96MB of L3 cache, which significantly reduces latency and boosts gaming performance.

In games that are sensitive to memory latency like Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020, the 7800X3D outperforms even the flagship 7950X by up to 25%, thanks to the massive L3 cache. This makes the 7800X3D the perfect pair for the RTX 4090, delivering incredibly high frame rates at 1440p and 4K.

The zen 4 architecture provides excellent single threaded performance that can keep up with the RTX 4090’s high frame rates. The 8 cores and 16 threads are plenty for today’s games too. It has a base clock of 4.2GHz and can boost up to 5GHz.

Overclocking headroom is limited on the 7800X3D but you can still achieve around 4.5GHz typically. The 105W TDP means cooling requirements are relatively modest for a high-end CPU.The main downside is lack of PCIe Gen 5 support. However, this makes little difference for gaming performance. Gen 4 SSDs are still extremely fast.

If primarily gaming is your focus, the AMD Ryzen 7 7800X3D is hands-down the best CPU choice to pair with an Nvidia RTX 4090 right now. The huge cache and excellent single core performance delivers incredible gaming frames with the 4090 at reasonable power requirements.

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4. Intel Core i7-13700K : Best Value CPU For RTX 4090

Intel Core i7-13700K Best Value CPU For RTX 4090

The Intel Core i7-13700K offers excellent gaming performance and value as a CPU pairing for the Nvidia RTX 4090 graphics card.

Strong gaming performance, the 13700K has high clock speeds up to 5.4GHz with Intel’s Performance cores. This provides similar or better gaming FPS compared to more expensive CPUs. In CPU heavy titles, it keeps up with the RTX 4090’s high frame rates.

Good multi-threaded performance, with 16 cores (8 P-cores, 8 E-cores) and 24 threads, the 13700K handles multi-threaded workloads like video editing, 3D rendering and streaming very well. The extra E-cores give it an advantage over the 13600K for productivity.

Overclocking potential, being an unlocked K-series chip, the 13700K has plenty of headroom for overclocking both the P-cores and E-cores, allowing you to extract even more performance. This helps close the gap to the 13900K.

Reasonable power usage, with a 125W base power, the 13700K runs cooler and quieter than the flagship 13900K. A 240mm AIO liquid cooler is sufficient for most setups.

Affordable price, the 13700K costs a lot more less than the 13900K while delivering 95% of the gaming performance. 

The Intel i7-13700K hits the sweet spot of performance, cool and quiet operation, overclocking potential and value cost for a high-end RTX 4090 build. While there are faster options, the 13700K’s excellent price-to-performance ratio makes it the best bang-for-buck CPU to pair with the 4090 GPU.

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5. Intel Core i5-13600K: Best Budget CPU for RTX 4090

Intel Core i5-13600K Best Budget CPU for RTX 4090

The Intel Core i5-13600K is a best budget CPU for RTX 4090 that offers a lot of value for money. It can deliver smooth and immersive gaming experiences with the RTX 4090 at any resolution, as well as handle some productivity tasks with ease. It is also future-proof, thanks to its support for DDR5 memory and PCIe 5.0.

The Intel Core i5-13600K is a 14-core (6 P-cores + 8 E-cores) desktop processor that belongs to the 13th generation of Intel Core i5 series. It is based on the Raptor Lake architecture and features a base clock of 2.6 GHz for the E-cores and 3.5 GHz for the P-cores, with a maximum boost of 3.9 GHz and 5.1 GHz respectively.

It also supports both DDR4 and DDR5 memory, as well as PCIe 5.0, which makes it compatible with the latest GeForce RTX 4090 graphics card.

The Intel Core i5-13600K is a great choice for gamers who want to build a high-end gaming PC with the RTX 4090 without breaking the bank. It offers excellent gaming performance, especially at higher resolutions where the GPU is more important than the CPU.

It can handle most modern games at 4K with high settings and ray tracing enabled, thanks to the powerful RTX 4090 and the adequate CPU cores and threads.

The Intel Core i5-13600K is also unlocked for overclocking, which means you can squeeze more performance out of it if you have a good cooling system and a compatible motherboard.

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6. AMD Ryzen 7 7700X : Cheap CPU for RTX 4090

AMD Ryzen 7 7700X Cheap CPU for RTX 4090

The AMD Ryzen 7 7700X is the excellent cheapest CPU for RTX 4090 for high-end gaming performance.

Performance wise, the 8-core 7700X is comparable to the Intel Core i7-12700K. In games, it delivers similar average and 99th percentile frame rates. The 7700X may have a slight edge in some titles thanks to AMD’s latency optimizations.

For productivity workloads like video editing, 3D rendering, programming etc, the 7700X lags behind 12-core CPUs like the Ryzen 9 7900X and Core i9-12900K. But it’s still very capable, beating out the 12700K.

In titles like Cyberpunk 2077 at 1440p, the 7700X keeps up beautifully with the RTX 4090, maintaining well over 100 FPS on average to fully utilize the GPU’s potential. Performance is smooth and consistent.

The 7700X gives you access to the latest AMD AM5 platform, with support for features like PCIe 5.0 and fast DDR5 memory overclocking. This helps future-proof your build.

With a 105W TDP, the 7700X runs cooler than the 7900X and 12900K. A good air cooler or 240mm AIO is sufficient for moderate overclocking.

So if you want fantastic 1440p and 4K gaming performance but don’t need the maximum multi-core power, the Ryzen 7 7700X is a smart money saving choice to build a high-end system around the RTX 4090 GPU.

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Best CPU For RTX 4090 Buying Guide

Resolution and Frame Rate Targets: Higher resolutions like 4K put more load on the GPU, so the CPU matters less. But for high frame rate 1440p gaming, a powerful CPU is important to avoid bottlenecking the RTX 4090.

Gaming Focus vs Productivity Needs: For predominantly gaming, a high frequency 6-core or 8-core CPU is ideal. If you also want top-tier multicore performance for tasks like video editing, aim for a 12-16 core CPU.

Compatibility: The RTX 4090 is a PCIe 5.0-compliant graphics card, which means it needs a CPU and a motherboard that support PCIe 5.0 to fully utilize its bandwidth. Currently, the only CPUs that support PCIe 5.0 are Intel’s Raptor Lake and AMD’s Zen 4 processors.

Price: The price of a CPU is another important factor that you should consider when choosing a CPU for RTX 4090. The price of a CPU depends on its brand, model, features, and performance. Generally, higher-end CPUs are more expensive than lower-end ones, but they also offer better performance and features. 


Which CPU is compatible with RTX 4090?

The RTX 4090 is compatible with most modern desktop CPUs from Intel and AMD. Key things to ensure compatibility are having a PCIe Gen 4.0 or PCIe Gen 5.0 CPU and motherboard to fully utilize the GPU’s bandwidth.

What CPU do you need for a 4090?

For the best performance with an RTX 4090 at 1440p and 4K resolutions, an 8-core or higher CPU is recommended. Good options include the AMD Ryzen 7700X, Intel Core i7-13700K or higher core count CPUs like Ryzen 9 7950X or Core i9-13900K. A high performance 6-core CPU like the Ryzen 5 7600X or Core i5-13600K can also work well.

How many CPU cores for 4090?

An 8-core CPU is the recommended minimum for the RTX 4090. This includes options like the AMD Ryzen 7700X or Intel i7-13700K. To maximize performance in creative workloads as well, a 12 or 16-core CPU like the Ryzen 9 7950X or Core i9-13900K is ideal. But an 8-core is sufficient for nearly all gaming usage.

Is i7 good for RTX 4090?

Yes, an Intel Core i7 such as the 13700K is an excellent match for the RTX 4090, providing great gaming performance at 1440p and 4K resolutions. The i7-13700K offers a good balance of high clock speeds for gaming and enough cores/threads (16) for streaming, recording and productivity tasks to complement the 4090 well. An i7 config is highly recommended over lower-end i5 CPUs.

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  • Dave James

    Dave has been gaming since the days of Zaxxon and Lady Bug on the Colecovision, and code books for the Commodore Vic 20 (Death Race 2000!). He built his first gaming PC at the tender age of 16, and finally finished bug-fixing the Cyrix-based system around a year later. When he dropped it out of the window. He first started writing for Official PlayStation Magazine and Xbox World many decades ago, then moved onto PC Format full-time, then PC Gamer, TechRadar, and T3 among others. Now he's back, writing about the nightmarish graphics card market, CPUs with more cores than sense, gaming laptops hotter than the sun, and SSDs more capacious than a Cybertruck.

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