The NVIDIA RTX 4080 delivers high-end performance for 1440p and 4K gaming in nearly all recent titles.
Class-leading DLSS and Ray Tracing performance will cause some buyers to choose this GPU, which is understandable. But because it has so much power at its disposal, you need to use it with a powerful processor to guarantee good frame rates and maximize the performance of the $1000 Ampere-powered GPU.
To get the most of this potential capability, we recommend combining the GPU with a processor that is as powerful. Some of the remarkable chips made by AMD and Intel are specifically made for gaming.
In this article, you will learn about the 5 best CPUs for the RTX 4080 in 2023.
5 Best CPUs for the RTX 4080
Intel’s Core i5-13600K takes the spotlight as our top pick for the best budget option to pair with the RTX 4080.
While it might seem unconventional to label an i5 as a ‘budget’ choice, the exceptional performance of Intel’s 13th generation lineup allows for this remarkable pairing.
The i5-13600K has impressive core and thread counts, high clock speeds, and overall specifications that make it more than capable of handling 4K gaming with the RTX 4080.
Surprisingly, the Core i5-13600K outperforms the Core i9-12900K in single-threaded benchmarks and positions itself between AMD’s Ryzen 9 5900X and 5950X in multi-threaded performance. This versatility extends its usability as a cost-effective option for low-end workstation tasks, including video editing.
The affordability of this CPU adds to its appeal, allowing for a reasonably priced system build with a choice between 12th and 13th Gen motherboards and support for DDR4 and DDR5 RAM. In summary, the Core i5-13600K stands out as the best budget CPU for the RTX 4080.
Perhaps the only downside of the i5-13600K is the performance of its own bigger brothers, the i7-13700K and i9-13900K. These higher-end chips are compelling, and the extra cost for each step up in the Core processor lineup is certainly appealing for those seeking additional performance with a slightly higher budget.
- Very reasonably priced.
- Excellent single-core performance.
- Perfect for a powerful mid-range system.
- May experience bottlenecking in certain titles.
- Multithreaded performance not as strong.
AMD’s Ryzen 7000 series introduces formidable competition to the current Intel lineup, with the Ryzen 7 7700X standing out as a cost-effective yet high-performing choice. Offering comparable productivity and application performance to the Intel Core i5-12600K and excelling in 4K gaming, the Ryzen 7 7700X emerges as an excellent match for the RTX 4080.
Among the Ryzen 7000 options, the 7700X strikes a balance between price and performance. It provides solid 4K gaming capabilities without breaking the bank, making it an attractive option for those seeking good value. The AM5 platform support ensures longevity and future upgrade options without requiring a substantial investment in new components. Opting for the Ryzen 7 7700X is a strategic move for users, prioritizing longevity over peak performance.
Unfortunately, the significant drawback to Ryzen 7000 CPUs is the relatively high platform cost. As the first iteration of AM5, building a Ryzen 7000 system may incur higher expenses compared to other alternatives.
Additionally, due to the altered thermal design, Ryzen 7000 processors tend to run on the warmer side. While more pertinent for workstation-oriented systems, users should invest in a robust cooler to maintain reasonable thermal levels.
- Relatively well-priced compared to other options.
- Great metrics in 4K gaming.
- AM5 platform will be supported for a long time.
- Unable to outperform most of the 13th-Gen options.
- Forced DDR5 requirement will increase the overall build cost.
Intel’s Core i7-13700K emerges as a top contender, showcasing exceptional value and performance and potentially standing among the best CPUs ever tested. On par with the Intel Core i9-12900K in many aspects and trailing only slightly behind AMD’s Ryzen 9 7950X in testing, the i7-13700K proves itself as an ideal choice for a 4K gaming/workstation PC and one of the best high-end CPUs for the RTX 4080.
With smooth gaming experiences, averaging over 100 frames in most titles, and the support of the powerful Ada Lovelace architecture of the RTX 4080, it delivers a compelling performance.
One of the notable advantages of opting for a 13th-Gen CPU is the ability to install it on an older motherboard, providing a more budget-conscious approach to motherboard selection.
13700K is probably the best CPU to pair with the RTX 4080. You’re getting an excellent mid-range option at a very reasonable price that offers extremely promising performance in both games and productivity applications. If you’re being a bit more price conscious about your build but want some of the best performance money can buy, the 13700K is a solid bet!
As we start to rise up the ranks of Intel CPUs, a better cooling solution becomes a requirement. The Core i7-13700K, in particular, has a rather high clock speed, so consumers will need to pick up a good air cooler at minimum, or, more preferably, an AIO liquid cooler to minimize thermal throttling.
- Excellent single and multithreaded performance.
- Perfect for 4K gaming or productivity applications.
- Very reasonably priced.
- Not as powerful as the Core i9-13900K.
- High thermal output demands a sufficient cooler.
For our ultimate CPU recommendation, the Intel Core i9-13900K stands out as an exceptional choice to complement the RTX 4080. As Intel’s pinnacle gaming CPU, the 13900K delivers unparalleled performance across a spectrum of applications. It effortlessly handles 4K gaming, and even demanding tasks like video editing or 3D rendering are a breeze for this powerhouse. Positioned perfectly for intensive workloads, the 13900K seamlessly transitions from professional tasks to high-performance gaming experiences.
The RTX 4080, being a potent GPU, demands a CPU with the right combination of cores, threads, and clock speed to fully leverage its capabilities. The i9-13900K shines in a high-end workstation PC environment, where its robust performance can be fully harnessed. However, for users focused primarily on 4K gaming, other CPU options may suffice, as the i9-13900K’s prowess truly shines in intensive workstations.
The notable caveat, as anticipated, is the hefty price tag associated with claiming the ‘best performance’ crown. Consumers should be prepared to invest significantly to wield this powerful titan.
The i9-13900K demands a robust cooling solution due to its higher TDP. With wattage exceeding 300W when multiple cores are engaged, users should equip a high-quality CPU cooler to manage temperatures effectively.
- The most powerful consumer gaming CPU available.
- Ideal for a high-performance workstation PC build.
- Capable of handling 4K gaming effortlessly.
- Comes with a substantial price tag.
- Requires an effective CPU cooler to address the high thermal output.
Intel’s Core i5-13500 stands out as one of the most affordable Core i5 processors available, offering impressive performance at a reasonable price. With a 65W power rating, it features 6 P-cores and 8 E-cores, delivering commendable results. This CPU is an excellent choice for budget-conscious users.
Saving money is made easy with the Intel Core i5-13500, providing an affordable option for building a budget-friendly PC without compromising significantly on performance. Note that optimal performance is achieved with DDR5 RAM, and it may have limitations with heavier workloads beyond gaming.
RAM support, opting for DDR5 RAM can unlock substantial performance gains.
- Low price point, making it budget-friendly.
- Shares the same core configuration as the i5-13600K.
- Requires DDR5 RAM for optimal performance.
- May struggle with heavier workloads.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a CPU for RTX 4080
Let’s delve into critical factors to consider before selecting a CPU to pair with an RTX 4080. We’ve outlined the most crucial considerations below:
1. Motherboard Compatibility
Choosing a compatible motherboard stands out as one of the most critical considerations. It determines the functionality of your build. Look for a motherboard with additional usability features such as PCI-E armor. This feature minimizes potential damage to your PCI-Express pins, especially in scenarios of GPU sag. While this might not be a common issue with most boards, the substantial weight of these new GPUs warrants a comprehensive approach to safeguarding your components.
2. Motherboard Form Factors
Consider the form factor of your motherboard. Ensure it aligns with your case size and build requirements. Different motherboards follow specific form factors like ATX, micro-ATX, and mini-ITX. Select one that fits seamlessly into your chosen PC case.
3. Platform Longevity
One somewhat complex element to consider is the lifespan of the CPU platform you are employing. Essentially, this comes down to: Can you improve performance by upgrading your CPU on the same platform? Should the response be unfavourable you may want to reevaluate your choices.
The main drawback of the RTX 4080 and 4090 GPUs is that they are essentially too good. Because the graphics card is so fast, the CPU sometimes becomes the bottleneck for the GPU when it comes to frame output. Because of this, a build that prioritises CPU agreeability may seem especially appealing.