The Geforce RTX 3060 and 3060 Ti are excellent choices for gaming and push those intensive graphics at 1080p to the max. With a great GPU, however, you also need a CPU that can push the GPU to its limits.
Using a poor CPU will only result in bottlenecking and on the other hand, spending several hundred dollars doesn’t guarantee you a significant improvement in the performance. Therefore, you need to choose the CPU wisely and in the article, we will discuss what you should get for any of these two GPUs if you want the best bang for the buck without compromising on the performance.
Nvidia Geforce RTX 3060 and RTX 3060 Ti Overview
Geforce RTX 3060 and 3060 Ti are based on the Ampere architecture. They belong to the same family but feature a little different spec number. The RTX 3060 is the slower one with 3584 Cuda Cores while the 3060 Ti is significantly faster with 4864 Cuda Cores.
The clock speeds also vary and their VRAM is also different. Here, as may assume, the RTX 3060 has weirdly more VRAM than the 3060 Ti. The RTX 3060 is equipped with 12GB of GDDR6 memory while the 3060 Ti has only 8GB but the VRAM on the Ti is on a bigger memory bus of 256-bit compared to 192-bit on the RTX 3060.
The TDP of RTX 3060 sits at 170W and that of the 3060 Ti at 200W. These specs difference makes a good 20% gap in their gaming performance
What CPU will be the best for RTX 3060/3060 Ti?
As I said earlier, in order to gain the maximum benefit from a GPU, you need to push the GPU to its limits. That is, you need to make sure that the RTX 3060/3060 Ti is running at around 95-100% usage. Simply putting any CPU with these GPUs won’t make it possible.
The processor you need to buy should have at least 4 cores with hyperthreading. Moreover, it should be one of the top-performing CPUs from the latest generations from either Intel or AMD. To gain the maximum performance, you must use a 6-core/12-thread processor. This will ensure that you also have some room for other small applications to run in the background or simply have at least 20-30% of the CPU usage left.
Let’s take a look at the best processors you can buy for these GPUs.
Best CPU for RTX 3060 and 3060 Ti
Intel Core i3 12100F
- Intel Core i3-12100F Desktop Processor 4 (4P-0E)...
Just as I recommend the i3 12100F for budget graphics cards, I also consider it to be a good fit for mid-end GPUs. The i3 12100F with RTX 3060 or 3060 Ti will be sufficient for gaming at 1080p. With 4 cores and 8 threads, it will easily let you play on the max settings. The i3 12100F is even faster than the previous gen i5s which makes it an outstanding and unmatched choice for $110.
It features a base/boost clock of 3.3/4.3GHz and has a TDP of 58-89W. It typically consumes more power than the previous Gen Core i3s and therefore, has a better chance of consistent performance with high clock speeds through turbo boost. Also, the total cost of your build will also be minimal as it doesn’t require a Z690 chipset motherboard and will be best with either an H610 or B660 chipset motherboard that cost significantly lower than the Z690 boards.
Intel Core i3 12100F is hands down the best budget gaming processor for under $150. This chip features 4 cores and 8 threads which makes it capable of playing any AAA title and is also sufficient for most CPU-dependent applications. Intel has locked this processor for overclocking although the chip can go up to 4.3GHz […]
AMD Ryzen 5 5600
- Can deliver fast 100 plus FPS performance in the...
- 6 Cores and 12 processing threads, bundled with...
- 4.4 GHz Max Boost, unlocked for overclocking, 35...
- For the advanced Socket AM4 platform, can support...
Ryzen 5 5600 is a member of AMDs second batch of Ryzen 5000 processors that was launched in response to the Intel Core 12th gen budget processors. The 5600 features 6 cores and 12 threads clocked at 3.5/4.4GHz. It is based on the Zen 3 architecture and brings a lot of L3 cache to the table.
It is perfectly fine for any mid-end GPU including the 3060/3060 Ti. Moreover, you get overclocking enabled that can easily take its boost clock above 4.4GHz with a decent CPU cooler. Make sure you check our recommendations on the best CPU coolers for Ryzen 5600/5600X below.
The processor generally remains around the price of Core i5 12400F and is one of the ideal CPU choices if you love AMD CPUs.
Whenever it comes to CPU coolers, my personal preference has always been towards air coolers as it is easy to maintain, and on the same hand, it is capable of offering better performance if channeled properly with other intakes and exhaust of the chassis. If the airflow inside your cabinet is not quite good, then […]
Intel Core i5 12400F
- Intel Core i5-12400F Desktop Processor 6 (6P+0E)...
Just as the i3 12100F has no competition for its price, the i5 12400F remains untouched. The Core i5 12400F is a beast 6-core/12-thread processor that beats the Ryzen 5600 in most games. It is even faster in multi-core operations and doesn’t require overclocking.
One of the best things about this CPU is that it is compatible with both DDR4 and DDR5 memories out of the box giving you easy upgradeability in the long run. The Core i5 12400F comes with a 2.5/4.4GHz clock speed and a good L3 cache of 18MB.
Like the i3 12100F, it will also be perfect with an H610 or B660 chipset motherboard saving you a decent amount of money to invest in other PC parts.
Intel Core i5 12400F is the best addition to the Alder Lake lineup where not only you are getting 6 cores and 12 threads for awesome gaming and productivity performance, but you are also getting the most out of your money spent. After successfully beating the Ryzen 5600X by giving higher value per dollar spent, […]
AMD Ryzen 5 5600X
- Intel Core i5-12400F Desktop Processor 6 (6P+0E)...
Ryzen 5 5600X remained the king of all CPUs for at least two years when it was released until Intel launched the Alder Lake CPUs. Fortunately, AMD reduced the price of the Ryzen 5600X significantly from around $300 to $200. Therefore, it is difficult to choose between the i5 12400F and 5600X especially when they have a similar gap in performance.
5600X comes with 6 cores/12 threads clocked at 3.7/4.6GHz and is made on TSMC’s 7nm process node. It is also power efficient with only 65W of default TDP but that will increase when you start overclocking the CPU. With overclocking you can further increase the performance in both gaming and non-gaming applications and for this purpose, I recommend going with a B550 or X570 chipset motherboard.
The Ryzen 5 5600X replaces the Ryzen 5 3600X but the demand for a good overclocking motherboard remains. AMD has made 5600X compatible with the A520, B450, B550, X470, and X570 motherboards but it’s best to skip the X470 chipset for either a B550 or X570 board for better compatibility and better features. The 5600X […]
Intel Core i5 12600KF
- Intel® Core® i5 processor offers hyper-threading...
- The processor features Socket LGA-1700 socket for...
- 16 MB of L3 cache rapidly retrieves the most used...
- Intel 7 Architecture enables improved performance...
Lastly, the Core i5 12600KF is the best ever option for any mid-end or even high-end GPU. Unlike the lower-end Core i5 processors, the i5 12600KF comes with 10 cores and 16 threads. As Alder Lake CPUs bring a combination of Performance and Efficient cores, you get 6 Perf. cores and 4 Effic. cores for a balanced workflow.
It is significantly faster than any of the processors listed above and is ready for hardcore gaming and streaming. It is also superb for content creation where you will be able to execute tasks, render videos/3D models, etc. quicker. The KF edition here doesn’t come with any iGPU but is also cheaper. As you are going to use the RTX 3060/3060 Ti as a graphics solution, I recommend saving $20 on the K edition.
This CPU is clocked at 3.6/4.9GHz and is unlocked for overclocking. This makes it easily reachable above 5.0GHz with a good CPU cooler. We recommend getting a Z690 motherboard for the i5 12600KF which will not only get you the ability to overclock but also more PCI-E lanes, more ports/slots, and better onboard features.
Getting the best motherboard for your processor is crucial for performance and having the ideal motherboard for i5 12600K is definitely necessary as it is far better than any i5s you could have. While the Intel Core i5 11600K did not become much successful as the previous i5 processors, the Alder Lake Core i5 12600K […]
The above-mentioned CPUs will make the 3060/3060 Ti work at 100% and going below the i3 12100F is not recommended at all. While you can go with higher-end CPUs that are better than the i5 12600KF, you should only do so if you have the need for higher productivity.
Let me know what is your CPU budget and which CPU you are looking to buy in the comments below.