Last Updated on July 1, 2020 by Scott Krager
Nvidia RTX 2080 Super and 2080 Ti are the two flagship consumer-based GPUs right now.
While AMD is matching Nvidia in entry-level and midrange GPU segments, Nvidia is dominating the high-end GPU market in the form of those aforementioned cards.
Although both of these cards are targeted toward 4k gaming, I personally believe the RTX 2080 Super to be a better bang for buck, because its founders edition costs 300 bucks less than that of RTX 2080 Ti even when, as PCMag.com has pointed out, there’s only 10-15% performance difference between them.
Best CPU For RTX 2080 And 2080 Ti Builds
With that being said, RTX 2080 Ti seems to be better option if you’ve got any productive task to do (editing 8K videos or 3D modelling, for example) on top of gaming because it comes 11 GB of VRAM and 4352 CUDA cores, as opposed to 8 GB VRAM and 3072 CUDA cores in 2080 Super.
But no matter which graphics card you use, it’s very important to pair it with an equally powerful CPU. Not doing so will result in poor performance – something you’d definitely not want to experience after spending so much of your hard-earned money.
This is the reason why we’ve written this post about best processors for RTX 2080 Super & 2080 Ti Builds – from Intel as well as AMD.
Best CPUs For RTX 2080 Super / 2080 Ti
So without any further ado, let’s begin.
Intel i7-9700K: Check Price On Amazon
Best CPU For RTX 2080 Super
The first processor in our list is Intel’s i7-9700K.
Part of the Intel 9th-Gen family, it comes with a base clock frequency of 3.6 GHz and a maximum boost clock frequency of 4.9 GHz. Although that base frequency is 100 MHz less than what you get in its predecessor (i7-8700K), 9700K compensates for it more than enough by having 200 MHz higher boost clock frequency.
That being said, the clock speed isn’t a big factor in measuring a CPU’s performance, thanks to multi-core chips these days.
Even though it’s based on the older 14nm architecture that Intel is stuck on since 2015, it’s more efficient as compared to 8700K, which results in better performance (not by a big margin though). Another change Intel made in 9700K is the removal of multithreading. This is actually the first time they have shipped an i7 processor without the the hyperthreading support.
Called hyperthreading by Intel, this feature allows a single CPU core to process two threads simultaneously, and it results in better performance when CPU is running demanding softwares.
The area where i7-9700K truly shines, however, is gaming. In order to measure its performance, we played different games in different presets after pairing this processor with an rtx 2080 Ti.
In Rise of the Tomb Raider (on Very High preset), we got 150 fps on 1080p and 85 fps on 4k. Ryzen 7 3700x got 122 and 71 fps on those respective resolutions. In Hitman: Absolution at Ultra preset, we managed to get 124 and 48 on 1080p and 4k respectively with i7-9700k, while the 3700x was able to get only 105 and 46 fps respectively.
One disadvantage 9700K has against Ryzen 7 3700X is that you don’t get any cooling solution out of the box. Yes, 3rd party coolers aren’t too expensive but it still affect your wallet – no matter how little.
Another downside is the fact that Intel doesn’t provide PCIe 4.0 support as of now. Yes, it’s not much beneficial for the gamers, but (like multithreading) makes the content creation much faster.
Overall, i7-9700K is a good CPU for RTX 2080 Super if gaming is the only thing you have to do on your PC. In fact, it’s probably the best “gaming-only” CPU in the market right now.
But if you plan on some content creation (video editing, 3d modelling etc.) as well, other CPUs like Ryzen 3700X and 3800X will provide you a better value for your money. These Ryzen offering costs almost as much as i7-9700K and have some big competitive edges over it in the form of multithreading, PCIe 4.0 support, and bundled stock cooler.
AMD Ryzen 9 3900X: Check Price On Amazon
Best CPU For RTX 2080 Ti
Up next, we have the Ryzen 9 3900X.
Being the second-best processor of Ryzen 3rd-gen series, 3900X features 12 cores and 24 threads. The original 12nm-based Zen architecture was only able to support a maximum of 8 cores. The 7nm Zen 2 architecture is what enable the 3900X to have this many cores and threads.
Before 3900X, you could see so many cores and threads only in X and threadripper series of Intel and AMD respectively.
Speaking more about the raw specs, you get a base frequency of 3.8 GHz, a boost frequency of 4.6 GHz, and a TDP of 105 Watts here.
In order to test its performance, we compared it with Intel i9-9900K in games as well as productive apps.
For productive apps, we used handbrake, a video transcoder, and Blender, an open-source 3D rendering application.
In handbrake, we found Ryzen 9 3900X to take 20% less time as compared to 9900K in completing a similar task. In blender though, the results were identical as both of the processor rendered a file in the same time.
To measure 1080p gaming performance at Ultra preset, we played different games on both of these CPUs, along with RTX 2080 Ti. As expected, both of them nailed the competition here.
We got 148.2, 210, and 116 FPS on the Division 2, Fortnite, and the Hitman 2 respectively, which is excellent but slightly pales in comparison to what i9-9900K got in those games: 152 230, and 121 FPS.
To be honest, 1080p gaming is an overkill for these beasts. So we decided to cracked it up to 4k. Ryzen 3900X managed to get 69 FPS in Far Cry 5 at 4k Ultra, in comparison to 71 in 9900K
It costs almost 500 bucks at the time we’re writing this post, which means you get a better dollars-per-core ratio in comparison to i9-9900K.
Another advantage it has over 9900K is the PCIe 4.0 support. Although there’s an added cost of a new X570 motherboard required to use this feature, PCIe 4.0 has many benefits because it provide extra bandwidth for graphics cards and PCIe-based SSDs.
PCIe 3.0 based SSDs are capped at 3500 Mbps mark, but PCIe 4.0 drives can easily cross the 5000 Mbps speed in both read and write operations.
The boost frequency of Ryzen 3900X is slightly less when compared to what you get in 9900K, but you can easily overcome this tiny deficit via CPU overclocking. Lastly, you get a wraith prism cooler with Ryzen 3900X as well. It’s better than Intel stock coolers (but you must look into 3rd-party coolers for heavy overclocking) and comes with RGB too.
All in all, there’s not much to dislike about Ryzen 3900X. I comes with Huge L3 cache, overclocks easily, gives excellent multi-threading performance and comes with a bundled cooler too.
The single-core performance is slightly lower than that of 9900K, which is a good reminder that this is not the ideal CPU if you’re building a gaming-only PC.