6 Best CPUs for Radeon RX 6700 XT in 2022

Best CPUs for Radeon RX 6700 XT

The 6700 XT is the most affordable entry in AMD’s new high-end line of cards aiming to supplant the non-XT series launched last year. It brings several exciting goodies, like futureproof 12GB of GDDR6 RAM, raytracing support, and the ability to run games better at any resolution by upscaling them through FSR. Provided you can find one, it’s a great alternative to the 3070 for anyone who cares for overall performance rather than the newest technological advances.

You’ll need a processor to lay the groundwork for the card’s considerable abilities. So here are recommendations for the best CPUs for 6700 XT you can get your hands on today. We’ve made sure to include both Intel and AMD representatives at different price points, so finding the ideal match should be a cinch.

Note: We’ve chosen to link to sites with reviews of newer models when talking about older CPUs. This is to provide an up-to-date context and help you judge where these processors stand today.

Best High-end AMD CPU for Radeon RX 6700 XT: Ryzen 7 5800X

AMD has been steadily improving the Zen architecture since 2017, and it’s not unreasonable to say that the 5800X is its crowning achievement so far. It’s not the fastest chip of the generation. Still, its price to performance ratio is excellent, especially if you game and run demanding processes in equal measure. It’s efficient, ready to overclock out of the box, and performs better than similarly-priced Intel counterparts whatever you throw at it.

The 5800X is an 8-core, 16-thread CPU with a base clock of 3.8 GHz. It comes unlocked and is easy to boost to 4.7GHz on all cores, even through Ryzen Master, so you won’t need to fire up the BIOS and do tweaks from there. Our only gripe with the chip is that pushing the clock past boost values results in diminishing returns and isn’t worth it. However, the results at recommended boost clocks make pushing the chip further largely unnecessary.

AMD restructured the processor’s core distribution for increased efficiency. 3000-series chips had their cores split into pairs of four on the CCD or CPU core die. That gave each batch access to only 16MB of L3 cache. The new architecture does away with the split, letting each core take full advantage of the cache. This results in improved single-core results and makes lightly-threaded tasks more efficient.

The best thing about this chip is that no matter what you throw at it, you’ll consistently get exceptional results. Anyone keeping track of Zen won’t be surprised that the chip does more than well when dealing with multithreaded applications focused on either number crunching or rendering. Intel has set the gold standard for gaming that has gone unchallenged for a long while. Even here, the chip proves victorious, measuring up nicely against Intel’s top offerings.

Unlike less expensive and older CPUs, this one doesn’t ship with a cooler. It will need a good one or water cooling despite having a TDP of only 105W since it can get uncomfortably warm during prolonged use. That being said, a few tweaks to your fan curve ought to ensure reasonable temperatures without too much noise.

Best High-end Intel CPU for Radeon RX 6700 XT: Core i7-10700K

Intel’s CPU reign might not be as stable as it once was, but processors like the 10700K are proof that the company still has a lot to be proud of. It introduces a host of improvements like hyperthreading and a boost to overclocking potential. The processor is a beast when it comes to gaming and will complement your 6700 XT nicely for the foreseeable future.

The i7-11700K is the only comparatively-priced CPU from Intel at the moment. We wouldn’t recommend it over the featured chip since it’s more expensive yet brings minimal improvements. Do consider the 11700K if you plan on using a PCIe 4.0 SSD, though.

Ice Lake is a mix of the new & the old, introducing welcome improvements on an old and, some might say stale foundation. Hyperthreading is the headliner since it finally allows the CPU to approach AMD’s contenders when productivity is needed, not to mention keep up with modern games where multithreading has become the norm.

On the other hand, the 10700K is still based on the 14nm manufacturing process with improvements like a bigger L3 cache. Like the R5 3600, it’s based on a more powerful chip, the 10900K, with two disabled cores. Unlike it, Intel’s processor is all about overclocking. Its boost clocks soar to 5.1GHz or even more if you supply it with good cooling. There’s no IOPC gain over the 9700K, though, since Intel hinges its bets on faster speeds,

These bets pay off, particularly if you’re looking for smooth gaming performance at any resolution. This includes 4K, where your 6700 XT can spread its wings unhindered. Raw number crunching and multithreaded processes take ever so slightly longer to complete than on AMD’s CPUs. Still, the 10700K manages to take the lead in game development, which some gamers might be drawn to eventually.

Best Mid-range AMD CPU for Radeon RX 6700 XT: Ryzen 7 3700X

Zen 3 might be the overall best AMD platform right now, but that doesn’t mean the previous generations have nothing more to offer. Anyone looking for a balanced eight-core CPU will do well with the 3700X, especially if they’re more focused on productivity or leveraging their 6700 XT for rendering purposes.

Users interested purely in gaming will get a slight advantage if they opt for the R5 5600X instead.

Zen 2 was another milestone in the architecture’s development since it introduced two-digit IPC gains, mainly by improving the fetch, integer, and floating-point units. These ensure the CPU always has something to do while shortening computing power and minimizing the chance of incorrect branch predictions. Even though the CCD is monolithic, meaning all cores share the same one, it would take getting to Zen 3 to stop sets of four to share 16MB of L3 cache between them.

The 3700X is in a favorable position in the current market since a 5700X equivalent isn’t available at the time of writing. It has two cores / four threads more than the 5600X with the same L3 cache and modest 65W TDP. Users who don’t plan to push its cores past the 4.4GHz boost limit will find the included Wraith Prism cooler more than enough to keep things chill.

More cores and threads mean that multithreaded applications benefit more than they would from the 5600X. This is indeed true for the most part. It’s worth noting that the chip goes head to head with the 10700K in such tests, even though Intel’s contender is noticeably more expensive. Raw data on the processor’s gaming performance is clear – it doesn’t perform as well as either the 5600X or 10700K in achieving ridiculous FPS counts at 1080p. Even so, pairing it with the 6700 XT ensures you won’t be bottlenecking even the most demanding titles any time soon.

Best Mid-range Intel CPU for Radeon RX 6700 XT: Core i5-10600K

The x600 series is a mainstay for Intel fans interested in putting together a competent gaming rig for any resolution. It’s powerful enough not to restrict the 6700 XT in any way. It comes with high base core speeds with enough headroom to eke a little more out of its aging 14nm die. It’s currently cheaper than our budget pick, too.

The Ice Lake chip offers improvements across the board when compared to the 9600K. Most notable is the transition to hyperthreading that nets it an additional six threads to tackle modern workloads. The base core clock is 4.1 GHz, the highest we’ve seen so far. The L3 cache is now 12MB, 3MB more than before. These are only somewhat offset by a 30W TDP increase and a max core clock of just 4.8GHz.

Even though it uses a new socket, not much has changed in the 10600K’s layout. The PCB its cores are on is thinner, leading to better heat dissipation and improved thermals. The architecture remains largely the same, with six cores sandwiched between an integrated graphics module and the system agent.

Gaming is the processor’s strong suit. It excels at delivering more than playable framerates for resource-intensive titles while providing enough bandwidth for the 6700 XT to let loose in competitive games. Newer Intel and AMD CPUs acquit themselves better when dealing with light loads you’d encounter from productivity software. But, the 10600K holds its own when it’s time to encode video or compress some files.

Best Budget AMD CPU for Radeon RX 6700 XT: Ryzen 5 3600

Don’t want to spend too much money on an AMD CPU in these volatile times? If you still want a good balance of gaming & multithreaded performance, the R5 3600 non-X is your best bet. You can overclock to compete with the CPU mentioned above and anything in Intel’s i5 Coffee Lake offerings. Better yet, pairing the CPU with a B550 motherboard lets you experience the best file transfer speeds thanks to PCIe 4.0 drive support.

You could go a tier lower and get the R3 3300X if you need a competent budget gaming chip to tide you over. It will bottleneck the 6700 XT to a greater degree than the 3600m, but you’ll still get to play competitive multiplayer shooters at more than 200fps.

From an architectural point of view, the R5 3600 is a stripped-down version of the 3700X. Their TDP is the same at 65W, as is their base 3.8GHz clock. The main difference is in the cheaper processor’s number of cores. There are still eight physical ones on its CCD, but two were disabled to achieve the price drop. The cores also have a modest maximum boost clock speed decrease to 4.2 GHz.

Overclocking is one of the chip’s strengths. You won’t get as much of a boost from it as you would from a comparable unlocked Intel CPU. However, actually undertaking the OC is streamlined and easy to attempt. You can set the chip’s OC to auto and achieve results close to the 3600x without issue. The bundled Wraith Stealth cooler might not be up to the task if you manually OC and keep the clocks high constantly.

Performance-wise, the R5 3600 is still a solid entry. It excels at synthetic benchmarks and games that utilize its cores to perform complex computations. Gamers who are more focused on running their favorite titles at Ultra on 1080p shouldn’t experience much bottlenecking as most titles will remain comfortably above 100 FPS.

Best Budget Intel CPU for Radeon RX 6700 XT: Core i5-11400F

Rocket Lake processors have been absent from the article so far, mainly because they bring too few benefits compared to 10th-gen Intel. That changes with one of the best i5 models the company has ever made. It competes with much more expensive AMD alternatives, doesn’t have unnecessary frills, and will support your GPU just fine whether you play at 1080 or 1440p.

Note that the 11400F is currently in very high demand and not readily available. This has caused its street price to skyrocket past the MSRP. Your best bet would be to wait until prices settle down to get it or save up some more for the 10600K.

Superficially, not that much has changed from the 10400F. The onboard graphics is disabled as denoted by the F in the name, and the core clocks have seen a 100MHz decrease. The TDP is still a healthy 65W, and each of the six cores can fully draw on the 12MB L3 cache. Nevertheless, the newer CPU performs markedly better thanks to a substantial increase in instructions per clock or IPC.

It took Intel five years to introduce IPC gains once more, and the 19% gain the company promises looks enticing. The chip is outfitted with a new Cypress Cove core that features improvements to its computing cycle’s execution and storage phases. You also get access to PCIe 4.0 and would benefit from much-improved integrated graphics were that part of the chip.

You may overclock the 11400F to a locked 4.4GHz, and you do it in fixed increments. Overclocking the memory is also straightforward, either through enabling XMP profiles or tinkering with the motherboard’s base clock. Make sure to swap out the cooler if attempting this since it can’t handle more than stock settings.

Provided you manage to snag it at or close to MSRP, this processor is an extraordinary value. The differences between it and the two most recent i5 x600 CPUs are negligible, with only pricier chips pulling ahead. It’s not a top-tier multitasker, but NVidia didn’t have that in mind for the design in the first place.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will a 5600X bottleneck a 6700 XT?

No, it will not, at least not to the degree that’s worth mentioning. You’ll see the biggest impact when gaming at 1080p. You are also unlikely to care. What’s a couple of fps more or less when you’re already cruising past 150?

What is the 6700 XT equivalent to?

The closest card to the 6700 XT in terms of performance and price would be the NVidia RTX 3070. AMD’s card performs slightly better for rasterized graphics in many games, while NVidia’s has better-developed raytracing abilities. According to the MSRP, the 6700 XT is also supposed to be more than $100 cheaper, but this metric has little value in today’s marked-up market.

How much will the 6700 XT cost?

Theoretically, the card should sell for $479 according to its MSRP. The current GPU shortage makes it highly unlikely that you’ll be able to get it at that price, though.

Which 6700 XT is the best?

At the moment, the one you can get for the most reasonable price. It’s a cheeky answer, but the truth is that the cards are hard to get a hold of and unlikely to sell for MSRP values. Once the shortage dies down, you can start examining the merits of one manufacturer’s card over another. The ROG STRIX from ASUS and Sapphire’s Nitro+ cards are likely to lead the pack then.

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