NVIDIA have finally done it. The RTX 4000 series of graphics cards has been a bit of a rollercoaster, but with the launch of the RTX 4070, Team Green have finally gained some sense. After a series of poor price points, fiery power connectors, and an ‘unlaunched’ graphics card, it seems NVIDIA have finally taken consumer criticism onboard.
NVIDIA’s brand new GeForce RTX 4070 is a very powerful GPU, offering great metrics at 4K, with even better performance at 1440p, sitting at a price tag of $599. We might be seeing the ending of senseless price tags with the launch of this awesome card, making now a perfect time to put together a mid-range or high-end gaming PC!
But for those looking to get started with a new build, which CPUs should you pair up with NVIDIA’s most recent GPU offering. Is the RTX 4070 worthy of a top-end powerhouse like the Core i9 12900K? Or are consumers better off picking out a more mid-range option like the Ryzen 5 7600X for their 4070 build?
In this article we’ll be answering these very questions with a roundup of the best CPUs to pair up with NVIDIA’s RTX 4070. We’ll be covering options from AMD and Intel, to provide users with a range of options at varying price points, suiting different use-cases.
Suggested Article: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4070 Review (Founders Edition Benchmarks)
Best CPUs for the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4070
1. Intel Core i5 13600K
👑The best value CPU.
Intel’s Core i5 13600K is yet again making an appearance in a Best CPUs buyers guide roundup. The 13600K is one of the best processors you can buy right now, with excellent metrics at 1440p and 1080p. It does have a lower core count, contrasting to other options, but it’s exceptional clock speed makes it a worthwhile option.
The Core i5 13600K is perfect for gaming, and can handle some lighter workstation applications. 4K gaming shouldn’t pose much of an issue, but extremely high settings could cause a bottleneck potentially. Consumers also have plenty of choice when it comes to motherboards, as the 13600K is supported on 12th and 13th-Gen boards, allowing consumers to save some money for other components. This is technically one of the cheapest options in this roundup, but you are by no means making sacrifices in performance when it comes to this excellent Intel CPU option.
|Key Specs||Intel Core i5 13600K|
|Base Clock Speed||3.5GHz|
|Boost Clock Speed||5.1GHz|
|Max Turbo Power||181W|
Things We Like
Ideal for gaming: Intel’s Core i5 13600K is one of the most powerful options that we’ve seen release in the past year or so. This excellent CPU can handle 1440P with decent legs in 4K, at very high framerates.
Great price point: The biggest selling point of the 13600K, is it’s very competitive price point. 12th and 13th-Gen CPUs have been priced very well, and this CPU is no exception. This CPU is perfect for consumers looking to build a PC at a budget price point.
Things We Don’t Like
Struggles with more intense workloads: The biggest downside to the Core i5 13600K, is that intense workloads can be a bit of a struggle. For those that need more cores and threads, you’ll want to look at some alternative options, from the Core i7 and i9 ranges.
Can’t always handle 4K: Although the 13600K is a strong CPU for the majority of games, 4K can be a little bit harder for this CPU to handle. We’d recommend sticking to 1440P for the majority of games with the Core i5 13600K.
Intel’s Core i5 13600K is one of the best CPUs available on the market right now. It offers excellent value across the board, and is perfect for a mid-range gaming system. For those looking to build a workstation system, this CPU can handle some tougher loads, but we’d recommend different SKUs for more intense applications and tasks.
Value for Money: 4.3/5
- Strong price point.
- Great single core performance.
- Ideal for a mid-range system.
- There are better options for multicore systems.
- Bottlenecking may occur at maxed out settings.
Where to Buy
Buy the Intel Core i5 13600K on:
2. AMD Ryzen 7 7700
👑The best budget CPU.
Normally we wouldn’t recommend the mid-range Ryzen 7000 CPUs, as they tend to be pretty weak when it comes to value for money. However, based on the relatively low price point of the Ryzen 7000 SKUs, and the mid-range performance, it makes sense to pair up the Ryzen 7 with NVIDIA‘s most recent GPU.
The Ryzen 7 7700X is a strong mid-range CPU that compares with 12600K in multithreaded benchmarks, and offers excellent single core performance, sitting relatively close to it’s Ryzen 9 counterparts. The Ryzen 7 7700 sits relatively close to the 13600K in terms of its overall capability, so consumers can expect strong 1440P performance, with some legs in 4K. This CPU is a great option for those looking to be a bit more price conscious with their purchases.
|Key Specs||AMD Ryzen 7 7700|
|Base Clock Speed||3.8GHz|
|Boost Clock Speed||5.3GHz|
|Max Turbo Power||65W|
Things We Like
Strong gaming performance: Much like the Core i5 13600K, the Ryzen 7 7700 is great for 1440P gaming, with relatively decent legs in 4K. Consumers looking to build a mid-range gaming PC with this CPU will not be disappointed.
Solid upgradeability: The new set of Ryzen 7000 SKUs brings plenty of upgradeability when it comes to new components, and ease of access in the future. AMD tends to keep their platforms alive for a few years, allowing consumers to easily upgrade to new CPU options with their older motherboards.
Things We Don’t Like
Expensive entry cost: The biggest caveat to the new Ryzen 7000 platform, is that it is by no means cheap. The forced DDR5 requirement, and inclusion of widespread PCI-E 5.0, alongside high speed ports, and high VRM power phases makes the build cost rather expensive. Consumers can expect to pay a pretty penny for a Ryzen 7000 build.
Weak workstation performance: Much like the Core i5 13600K, the Ryzen 7700 isn’t ideal as a workstation CPU. There are much better options if you need more cores and threads. To top it off, the Ryzen 7700 can’t be overclocked either, leaving behind some performance bonuses contrasting to CPUs that can be overclocked.
AMD’s Ryzen 7 7700X offers a solid entry point for those looking to build a PC on the new AM5 platform. The overall build cost will be pricier when compared to Intel options, but consumers can still expect great gaming performance at 1440p, at a reasonable price point. This CPU is definitely worth taking a look at if you’re looking to build a cheaper PC.
Value for Money: 4/5
- Good performance at 1440p and 4K.
- CPU price point is very reasonable.
- Plenty of upgradeability with later SKUs.
- Overall build cost might be more expensive.
- Thermals tend to run pretty high.
Where to Buy
Buy the AMD Ryzen 7 7700 on:
3. Intel Core i7 13700K
👑The best all-rounder CPU.
Intel’s Core i7 13700K is quite a step up from the 13600K and 7700X. The 13700K is perfect for consumers looking to build a multi-faceted system. The higher core count and exceptional clock speed makes it perfect for workstation applications, alongside 4K gaming too. The Core i7 13700K also comes in at a fairly reasonable price point, making it a rather competitive option contrasting to other CPUs that we’ve seen.
In terms of performance, consumers can expect no issues at 4K, even with Ray-Tracing enabled. And workstation performance should be pretty well-rounded. The 13700K can’t outperform the 13900K, but the strong core count and clock speed should be ideal for the majority of consumers putting their system under some more intense workloads.
|Key Specs||Intel Core i7 13700K|
|Base Clock Speed||3.4GHz|
|Boost Clock Speed||5.4GHz|
|Max Turbo Power||253W|
Things We Like
Great performance all around: The biggest upside of the 13700K, is it’s capability as a multifaceted processor. For those that need a CPU that can handle more complicated high intensity tasks, and 4K gaming too, this processor is perfect.
Pretty strong price point: The Core i7 13700K is a pricier SKU compared to some other options that we’ve seen, but I’d argue that the attached price tag is pretty decent overall. Consumers are paying for a multifaceted CPU that can handle workstation applications and top-end gaming, so I’d say you definitely get what you pay for.
Things We Don’t Like
Platform will become deprecated soon: Although Intel’s most recent CPUs are pretty strong when it comes to performance, the 13th-Gen range is likely to be the last series on the LGA1700 platform. This means you’ll probably need to pick up a new motherboard and CPU if you decide to upgrade in the future.
Better options for top-end workstations: The 13700K is a great all-rounder, especially if you’re looking to find the best value option for a CPU that can handle workstation applications, and gaming. But if you need a top-end option, there are better processors, such as the Ryzen 9 7900X, or Core i9 13900K that have more cores, ideal for workstations.
Intel’s Core i7 13700K is a CPU perfect for consumers looking to build a top-end system that can handle intense productivity workloads, and 4K gaming. It is slightly pricier compared to other SKUs that we’ve seen, but you definitely get what you pay for with this option. A worthwhile investment for a powerful workstation or gaming system.
Value for Money: 4.5/5
- Excellent performance at 4K.
- Ideal for a workstation system.
- Solid price point.
- Better SKUs for top-end workstation systems.
- LGA1700 socket is at the end of its life cycle.
Where to Buy
Buy the Intel Core i7 13700K on:
4. AMD Ryzen 7 7800X3D
👑The best gaming CPU.
AMD’s Ryzen 7 7800X3D has only recently been released, and as to be expected, this CPU is perfect for 4K gaming. The 3D V-Cache significantly improves gaming performance significantly as data and instructions can be pulled directly from the cache instead of RAM. Much like the previous generation’s Ryzen 7 5800X3D, the 7800X3D is definitely an underdog when it comes to performance, and well worth taking a look at.
The biggest benefit of this CPU is the price. As we’ve mentioned previously, Ryzen 7000 can be expensive to a degree, as the cost of motherboards and RAM will set you back a fair amount. However, the 7800X3D sits below the $500 mark, putting it almost on pair with the 13700K. Considering the gaming performance you’re able to get out of this CPU, I’d definitely say that the price tag is worth it.
|Key Specs||AMD Ryzen 7 7800X3D|
|Base Clock Speed||4.2GHz|
|Boost Clock Speed||5GHz|
|Max Turbo Power||120W|
Things We Like
Exceptional gaming performance: AMD’s Ryzen 7 7800X3D is one of the best CPUs that you can buy when it comes to gaming. Consumers can expect to play 4K games with no hindrances, at exceptionally high framerates.
Lower thermals: One of the biggest caveats to Ryzen 7000 processors is the scarily high thermals. However, due to the thermal limitations of the 3D V-Cache, the 7800X3D actually sits at a lower temperature overall contrasting to other SKUs.
Things We Don’t Like
Weaker workstation performance: Although the 7800X3D is very strong in gaming, the 3D V-Cache has it’s limitations. This cache isn’t really needed in workstation applications, so consumers would be better off picking up a processor with more cores and higher clock speeds for strong productivity performance.
Build cost is not cheap: Ryzen 7000 CPUs are the first available options on AMD’s most recent AM5 platform. This platform offers relatively strong specs and performance overall, but the inclusion of new and rather expensive features such as widespread PCI-E 5.0, and a DDR5 memory requirement, makes the overall build cost quite pricey.
AMD’s Ryzen 7 7800X3D is the CPU that we’ve been waiting to see on AMD’s most recently Ryzen 7000 platform. The 3D V-Cache makes this CPU a strong and powerful option in modern games at 4K, making it perfect for a top-end gaming system.
Value for Money: 4.5/5
- Perfect for top-end 4K gaming.
- Reasonable thermals.
- Solid price point.
- Not ideal for a workstation system.
- Overall build cost will be expensive.
Where to Buy
Buy the AMD Ryzen 7 7800X3D on:
Is the RTX 4070 Worth It?
Before we jump into our CPU recommendations, it is worth discussing what kind of value the new RTX 4070 is bringing to the table. NVIDIA’s RTX 4000 series has been a rocky start so far. Team Green led off with a strong offering in the form of the RTX 4090, but the two SKUs to follow afterwards (the RTX 4080, and RTX 4070Ti) have been poorly marketed. Consumers can still pick these cards up at their exorbitant MSRP prices, which normally isn’t the case for NVIDIA’s more popular GPUs.
So this begs the question, is the latest RTX 4070 worth picking up, at it’s given price point? Admittedly, I was very sceptical about this new card, but so far, my opinion is yes. The RTX 4070 offers great performance at 4K (especially when DLSS is enabled), and can achieve even higher framerates at 1440p too. This puts the RTX 4070 in a pretty strong position compared to other market options, as there are very few cards that can achieve such high framerates at the aforementioned target resolution, at a $600 price point. Cards such as the RX 6800 XT from AMD, or NVIDIA’s RTX 3080/Ti are pretty strong, but they sit at significantly higher prices, contrasting to the RTX 4070.
We do have to take this with a pinch of salt, because AMD’s Radeon 7000 range could look to undercut NVIDIA’s most recent offering. But until then, I feel this card is a very strong option when comparing to the rest of the market. It isn’t ‘cheap’ by any means, but I’d say this is what I would expect to spend for good 1440P and 4K performance all-around. It seems NVIDIA have listened this time around, and the competition is only going to heat up for AMD.
AMD or Intel – Which is Better?
AMD vs Intel has been a longstanding argument for as long as I can remember. Both manufacturers bring pros and cons to the table, but this entirely depends on your use-case, budget, and preference as a consumer. We’ve noted down the major differences between each of these manufacturers below.
Intel have been the kings of performance for quite some time, constantly bringing competition back to AMD. During the earlier days of PC gaming, Intel were known for their strong single core processors, which made them ideal for users wanting to play their favourite titles, as most games only tend to use one or two cores at most.
Intel have since progressed onto bigger things with CPUs that not only retain excellent single core performance, but also incredible multi core performance too. With the invention of hyper threading, Intel have been able to dominated the multithreaded CPU space, by offering CPUs that can handle applications and processes that require as many cores as possible.
With the launch of 12th and 13th-Gen options, Intel have proven how capable they are of creating multifaceted options. 13th-Gen CPUs specifically have great clock speeds, making them perfect for gaming at high resolutions. Consumers can also pick up CPUs with numerous cores, which are ideal for users building a workstation system. Needless to say, Intel is the go-to option for the vast majority of consumers.
On the other side of the field, we have AMD. AMDs CPUs have been a bit of a mixed bag whilst sitting in the shadow of Intel, but many of their more recent options have beat out Team Blue. We saw excellent competition from AMD with their Ryzen CPU options, where consumers could pick up great CPUs at a lower price point contrasting to Intel.
The launch of Ryzen 3000 and 5000 was the ‘golden age’ of CPUs for AMD, and Intel struggled to keep up with Team Red during this time. AMD is primarily known for strong budget and mid-range options, although much of their Ryzen 5000 top-end SKUs were still exceptional.
Ryzen 7000 has been slightly weaker, contrasting to the much more refined Ryzen 5000 range on the AM4 platform. We think this can be primarily chalked down to the fact that Ryzen 7000 is an entirely new set of CPUs, but regardless, some of these CPUs aren’t great value for money. Combined with the rather expensive DDR5 requirement and pricey motherboard options, Ryzen 7000 hasn’t been great so far. But we can definitely expect more refined (and hopefully cheaper) options later down the line.
Check out our roundup of the best PC cases to pair up with the RTX 4070
Factors to Consider
Now that we’ve covered off AMD vs Intel, it is worth discussing some key factors to consider before buying a CPU to pair up with the RTX 4070. We’ve broken down the most important ones below:
Motherboard Chipset & Compatibility
Choosing a motherboard can often be a difficult decision at times. When picking up a CPU, consumers need to choose a board that is compatible with their chosen processor, whilst also deciding on a chipset. Determining which socket you need is a relatively simple process, we’ve provided a table below which highlights which CPUs work with which motherboards.
|CPU Range||CPU Socket||Compatible Chipset|
|Ryzen 7000||AM5||X670E, X670, B650E, B650|
|Intel 13th-Gen||LGA 1700||Z790, Z690, H770, H670, B760, B660|
When it comes to chipsets, this can be a slightly more involved and complicated decision. Intel and AMD have entirely different chipsets, but they follow a similar pattern in terms of the kind of features and pricing. Z790 (Intel) and X670E (AMD) boards are the most expensive, but they come with the most features available. This means you’ll get access to the most amount of PCI-E slots, highest VRM power phases, most amount of USB ports, and more.
B660 and B650 motherboards offer wider range of options, with budget, and mid-range options being their primary coverage. B660 and B650E boards do have higher-end options, but these boards tend to be cheaper, and do sacrifice some of the big features that can be seen on pricier options. Consumers should be aware of this before deciding on a particular motherboard option.
DDR5 – Is Low Latency Needed?
To keep this brief, Intel users have the option to choose between DDR4 and DDR5, but Ryzen 7000 users don’t. If you’ve picked up a DDR4 board, you won’t need to worry about latency. For those looking at DDR5 motherboards however, latency becomes a pivotal question. DDR5 is undoubtedly expensive, but as time goes on, we’re seeing new kits of RAM become cheaper with lower latency. Does this mean you should pick up a low latency kit?
In short, it depends. For those playing games, you might notice some performance loss in some titles with a higher latency kit. However, low latency becomes more important for those putting together a workstation system. Workstation applications that require the most performance possible, lower latency kits are needed to ensure your system can performance as best as it can. To summarise, gaming doesn’t really need low latency, but a workstation system could very well benefit from low latency kits, but the unfortunate caveat is cost.
Cores & Clock Speed – Which is More Important?
The amount of cores your CPU has, versus the clock speed, are both equally important. Clock speed determines how fast your CPU can read and act on instructions, and the amount of cores you have will determine how many tasks your CPU can complete at once.
When it comes to gaming, clock speed is much more important. Games only tend to use one or two cores, which means CPUs with massive core counts won’t see higher utilisation. Clock speed needs to be higher for games to ensure data from the GPU can be processed quick enough.
Core count becomes important if you’re building a system that can utilise a huge amount of cores. Workstation applications like 3D rendering, or video editing can make use of multiple cores, which is where this becomes more important. Ultimately cores or clock speed will be more important based on your use-case, but this is definitely worth considering beforehand.
How We Picked the Best CPUs for the RTX 4070
To pick out the best CPUs for the RTX 4070, we’ve rounded up a range of options from AMD and Intel, keeping to modern options from both manufacturers. We’ve compared all of these CPUs in a plethora of workstation and gaming benchmarks. We’ve primarily stuck to mid-range options, but we’ve provided some cheaper and more expensive CPUs, so consumers can be price conscious, or build something more high-end.
Best Overall CPU for the RTX 4070: Intel Core i7 13700K
Yet again, we’ve awarded the Intel Core i7 13700K as the best CPU to pair up with the RTX 4070. The 13700K is one of the best all-rounder options for those looking to build a workstation system or a gaming PC. The strong performance of the 4070 makes it perfect for either of these build types. If you’re looking for a pure gaming CPU, we’ve recommended a number of other options at varying price points in this roundup. However, the 13700K stands to offer the best performance for a multifaceted system.
Read our full Intel Core i7 13700K review, or Buy the Core i7 13700K on Amazon
Frequently Asked Questions
How Many Cores Do You Need For Games?
As a general rule of thumb, the majority of games will only ever use one or two cores at most. This means that most consumers can get away with picking up a CPU that has a low core count. However, your clock speed and graphics card capability are hugely important here. Your CPU needs to have a fast clock speed to interpret data from your GPU quickly. And your GPU needs to be able to withstand the settings and performance of the game that you’re playing. These have a much higher bearing compared to your CPU’s core count.
What Motherboard Do I Need to Pickup?
The motherboard that you pickup is entirely down to your use-case and budget. Dependent on your budget, this may limit or open up more features available to you on your motherboard. In terms of compatibility, Intel 13th-Gen users can pick up a 13th-Gen motherboard, or 12th-Gen board. Whereas, Ryzen 7000 users are limited to the boards that released on AMD’s new AM5 platform.
Do I Need DDR4 or DDR5 RAM?
In terms of performance there isn’t enough of a difference between DDR4 and DDR5 to warrant the upgrade. So for Intel users, you can choose between either spec, this just depends on your preference. For AMD Ryzen 7000 users, you can only use DDR5 DIMMs in the new motherboards, as this is the only spec they support.
Do I Need PCI-E 5.0?
Currently there are no PCI-E 5.0 capable components, so PCI-E 5.0 isn’t a requirement as of now. However, we are likely to see new Gen5 SSDs, and PCI-E 5.0 graphics cards in the next couple of years, so this might be important to you if you plan on future proofing your system. However, if you’re worried about cable management you can pick up a PCI-E 5.0 ready power supply, which we’ve recommended in a full roundup!