The time has finally arrived, we’re back again with another launch from NVIDIA, but this one is somewhat unexpected. After the release of the RTX 4060 Ti, Team Green announced that they would be dropping the RTX 4060 somewhere in July, but this has since been changed to July 29th, with all of the new cards available on the shelves on this date too.
So far, we’re a bit on the fence when it comes to the performance of this card. Whilst the RTX 4060 does offer somewhat decent metrics at 1080p, its major competitor is AMD’s most recent Radeon 7000 card, the RX 7600. Regardless of this, the RTX 4060 is a tantalising budget offering especially if you’re a big fan of DLSS and Ray-Tracing.
If you’re looking for more detail about the performance of the 4060, we’d highly recommend checking out our reviews on the individual cards. However, in this article, we’ll be taking a look at the best CPU pairings for this budget GPU, and we’ll be discussing some major talking points with concerns to graphics cards and processors.
Suggested Article: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4060 Review – MSI Ventus 2X OC Edition
1. Intel Core i3 13100F
👑 The best budget CPU for the RTX 4060.
Starting off our roundup is one of Intel‘s more recent offerings, the Core i3 13100F. The 13100F is one of Intel’s best budget CPUs yet, providing stronger clock speeds, and core counts for the low price of $100 or less. The 13100F serves as a great starting point for those wanting to get into PC gaming, but don’t quite have the money to pick up a stronger mid-range options, such as a Core i5 or higher. Regardless, if you’re just playing 1080p games, the 13100F will be perfectly fine for this.
Performance wise, the 13100F is a strong contender for 1080p games, with some legs in 1440p, but we’d recommend only playing Esports titles, as the overhead might be a bit too much with more demanding titles. We definitely wouldn’t advise consumers to use this CPU as a workhorse processor for a productivity system, but as a CPU purely for gaming, the 13100F will do the trick for the majority of consumers on a budget.
|Key Specs||Intel Core i3 13100F|
|Max Boost Clock Speed||4.5GHz|
|Max Turbo Power||89W|
Things We Like
Solid 1080p gaming performance: The 13100F is ideal for a 1080p gaming system. The stronger clock speed provides it with some legs to handle 1080p without any major frame drops or stutters.
Competitive pricing: This processor is one of the cheapest options on the market right now, sitting at around $100, or slightly higher from other vendors. If you’re a price conscious buyer, this CPU is a great option to pick up.
Things We Don’t Like
Will struggle with higher resolutions: Unfortunately, more intense resolutions will be a big of a struggle for the 13100F. Although this CPU has decent performance metrics, 1440p could cause you to have less frames in your favourite games.
On a soon-to-be deprecated platform: 13th-Gen has been very strong for the most part, but this is likely to be the last generation of CPU on this platform. This means that if you plan on upgrading, you may need a new motherboard, and potentially new RAM too.
Intel’s Core i3 13100F is an excellent budget CPU, and serves as a great starting point for consumers looking to build their PC, but are being a bit more price conscious with their component choices. This CPU is ideal for 1080p gaming, and shouldn’t break the bank either when it comes to pricing. Definitely worth a consideration if you’re just starting to get into PC gaming.
Value for Money: 4.2/5
Where to Buy
Buy the Intel Core i3 13100F on:
2. Intel Core i5 13400F
👑 The best mid-range CPU for the RTX 4060.
Next up in our roundup is the Core i5 13400F, another 13th-Gen Intel option. We’ve taken a look at the 13400F in a full review, and recommended it in a number of buyers guides in the past. After a somewhat mixed review, I’ve since come around to the idea of the 13400F, especially as a cheaper mid-range option. This 13th-Gen option offers a strong set of cores and threads, alongside a decent clock speed that allows this CPU to compete with other modern options in 1440p games, and 1080p titles too.
The increased core count provides the 13400F with more capability in workstation applications. Although this processor won’t be able to handle the most intense applications, light video editing or 3D rendering should be perfectly fine. Overall, the 13400F is a solid option for the price and provides consumers with more longevity in modern titles as performance demands increase.
|Key Specs||Intel Core i5 13400F|
|Max Boost Clock Speed||4.6GHz|
|Max Turbo Power||148W|
Things We Like
Strong 1080p and 1440p performance: The 13400F is ideal for 1080p and 1440p gaming. When paired up with the right graphics card, this CPU will easily be able to reach the 144Hz sweet spot in your favourite titles.
Competitive pricing: The Core i5 13400F is one of the cheapest options on the market, aside from the 13100F. If you’re looking for a cheap mid-range CPU, the 13400F is a solid option.
Things We Don’t Like
Will struggle with more intense applications: Although the 13400F is a decent option for some lighter workstation applications, we wouldn’t recommend this option for more intense productivity applications.
Won’t be able to handle 4K: The 13400F is a solid option for lower resolutions, but we wouldn’t recommend this CPU for 4K gaming. If you plan on playing your favourite games at 4K, we’d recommend picking up a stronger CPU.
Intel’s Core i5 13400F is a strong mid-range option for those looking to play modern games at 1080p and 1440p. Whilst this CPU is more expensive than the 13100F, it will provide consumers with some more longevity for gaming, and some decent legs in productivity applications.
Value for Money: 4.1/5
Where to Buy
Buy the Intel Core i5 13400F on:
3. AMD Ryzen 5 7600X
👑 The best budget AMD CPU for the RTX 4060.
For our third selection, we’ve picked out one of AMD‘s budget options, the Ryzen 5 7600X. AMD’s Ryzen 7000 range of CPUs were somewhat underwhelming during the initial launch, but with the lower motherboard and DDR5 RAM prices, the cheaper Ryzen 7000 processors are becoming a much more compelling option for consumers looking to build a modern PC. The 7600X in particular is one of the cheapest Ryzen 7000 CPUs, and is perfect for gaming at all resolutions when paired up with the right graphics card.
Specs wise, the 7600X offers an incredibly strong boost clock speed, which makes it a very strong single core performer, and therefore, a strong gaming competitor. Pricing wise, the 7600X sits around the $250 mark, which is a rather competitive price point. Upgradeability is also a massive benefit of the AM5 platform, as consumers should be able to upgrade to further iterations of Ryzen processors without having to buy a new motherboard.
|Key Specs||AMD Ryzen 5 7600X|
|Max Boost Clock Speed||5.3GHz|
Things We Like
Solid single core performance: Due to the high clock speed of the 7600X, consumers can expect excellent gaming performance at a range of resolutions in their favourite games.
AM5 platform has good longevity: The AM5 platform is at the start of it’s lifecycle which means that consumers buying into Ryzen 7000 CPUs should be easily able to upgrade to later iterations without much hassle.
Things We Don’t Like
Runs quite hot on all cores: Due to the change in boosting behaviour of the new Ryzen 7000 CPUs, all-core workloads can make this processor run very hot. We’d advise picking up a stronger cooler if you plan on pushing your 7600X with a more intense workloads.
AMD’s Ryzen 5 7600X is a strong modern choice for consumers looking to play their favourite games at a range of different resolutions. This CPU is a very reasonably priced option, and provides consumers with plenty of upgradeability to later Ryzen CPU iterations on the AM5 platform.
Value for Money: 4.3/5
Where to Buy
Buy the AMD Ryzen 5 7600X on:
4. Intel Core i5 13600K
👑 The best performing CPU for the RTX 4060.
For our final recommendation, we’ve picked out Intel’s ‘titan’, the Core i5 13600K. This processor is one of the strongest options on the market right now, and compares to the Core i9 12900K in terms of performance. This makes it one of the best CPUs for those looking to max out their framerates in a multitude of games, or for consumers looking to pick up a cheaper workstation CPU too. Pricing wise, the 13600K sits around $300, with the majority of vendors offering prices that sit below the $300 mark.
For consumers that don’t need overclocking or internal graphics, we recommend picking up the Core i5 13600, or Core i5 13600KF respectively. As you can expect, the performance of the 13600K is practically unrivalled. There are few options that can compete with the 13600K and still offer a similar price point versus the performance metrics, definitely a win for Intel.
|Key Specs||Intel Core i5 13600K|
|Max Boost Clock Speed||5.1GHz|
|Max Turbo Power||181W|
Things We Like
Strong high-end performance: The 13600K is an extremely strong option when compared to the rest of the market, making it ideal for gaming at all resolutions, and as a workstation CPU. If you need a CPU with a little bit more juice for your RTX 4060, this is the processor we’d recommend picking up.
Competitively priced: Much like the rest of the 13th-Gen range, the 13600K is also priced very well. If you’re looking to keep component costs low, the 13600K is a great CPU to pick up versus many alternatives.
Things We Don’t Like
Will be overkill for 1080p gaming: If you just plan on playing 1080p games, this CPU will definitely be overkill versus some of the other recommendations we’ve picked out.
Platform will be deprecated: The 13600K shares a similar fate to that of the 13400F and 13100F in terms of these CPUs sitting on a deprecated platform. If you’re the kind of consumer that plans to upgrade in the near future, this might cost you a fair amount to jump to another platform.
Intel’s Core i5 13600K is one of the strongest and best priced options on the market right now when considering the performance metrics. Whilst this processor is going to be somewhat overkill for the RTX 4060, if you plan on upgrading to another GPU later down the line, or you need a CPU with workstation capabilities, the 13600K is right for the job.
Value for Money: 4.5/5
Where to Buy
Buy the Intel Core i5 13600K on:
Is the RTX 4060 Any Good?
NVIDIA‘s range of RTX 4000 cards haven’t necessarily been an overwhelming success thus far, and after the most recent RTX 4060 Ti, I think its safe to say that NVIDIA have dropped the ball. However, much like the rest of the GPUs within this range, the performance of the RTX 4060 isn’t bad by any means. During our testing we found that the 4060 best performs at a 1080p resolution, making it ideal for those on a budget, with a 1080p display. This GPU also has decent legs in Ray-Tracing too, which is pretty impressive.
The big question on everyone’s minds, is whether this graphics card offers a decent value proposition. Unfortunately, we’re a bit on the fence thus far. Although the RTX 4060 is pretty good when it comes to 1080p games, but our biggest issue is the price. The entire problem that all of the RTX 4000 SKUs have had so far is that they’re priced too high versus the competition. And when AMD are on the scene dropping prices left, right, and centre, it is almost a certainty that the majority of consumers will look to the competition for a better card.
NVIDIA’s RTX 4060 is a solid budget option, but only as an alternative to the cards that are better priced. Whilst I do think that the RTX 4060 is a strong option, NVIDIA have backed themselves into a corner, and I feel the pricing of this card needs to be lower in order for it to be more competitive.
Below, we’ve provided some comparative graphs to give you an idea of the performance metrics available for this card. We’ve tested the RTX 4060 at 1080p to see where it lands versus other options on the market.
First off, in Hogwarts Legacy, we saw some pretty decent framerates from the RTX 4060. This GPU was able to reach a high of around 95FPS which is relatively strong. This was when DLSS was enabled though, which is worth keeping in mind, as the upscaling technology will be bolstering performance to a degree. Without DLSS, framerates did drop to around 78FPS, which is somewhat disappointing overall.
The RTX 4060 can handle some modern titles, but if you’re looking to reach higher framerates, you’ll need to dumb down some settings here and there, and potentially enable DLSS, at the cost of visual fidelity to a degree. Whilst the performance in Hogwarts Legacy is acceptable, there are some clear advantages to picking up other GPUs for this particular game.
In F1 2022 at 1080p with DLSS enabled we saw some pretty decent framerates here too. In this title, we were able to reach around 172FPS, which is more than enough for the majority of consumers, and will allow you to make quick decisions, due to having a high refresh rate too. While we weren’t disappointed by the overall performance in this title, the 4060 yet again, loses out to AMD’s RX 7600 which is available at a lower price point in comparison. Definitely a win for AMD in this instance.
And finally, we decided to test out the RTX 4060 at 1440p to see if this card was able to cope with a higher resolution, and for the most part, it seems the 4060 was able to handle it. At 1440p in Apex Legends, the 4060 offered a framerate of around 137FPS which isn’t quite at the 144Hz mark, but can definitely be reached by messing around with some in-game settings.
1440p is definitely a more GPU-reliant resolution, hence the framerate being lower in comparison to some of the more powerful cards we’ve tested. But despite this, the RTX 4060 did hold out pretty well for the most part. 137FPS is more than enough for most consumers, so it is great to see this Team Green card holding up well versus alternative options.
Are DLSS and Ray-Tracing Important?
I feel this is a topic worth discussing based on the fact that NVIDIA are pedalling their pillar technologies with each graphics card release, and there are consumers who might not know what these are. Ray-Tracing is effectively the knew way to provide lighting in modern games, your GPU does massive calculations to figure out shadows and exactly where each ray of light should end up.
DLSS on the other hand is a way of providing additional performance by using an AI-backed resolution scaler. This takes the performance overhead away from your GPU by redrawing the image you see on screen. This means that playing games at a higher resolution can be easier, especially on weaker graphics cards. But do these technologies make NVIDIA’s new graphics cards a worthwhile consideration.
In my opinion, no, they don’t. Ray-Tracing is still very much in the early stages of its life, and it only provides a benefit in certain games. The performance overhead with this technology enabled is also so significant that running it can require you to have an insanely powerful GPU. DLSS on the other hand does provide some solid performance bonuses, but you shouldn’t pick up a graphics card just for this tech. Whilst DLSS is useful, consumers can still use FSR with NVIDIA cards as the technology is open source
As much as I do believe that NVIDIA are making waves in the PC gaming space, and pushing the boundaries of technology much further, the new software is not worth picking up a GPU for. You should always base your purchases on value, and performance before any enhancements, as not all games you play will support these features straight out of the box.
Why You Can Trust Us
After taking a look at our recommendations, you’re probably wondering what makes us qualified to provide all of these recommendations, allow us to explain. We have a dedicated team of hardware enthusiasts that are constantly benchmarking all of the new components that we get in the office. We put them all through a plethora of different tests including gaming and productivity benchmarks, which allow us to forge a solid overview of each product. More detail can be found out about our editorial promise and team on the About Us page.
How We Tested the Best CPUs for the RTX 4060
In order to test and evaluate the best CPUs for the RTX 4060, there are a number of factors that we take into account, these are:
- Value for Money
Best CPU for the RTX 4060: AMD Ryzen 5 7600X
Finishing up this roundup, we’ve picked out the Ryzen 5 7600X as the best CPU to pair up with the RTX 4060. Whilst this CPU will add to a higher total build cost, the excellent performance, and platform longevity provides consumers with relief, knowing their CPU and GPU combo will last into the future. The Ryzen 5 7600X is definitely a worthwhile consideration for those striving for top-end performance.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I Need a Strong CPU for 1080p Gaming?
Yes you do! This resolution is far less demanding on your graphics card, and therefore you’ll want a stronger CPU to handle this lower resolution at reasonable framerates.
Do I Need DDR4 or DDR5 RAM?
For the Intel 13th-Gen CPUs, you can choose between DDR4 or DDR5 RAM. For AMD Ryzen 7000, these CPUs only support DDR5, so you’ll need to pickup DDR5 DIMMs.
Will My Motherboard Affect Performance?
No, it won’t. Unless you’re overclocking, your motherboard should affect your gaming or workstation performance.
Do I Need to Worry About Compatibility?
Yes, but only when it comes to motherboards. Intel 13th-Gen CPUs work in both 13th-Gen boards and 12th-Gen boards, so Z690, Z790, B660, B760,and so on. AMD Ryzen 7000 CPUs only work with the new Ryzen 7000, so X670E, X670, B650E, and B650.