5 Best CPUs For RX 6900 XT

May 4, 2021 By:
5 Best CPUs For RX 6900 XT

The RX 6900 XT by AMD has risen to the top of the GPU food chain, claiming itself to be the pinnacle of technology. Some critics have placed the RX 6900 XT over the Nvidia 3090 in terms of value. This absolute unit of a GPU is without doubt the single most powerful Radeon chip ever made. With a card this powerful at your fingertips, one might wonder what is the best CPU to complement this excellent piece of hardware. In this feature, we will be taking a peek at the best CPU for RX 6900 owners. If you own this monster of a card and are looking to pair it up with bottleneck-free components, this might be an exciting read for you.

What’s so good about the RX 6900 XT?

If you want me to describe the RX 6900 XT in just one word, it would be “ value.” We can believe that the RX 6900 XT was designed to prioritize gamers and the average user. If you are looking for a GPU that can trade blows with the Nvidia 3090 while costing almost $500 less, then the RX 6900 XT could very well be the best choice you have ever made!

The wonders of the 6000 series

The RX 6900 XT is the latest addition to the 6000 series by Radeon, and without a doubt, it is leading the cavalry. AMD has always been very open and transparent about the working behind their products, and we believe this an essential contributor to the success of its 6000 series. The Big Navi with the RDNA 2 architecture is nicknamed the “ Nvidia killer “for a good reason.

The RX 6900 XT is capable of some amazing feats that rival its core competitors, the RTX 3090 from Nvidia. And at a fraction of its price, the card labels itself as a high-end option for enthusiastic gamers. The GPU can easily handle 4K gaming and has even managed to top the RTX 3090 in tests; it was always close behind it whenever it didn’t. It seems like Nvidia has met its most significant rival to date.

Deciding on a CPU 

Now that you know how much of a powerhouse the RX 6900 XT is, let’s talk about finding a partner for this beast. On most occasions, it is the GPU that holds down the gaming rig’s potential. But, if you own an RX 6900 XT, it is likely to be the opposite. 

There are a few key factors that one needs to familiarise themselves with when purchasing a CPU. Whether your ambition is to create a top-of-the-line gaming rig or a mining PC for cryptocurrency, these should all fall in line. Following these rules should help you build a desktop that stands up true to its required potential.

Brand

The brand is always essential when it comes to desktop components. Rather than siding with a single brand throughout your life, it is crucial to know where something will do better. Theoretically, components that are from the same brand function well together when opposed to combining different brands. Since we are working with a Radeon GPU, AMD processors should work fine to compliment the architecture well. However, make sure that your motherboard supports everything.

Purpose

Why are you building a desktop? Most users would answer, “ for everything.” However, it is important to decide how the system’s limits will be strained for the most part. A system that is designed for light editing is quite different from what’s built around 4K gaming. With a GPU as powerful as the RX 6900 XT, it is only appropriate to make something that pushes its cores to the limits.

The Budget

CPUs that have more features and higher numbers tend to be more expensive than older variants. If you plot CPU performance on a graph against its cost, you will be able to see that it is not a straight line. The pricing of CPU models increases sharply as you go up the chain. The difference between a $550 CPU and a $400 CPU might be marginal. But that marginal increase could mean everything when it comes to rendering massive videos or playing a modern game on 4K with ray tracing enabled. Make sure the price justifies its worth on your system.

Cores

A core is like an individual processor. Each one is capable of carrying out different tasks. With newer software having code that allows them to utilize multiple cores, having the right amount could increase the speed of relevant software.

The threads on a CPU refers to the number of processes that a CPU can carry out at a single moment in time. Most modern processors can carry out simultaneous multithreading. Simultaneous multithreading allows the CPU to use extra unused cores to add a little boost to the performance. These threads are not as fast as the central cores on the system, but they can boost the overall performance of the CPU by quite a bit.

For the average user, a dual-core processor would allow them to carry out all basic tasks. But owning a quad-core will theoretically increase the multitasking potential of the system even at the fundamental level. If you intend to use your gaming system, it is better to go with an option that provides at least eight cores. When looking for a CPU for RX 6900, it is best to go with a minimum of 8 cores.

Clock Speed

It is okay to refer to the speed of a CPU core to be its clock speed. This value represents the number of tasks a processor can carry out in a single second. Having a higher clock speed could make up for a reduced number of cores on the CPU. In specific processes, the clock speed is more important than the thread and core count.

That is why we can compare the Intel i9-10900k to the AMD Ryzen 9 5950X. Even though the intel processor has only ten cores instead of the 16 cores in the Ryzen, the i9 still has the faster clock speed, giving it the edge in certain situations.

The CPU architecture is also essential as newer architectures are always designed to be faster than their predecessors. We recommend a CPU with high clock speed and the latest architecture if you are going for speed. If you want a more balanced system for productivity, then a CPU with more cores will work better.

TDP

Power and thermal values are valuable parameters when it comes to CPUs. The TDP can decide whether your system will be quiet, loud, compact, or power-efficient. The TDP gives a rough idea to the user on how much power the CPU will require to function at peak levels, and it also shows how much heat will be generated. Of course, a cooler will be needed to dissipate the heat to keep everything running. 

Our choices: CPU for RX 6900

Now that you know what to look for check out our top choices when it comes to down to CPU for RX 6900. To even things out, we picked a model to suit each category so that everyone rolls with something they are comfortable with.

Budget Pick- AMD Ryzen 5 3600X

If you are tight on cash and want to go with the bare minimum, then the AMD Ryzen 5 3600X is the best CPU for RX 6900. That is a moderately powerful processor that runs on 7nm technology. The CPU comes with six cores and 12 threads which allow it to run games on 4K resolution.

Even though the processor’s clock speed is 3.8 GHz, it can be increased to 4.4 GHz when needed. However, a reliable cooling system is necessary as it is reported to give out troublesome amounts of heat. The processor does come with a Wraith Spire cooling system that works well as a stock cooler. However, we do not recommend overclocking to a value greater than 4.1GHz with the Wraith Spire; records indicate its efficiency drops past 4.0 GHz.

It has a TDP of 95W that does not hinder its performance in the slightest. If you look at the cache memory for the AMD Ryzen 5 3600X, it is 384KB, 3MB, and 32 MB for L1, L2, and L3. The system memory speed is 3200Mhz, and it has a DDR4 memory type. We found motherboards that have the AM4 architecture to work best with this.

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AMD Ryzen 5 3600X
31,762 Reviews
AMD Ryzen 5 3600X
  • The world's most advanced processor in the desktop PC gaming segment
  • Can deliver ultra-fast 100+ FPS performance in the world's most popular games
  • 6 cores and 12 processing threads bundled with the quiet AMD wraith stealth cooler max temps 95°C
  • 4 2 GHz max boost unlocked for overclocking 35 MB of game cache DDR4 3200 support

Overall, the processor is good enough for intensive work such as video editing/rendering and can find its way around 4K gaming to a certain extent. There have been reports of low framerates in certain games, but it does not get any better than this if you want to go with a budget-priced option.

Pros
  • Very affordable
  • The cheapest way to experience 4K gaming
  • Stable performance during intensive tasks
Cons
  • The stock cooler struggles when clock speed pushes past 4.1 GHz.

Entry Pick- AMD Ryzen 5 5600X

The AMD Ryzen 5 5600X should work well as an entry-level processor. If you are looking to purchase a CPU for RX 6900, which is on the newer side of things for generations, this sums up as a solid pick.

AMD Ryzen 5 5600X belongs to the Zen 3 generation from AMD, and it is relatively new in that sense. The processor comes with a few special gaming features that buff up its arsenal to wrestle with the big boys. The processor does play an important part when it comes to a gaming setup. However, unless you want massive FPS numbers on high resolutions, an entry-level GPU should do the trick.

The AMD Ryzen 5 5600X comes with six cores and 12 threads that can make quick gaming and everyday activities. The increased number of cores should make the whole setup more reliable when it comes down to multitasking. Not to mention the RAGE MODE of the RX 6900 paired up with the AMDs smart access memory will allow you to reach crazy benchmarks.

Entry Pick- AMD Ryzen 5 5600X
2,591 Reviews
Entry Pick- AMD Ryzen 5 5600X
  • AMD's fastest 6 core processor for mainstream desktop, with 12 processing threads
  • Can deliver elite 100+ FPS performance in the world's most popular games
  • Bundled with the quiet, capable AMD Wraith Stealth cooler
  • 4.6 GHz Max Boost, unlocked for overclocking, 35 MB of cache, DDR-3200 support

The TDP of the chip is only 65W, which is lower than any other processor in the Zen 3 generation. The L3 cache of the processor is 32MB, and the clock speeds can reach up to 4.6GHz. The low TDP does mean that there will be less heating as the processor is more energy-efficient, but if you are thinking of overclocking, then an investment in a cooling rig might be worth it. By choosing the Ryzen 5 5600X as the CPU for RX 6900, you will not miss out on a lot of performance.

Pros
  • TDP is only 65W
  • 6 Cores make multi-tasking much easier
  • It can be overclocked to reach 4.6 GHz
Cons
  • Overclocking requires an excellent cooling rig to keep the system stable
  • Performance might stutter at ultra-high graphic modes on certain high-end games.

Mid Tier Pick – AMD Ryzen 7 5800X

It is pretty hard to believe that the AMD Ryzen 7 5800X is a mid-tier processor considering its impressive features. However, if you don’t mind spending a bit more than the bare minimum, this processor should be a healthy upgrade from the entry/budget picks.

The AMD Ryzen 7 5800X is future proof. Meaning it will last you quite a while before its technology becomes inferior to what’s on the market. The processor comes stacked with eight cores and 16 threads. Just a year back, eight cores was something you’d never expect to get on a chip this affordable. Every one of these cores has a clock speed of 3.8 GHz, which can be overclocked to 4.7 GHz when required.

Even though the TDP of the processor is 105W, its performance makes up for it. The processor is very energy efficient when you look at it, and it also comes with a more compact design which will save you some casing space. The processor is based on the 7nm technology and follows the Zen 3 architecture.

The high clock speeds are well backed by its L3 and L2 cache sizes, 32MB and 4MB, respectively. The 7nm technology is very good at complimenting all eight cores, increasing performance in dire situations. The processor also supports AMD StoreMI Technology and AMD Ryzen VR that should positively influence the user’s experience.

Mid Tier Pick - AMD Ryzen 7 5800X
2,174 Reviews
Mid Tier Pick - AMD Ryzen 7 5800X
  • AMD's fastest 8 core processor for mainstream desktop, with 16 procesing threads
  • Can deliver elite 100+ FPS performance in the world's most popular games
  • Cooler not included, high-performance cooler recommended
  • 4.7 GHz Max Boost, unlocked for overclocking, 36 MB of cache, DDR-3200 support

We believe the AMD Ryzen 7 5800X is the best combination at the moment for the average gamer. You will see no noticeable drops in performance, and it will certainly not break your wallet.

Pros
  • Can easily handle 4K gaming
  • Up to 4.7 GHz through overclocking
  • AMD StoreMI and AMD Ryzen VR support
  • Energy-efficient for how much power it packs
Cons
  • Requires a cooling system to bring out its peak performance.

High End Pick- AMD Ryzen 9 5900X

If you are looking for unrivaled performance when it comes to the processor segment, the Ryzen 9 5900X is the way to go. That is an absolute beast of a CPU, and its price mirrors its performance.

The AMD Ryzen 9 5900X comes with a whopping 12 cores and 24 threads. There is a noticeable difference in the numbers when compared to the mid and low-end processors on this list, and for a good reason. If you want to experience gaming at its finest, then this would be a worthy investment.

The processor has a TDP rating of only 105 W despite its massive power flex. Being a high-end processor that is unrivaled in its category, the 5900X can handle 4K gaming like no other. It is capable of pumping out a constant 144FPS on 1440P while being maxed out of settings. 

Suppose you have the bank to pair this combination with a good amount of RAM, no feat’s too great for this beastly CPU. The 3.7 GHz base speed can be overclocked to 4.8 GHz on demand. With an L3 cache of 64MB, all memory-intensive programs will have enough room to thrive in.

High End Pick- AMD Ryzen 9 5900X
670 Reviews
High End Pick- AMD Ryzen 9 5900X
  • The world's best gaming desktop processor, with 12 cores and 24 processing threads
  • Can deliver elite 100+ FPS performance in the world's most popular games
  • Cooler not included, high-performance cooler recommended
  • 4.8 GHz Max Boost, unlocked for overclocking, 70 MB of cache, DDR-3200 support

If you are looking for the ultimate CPU for RX 6900, this is it! We believe all models beyond this category are overkill. There is no card on the market that can come close to the AMD Ryzen 9 5900X in terms of power and value. We believe, only the 11th generation of Intel can pose a threat when it eventually makes its way onto the market.

Pros
  • Ample number of cores to withstand even the beefiest of applications
  • Reaches 8K gaming potential
  • Can pump out high FPS counts on 4K and 144+ FPS on 1440P while being maxed out on settings
Cons
  • Higher-end of the price scale
  • Requires a high-end cooling system.

High-End Pick – Intel Core i9-10900X

If you prefer Intel’s brand security over AMD, we made sure to include a choice for you to go with. The Intel Core i9-10900X is a high-end processor that negates the clash of brands through its robust design and features.

Rocking on 14nm technology, the Intel Core i9-10900X comes loaded up with Intel’s advanced technologies. The processor comes with ten cores and 20 threads which are well above what’s required for gaming and everyday usage. Its cores all come with a base clock speed of 3.7 GHz, which can be increased to 4.7 GHz. Not to mention it has Turbo Boost 3.0, which is the latest technology used by Intel.

With 19.25 Mb of L3 cache to work with, the Intel Core i9-10900X can easily hold its ground against memory-intensive applications. It does have a TDP rating of 165W, which is higher than all of the Ryzen picks, but it’s not high. An excellent cooling rig should keep it from overheating when strained.

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High-End Pick - Intel Core i9-10900X
157 Reviews
High-End Pick - Intel Core i9-10900X
  • 10 Cores / 20 Threads
  • Socket Type LGA 1200
  • Up to 5.2 GHz
  • Compatible with Intel 400 series chipset based motherboards

If you are looking to go with an Intel CPU despite the clash of brands, this should always be your first pick. But, we prefer the AMD CPUs over it as they do provide better benchmarks and compatibility.

Pros
  • Ten cores and 20 threads can easily handle all high-end games in the market.
  • Intel Advanced technologies
  • A good amount of L3 cache
Cons
  • 165W TDP is relatively high when compared to the others on the list
  • Ryzen and Intel brands are notorious for bad brand clashes during their performance.

Top CPU for RX 6900 – AMD Ryzen 9 5900X

This CPU is easily the winning model from the list. The CPU is incredibly powerful and boasts a fantastic amount of value for the modern-day gamer. It has 12 cores and 24 threads which is an insane amount of multi-tasking power. It only has a TDP rating of 105 W, which is excellent in power consumption and heat dissipation. The AMD Ryzen 9 5900X is the clear winner in this comparison as it compliments the GPU much better than its Intel contender. If you can spare the cash, go for it. Otherwise, the AMD Ryzen 7 5800X is an excellent runner-up to go with.

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