Nvidia’s RTX 2070 Super is probably the best mid-range GPU currently in the market. It’s great for gaming, and for mid-range workstations alike, without being too much of a hinderance to your finances.
To enable the RTX 2070 Super to reach its graphical processing potential, it will need the power of a proper CPU – and depending on what type of build you’re making, the word “proper” has a different meaning. If you’re focusing on gaming, you need to ask: what kind of games are you looking forward to playing? Do you play single player games, or just multiplayer? Do you plan to stream, and perhaps edit said streams to increase your viewership on different platforms? These questions all play toward your potential budget, which, in-turn, will impact the end-result of your build.
To maximize your investment, and help you find the best value for your money when it comes to CPUs, we will take each of these scenarios and find the best matching processor for your build; both in regards to Intel, and AMD processors.
Best Budget CPUs for RTX 2070 Super
So, you don’t care too much about single player games, or next-gen consoles, but would rather make sure that when you’re playing online competitive games, such as DotA 2 or Counter Strike: Global Offensive, you don’t have frame-rates dropping under 120 FPS, especially when using a 1440p, 144Hz, monitor. In that case, there are several CPU’s that will do the job, at only a fraction of the cost of higher-end processors, which would only give you a 5-10% speed boost anyway.
Best Budget Intel CPU for RTX 2070 Super
The midrange, Intel Core i5-9600KF, currently has almost nothing to envy from its higher-priced competitors. In fact, when comparing it to AMD’s Ryzen 7 3700X (which is 50% more expensive) one can see the i5-9600KF outperforming it in regards to framerates, while using the Nvidia 2070 Super to run many of the most popular online competitive games.
The i5-9600KF comes with 6 cores and 6 threads (most games will only use up to 4 cores currently, and rarely make use of additional threads) while reaching base speeds of 3.7 GHz, and over-clocking speeds of 4.6 GHz. It also has DDR4 2666 memory types, and will support 64-bit operating systems.
In regards to its thermal design, it has a TDP of 95W, which is pretty high for a mid-range CPU, so make sure you invest in a CPU good cooler given that no fan or heatsink is included with its purchase.
Given that the i5-9600KF currently only costs $198.65 (though you’d also have to account for a cooler), it is the best option for online competitive gaming, and makes an amazing pair with the Nvidia’s RTX 2070 Super, as it avoids any unnecessary bottlenecking unfortunately found in AMD CPUs.
Best Budget AMD CPU for RTX 2070 Super
If you love online competitive games, and want to show off your skills while playing them, then we recommend the AMD Ryzen 5 3600.
In comparison to the aforementioned Intel processor, it will run most games at a 3-23% deficit in terms of effective FPS, when paired with the RTX 2070 Super, but since it can readily play any of these games at over 120 FPS, it hardly matters. What you gain in comparison to the i5-9600KF is the ability to multithread, and a 25-38% multi-core mixed speed boost. This means your processor will run your streaming software in unison with your game of choice much smoother, and with minimal-to-no frame drops.
A great value for its price, the Ryzen 5 3600 has 6-cores and 12 threads, operating at 3.6 GHz, and 4.2 GHz when overclocked. It has AMD’s 7nm structure, DDR4 3200 memory types, and, of course, it supports 64-bit operating systems. It has a significantly lower TDP compared to the i5-9600KF, of 65W, so it will run at cooler temperatures and is more energy efficient. It also includes a Wraith Stealth fan and heatsink, though, according Techspot’s benchmarks, it isn’t that great a cooling unit. Still, $12-$50 will get you a much better cooler, allowing you to be able to consistently overclock your CPU, without the worry of overheating it.
At a $175 pricetag, AMD’s Ryzen 5 3600 is one of the smartest options you can get for playing current generation, perhaps early next-gen, as well as competitive online games; all while also having the ability to steam, edit, and multi-task, quickly and efficiently.
Best Performance CPUs for RTX 2070 Super (& Futureproof)
The next generation of consoles and games are just around the corner, and the RTX 2070 Super has more than enough graphic processing power to run their games at the same (and probably higher) FPS rates, so you’re going to need to pair it with a CPU that can handle these more demanding specifications.
Current-gen games may only use 4 cores, and 8 threads at best, but the upcoming Playstation 5 and Xbox Series X will include 8-core AMD Zen 2 processors, meaning that we can expect to see next-gen games make use of this improved hardware structure. Having an equivalently strong CPU means that you’ll be able to enjoy these games as they arrive, not just at launch, but also later on in the life-cycle of the new consoles.
Also, if you plan on streaming, editing, or other general content creation, then octa-core multi-threading processors will make these tasks much smoother and quicker in 2020 and beyond.
Best Futureproof Intel CPU for RTX 2070 Super
Similar to the i5-9600KF, the biggest brother – the i7-9700KF – when paired with the Nvidia RTX 2070 Super, will run games to the GPU’s full potential, without any bottlenecking issues. This means it can run current-generation games much faster than any equivalent AMD processor. In fact, the lost performance can be so significant, that using the similarly priced Ryzen 7 3700X will result in effective FPS rates that will make you feel like you just downgraded to a 2060 Super. Of course, this may differ come the next-generation (or improved VR) games, since this Intel processor does not have any hyperthreading capabilities.
With 8 cores, and 8 threads, it does run at a base 3.6 GHz operating frequency, and overclocks at up to an impressive 4.9 GHz. It has a 14nm structure, and a 12MB cache. Once again, as with the i5-9600KF, this CPU also has a TDP of 95W, and also does not include a fan or heatsink. For its $379.99 price range, it is a bit expensive for its lack of cooler and hyperthreading, but that is the price you pay in order to avoid CPU-bottlenecking your Nvidia RTX 2070 Super GPU.
Best Futureproof AMD CPU for RTX 2070 Super
The main selling points of the Ryzen 7 3700X to pair with the RTX 2070 Super lie within Ryzen’s higher thread count, paired with its lower price rate compared to the 9700KF.
In addition, the Ryzen 7 3700X has a 65W TDP, which means it will run at lower temperatures, and hence it is easier to overclock it more consistently. Again, even though it has a lower price point in comparison to its Intel counterpart, it still does come with a cooling unit: namely the Wraith Prism cooler. Though not the best, it is a respectable cooler which also features some of that popular RGB lighting pizzazz.
It may not reach Intel i7-9600KF’s 4.9 GHz max turbo speed, but it does reach 4.4 GHz when overclocked and operates at the same 3.6 GHz range. It has a 32MB L3 cache, and Ryzen’s third-generation seven-nanometer structure. But what really separates it from the aforementioned Intel processor, is its 16-thread count. Current games may not use more than 6-8 threads max, but next-gen consoles have already announced a hyperthreading function for the Xbox Series X, as well as a 16-thread count for the Playstation 5’s CPU. How long it will take for games to make use of this hardware upgrade, of course, is a different question.
Spec-wise versus Intel’s i7-9700KH, this is the superior CPU, but the fact that Intel’s CPUs will run today’s games more efficiently leaves one to wonder how this will change in the future. Will it be to AMD’s benefit, or will next-generation games only exacerbate current bottlenecking issues? The answer is yet to be seen.
In regards to the use of your PC as a workstation, this would be the superior CPU. If you plan on streaming or editing, it is definitely the recommended option. It is also recommended in regards to finances, as AMD’s CPU is more energy-efficient, and will currently only cost you $290 (over $80 less than the i7-9700KF) – and if one were to include the price of the cooler and heatsink, given that you decide to keep the Wraith Prism, the AMD Ryzen R7 3700X is a much better deal to be made.