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Best CPU for RX 7900 XTX – Should I upgrade my CPU for the 7900 XTX?

Here are the best CPUs for the 7900 XTX - Just like we said we would.

Updated: Jan 11, 2023 9:57 am
best cpu for rx 7900 xtx

The AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX is the fastest GPU produced by AMD to date. As with anything, this powerful component needs a powerful system supporting it as it drives the frames to your monitor. So today, we ask the question, what’s the best CPU for the RX 7900 XTX? And do you need to upgrade your CPU?

Although this guide contains some CPUs released last year, we assure you that all of the CPUs on the list is still relevant. We will update the list accordingly if anything changes.

Top CPUs available now:

The 7900 XTX is here! Where should you buy the 7900 XTX? Try here: Where to buy the 7900 XTX

Now Read: Where to buy RX 7900 XTX?

We’re going to find the CPUs that fit the RX 7900 XTX best, just like VideoGamer did. Except we’ve done both the 7900XT and the XTX in separate articles because we’re not as lazy.

We hope that the 7900 XTX is every bit as good as it seems it is, but one thing is for sure, if it isn’t, it won’t be because of bad CPU choice.


Best CPU for RX 7900 XTX: Top picks


RX 7900 XTX: Improvements

Why do we even want an RX 7900 XTX? Let’s take a look at the improvements AMD has made to the 7900 XTX over the 6000 series GPUs. This should help us gauge what kind of tech we need to support this monster.

The 7900 XTX should perform about 1.6X better than the 6950 XT. Featuring 12288 FP32 cores and is built upon the 5nm RDNA3 architecture. The 7900 XTX is clocked at a base clock of 1.9GHz and 2.5GHz boost. This is all while offering 24GB of GDDR6 memory, to help AMD cut costs in manufacturing and pass the savings onto us. This Navi 31 XT GPU is going to raise the roof when it comes to AMD GPU performance. This is especially true with software aid from the likes of FSR and SAM.


What is SAM? And how does it affect the best CPU for the RX 7900 XTX?

SAM is an AMD revision of an older technology named “Smart Access Memory”. It was first launched with the 6000 series GPUs from AMD, allowing AMD CPUs and GPUs to work more efficiently together.

Despite SAM being introduced in 2020, it’s just AMD’s implementation of Resizable BAR. This is a technology that has been around for a long time, but AMD took it one step further in terms of CPU/GPU efficiency.

This efficiency increased by allowing the AMD CPU access to all of the GPU VRAM all at once, as opposed to a section limited by bandwidth. This allows the AMD CPU to pull from anywhere in the GPUs memory, meaning access speeds are faster. This equates to a slightly faster GPU performance.

Currently, Smart Access Memory only works with Ryzen 3000 CPUs and later, with RDNA2 GPUs and later.


What’s the best CPU for the RX 7900 XTX?

Here we will analyze the best CPU to pair with the RX 7900 XTX, and display them for your viewing pleasure.

AMD Ryzen 9 7950X

01
AMD Ryzen 9 7950X
Runner up Ryzen CPU for the RX 7900XT

AMD Ryzen 9 7950X

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Cores

16

Threads

32

Base Speed

4.5GHz

Boost Speed

5.7GHz

Cache

64MB

Socket

AM5

4.5
/5
Editor’s Rating
Pros
  • Very high performance
  • Masisvely high clock speeds
  • The best AMD CPU on the market
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Runs hot
  • Out-performed by cheaper intel CPUs

The Ryzen 9 7950X is the fastest CPU that AMD has released to date, however, it’s also the most expensive, and for good reason. This CPU is the pinnacle of Zen 4, the most cutting-edge CPU that AMD has to offer.

The sheer number of cores that this CPU possesses is almost enough to assure its ability to process. Accompanying the 16 cores, we have 32 threads. All of these are clocked at a huge base speed of 4.5GHz and an unimaginable boost speed of 5.7GHz.

The cache has also been doubled for the Zen 4 core, giving the 7950X 1MB of L2 cache, as opposed to just 512KB. Cache helps massively with core performance, the more cache the merrier the performance in games.

The TDP is also high on the 7950X. The base TDP comes in at around 170W, whilst the boost TDP clocks in at 230W. This CPU requires a worthy cooler to keep it running cool.

The 7950X is the best that AMD has to offer right now (prior to the release do the 7000 X3D CPUs). On paper, it’s pretty impressive and it definitely holds up to the hype in benchmarks too. This is definitely the CPU that should be considered for the 7900 XTX. With SAM supporting the 7900 XTX, it’ll get that little extra boost into greatness.

Ryzen 9 7900X

01
AMD Ryzen 9 7900X
Best Ryzen CPU for the RX 7900XT

AMD Ryzen 9 7900X

ryzen 9 7900X

Cores

8

Threads

16

Base speed

4.7GHz

Boost speed

5.6GHz

Cache

L3 64MB

Socket

AM5

4.5
/5
Editor’s Rating
Pros
  • Incredible performance
  • High performance pew Watt
  • Interesting IHS
  • Cooler than other 7000 series CPUs on average
Cons
  • A little pricey
  • Hard to keep cool

The 7900X is part of the Zen 4 architecture, and AMD has brought the performance to another level on the new AM5 platform. This is the future of technology, specifically since the 7900X supports PCIe Gen 5 on compatible motherboards. This is true for all Zen 4 CPUs.

The 8-core, 16-thread Ryzen 7900X is capable of insane multi-core performance as well as single-core performance, whilst operating with great efficiency. This is thanks to its massive 5.6 GHz boost clock speed and large improvements to performance this time around.

Cache has also been doubled for the Zen 4 core, now with 1MB per core as opposed to 512KB, this means more instruction buffering and less likely the CPU will be caught in a slow-down-casing backlog.

The 7900X’s TDP is 170 W at the base core speed and 230 W at the boost speed. This also means that the 7900X runs hot, like all 7000 series CPUs. We hope you have a beefy cooler ready.

The 7900X is a jack of all trades. Not quite the 7950X but is far more efficient and cost-effective. The 7900X nails the Price-to-performance ratio, and is the perfect mix of work and play.

Ryzen 7 5800X3D

03
AMD Ryzen 7 5800X3D
Wildcard a good choice CPU for the RX 7900 XTX

AMD Ryzen 7 5800X3D

5800x3d

Cores

8

Threads

16

Max boost speed

4.5GHz

L3 Cache

96MB (64MB 3D V-cache)

TDP

105W

4.5
/5
Editor’s Rating
Pros
  • Inexpensive
  • Incredible performance
  • 3D V-cache
Cons
  • No cooler
  • No native overclocking support

If you’re on last-gen AMD, and a lot of research suggests that you are, then you might want to consider the Ryzen 7 5800X3D. Because it makes very short work of the 12900KS in gaming workloads.

The Ryzen 7 5800X3D is an engineering marvel, claiming the ‘best gaming CPU’ title from Intel and their core i9-12900K of the previous generation, but there are a couple of reasons it’s not top of our list, unfortunately.

The 5800X3D is an excellent choice for gaming, with eight multithreaded CPU cores and a massive 96MB of 3D V-cache, which is an unhead-of amount of cache for a CPU, not even the next-gen flagships sport this amount.

3D V-Cache is where this CPU differed from literally every CPU in the world right now, (before the release of Zen 43D) as it’s the only one to make use of it.

The 3D cache is not stacked laterally but vertically (thanks to new 3D printing technology), hence the term 3D cache. This drastically increases the number of chiplets you can cram into a certain footprint. The vertical stacking allows AMD to achieve the massive 96MB L3 cache with a total access speed of 2TB/s in its 5800X3D CPUs.

The 5800X3D has lower core speeds of 3.4GHz base and 4.5GHz max. The reason for this lower Core speed is the 3D V-cache instability at higher clock speeds. This is also why overclocking is disabled on this CPU as standard. So it may not be the best choice for multi-core and synthetic workloads, but it does dominate in gaming.


Do I need an AMD CPU to take advantage of the RX 7900XT?

No technically speaking, you do not. But we recommend it as there are a few features you will have access to when opting to stick with one ecosystem. SAM and Smart Access Video are CPU dependent and whilst we don’t have all the details on Smart Access Video, we can assume that an AMD CPU will be required.

It’s for this reason that we primarily recommended CPUs produced by AMD. However, an Intel CPU will work just fine. You just may not have access to some of the features AMD has baked into its hardware to support an all-AMD ecosystem.


Final word

All of the PCUs on this list will serve you well when paired with the RX 7900 XTX. The mighty core and thread counts of the two top AMD CPUs will bring you the maximum performance possible out of the 7900 XTX. Or, you can opt for a wildcard and save yourself some money, that’s the way of the 5800X3D. You can always go Intel too, we just recommend you stick with the same ecosystem, as AMD has implemented benefits to a build that sticks to the AMD ecosystem.

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