The RTX 3080 is a next-generation graphics card that is set to become one of the best options in its range, due to its excellent price-performance ratio. We are working on an in-depth analysis that we hope to share with you in a few days, but in the meantime, we want to help you solve a couple of doubts that I have seen that have become a constant among many users: which is the Best CPU for RTX 3080 graphics card.
What processor and power supply do I need to move an RTX 3080?
During the last few days, I have read quite a lot of nonsense on this subject. For example, some believe that for RTX 3080 they will need an 850-watt power supply. And there are also some myths about the PCIE Gen4 interface and about the processor that we must mount to be able to take advantage of it optimally. Let’s put some order in all that chaos.
The first thing to keep in mind is that the RTX 3080 is a very powerful graphics card. It far outstrips the RTX 2080, and also has a huge advantage over the RTX 2080 Ti. However, most of the current games do not optimally use more than four cores and eight threads, which means that we will not need a processor with a high multithreaded capacity to get a good experience.
With the transition that video game developments will experience after the arrival of the next-generation consoles, there will be a significant leap in terms of the use of multi-threaded CPUs, but the GPU will continue to be the most important component, especially at high resolutions (1440p and higher).
Shelling out the importance of the resolution that we are going to use
Second, you also have to keep in mind the role that the resolution used plays in the workload assumed by the GPU, and in the distribution of a possible bottleneck. If we run a game in 1080p, the RTX 3080 will show a greater dependence on the processor, and as we increase the resolution that dependence will be reduced until it disappears almost completely when we reach 4K.
I already explained this question to you at the time a couple of years ago when we talked about bottlenecks. At low resolutions, the graphics card runs much looser, completes duty cycles in less time, and needs the processor to be able to work at full throttle so that it does not lack data.
When you work with high resolutions the opposite happens, the GPU has to deal with much heavier work, due to the higher pixel count, and it is less demanding on the CPU.
It is very easy to understand. Imagine that you have to move some packages from one place to another and that you have a partner who brings you new packages from time to time. If those packages are light and small, you will be able to move them faster, and if your partner does not bring you new packages fast enough, you will end up standing still. This example is an analogy of what happens with the RTX 3080 and the 1080p CPU, the first would be you carrying the packages, and the second the partner who brings them to you every so often.
Raising the resolution to 4K would change that example as follows: the packages would weigh more and be larger, so it would take longer to carry them, and your partner would not have to quickly bring you new packages so you don’t get stuck. He would be calmer, but not you.
What processor do I need to move an RTX 3080
Well, it depends on the resolution, as you may have guessed. Right now the 10th generation Intel Core processors have the advantage of offering higher single-thread performance, which makes them the best option, in terms of raw performance, to play games, especially if we move in resolutions with a high dependence on the CPU, such as 1080p.
I know what you are thinking, why do I want an RTX 3080 if I am going to play in 1080p? Well, it is very simple, because it is a fantastic graphics card to take advantage of monitors of more than 144 Hz or more. Its performance in current games in 1080p is tremendous, as you will discover in our next review, but we must accompany it with a powerful CPU so that it can display its full potential in that resolution.
If we are going to play in 1080p with the RTX 3080, the most balanced option in relation to price-performance would be to mount an Intel Core i5 10600K processor, since it adds 6 cores and 12 threads and offers excellent single-wire performance, which will allow us to achieve a rate much higher FPS than with equivalent AMD solutions, like the Ryzen 5 3600X, for example. Yes, a Ryzen 5 3600X will also allow us to take advantage of an RTX 3080, but in 1080p we will have a lower FPS rate, so we recommend the Intel chip.
By raising the resolution to 1440p the dependence on the CPU is considerably reduced, and at 2160p it practically disappears, so much so that the difference between the Intel Core 10 series processors and the AMD Ryzen 3000 processors is almost non-existent, even when using inexpensive models like the Ryzen. 3 3300X, for example. This is due to what we have already explained to you, because the GPU starts to assume a huge workload, and therefore does not need the CPU to work at the same rate as in lower resolutions. The conclusion we can draw is very simple, you don’t need a high-end processor to make the best use of an RTX 3080.
RTX 3080 – Power Supply and Interface (Best CPU for RTX 3080)
The RTX 3080 requires, according to the NVIDIA official website, a 750-watt power supply, and uses an additional 12-pin power connector. If our source does not have this connector, nothing happens, we can use the 12-pin adapter included with the RTX 3080 Founders Edition, which connects to two 8-pin cables.
The consumptions registered by the RTX 3080 are between 320 and 370 watts. To that, we should add the consumption of the rest of the components of our PC, which will obviously vary depending on its configuration. An average gaming PC equipped with the RTX 3080 should register an approximate consumption of between 500 and 580 watts, which means that we would actually have enough with a quality power supply that is capable of delivering a power of 650 watts.
As I have already said, it is important that you take into account both the quality of the source and the actual consumption of your equipment. Obviously, a generic 750-watt power supply is not the same as a quality power supply with 80 Plus Gold certification and a power of 650 watts, although the numbers point in the other direction, the second is much better.
I don’t want to end this article without talking about another important topic, the PCIE Gen4 interface. As our regular readers will know, the NVIDIA RTX 30 based on the Ampere architecture are compatible with this standard, but if your motherboard is limited to PCIE Gen3 you have nothing to worry about, you can take full advantage of it without problem, as long as You mount it in an x16 slot (with 16 PCIE lanes).
I hope that with everything we have seen in this article you will have clearer everything you need to assemble an RTX 3080. If you have doubts about the measurements of the graphics card take a look at the last image, it you can clearly see that it occupies two expansion slots and that their length is 285 millimetres, that is, 28.5 cm.