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What Is The Best Processor For GTX 970 In 2022? (Top 5 Picks)

GTX 970 belongs to the high-performance graphics card segment of NVIDIA. It is known for its Maxwell 2.0 architecture and the fact that even after 7 years from GTX 970 release date, the card offers pretty decent performance.

Some of the GTX 970 specs which make it a popular card amongst gamers and editors are: It is based on a 28nm process and can operate at a base clock speed of 1050 MHz.

The operating frequency can be boosted up to 1753 MHz.  It comes with a memory size of 4GB and supports the GDDR5 memory type. It has got 1664 shading units along with 104 texture mapping units as well as 56 ROP.

The card even supports DirectX 12. Overall, it is an amazing graphics card loaded with a variety of high-end features to offer mesmerizing graphics and incredible performance. 

GTX 970, if paired with an appropriate processor, can offer 1080p as well as 4K gaming smoothly.

However, finding the best processor for GTX 970 can be a challenging task. It is because a non-compatible processor and motherboard for GTX 970 can end up giving high bottlenecking results on the bottleneck calculator.

So, whether it be pairing of FX 8350 or Ryzen 5 3600x with GTX 970 or any other CPUs, we have come up with a list of best CPUs for GTX 970 2020 and GTX 970 compatible motherboards that can deliver you uninterrupted stutter-free performance and high-quality graphics.

Let’s dive right in.

Top 3 Recommended Choices

Editor's Choice
Intel Core i5-8600K
Intel Core i5-8600K
  • Intel UHD Graphics 630 offers impressive visual performance
  • 6 Cores / 12 Threads deliver powerful speed and incredible performance
  • 3.60 GHz up to 4.30 GHz Max Turbo Frequency / 9 MB Cache
  • Intel Optane Memory Supported
Runner Up
AMD Ryzen 5 2600
AMD Ryzen 5 2600
  • Stunning multiprocessing performance
  • 3.4 GHz base clock speed that boosts up to 3.9 GHz when overclocked
  • Unparalleled AMD StoreMI technology for faster load and boot times
  • Innovative AMD SenseMI Technology that skyrocket system's performance
Budget Choice
Intel Core i5-4690K
Intel Core i5-4690K
  • 4 cores, 4 threads deliver excellent gaming experience
  • Integrated Intel HD Graphics 4600 (1200 MHz)
  • Premium Intel Turbo Boost Technology 2.0
  • Dynamic Acceleration/Turbo Boost for increased performance
Top Pick
#1 Intel Core i5-8600K
10/10Our Score

The Intel Core i5-8600K processor, named Coffee Lake, is well-known for its outstanding speed and incredible gaming performance.

It comes equipped with 6 cores as well as 6 software threads that churn out a base speed of 3.6 GHz (can be boosted up to 4.3 GHz).

This provides an amazing digital content editing and live-stream gaming experience.

Working flawlessly with GTX 970, this is the processor to choose if you want to obtain the best overall value for your money. 

  • The recommended choice for gaming
  • Supports Intel Optane memory for ultra-high definition content creation and gaming
  • Comes with the advanced Intel Turbo Boost technology for further speed maximization
  • Supports two-channel DDR4
  • No hyperhreading
  • Requires good cooling solution as it doesn't come with one

Multitasking and highly intensive tasks can be performed conveniently on this processor with proper allocation of memory using its 9MB L3 cache. 

It comes with integrated Intel UHD 630 graphics, which is capable enough to produce high-resolution graphics of around 4096x 2306 on the screen.

The graphics card that’s great for streaming, coupled with the support of Intel Optane memory lets you enjoy ultra-high-definition content creation and gaming.

To take the performance to an even higher level, you can overclock the cores of the CPU to get blazing performance with maximum operating frequency. 

The only downside with this processor is the lack of HyperThreading as well as the heatsink.

You will have to get an additional cooling solution for the processor, as the cooler does not come with the box. 

All in all, this 14nm built processor is one of the fastest and reliable processors in medium-budget packed with incredible power to enable high-end gaming, video editing, and multitasking

Premium Choice
#2 AMD Ryzen 5 2600
9/10Our Score

In comparison to its predecessor, this Ryzen processor offers better and more impeccable performance, power efficiency, improved RAM frequency support, and lower memory frequency. 

Using its 6-cores with 12 threads, the processor has the ability to deliver a fantastic clock speed of 3.4GHz that can be boosted up to 3.9GHz when using heavy applications or playing your favorite games.

Check this one out!

  • AMD StoreMI technology for improved load and boot times
  • Provides accelerated performance thanks to the advanced AMD SenseMI and AMD Ryzen Master utilities
  • Offers the highest multiprocessing performance in its class for gaming
  • Comes with a cooling solution
  • The cooling fan is loud and not of the highest quality
  • The overclocking software is not so intuitive

AMD Ryzen 5 2600 processor is an improvement on the first generation Ryzen which usually features 14nm Zen architecture.

The 2600 processor belongs to the second generation of Ryzen processors which is based on 12nm Zen+ architecture. It is code-named Pinnacle Ridge.

Every gamer and artist likes to have a powerful processor, loaded with uncompromising features as well as smooth performance.

Well, that’s possible with AMD Ryzen 5 2600 as it uses a plethora of technologies and features to offer you eminent performance.  

The processor uses AMD StoreMI technology for making improvements in file management, load and boot times, as well as system responsiveness.

With this processor, you can have an accelerated system performance right at your fingertips as it comes with technologies like AMD SenseMI and AMD Ryzen Master utility.

These technologies deliver the true machine intelligence and overclocking capabilities to unleash the real power and potential of the Ryzen 5 2600.

Even the cooler of the processor flaunts capable thermal hardware and operates silently.

Whether you are assembling a PC or workstation for gaming, editing, or any other work that requires high multiprocessing performance, you can rely on AMD Ryzen 5 2600 processor as it offers the needed performance at a reasonable price.

Best Budget Choice
#3 Intel Core i5-4690K
9/10Our Score

To reach new heights of brilliant performance for impressive gaming, one of the prominent choices is the Intel Core i5-4690K processor. This quad-core processor by distributing the load across the 4 software threads ensures an unbelievable gaming performance.

Not just gaming, the processor is capable enough of delivering maximum system performance even when you are multitasking on computer-intensive applications and software. 

Last but not least, the price is exceptionally good.

  • Easily handles high temperatures when overclocked
  • Can be overclocked to up to 3.9 Mhz for improved speed and performance
  • Easy to install
  • Doesn't lag under heavy load based on our tests
  • With four physical cores, it lacks hyper-threading

While you concentrate on taking down the enemies, this processor takes care of visual details like shading and texturing using its integrated and quiet graphics card, Intel HD Graphics 4600.

It offers a brilliant base clock speed of 3.5GHz. Some applications may require greater operating frequency. Well, that can also be managed as an automatic burst can be given to the clock speed up to 3.9GHz.

In comparison to its predecessor (i5-4670K), the i5-4690K has a bit more speed boost by 100MHz. It even operates at the same TDP as the Intel Core i7, i.e., 88W. 

As far as the core specifications are concerned, with four physical cores, it lacks Hyper-Threading.

It comes with a Level 3 cache of 6MB and an integrated graphics card with 20 execution units and a maximum dynamic frequency of 1.2GHz.

The company has even made some tweaks to the thermal interface material (TIM). The processor can handle high temperatures better when overclocked and works efficiently under high load, in comparison to previous Haswell and Ivy Bridge CPUs.

With the Intel Core i5-4690K, you can have the creative freedom to perform incredible multimedia tasks and create digital content with ease.

For more affordable processors like this, check our detailed guide on the 7 best CPUs under $200.

With Premium AMD Features
#4 AMD Phenom II X6 1090T
8.9/10Our Score

Get a taste of 6-core computing as well as overclocking with the AMD Phenom II X6 1090T. With the power of 6-cores, the processor enables smooth multitasking performance.

What adds to the performance is the individual L2 cache for each core, along with an L3 cache for quick sharing of data among the cores.

Also, for convenient overclocking, the multiplier is fully unlocked.

Check it out!

  • Boasts the highly efficient AMD Turbo CORE technology
  • With HyperTransport 3.0 technology to minimize system bottlenecking
  • Energy efficient
  • Equipped with AMD PowerNow! 3.0 technology that keeps your CPU cool and quiet
  • No cooler 
  • No heatsink

As per the dynamic needs of the user, the processor automatically gets boosted using the AMD Turbo CORE technology. To give a boost, the processor switches from 6-core to 3 turbo-charged cores to offer raw speed instead of multiple core usage. 

To keep the system performance at high levels, the AMD64 with Direct Connect Architecture together with 45nm technology creates a tuned processing pipeline.

The user has the privilege to run 32-bit applications at the top speed as well as optimal use of powerful 64-bit apps.

For reducing the system bottlenecking, the HyperTransport 3.0 technology has a bandwidth of up to 16.0GB/s. It also offers low latency, as well as a point-to-point link designed to give a boost to the communication speed between integrated circuits.

AMD puts special attention to energy efficiency and that’s s why Phenom II X6 1090T is equipped with AMD PowerNow! 3.0 technology, which includes “Cool and Quiet” and AMD CoolCore.

These technologies ensure that you can enjoy a cool and quiet system while reducing the heat and saving energy by balancing the processor activity.

AMD Phenom II X6 1090T is all about multicore processing with the advantage of Turbo CORE coupled with energy efficiency offering an ultimate user experience.

With Superior Overclocking Speed
#5 Intel Core i7 i7-4790K
8.1/10Our Score

Last on our list, the Intel Core i7-4790K CPU is one of the high-end processors of Intel which offers an outstanding overclocking ability, superior performance, and life-like graphics.

Pairing it with the Z97 board, you can churn out the best performance from this processor. 

And that, at an affordable enough price!

  • Offers a marvelous turboboost of up to 4.4Ghz
  • With premium thermal interface material that solved previous heat issues
  • Supports hyper-threading, unlike other options on that list
  • Comes with a silent fan
  • Only the boxed version have fan, double-check what you're ordering.

The Intel Core i7-4790K processor is one of the high-end processors of Intel which offers an outstanding overclocking ability, superior performance, and life-like graphics. 

Pairing it with the Z97 board, you can churn out the best performance from this processor.

Code named Devil’s Canyon, this is a quad-core processor which works with 8 software threads to churn out an amazing base clock speed of 4.0GHz.

It can even offer a turboboost of up to 4.4Ghz. These operating frequencies are about 15% higher than i7-4770K (which only offered a base/turbo frequency of 3.5/3.9GHz).

Even after having a terrific overclocking ability, most of the time gamers don’t need to overclock it because of its already powerful base performance.

The onboard graphics support is also pretty cool with the Intel HD Graphics 4600. The gaming, video editing, as well as rendering, becomes more amazing with this integrated graphics card’s maximum dynamic frequency of 1.25GHz. 

The users used to face some heating issues with the previous Haswell chips. Well, that’s not the case this time as the manufacturers don’t directly solder the CPU heat spreader onto the chip, instead, they used a thermal paste.

In addition to this, in between the heat spreader and CPU die, the company incorporated a newly manufactured thermal interface material (TIM). This has resulted in better temperature control and solved the issue of overheating during high loads.

The processor even supports hyper-threading and offers a fan that works silently to make a peaceful working atmosphere. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Best Processor For GTX 970

Based on our research adn testing, the best CPU for GTX 970 is Intel Core i5-8600K Desktop Processor if you need high power and good clock speed.

Is GTX 970 still good for 1080p gaming?

GTX 970 is based on Maxwell architecture, which is an old one. Well, this card may be old, but it has the capability to run 1080p games conveniently at a pretty decent frame rate of 60FPS when set at medium visual settings. It even supports games with DirectX12 requirements.

What CPU Works Well With a GTX 970?

In our list, we have discussed some of the best CPUs that can be paired with GTX 970. If paired with an ideal CPU, the GTX 970 graphics card can run 1080p as well as some 4K games with ease.

So, some AMD and Intel processors that can work with this card with minimum bottlenecking are:

CPU ModelSpecifications
Intel Core i7-4790kCore: 4       
Threads: 8
Operating Frequency: 4.0GHz
Max Turbo Frequency: 4.4GHz
Intel Core i5 8600kCore: 6       
Threads: 6
Operating Frequency: 3.6GHz
Max Turbo Frequency: 4.3GHz
AMD Phenom II X6 1090TCore: 6       
Threads: 6
Operating Frequency: 3.2GHz 
Max Turbo Frequency: 3.6GHz
Ryzen 5 2600Core: 6       
Threads: 12
Operating Frequency: 3.4GHz 
Max Turbo Frequency: 3.9GHz
Intel Core i5-4690KCore: 4       
Threads: 4
Operating Frequency: 3.5GHz
Max Turbo Frequency: 4.9GHz

Final Verdict

In this article, we discussed some of the best processors for GTX 970. All of these CPUs are highly compatible, showing minimum bottlenecking results in the bottleneck calculator.

Each one offers unique features with powerful performance and exceptional efficiency. So, you can choose the one that suits your preferences and requirements.

However, the best one based on our intensive research and expert testing proves to be the Intel Core i5-8600K:

Top Pick
Intel Core i5-8600K
10/10Our Score

The Intel Core i5-8600K processor, named Coffee Lake, is well-known for its outstanding speed and incredible gaming performance.

It comes equipped with 6 cores as well as 6 software threads that churn out a base speed of 3.6 GHz (can be boosted up to 4.3 GHz).

This provides an amazing digital content editing and live-stream gaming experience.

Working flawlessly with GTX 970, this is the processor to choose if you want to obtain the best overall value for your money. 

If you want high power and clock speed, you can go with Intel Core i7-4790k and AMD Ryzen 5 2600. On the other hand, for a budget-friendly processor with decent performance,  AMD Phenom II X6 1090T is one of the best choices.

To make a well-informed decision, read the entire article carefully and pick the processor that fulfills most of your needs. 

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