Tarkov is one of the most CPU intensive games of the modern era so it’s important your CPU is up to the task.
I’ve put together a definitive list of the best CPUs that will run Escape From Tarkov smoother than butter.
1. intel i9-13900k
|Base Speed||5.8 GHz|
|Overclock Speed||5.8 GHz|
- Handles Escape From Tarkov with ease (200+FPS)
- Extremely powerful CPU in general that can handle any modern game easily
- Great single and multicore performance
- “Affordable” pricing when looking at the performance
- Great support for DDR5 memory
- Supports 600-series motherboards and DDR4 memory
- Runs hot under load
- May be overkill for gaming – can get similar performance from some cheaper CPUs
- One of the most expensive CPUs on the market
It doesn’t get better than an Intel i9-13900k processor, especially for a game like Tarkov that relies so heavily on the CPU.
Is it overkill? Maybe slightly, but Tarkov is one of those games that is just so demanding that there’s really no such thing as overkill. If you game in 4k and want to pump your settings to the max, then you’ll want the 13900k.
If you game on a lower resolution, then you could make do with something a little less powerful. Either way, you should also grab 16GB or more of RAM to pair with the CPU and you’ll be good to go.
While the i9-13900k supports DDR5 RAM, DDR4 works just as well and costs a lot less.
2. AMD Ryzen 9 7950X
|Base Speed||4.5 GHz|
|Overclock Speed||5.7 GHz|
- Hits 60+ FPS in 4k on max settings
- Best Ryzen CPU for Escape From Tarkov
- More than powerful enough for Escape From Tarkov, especially when not gaming in 4k
- Huge overclock overhead
- Great CPU performance
- Extremely affordable and even cheaper than some older CPUs that perform worse
- Doesn’t break 120 FPS in Tarkov on ultra settings – even when gaming in 1440p or 1080p
- Consumes a lot of power
- Requires an AM5 motherboard
- Not compatible with DDR4 RAM
- Runs hot and boots slow
The AMD Ryzen 9 7950X is the best AMD option when it comes to a CPU for Escape From Tarkov.
It’s extremely powerful, but that power comes at a bit of a cost because it runs a little hot, consumes a ton of power, and demands DDR5 RAM.
If you’re debating between this and the i9-13900k, the 13900k is going to be the better option most of the time, but there’s nothing wrong with grabbing this 7950X if you really want an AMD processor.
As far as performance goes, this processor handles Tarkov with ease. For the price, though, I wish it performed just a little better.
Still, if you pair the CPU with 16+ GB of RAM, you shouldn’t have any issues running Tarkov. Again, though, if you can put an Intel CPU in your PC, I’d probably go with an i9-13900k instead.
3. AMD Ryzen 9 5950X
|Base Speed||3.4 GHz|
|Overclock Speed||4.9 GHz|
- Can hit 60+ FPS in Escape From Tarkov with ultra settings and in 4k
- Great single thread and multi thread performance
- PCIe 4.0 support
- Retains socket compatibility
- Lots of overhead for overclocking
- Has a hard time hitting 120+ FPS in Tarkov
- No CPU cooler included
- Not as powerful as other options
- Only supports DDR4
The Ryzen 9 5950X has no problem running Tarkov if you don’t mind lowering your graphics settings just a little bit.
If you really need to play on Ultra settings, I’d definitely recommend the Intel i9-13900k instead or the AMD Ryzen 9 7950X if you need to use an AMD card.
Overall, though, the Ryzen 9 5950X gets the job done and gets it done well.
If you’re debating between the 7950X and the 5950X because of their similar prices, you should know that this CPU only supports DDR4, while the 7950X only supports DDR5.
While DDR5 is newer, it’s really not better than DDR4, at least not yet, so unless DDR5 really excites you or you already have a couple of sticks, you’ll be just fine with the 5950X and 16+ GB of DDR4 memory.
4. Intel Core i9-12900KS
|Base Speed||5.5 GHz|
|Overclock Speed||7.45 GHz|
- Easily runs Tarkov at 120+ FPS even on max settings
- Can handle 4k gaming at 60+ FPS even in Escape From Tarkov
- Very powerful CPU in general and well-liked by PC gamers
- Supports DDR5, which is great because Tarkov is RAM-reliant
- No CPU cooler included with CPU
The i9-12900KS is a classic CPU and has been one of the PC gaming community’s top choices since it was released.
It has no problem running Tarkov and can almost keep up with the CPUs higher up on this list despite being a couple hundred dollars cheaper.
If you’re looking for the best bang for your buck then the 12900KS is the way to go, hands down.
Sure, you can spend a lot more money and get a more powerful CPU, but if you don’t mind sacrificing just a little bit of performance and playing Tarkov on low or mid graphics settings, the i9-12900KS is going to work perfectly.
This CPU also supports DDR4 and DDR5 RAM, so you won’t be locked into either memory type.
5. AMD Ryzen 7 5800X
|Base Speed||3.8 GHz|
|Overclock Speed||4.7 GHz|
- Great CPU for Tarkov if you don’t mind lowering graphics settings a little
- Extremely affordable and high value for the price
- Great single core performance makes the CPU great for gaming
- Compatible with AM4 Sockets
- PCIe 4.0 support
- Not great for 4k gaming
- Hard time hitting 120+ FPS even on 1080p and 1440p resolutions
- Clock Speeds aren’t very high
- No integrated graphics or CPU cooler
The Ryzen 7 5800X is the most affordable CPU on this list, and I chose it because while it’s cheap compared to the other CPUs, it can still run Tarkov fairly well.
If you don’t mind playing on lower graphics settings, then the 5800X will get the job done and will deliver 100+ FPS most of the time.
Your frames may drop a tad during heavy gun fights or when a lot of stuff is happening on screen at once, but overall, it is good enough.
Again, it’s important to pair the CPU with 16+ GB of RAM. Your GPU won’t matter nearly as much as your RAM and CPU when it comes to Tarkov. So, pair this with 16+ GB of RAM and a mid-tier GPU and you should be good to go!
What CPU Is Required For Escape From Tarkov?
Escape From Tarkov requires an Intel Core 2 Duo E4600 / Athlon II X2 210 to run. However, these CPUs will not run Tarkov very well and will cause heavy frame drops and performance issues. An i5-7500 / Ryzen 5 1600 or better with 16 GB or more of RAM is recommended for playing Tarkov with a decent frame rate.
While you technically can play Escape From Tarkov on an Intel Core 2 Duo E4600 according to Tarkov’s official minimum specs, you would have a terrible time if you actually tried.
I wouldn’t go any lower than an Intel i5-7500 or AMD Ryzen 5 1600. These will help guarantee you’re not playing on 15 FPS, which would be a death sentence in Tarkov.
Do note that Tarkov is extremely RAM heavy and has been known for memory leak issues, so your RAM is also important. You’re going to want 16 GB of RAM or more, no matter what if Escape From Tarkov is your game of choice.
Is Escape From Tarkov CPU Intensive?
Escape From Tarkov is very CPU intensive. Escape From Tarkov is known for being very easy on the GPU and even running on NVIDIA 1050 Tis, while being very demanding on the CPU and requiring higher end CPUs to hit high framerates. Tarkov is also extremely RAM intensive and needs 16+ GB of RAM to run smoothly.
Tarkov is much more CPU intensive than GPU intensive, and it’s a general consensus in the Tarkov community that the CPU and RAM are the first things you should upgrade if playing Tarkov is your main goal.
You don’t have to go too wild on the CPU, but you’re definitely going to want 16+ GB of RAM because Tarkov is known for being very RAM hungry and even having some memory leak issues.
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Eric streams 3 days a week on Twitch and uploads weekly to Youtube under the moniker, StreamersPlaybook. He loves gaming, PCs, and anything else related to tech. He’s the founder of the website StreamersPlaybook and loves helping people answer their streaming, gaming, and PC questions.