This paper describes a comparison of surface roughness between ceramics and cubic boron nitride (CBN7020) cutting tools when machining of AISI H11 hot work steels treated at 50 HRC. Plan is designed according to Taguchi’s L18 (21×32) orthogonal array. The response surface methodology (RSM) and analysis of variance (ANOVA) were used to check the validity of multiple linear regression models and to determine the effects, contribution, significance and optimal machine settings of process parameters, namely, cutting speed, feed rate and depth of cut on machining parameters on the Ra and Rt. The results of this research work showed that, the feed rate was found to be a dominant factor on the surface roughness, followed by the cutting speed, lastly the depth of cut. The CBN7020 cutting tool showed the better performance than that of ceramic based cutting tool. In addition, the combination of low feed rate and high cutting speed is necessary for minimizing the surface roughness.