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5 Best CPUs for Streaming – In-Detail Reviews and Buying Guide

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Live streaming has become a viral activity, and with good reason. How or where else can you build a massive following of devoted fans, showcase your brilliance and earn a decent amount from a hobby, literally from anywhere?

But that’s only half of it. Despite the minimal barriers to entry, getting to levels where you’re earning a tidy sum and with a respectable following can be the pretty far cry. It takes talent, dedication, and a less talked about factor, capable equipment like using the best CPU for streaming.

Although other equipment plays a part in ensuring your stream is a success, the bulk of it is down to the computer you’ll use, and by extension, the quality of your CPU is highly consequential.

Gaming and streaming simultaneously can be highly demanding to any computer, and most won’t manage to perform. Being a successful streamer means being able to provide your audience with high-quality streams. With a CPU that’s not up to the task, you would struggle, leave alone guarantee high-quality streams for your viewers.

Learn more about how a CPU contributes to the success of a Livestream and what you to look for in your search for the best CPU for streaming.

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5 Best CPUs for Streaming That Are Worth Your Attention:

Cores  Threads  Clock Speed (Base/
Cache Memory
AMD Ryzen 9 5900X 12 24 3.7/4.8GHz 70MB
Intel i9-12900K 16 (8P+8E) 24 3.2GHz P-core /
2.4 GHz E-core
Max 5.2GHz
30MB (L3); 14MB (L2)
AMD Ryzen 5 7600X 6 12 4.7/5.3GHz 38MB
AMD Ryzen 5 5600G 6 12 3.9/4.4GHz 19MB
Intel Core i5 – 12400 6 12 2.5/4.4GHz 18MB

AMD Ryzen 9 5900X – Best for Streaming Overall



  • Cores: 12
  • Threads: 24
  • Base clock: 3.7GHz
  • Max. boost clock: up to 4.8GHz
  • Cache memory: 70MB


  • max temperature -900C; cooler not included; PCIe 4.0 support

The 5900X features 12 cores and 24 threads, making it one of the most powerful CPUs. It also has a base clock speed of 3.7 GHz and a boost clock speed of 4.8 GHz, allowing for high-speed and efficient streaming performance.

This processor also has access to the new PCIe 4.0 technology, which enables faster data transfer rates between compatible devices, resulting in improved loading times and overall performance.

It also supports up to 128 GB of DDR4 RAM, making it ideal for multitasking and high-end gaming. With its excellent performance, outstanding power efficiency, and low price point, the AMD Ryzen 9 5900X is a perfect choice for content creators looking for a robust streaming and gaming CPU.

Pros Cons
  • Superior gaming and streaming performance
  • Supports PCIe 4.0
  • It runs cool even under extreme performance
  • Inefficient power consumption
  • It doesn’t include a stock cooler

Intel i9 – 12900K – Best for Gaming and Streaming



  • Cores: 16 (8P+8E)
  • Threads: 24
  • Base clock: 3.2GHz P-core / 2.4 GHz E-core
  • Max. boost clock: up to 5.2GHz
  • Cache memory: 30MB (L3); 14MB (L2)


  • unlocked and overclockable; support for PCIe Gen 5 and DDR5

Intel i9 – 12900K is a powerful CPU option for content creators looking to livestream their content. This CPU boasts a high clock speed of up to 5.3GHz, making it one of the fastest. With eight cores and 16 threads, this CPU has plenty of power to handle multiple streams without lags.

The Intel i9 – 12900K also features Intel Turbo Boost Max Technology 3.0, which helps boost the speed of single-threaded applications even more. This makes it perfect for those who want to stream 4K videos or run intensive software applications.

It’s also very affordable for those concerned about their budget. Although it is more expensive than the Ryzen 5 7600X, it offers more performance and value for money, making it an ideal choice for content creators.

Intel i9 – 12900K is a great CPU option for content creators looking to take their streaming to the next level. It offers powerful performance in a relatively affordable package, making it an excellent choice for anyone who needs the best possible hardware for their content.

Pros Cons
  • Unmatched gaming and streaming performance
  • Support PCIe 5 connectivity
  • Affordable compared to a similar AMD alternative
  • It’s a bit pricy
  • Inefficient power consumption and cooling in peak performance mode

AMD Ryzen 5 7600X – Best Value AMD CPU for Streaming



  • Cores: 6
  • Threads: 12
  • Base clock: 4.7GHz
  • Max. boost clock: up to 5.3GHz
  • Cache memory: 38MB


  • DDR5-5200 support, cooler not included; supports PCIe 5.0 on select 600 Series motherboards

With a 6-core and 12-thread design, AMD Ryzen 5 7600X makes simultaneous gaming and streaming a breeze. It’s also at a middle price where it’s not too expensive but offers excellent performance.

This fantastic CPU features AMD’s “Zen 4” architecture, which provides excellent performance with lower power consumption than previous generations. Additionally, it’s equipped with Precision Boost 2 overdrive and dedicated video accelerators to enhance your gaming experience further.

AMD Ryzen 5 7600X can handle even the most complex gaming and streaming processes, but should you need more juice, you can buff it up thanks to the flexible overclocking feature.

If you’re looking for a capable processor at a reasonable price, go for 7600X; you won’t regret it.

Pros Cons
  • Affordable and solid purchase given its impressive performance
  • Handles gaming and streaming effortlessly
  • Supports DDR5A and PCIe 5.0
  • Versatile and works great even with standard applications like word processors or media players
  • Extremely efficient with video encoding and decoding
  • It doesn’t come with a stock cooler
  • Can run hot easily under extreme performance
  • Setup may require new RAM and motherboard

AMD Ryzen 5 5600G – Best Entry-Level CPU for Streaming



  • Cores: 6
  • Threads: 12
  • Base clock: 3.9GHz
  • Max. boost clock: up to 4.4GHz
  • Cache memory: 19MB


  • unlocked for overclocking, DDR4-3200 support

The AMD Ryzen 5600G is one of the most affordable CPUs for streaming content that offers excellent performance for streaming in gaming and streaming applications.

It’s a 6-core/12-thread processor with a 3.7GHz base frequency and a 4.6GHz boost clock speed.

The Ryzen 5600G has integrated Vega 7 graphics, meaning you won’t need to purchase a dedicated graphics card to get good performance while streaming. This can save you money on hardware while still allowing you to deliver top-notch streaming to your audience.

The Ryzen 5600G is also very energy efficient, which is essential when streaming for long periods. The processor has an impressive 65W TDP rating, which is lower than many other CPUs in its class.

If you are looking for an affordable CPU for streaming that offers good performance without having to spend too much, the Ryzen 5600G is a great option.

Pros Cons
  • Excellent processing efficiency and power consumption
  • Affordable and a solid purchase
  • Includes a Wraith Stealth cooler
  • Quiet and cool operation
  • Limited compatibility may complicate the initial setup
  • Limited to PCIe 3.0 connectivity

Intel Core i5-12400 – Best Budget Intel CPU for Streaming



  • Cores: 6
  • Threads: 12
  • Base clock: 2.5GHz
  • Max. boost clock: up to 4.4GHz


  • built-in Intel UHD Graphics 730 controller; supports up to 4 monitors.

With a base clock speed of 2.9GHz and a maximum single-core turbo frequency of 4.3GHz, this processor provides plenty of speed and performance to handle most streaming tasks. In addition, it offers six cores and 12 threads for multitasking and 12 MB of L3 cache for faster load times.

The Intel Core i5 – 12400 is also very energy efficient and can run at low temperatures, making it an excellent option for those who need to conserve energy while streaming. It has an integrated UHD graphics 730 GPU that can handle complex graphic rendering tasks such as gaming, photo, video editing, streaming, and more.

The integrated UHD graphics supports up to four monitors, making it great for multitasking and broadcasting your streams to a broader audience.

Overall, if you’re in the market for a reliable processor that gets the job done without breaking the bank, the Intel Core i5 – 12400 is an excellent choice. It offers plenty of power, good performance, and efficient cooling, all in one convenient package.

Pros Cons
  • Fast and reliable
  • Supports PCIe 5.0 connectivity and DDR5 memory
  • Includes Intel’s stock cooler
  • Most software can only partially utilize the advanced DDR5 memory for faster and more efficient operation.

How CPU Contributes to Gaming and Streaming

Before getting to it, here’s a quick rundown of what a CPU is, how it operates and why it’s vital in any computer, not just those for streaming.

A Central Processing Unit (CPU) is the main chip in a computer that controls the flow of data. It interprets and carries out the basic instructions that operate a computer. A CPU processes data from programs to enable various activities and tasks, including gaming and streaming.

Almost all CPUs comprise two parts: the control unit and the arithmetic logic unit. The control unit acts as a coordinator between other components in the computer, while the arithmetic logic unit handles the operations involving math calculations. For these operations to complete successfully, the control unit must decode instructions into a language that the arithmetic logic unit can understand.

A CPU also includes several small processors called cores, each handling a specific task. Cores are responsible for executing a program’s instructions and relaying outputs to the system.
The more cores a CPU has, the more efficient it will be when handling multiple operations simultaneously. However, this depends upon a software or program’s ability to use all the available extra cores effectively.

Gaming and streaming software, except for web-based streaming software, is resource intensive. This means they take up a considerable amount of CPU processing power compared to word processors.

A powerful CPU ensures smooth and consistent gameplay, high frame rates, and low latency. This can be especially important for competitive gamers since a weak CPU can lead to lag and stuttering, significantly affecting their in-game performance.

Similarly, live streaming requires a powerful CPU. It needs to be able to handle the high demands of encoding video and audio while simultaneously managing other tasks like monitoring user comments or responding to chat messages. If your CPU isn’t up to the task, your streams could suffer from lag or poor-quality video and audio, or you could fall behind in engaging your viewers.

Another thing to remember is you might need to stream on multiple platforms at some point in your live-streaming journey. Here, the emphasis is on something other than a strong but rather on an all-rounder CPU. One that can be compatible with many streaming platforms and streaming software. This way, you can be sure that your streams are stable and non get interrupted due to inadequate processing power.

Remember that you’ll be running all these processes simultaneously, and the pieces (i.e., software compatibility) must fit for you to have a quality gaming stream.

As you stream your gaming session, remember that your audience expects similar, if not better, audio and visual quality than most cable or satellite television broadcasts. The best CPU streaming can easily handle gaming and streaming instances while guaranteeing better stream quality for your viewers.

The most vital part is choosing the right CPU for your gaming and streaming needs.

What to Consider to Choose the Best CPU for Streaming:

Understanding what matters most when selecting a CPU for streaming is vital to getting the most out of your setup. After a proper assessment and the correct information, you can decide on the best CPU for your streaming needs.

The following considerations should increase your chances of finding the best CPU for your unique needs. Also, as you’re about to find out, most of these considerations overlap or feed into each other.

Another way to put it is they work in tandem, one factor complementing or depending on another to ensure your streaming is a success.

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1. Cores and Threads

A core is a processor in a CPU, and each core can execute a single instruction or data stream from a program. This data stream or thread goes through the CPU for processing and generating appropriate output.

Initially, computer CPUs had single cores but this greatly limited performance. The need for multicore CPUs arose to meet demands for increased computing power from enterprise-level users.

Multicore CPUs were then gradually passed to consumers as early as 2000, courtesy of research breakthroughs leading to cheaper production capabilities.

To understand this better, think of the game or the streaming software you’re using as a complex program.

A streaming software, for instance, will have several programs crammed into it, whether encoding or decoding data or broadcasting it to your streaming platform.

Games are similar in this regard because by interacting with the game environment or other players, you’re triggering several processes. These processes send multiple data streams to the CPU, which processes it and produces the desired output.

So, while it might all seem seamless, a lot is going on in the background, which may range from simple to complex operations.

Multiple cores and threads in a CPU will give you better performance when gaming, streaming, or running just about any other complex program or software. So, if you intend to stream high-end games, opt for a CPU with at least eight cores and 16 threads.

However, if you only need the CPU for streaming 1080p or 720p video, then four cores and eight threads should be sufficient.

2. Clock Speed

Clock speed is measured in gigahertz (GHz), which refers to the frequency at which the processor can execute instructions. A higher clock speed usually means the processor can process more data faster.

Still, even though clock speed is an essential factor in choosing a CPU, it should not be the only factor taken into account. The number of cores and threads, cache memory, cooling system, and brand should also be considered.

3. Cache Memory

Cache memory is an essential factor to consider when choosing the best CPU for streaming. It helps your processor access the data it needs to perform its tasks faster and more efficiently.

It’s like short-term memory, storing instructions and frequently used data. This reduces the need to keep accessing the main memory, which can be time or resource-consuming, and ensures that your processor can keep up with the sometimes-straining demands of streaming.

Cache memory can come in three levels: L1, L2, and L3. L1 cache memory is usually small, with most modern processors having around 64KB of L1 cache, but it is very fast since it’s built into the processor itself.

L2 cache is larger than L1 and slower but still helps provide extra performance compared to just using L1. Finally, the L3 cache is the largest but slowest, so it’s typically used to store infrequently accessed data.

When shopping for a processor, try looking for one with at least 4MB of L3 cache or higher. This should cover most streaming workloads without sacrificing too much performance. Of course, you can always go for more if you want to get the absolute best performance out of your processor.

4. Cooling System

All CPUs need to run cool to ensure accuracy and processing efficiency and to avoid heat damage. Unlike their low-powered counterparts, powerful high-end processors tend to generate more heat and therefore require more efficient cooling systems.

Manufacturers know this, and most CPUs come with stock coolers, but these are usually insufficient for high-performance processors.

While starting, you may not need to push your CPU to its limits, but over time you will. Suppose you overclock your processor or use it heavily for streaming. In that case, you should seriously consider buying an aftermarket cooler, such as an all-in-one liquid cooler or a large air tower cooler. Each of these types has its advantages and limitations.

For instance, all-in-one liquid coolers offer excellent performance, are relatively easy to install, and are affordable. On the other hand, air tower coolers are larger and more expensive, but they provide excellent cooling performance.

5. Brand and Your Budget

It is important to consider the reputation of the brand you buy from, as it’s often indicative of the quality of the product you are getting. In this case, Intel and AMD are both well-known and respected brands in the industry, so purchasing a CPU from either one is likely a safe bet.

Regarding budget, there are usually trade-offs between performance and price. Generally speaking, more expensive CPUs have better performance and features, while cheaper CPUs may still offer good performance but might be lacking in other areas.

Balancing your budget with the performance you need is critical to paying less for what you get.

If you ever feel stuck, try finding reviews on different CPUs, as this can help you narrow down your choices and ensure you get the best value for your money..

6. Your Streaming Platform

Popular streaming platforms like Twitch, YouTube Live, and Facebook Live require different computing power and processing speeds. For example, you’ll need a CPU that can handle encoding and decoding video streams efficiently if you’re using Twitch.

You should also ensure the CPU you’re using has enough cores and threads to support the number of viewers you’re trying to reach. Similarly, CPU – streaming software compatibility is a significant matter.

While most CPUs are now built with universal compatibility in mind, minor issues, such as whether the streaming software can make use of all of the CPU’s processing power, could mean the difference in whether you’re streaming high-quality or subpar content to your views.

In a few words, research the software you’re using and the CPU specifications it needs before making your purchase to avoid any frustrations later.

7.  Games You Intend to Stream

When it comes to streaming games, the type of games you intend to stream should factor into your CPU choice. More advanced and demanding games require a more powerful processor. For instance, playing a game such as Call of Duty requires more processing power than playing a game like Stardew Valley or Old School RuneScape.

Consider what types of games you plan on streaming most often. If you stream mainly eSports games, a mid-range processor should suffice. However, if you’re streaming AAA titles or resource-intensive games, you’ll need to invest in a high-end processor capable of handling the most intensive graphics.

Remember, your CPU should also support any additional software you may need, such as streaming platforms and video editors. Keep in mind the cumulative system requirements for each application before purchasing to ensure your chosen CPU can handle the workload.


The more cores and threads – the better?

Yes, but there’s a catch to it. Going by the discussion above, a CPU with more cores and threads should perform better in gaming or streaming. This holds but increased performance or efficiency stalls at some point.

With most software, each process has what’s referred to as a primary thread, and usually, processor resources are allocated first to the primary thread. The primary thread can then reallocate the remaining resources in the same core or others to secondary threads.

So, you can have many cores, but the primary thread may only utilize one or a few and delegate the rest. Similarly, if the software you’re using supports multithreading, it will only partially maximize all the processing power.

Still, more cores and threads would be better under ideal conditions like multithreading support. So, if you must go with the overkill, ensure the programs or software you’ll be running can maximize all the extra processing power; otherwise, it’ll be another costly but unjustifiable purchase. 

Which CPU brand is better for gaming – AMD or Intel?

Both brands offer powerful gaming CPUs, which may appeal to different users and their unique use cases. An objective way to look at it is by comparing the most critical aspects of gaming.

For starters, AMD’s processors generally offer more cores than Intel’s offerings, which can help improve game performance that can make use of and maximize the power from multiple cores. This is especially true with resource-intensive games that support multithreading, as they require more computing power than single-threaded games and can squeeze out the extra power from multiple cores.

In the same breath, AMD processors can suffer from lower single-core performance than Intel’s, meaning they won’t always be the best choice for games that don’t take full advantage of all the cores available.

On the other hand, Intel offers higher single-core performance than AMD, meaning their processors can often handle single-threaded games better. Remember the thing with primary-secondary threads?

With more processing power on single cores, Intel processors can quickly provide computing resources to primary and secondary threads on a single core, translating to better performance overall and without the need to find compatible apps or software that support multithreading.

Intel also offers powerful overclocking features that can help get even more out of their CPUs, something AMD can’t currently match. Meaning more power on demand, helping you avoid unnecessary upgrades that may be costly or downright impossible, considering time and resources.

Ultimately the verdict as to which CPU brand is better for gaming rests on the type of game you’ll be playing, personal preference, and what you expect as ideal performance.

How much will a decent gaming CPU cost me?

Intel’s Core i7 and the more recent i9 series are typically considered the best choice for gamers, and these CPUs start at around $300.

Similarly, AMD’s Ryzen series of processors are also great for gaming, and they generally come in at a lower price point than Intel’s offerings, starting at around $200, but this can go down to $100.

These costs can vary depending on the trim or where you purchase it. Compare offers from different sellers to ensure you get the best deal in terms of price and performance.

Final Thoughts

The best CPU for streaming can be the magic bullet you need to supercharge your streaming efforts. Not only will it result in better stream quality for your audience, but you’ll also have an easier time pulling it off—no more frustrations getting your computer to work as fast or more efficiently.

Easier said than done, though. The best CPU for streaming varies depending on individual needs, preferences, and budget. With numerous offerings in the market, it can be a tough pick. However, the answer lies in the factors that differentiate the best CPU for each individual.

Consider the five factors mentioned above, and if necessary, compromise. Decision paralysis may kick in, but remember that the earlier you start streaming, the better; there’s also room to rectify later.

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