Best CPU For Streaming

If you are looking for the perfect CPU for streaming, then look no further. In this article, we have reviewed and discussed in detail 5 of the best options.

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When it comes to streaming, you must have a good central processing unit. While graphics are important, the CPU is the brain of the PC and will determine how successful your streaming will be.

In this article, we have compiled a list of the five best CPUs for streaming. We have focused on important specifications needed for successful streaming, such as cores, threads, multitasking capabilities, and RAM.

Our Top Picks

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WePC Awards Best In Class
AMD 3950X
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AMD 5900X
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AMD 3900X

How we choose

Here at WePc, we carefully consider every product that we include in our articles to ensure that they are of the best possible quality. We have years of experience in the gaming field and carry out much research and benchmarking to ensure that the components and accessories we recommend are worth purchasing.

We aim to recommend products with the best specifications for their budget and purpose. We always take into consideration the value for the money, customer feedback, and performance.

In this article, we have tried and tested the five CPUs featured to see how well they perform for streaming. We have focused on key specifications needed and have included a wide range of core processors that are suitable for a wide range of different budgets.

Factors to consider in a good streaming CPU

Before you purchase a CPU for streaming, there are a few important factors you will need to take into consideration.

Cores and threads

Two of the most important things to consider are how many cores and threads your CPU has, most commonly known as ‘hyperthreading’ this is important not only for gaming but for streaming too. As the cores and threads determine how many tasks your PC can carry out and the speed at which they do this, there needs to be a sufficient number.

Ideally, you will want to purchase a CPU with six cores and 12 threads at a minimum to game with no loading issues. Any CPU with less than six physical cores will struggle to game with no issues. Hyperthreading is also a good specification to have, this is however standard to the majority of modern CPUs so you won’t have to worry too much about whether your CPU is hyperthreaded or not.

Multitasking

When you stream and game at the same time, your PC has to multitask. The cores and threads determine how well your CPU can multitask and given that multiple programs need to be running at the same time when streaming, a good number is essential.

The higher number of cores and threads that are available, the more successful your streaming will be. You do not want your PC to be working overtime to allow multiple programs running at once, you want to allow your PC some headroom for normal system function as well as your gaming and streaming endeavors, All this should be hassle-free.

Clock speeds

When choosing a CPU, you must check its clock speeds. There are two types of clock speeds that you will need to take into consideration – the base clock and the boost clock. These speeds determine how fast your CPU will perform overall, and they measure the cycles that a CPU carries out per second.

The CPU you choose should have clock speeds of at least 2.5 GHz, though this is the bare minimum. Ideally, the CPU you choose should have around 3.5 GHz of speed and above for you to game and stream simultaneously without any issues.

Cooling capacity

One factor overlooked by some is the cooling capacity, not of the CPU but of the cooler or lack-there-of it ships with. When you introduce a CPU to its thermal limit a safety mechanism is triggered called ‘thermal throttling’

Thermal throttling or ‘throttling’ lowers the CPU clock speed to allow the CPU to cool down, it intentionally slows itself down to allow the cooler it’s equipped with to catch up. So having a cooling system in place that can handle the full TDP of the CPU is imperative, whether that be air, AIO or, full loop, it needs to be sufficient. Especially since ‘streaming’ CPUs often see higher usages for longer periods of time. a recipe for thermal throttling.

FPS and resolution

There are two types of resolution when speaking in terms of streaming, ‘gameplay’ resolution and ‘streaming’ resolution. Both are imperative for a good quality stream.

when streaming you want to lighten the load on your PC as much as possible, leaving more CPU resources outside of gameplay free for streaming purposes. Although every CPU on the list is capable of supporting a high-end GPU for 4k 60FPS gameplay, it does not mean that this resolution is optimal when streaming as 4k demands a lot of resources.

the best practice is to game at a lower resolution to allow enough free resources to allocate to streaming. The streaming resolution is the resolution of the image being transcoded to your chosen streaming platform, optimally for performance purposes this should be 720p but if you have a strong enough wifi connection and a good GPU you can bunk it up to 1080p.

Similarly, in importance we have FPS or Hz, the measurements in this context are interchangeable. For an optimal streaming experience, you want to be gaming and streaming in the same resolution, to reduce any kind of tearing or glitchiness. 60FPS is the sweet spot for fidelity while most choose to stream at 30FPS for performance purposes.

Architecture

While the architecture of the CPU is not an essential factor for streaming. These specifications are still important and will have an impact on how your PC will run overall. The better architecture used, the more powerful and efficient the CPU will be for streaming. every CPU here is based on the Zen 3 architecture, the best in the business for gamers and streamers alike.

The type of memory that the CPU supports is important as you will want to purchase a CPU with the newest DDR compatibility. The newer type of RAM will perform better. In addition to the memory type, you should also take into consideration the cache size and speed. L3 is the most important for gaming and cache in general along as its fast will help boost the CPU performance overall.

Best CPU For Streaming

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In-depth Review

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AMD 3950X
WePC Awards Best In Class
AMD Logo transparent 1

AMD Ryzen 9 3950X

Editor's Rating
5/5
Pros

16 cores and 32 threads which are well above the minimum requirement

Futureproof CPU

It is one of the most powerful CPUs in the world

Cons

A cooling system is not included and will need to purchase separately

Given that the Ryzen 9 3950X is a high-end CPU, it has a higher price range to match it. This AMD CPU certainly is one of the best available to purchase for streaming currently.
The core processor count is 16, and the number of threads included is 32. This is more than double the minimum requirements for gaming and streaming. Given this, your performance will not be impacted and multitasking will be a breeze for this CPU.

It features 64MB of L3 cache, which is more than enough for streaming and it runs on the newest PCIe interface 4.0. It has a base clock speed of 3.5 GHz, and a max boost clock speed of 4.7 GHz. These speeds are particularly fast.

The max temperature of the CPU is 95℃ which is particularly high. This Ryzen 9 does not come with a cooling system and will need to be purchased separately at an additional cost. It uses an advanced socket AM4 and is a particularly futureproof CPU.

It is one of the most powerful core processors available, and it is a brilliant option for streaming as it provides a good resolution and fps too.

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AMD 5900X
AMD Logo transparent 1

AMD Ryzen 9 5900X

Editor's Rating
4.8/5
Pros

Very high base and clock speeds which are perfect for streaming

It is particularly futureproofed, which will allow it years of use

It features 12 cores and 24 threads which is a high amount

Cons

It does not come with its cooling system. This will need to be purchased separately at an additional cost.

When you take into consideration all of the CPUs featured in the article, the Ryzen 9 5900X is one of the mid-range options. However, it is still a high-end CPU created by the fantastic company, AMD.

This is a fairly new CPU, and it has a processor core count of 12 and a thread count of 24. This is impressive and will be able to provide seamless gameplay and streaming. It is far above the minimum recommendations.

When looking at the wattage used it is 105 watts, which is a fairly high amount. As this CPU does not come with a cooling system, this must be purchased separately to prevent the CPU from overheating.

The clock speeds of the 5900X are impressive, reaching boost clock speeds of up to 4.8 GHz, again well above the recommended amount. It can provide an fps of over 100 and the overall resolution provided is great. As it uses PCIe 4.0, and an advanced socket AM4, it is particularly futureproofed.

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AMD 3900X
AMD Logo transparent 1

AMD Ryzen 9 3900X

Editor's Rating
4.7/5
Pros

It is a reasonably priced CPU

It has a good fps and resolution capability

It has an impressive cooling system

Cons

It has great base and boost clock speeds, but it is not as fast as some of the other CPUs featured

The Ryzen 9 3900X is a great choice of CPU for streaming. It is a mid-range option that is not too expensive, and it has some fantastic specifications. It features 12 cores and 24 threads in total, which is more than the recommended minimum for streaming.

The cache of the CPU is great at 70MB, and it has memory support of DDR 3200. The max boost clock speed for the 3900X is 4.6 GHz. While this is not the highest amount featured, it is more than enough needed for good streaming.

The fps performance the CPU can provide is over 100, and it allows for a great resolution overall. This CPU features a fantastic cooling system, which involves a Wraith Prism cooler. This cooler has heat pipes to help with heat dissipation and a strong fan. The fan is RGB light-controlled, which is aesthetically pleasing.

The Precision Boost 2 and the overclocking capabilities enhancing streaming and gameplay performance as a whole.

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AMD 5950X
AMD Logo transparent 1

AMD Ryzen 9 5950X

Editor's Rating
4.6/5
Pros

8 cores and 16 threads which are fantastic for streaming

Very fast clock speeds

Provides an impressive FPS and food resolution

Cons

Quite power-hungry and additional cooling may be required

The AMD 5950X is a great choice of CPU that is not only powerful but affordable too. It is more than capable of performing well while streaming with no issues. It features 8 cores in total which is a good amount for streaming. In addition to this, it has 16 processing threads which are fantastic and will optimize both streaming and gaming performance.

The number of cores and threads available allows your PC to multitask with ease. With a clock speed of up to 4.7 GHz, this is an impressive CPU. It will not lag or cause any issues while streaming. While gaming, the CPU can provide an fps of 100 and above, and it features 35MB of cache.

The memory interface used is DDR3 which is reasonable and it uses PCIe 4.0, which is futureproofed. It is optimized for high-FPS use, and it has a thermal display power of 105W. Overall, this is a fantastic CPU choice for gaming. Its cooling system is good but as this is a fairly powerful CPU, additional cooling may be required.

05
AMD 5800X
AMD Logo transparent 1

AMD Ryzen 7 5800X

Editor's Rating
4.5/5
Pros

Great value for the money

Significantly futureproofed specifications

Impressive clock speeds

Cons

It does not come with a cooling system. This will need to be purchased separately at an additional cost.

The AMD 5800X is a very affordable higher-end CPU. Given its lower price, it has particularly impressive clock speeds as a whole. It uses an 8 count core processor, which is one of the fastest available to purchase. It has a 16 thread count, which is an optimum amount for streaming.

It has 36MB of cache and supports DDR 3200. As it can be overclocked, the overall performance can be boosted slightly and improved. It has a CPU boost clock speed of 4.7 GHz. This is much higher than the recommended amount and given the overall cost of the CPU, this is great.

It uses an advanced AM4 socket and is compatible with PCIe 4.0 allowing the CPU to be significantly futureproof. It provides an optimum resolution for streaming and the fps it can deliver is over 100. The high resolution provides quality streaming.

As this CPU does not come with a cooling system, this will need to be purchased separately to ensure that the CPU does not overheat.

Final Word

We hope that you have found this article useful and helpful in finding the best possible CPU for streaming. As you can see, there are a handful of important factors that you need to take into consideration before purchasing a CPU.

The three most important factors are the core count, thread number, and clock speeds. If a CPU has good specifications for these three factors then it will provide the best streaming expereince.

As streaming uses additional cores and threads alongside gameplay, multitasking is essential. All of the CPUs we have included in this article are great at multitasking and with the good resolution and fps that they support and provide, your streaming experience will be a positive one.

We would highly recommend the five AMD Zen3 processors we have featured. While the more expensive options provide the best performance overall, the more affordable options we have featured are still fantastic CPUs to consider for streaming purposes.

The Author Who Worked On This Article

Product Benchmarker
at
WePC
Jack has been interested in computers and tech since 10 years old when he decided to dismantle his PC to see how it worked. Ever since Jack has had a passion for IT and gaming beyond any other. He loves the data and testing process and allowing himself to take an analytical and technical approach to PC hardware. He’s even gone as far as getting educated in cyber security.

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