How to Choose a CPU For Streaming

How to Choose CPU for streaming

When you want to enter the big world of streaming, you need a PC that's up to the job, and no component is more important than a robust CPU. Yet, for casual streaming at 720p/30fps with a small bitrate, you can utilize practically any recent CPU with four cores and eight threads. For semi-professional streaming, though, you need a truly powerful processor. Like with most other PC hardware, the sheer amount of possibilities on the market makes a purchasing decision a difficult chore. Don't worry, you're in the right place! We've done the legwork, researched what matters, and narrowed down the best CPUs for streaming in 2022.

 

What is CPU

 

What is a CPU?
Photo by Luis Gonzalez

Although it is banal to compare the CPU to a computer's brain, it is a worthy metaphor. The central processing unit handles most data receiving, processing, and providing instructions to the other components. This cycle repeats by a CPU to execute complicated tasks such as running a game, software, or operating system. The CPU is also in charge of identifying which data from long-term storage needs to be transported to RAM for each task.

It is a popular fallacy that the CPU determines visual performance. This is not the case. While a high-end processor can aid with gaming speed, the video card is responsible for processing and showing pictures. This article has specific details on GPU functions.

 

Does CPU Affect Gaming?

As previously stated, the CPU is in charge of all command processing, directing, and performing the calculations in the games. In open-world games with artificial intelligence, the CPU generates the actions of non-player characters (NPC). It makes every move for the opponents in games where you play against the computer and also processes each parameter as draw distance, fabric simulation, or demolition physics. Still, some games require more GPU to process 2D and 3D graphics, render polygons, map textures, and other tasks.

 

CPU Intensive Games

Fast-paced games such as first-person shooters (FPS), multiplayer games, open sandbox games, and others are designed to use the CPUs' multi-cores and threads. However, they actually require a good one to perform efficiently.

For example, Battlefield-2042 requires at least a quad-core CPU, such as the Intel i5-6600K or AMD Ryzen 5 1600. However, the game recommends an AMD Ryzen 7 2700X or an Intel Core i7 4790 for professional gamers who use high-refresh-rate displays (1080p).

Similarly, Elden Ring, a famous action role-playing game, recommends Hexa-core processors: Intel Core i7-8700K or AMD Ryzen 5 3600X or above.
Grand Theft Auto V requires an Intel i5 3470 or AMD FX-8350 processor.
Fortnite, an epic battle royale game, requires at least an Intel i5 2.8 GHz processor with four cores and four threads.

 

Does CPU Matter For Streaming?

While GPU creates the image, it is calculated and sent to the broadcasting service by a CPU. As a result, the CPU manages both gaming and streaming simultaneously. So basically, your streaming will be more efficient with a more powerful CPU. Therefore, a powerful CPU and a powerful GPU should be used together for the best results. Because they are so closely linked, a poor CPU will limit the graphics performance potential of the best GPU.

 

What to Consider When Buying a CPU for Streaming

Processors are often compared using two key specifications: core count and clock speed. But it's critical to grasp all specs before purchasing any PC component.

Clock Speed

A CPU's clock speed is the pace at which it functions and processes data. It's the number of signals that can run through a processor in a second, measured in GigaHertz (GHz). The higher the clock speed, the better. Processors frequently state their lowest and maximum (turbo) clock speeds. And some CPUs support "overclocking," which means they may operate faster than they were designed to.

Cores

Cores mean the number of CPU processors. Typically, this number ranges from 2 to 32. Most CPUs have four to eight cores, although 12 cores are becoming increasingly popular for gaming. Separate cores in multi-core computers handle various types of data simultaneously. The CPU is quicker since the data is distributed over two, four, or more cores. Because most games are optimized for a four-core CPU, and broadcasting requires roughly two cores, you should look for at least 6 cores processor for streaming.

Threads

Threads are virtual programs that split a CPU's physical core into numerous virtual cores. A single CPU core can support up to two threads. When we talk about threads in terms of hardware, we're usually talking about the processor's capabilities: an 8-thread processor can operate up to 8 separate threads at once. It can essentially perform eight activities at once. So are threads useful for gaming? It varies — if game developers design it to consume more cores/threads, the game's performance can be improved. So are threads useful for streaming? Yes! Video rendering, broadcasting software, and other applications are optimized for large core/thread counts.

Cache Memory

It is a smaller memory that stores copies from frequently utilized main memory locations and is situated closer to the CPU core. Cache allows the processor to access data and instructions more quickly. The larger your CPU's cache memory, the faster it will be.

Cooling

The cooling system keeps your CPU from overheating and crashing when streaming. Because broadcasting is such a demanding operation, it is necessary to have a good system. In general, there are two main options: air and liquid cooling. Although the liquid method is quieter and more energy-efficient, air coolers are more popular. Pay attention that some CPUs have a built-in cooling while others require additional gear.

TDP

The term "thermal design power" means the CPU's power consumption capacity. Simply put, how much heat the processor can produce. The TDP is measured in watts. More watts may provide higher performance, but they may also raise your CPU's temperature. So you must ensure that the cooling system is capable of handling it.

Overclocking

Overclocking is the method of increasing the clock rate of a CPU above what the manufacturer has permitted. It greatly improves speed, but it also puts the motherboard and CPU at risk of crashing. Therefore you should utilize a good cooling system to minimize the risk. Overclocking is only possible with unlocked CPUs. It can be done on practically any contemporary AMD processor, however, it is currently limited to Intel's K and X series processors.

 

Best CPU For Streaming

AMD Ryzen 9 5900X — Best High-End CPU for Streaming and Video Editing

The Ryzen 9 5900X is a strong CPU that is also one of the best streaming options. It can handle any game with the OBS slow setting and a high bitrate. The 5900X is also an exceptionally capable CPU for heavy tasks like video editing. If you want the best, the 5900X is the way to go.

AMD Ryzen 9 3900X — Best CPU For Streaming

The AMD Ryzen 9 3900X excels at providing streamers with the best of both worlds solution: excellent gaming performance and great x264 encoding speed.

AMD Ryzen 5 3600l — Best Balanced Option

The Ryzen 5 3600 runs competently at stock speeds and even better when overclocked, indicating that you can expect good performance today and in the future. In addition, it achieves the optimal balance of cost-effectiveness and performance for streaming.

Intel Core i5-10600K — Best Value CPU For Streaming

The Core i5-10600K, is Intel's new king of the mid-range and possibly the finest gaming CPU of its generation. It is incredibly quick when running at full speed, and even a steady load or high temperatures don't slow it down significantly. It may also be easily overclocked.

Intel Core i9 12900K — High-Performance CPU for Gaming

The Intel Core i9-12900K was formerly known as the world's fastest gaming CPU. It exceeds AMD's Ryzen 9 5950X in gaming and heavily-threaded content production workloads, making it an excellent value for high-end game streaming. It's also the clear winner in single-threaded performance.

 

Best Budget CPU For Streaming

Intel Core i5-12400 — Best Intel CPU Under $200

Overall, it's the finest CPU available for less than $200 in 2022. It provides excellent performance for the money, consumes very little power, and is quite easy to cool. Furthermore, it supports both DDR4 and DDR5 memory, allowing you to upgrade to significantly faster memory in the future.

AMD Ryzen 7 5800X — Best AMD CPU Under $200

It is one of the finest CPUs today, thanks to its relatively accessible price and considerable performance boost over the previous version. This is clearly the best gaming CPU for most people because it is less expensive than the Ryzen 9 5900X while giving essentially the same level of gaming performance at 1080p.

AMD Ryzen 3 3100 — Best CPU Under $100

The AMD Ryzen 3 3100 is the first CPU under the $100 list and has been thoroughly tested by several gaming communities. This CPU can play most games at medium resolutions and high frame rates. At its top level, this CPU can achieve 100+ frames per second. The CPU is also unlocked, so you can simply overclock it to its maximum performance.

 

What CPU Do Twitch Streamers Use?

What CPU Twitch Streamers Use? Ninja

Most notable streamers utilize high-end CPUs and gear for full performances. Most of the time, it's Intel Core i9 9th or 10th generation or AMD Zen 3 processors. However, here are various setups from the most popular streamers:

 Streamer Processor
NINJA Intel Core i9-10900K
TFUE Intel Core i7-9700K
SHROUD AMD Ryzen 9 5950X
XQC Intel Core i9-9900K
POKIMANE AMD Ryzen 9 3950X

 

Final Thoughts

It is necessary to have a powerful computer system to maximize efficiency while playing video games and streaming. The CPU delivers and processes the computer program's instructions by conducting input/output, basic arithmetic, and logic operations. That's why streaming at a pro-level requires a decent CPU.

We covered a variety of technical characteristics in this post, including clock speed, cores, threads, cache memory, TDP, cooling, and overclocking. Keeping these in mind, you may simply build the ideal computer for you at a price within your budget. And we're here to assist you with this! Learn even more tips in this article. Kudos!

  • How to Stream on Twitch in 2022?
    By Design Team
  • How to Choose a Graphics Card For Streaming in 2022
    By Design Team
  • What is a Twitch Overlay?
    By Design Team