How to Choose the Best CPU For Streaming on Twitch [2024]

How to Choose the Best CPU For Streaming

How to Choose the Best CPU For Streaming

Navigating the world of live streaming can be daunting, especially when it comes to choosing the core of your setup: the CPU. A processor that's not up to the task can mean the difference between a flawless stream and a frustrating experience for both streamers and viewers. With the goal of streaming in high definition while multitasking with gaming, the importance of selecting a CPU that not only meets but exceeds these requirements cannot be overstated.


In this comprehensive guide, we delve into the world of processors, drawing upon our extensive firsthand experience. Our team has rigorously tested a wide array of CPUs over the years, continually updating our production setups to bring you insights that are not just theoretical but rooted in actual use. From high-end options to budget-friendly choices, we aim to arm you with the knowledge to choose a CPU that will elevate your streaming and content creation to professional heights, without breaking the bank.


Join us as we explore the best CPUs for streaming, ensuring your setup is equipped to deliver top-notch performance, whether you're engaging with viewers live or crafting content for platforms like YouTube. Let's get started on this journey together. 

What is a CPU


What is a CPU?
Photo by Luis Gonzalez

The Central Processing Unit (CPU), is like the brain of your computer. It follows every command you give, from opening apps to playing games, by fetching, decoding, and executing instructions. Think of it as the mastermind behind the scenes, making sure everything runs smoothly. With a clock speed measured in GHz, it determines how fast these tasks are done. CPUs with more cores can do more things at once, making your computer faster and more capable of handling multiple tasks. So, when you're streaming, gaming, or doing anything else, the CPU is working hard to keep everything running without a hitch.

Top 5 Best CPUs For Streaming

1. AMD Ryzen 9 7950X - Top Pick for High-End Streaming and Video Editing

For streamers and content creators who accept nothing less than the best, the AMD Ryzen 9 7950X leads the pack. With 16 cores and 32 threads, it delivers top-notch performance, ensuring smooth streaming and multitasking capabilities. Its 4.5GHz clock speed makes it a powerhouse for both live streaming and editing content, handling modern games with ease. Most importantly, this CPU is installed in most of our studio's computers and we can't recommend it enough! 

2. Intel Core i9-13900K - Ultimate Streaming CPU

The Intel Core i9-13900K is a dream for serious streamers, boasting 24 cores and a turbo speed of up to 5.8GHz. Its impressive multitasking ability means you can stream at high quality while running demanding games or software, ensuring a seamless experience for your viewers.

3. AMD Ryzen 9 5900X - Best for Balanced Performance

Offering a great mix of performance and efficiency, the AMD Ryzen 9 5900X is perfect for streamers who need a reliable CPU that excels in both streaming and gaming. With 12 cores, 24 threads, and a hefty 64MB L3 cache, it provides smooth streaming without compromising on game performance.

4. AMD Ryzen 7 7700X - Best Value for Streamers

If you're looking for great streaming capabilities without the premium price, the AMD Ryzen 7 7700X is your go-to. Its 8 cores and 16 threads, along with speeds of up to 5.4GHz, offer excellent performance for modern gaming and live streaming, making it a smart choice for budget-conscious streamers.

5. Intel Core i9 14900K - High-Performance Pick for Gamers and Streamers

The Intel Core i9-14900K sets a new benchmark for streaming and gaming, with 24 cores and a turbo frequency of up to 6GHz. It's built to handle the most demanding streaming software and games, ensuring top-tier performance for professional-level streaming.

Top 5 Best Budget CPUs For Streaming

1. Intel Core i5 12600KF - Best Under $200 for Intel Fans

For those looking to spend less than $200 without sacrificing performance, the Intel Core i5-12600KF is a standout choice. It boasts 10 cores, blending performance and efficiency to handle almost any popular game you'd like to stream. It's an impressive option for streamers who need reliability without the high price tag.

2. AMD Ryzen 7 5800X - Top AMD Pick Under $200

The AMD Ryzen 7 5800X is the best option for AMD enthusiasts with a budget of under $200. It comes with 8 cores and 16 threads, offering strong performance in gaming, video editing, and streaming. With its up to 4.7GHz boost clock and 32MB of L3 cache, it's a versatile CPU that delivers great value.

3. Intel Core i3 10105F - Unbeatable Under $100

For those on a tighter budget, the Intel Core i3 10105F is the best pick under $100. With 4 cores and 8 threads, it's capable of providing a decent streaming experience for beginners. It's a solid choice for entry-level streamers looking for good performance without breaking the bank.

4. AMD Ryzen 5 5500 - Best AMD Under $100

The AMD Ryzen 5 5500 is the leading budget-friendly option for AMD users, offering 6 cores and 12 threads at an affordable price. Its performance is impressive for the cost, making it ideal for those seeking a cost-effective solution for streaming and gaming.

5. AMD Ryzen 3 3600 - Great Value Option

Rounding out the list, the AMD Ryzen 3 3600 offers solid performance at a low price, making it a great value choice for budget streamers. With 6 cores and 12 threads, it's capable of handling popular games, although it may struggle with very new or demanding titles. It's an excellent starting point for those new to streaming.

What CPUs 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


What To Consider When Buying A CPU For Streaming

When picking a CPU for your streaming setup, there are several important features to look at. Let's simplify these concepts to make your decision easier.

Clock Speed

Think of clock speed like the speedometer in a car, showing how fast your CPU can process data. Measured in GHz, a higher clock speed means the CPU can do tasks faster. Some CPUs can be "overclocked" to work faster than they're supposed to, which is great for demanding tasks like gaming and streaming.


Cores are like individual workers in the CPU. More cores mean more tasks can be done at the same time. For gaming and streaming, having at least 6 cores is a good start because it lets you do both without slowing down.


Threads are like having extra hands for each worker (core) to do more things at once. A CPU that supports more threads can handle more tasks simultaneously, making it better for gaming and streaming. Look for CPUs with a high number of threads to get smoother performance.

Cache Memory

Cache memory is like a small, super-fast memory inside the CPU that keeps copies of the data it uses often. The bigger the cache, the quicker the CPU can access the data it needs, speeding up everything you do.


Streaming can make your CPU work hard and get hot. Keeping it cool is crucial. There are two main types of cooling: air and liquid. Air cooling is common and effective for most, while liquid cooling is quieter and often better for high-performance setups. Make sure your CPU’s cooling matches your needs, especially if you plan to overclock.

TDP (Thermal Design Power)

TDP tells you how much heat your CPU can produce, measured in watts. It's a hint at how much power the CPU uses and how much heat your cooling system will need to deal with. Higher performance CPUs generally have higher TDPs and may need better cooling systems.


Overclocking means making your CPU run faster than its official speed rating. It can boost performance but needs a good cooling solution to avoid overheating. Not all CPUs can be overclocked; it's mainly an option for AMD and some specific Intel CPUs.

Final Thoughts

Choosing the right CPU is key to elevating your live streaming and gaming. We've unpacked the essentials — clock speeds, cores, threads, and more — to help you find the perfect match for your needs, whether you're on a budget or seeking top-tier performance. Armed with this knowledge, you're now ready to build a setup that delivers smooth, high-quality experiences for you and your viewers. For more insights on optimizing your stream, explore further with our guides. Happy streaming!


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