Best CPU for Streaming on Twitch – Top 9 Products and Reviews

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Whether you are streaming professionally or just for fun, you need a high-quality computer with a strong processor that can withstand the strain of demanding games, streaming software, or other programs you might use.

With the new CPUs from both AMD and Intel launching recently, there are a lot of choices to make if you want to buy the best CPU for streaming on Twitch. If you just want to get a solid CPU that can do virtually anything, my recommendation goes to the Intel Core i9-13900K.

In this text, I have listed 6 of the best CPUs for streaming. I’ve conducted extensive research, and I hope that your choice will now be much more comfortable.

QUICK OVERVIEW: Best CPU

Intel Core i9 13900K header
Intel Core i9-13900K
  • 24 Cores / 32 Threads
  • Up to 5.8 GHz Turbo boost
AMD Ryzen 9 7950X
AMD Ryzen 9 7950X
  • 16 cores / 32 threads
  • Up to 5.7 GHz Boost Clock
Intel Core i7 13700k
Intel Core i7-13700K
  • 16 cores / 24 threads
  • Up to 5.4 GHz Turbo Boost

To find the best CPU for gaming and streaming, I compared the overall performance you’re getting, the CPU’s power consumption and temperatures, how much the overall platform costs, and if you need to upgrade at all as well as the price of the CPU itself.

Those factors determined my search and its results, so if you are looking for the best streaming CPU, take a look at my list.

1. Intel Core i9-13900K

Intel Core-i9 13900k

Stefan’s Take

In my opinion, the best CPU for streaming you can get is an Intel Core i9-13900K. It offers excellent performance in all scenarios and offers a great price-per-performance ratio compared to AMD.

The best thing about this CPU is that If you already own a last-gen Intel CPU, you don’t have to purchase a new motherboard and RAM.

One thing to keep in mind is that this is a power-hungry processor, so be sure to have a good CPU cooler and an appropriate power supply.

9.25
Performance 10
Power Consumption and Thermals 7
Platform Support 10
Price 10

Why do I think the Intel Core i9-13900k is the best CPU for streaming on Twitch?

Intel Core i9-13900k is the fastest CPU on the market. With its high core count and high Max clock speeds, as well as 36MB of L3 cache, it is perfectly suited for absolutely any workload you throw at it, including gaming and streaming.

The Intel Core i9-13900k is Intel’s brand-new flagship processor and comes with a lot more performance than the last-gen 12900k.

With its 8 performance and 16 efficiency core, max clock speeds of 5.8GHz, 32 MB of L3 cache, it is perfectly suited for absolutely any workload you throw at it. It gives great performance in games, while streaming, recording or rendering footage.

When it comes to desktop processors, the Intel Core i9-13900k is the fastest processor on the market. It beats AMD’s flagship 7950X CPU in most tasks while keeping the price around the same as the less powerful AMD 7900X CPU.

With this amount of performance and up to 233W of power draw in some situations, it’s a task to keep this processor from overheating. Intel, unfortunately, doesn’t provide a cooler in the box, so you’ll have to invest in a good CPU cooler to keep it cool for a smooth and seamless streaming session.

Intel really shines when you consider that 13900k supports both DDR4 and the new DDR5 memory and uses the now a few-year-old LGA 1700 motherboard socket. In practice, this means that you don’t have to upgrade your memory and motherboard from an older Intel CPU, keeping the total price of the platform much lower than new AMD CPUs.

Pros
  • Excellent performance
  • Great price
  • Supports DDR4 and DDR5 memory
  • Supports LGA 1700 socket
Cons
  • High Power consumption
  • Doesn’t come with a cooler

2. AMD Ryzen 9 7950X

AMD Ryzen 9 7950X

Stefan’s Take:

AMD 7950X is a great processor for gamers and streamers, but offers slightly worse performance than the Intel i9-13900K, costs more, and requires a motherboard and RAM upgrade. For those reasons, 7950X is a worse buy at the moment.

On the other hand, if you’re looking to invest in the future, AMD said it will support the new motherboard socket for at least 3 more years, so upgrading to a different processor in the future will be much less expensive for you.

9.0
Performance 10
Power Consumption and Thermals 9
Platform Support 7
Price 10

AMD’s new flagship CPU, the 7950x, offers significant performance gains over the last-gen processors but fails to beat Intel’s brand-new Core i9-13900K processor. For that reason alone, I just can’t put the 7950X in the top spot as the best CPU for streaming.

Don’t get me wrong, 7950X is an excellent piece of hardware, but falls short compared to the i9-13900K. One of the main issues with 7950X is that it is based on a new socket and supports only DDR5 memory, which means that if you want to upgrade, you’ll have to buy a brand new motherboard and a new kit of DDR5 RAM, which are more expensive at the moment and offer fewer options than the last-gen components.

With its 16 cores and 32 threads boosting up to 5.7 GHz, there’s no doubt that you’ll have great performance while gaming and streaming. While you’re getting performance improvements over the last-gen, this will cost you in power consumption and temperature output, so if you want to keep this beast cool, be ready to invest in a better cooler than you’re getting in the box.

Pros
  • Excellent performance
  • Future proof
Cons
  • New motherboard and RAM required
  • Needs a good cooler

3. Intel Core i7-13700K

Intel Core i7-13700K

Stefan’s Take:

If you’re looking for an excellent value processor that’s not as expensive as 13900K or 7950X, but still great at gaming and streaming, 13700K is a great choice.

Overall platform cost is low since it supports last-gen sockets and both DDR4 and DDR5 RAM, but you’ll need to purchase a good CPU cooler since it’s not included in the box.

9.0
Performance 9
Power Consumption and Thermals 7
Platform Support 10
Price 10

Just like the higher-end Intel Core i9-13900k, the 13700k is a power-hungry beast. With its 8 performance and 8 efficiency cores, 24 threads in total, max clock boost of 5.4 GHz and 30MB of L3 cache, this processor will perform great in the most demanding games, while streaming or rendering footage.

Coming at a current market price of $450, $140 lower than 13900k, it offers much more performance per dollar than Intel’s flagship processor and it’s more efficient as well. It’s faster in gaming than all AMD processors and pushes almost as many frames as 13900k at a much lower cost. It’s only 7.5% slower than Ryzen 9 7950X in applications, yet $250 cheaper.

A cooler is not included in the box, so you should look into buying a good CPU cooler since this processor can draw 250 W at peak power consumption.

Pros
  • Excellent performance
  • Excellent value
  • Doesn’t need a motherboard and RAM upgrade
Cons
  • Draws a lot of power
  • CPU cooler not included

4. AMD Ryzen 9 7900X

AMD Ryzen 9 7900X

Stefan’s Take:

AMD Ryzen 9 7900X is an excellent pick for both gamers and streamers. While not offering as great performance as an AMD Ryzen 9 7950X, it’s currently decently cheaper and should not be overlooked.

Be ready to invest in a new motherboard, RAM, and a decent cooler for this processor.

8.75
Performance 9
Power Consumption and Thermals 10
Platform Support 7
Price 9

If you’re looking for a cheaper but excellent option, you should look at AMD Ryzen 9 7900X. It’s 7950X’s smaller brother, having 12 cores and 24 threads compared to 16 cores and 36 threads, boosting to 4.7 GHz compared to 7950X’s max boost of 4.5 GHz, and has the same 64MB of L3 cache. It draws around the same amount of power as 7950X, but provides a few percent lower performance, meaning the efficiency is not the best. You’ll need a good cooler to keep this processor from overheating.

AMD Ryzen 9 7900X suffers from the same problem as its bigger brother and the whole of AMD’s CPU generation, it only supports DDR5 memory and a brand new AM5 socket, so you’ll need to invest in a new motherboard and RAM, which is currently much pricier than the last-gen hardware.

A great thing about 7900X is its price. It’s currently selling for around $150 less than 7950X, while offering just a few percent lower performance, meaning the performance per dollar is much greater compared to 7950X.

Pros
  • Excellent performance
  • Good value
  • Future proof
Cons
  • New motherboard and RAM required
  • Needs a good cooler

5. Intel Core i5-13600K

Intel Core i5-13600K

Stefan’s Take:

Intel Core i5-13600k is a great CPU if you are gaming and streaming. It beats AMD’s top processors in some games, but with its lower core count, lacks behind a little when rendering footage.

Since it supports DDR4 memory and last-gen socket as all CPUs from Intel’s 13th generation, it keeps the whole platform cost very low. It offers excellent performance per dollar and you can get an i5-13600k, motherboard, and RAM for under $500. 

You’ll need to purchase a cooler for this processor since it doesn’t come with a cooler in the box. Since it has a lower TDP than higher-end Intel CPUs, you don’t have to buy an expensive CPU cooler.

9.0
Performance 8
Power Consumption and Thermals 8
Platform Support 10
Price 10

Here is another one of Intel’s CPUs, and this one actually brings quite a few nice features for a lower price point.

The main features that you should look into are the 24MB of its L3 cache and the 14 cores it comes with.

Out of these 14 cores, 6 are performance cores, while the other 8 are reserved for efficiency, and with the 20 threads, this CPU is able to turbo up to 5.1 GHz when it’s needed.

When it comes to power consumption, this CPU will draw 181W at its peak power, which is considerably lower when compared to other models, for example, the 13900X and 13700X. 

However, even though this one comes with this benefit, that doesn’t increase the power efficiency when compared with these two.

What this CPU is really excelling at when considering its price and the core count is the performance when footage is being rendered, which is exactly why it comes so highly recommended if your main need is editing and uploading video footage, like your stream highlights.

Besides being useful for streaming, it’s also a great gaming CPU, and its performance is beating even 7950X and 7900X in quite a few popular games.

Overall, it will provide you with great performance if you need a gaming  CPU but still want to keep the price lower, as it is currently priced at $330, which is a great price-to-performance ratio.

One of the main downsides would be the fact that 13600K doesn’t come with a cooler; however, you can buy a cheaper cooler separately without significantly increasing the amount you spend. 

Coolers for this CPU are cheaper than those for the 13900K, so it really is a non-issue.

Pros
  • Great gaming performance
  • Good rendering performance
  • Excellent value
  • Low platform cost
Cons
  • CPU cooler not provided
  • Power efficiency could be better

6. Intel Core i9-12900K

Intel Core i9-12900k

Stefan’s Take:

Despite being the last-gen processor, the Intel Core i9-12900K still offers great performance while gaming and streaming. Its high core count really shows while multitasking and rendering footage.

It doesn’t come with a cooler in the box, so you’ll have to purchase one.

I just can’t put it higher on the list because of its low power efficiency and high relative cost.

8.75
Performance 8
Power Consumption and Thermals 8
Platform Support 10
Price 9

Even though this CPU is one of the flagships from Intel’s last generation, it remains a great choice for people who are looking for a CPU that will support streaming and gaming needs.

This comes from having features like 16 cores, equally divided with 8 being performance cores and 8 being efficiency cores, as well as the 24 threads that make it possible for 12900K to boost up to 5.2 GHz.

When it comes to its gaming performance, it’s actually comparable to 13600K, but 12900K still beats it when it comes to things like multitasking, streaming, and rendering. This advantage comes from the higher core count.

However, this doesn’t mean that opting for 12900K instead of 13600K is a no-brainer choice.

The 12900K is priced much higher than the 13600K with the price being around $500. But, the 12900k doesn’t bring that much of a performance increase, making the performance per dollar ratio 30% lower than 13600K.

It also draws more power than 13600K does, making the power efficiency lower, as well.

Finally, there isn’t a cooler that comes in the box with it, so you will have to spend additional funds for that, which is another addition to the higher price that you would already be paying.

Pros
  • Great gaming performance
  • Great rendering performance
Cons
  • Low performance per dollar
  • High power consumption and low-efficiency
  • Cooler is not included in the box

7. Intel Core i7-12700K

Intel Core i7-12700K

Stefan’s Take:

The 12700K is truly a great competitor to AMD’s 5900X, with 12 cores that handle any kind of workload well.

While everyone and myself included, was suspicious about the lack of efficiency cores, it turns out that there wasn’t a significant difference in the performance.

When compared to 12900K, it actually runs at a very close speed to it, but while staying much cooler.

I would also say that the 12700K has an amazing balance when it comes to power consumption, heat output, and performance gains.

8.75
Performance 7
Power Consumption and Thermals 9
Platform Support 10
Price 9

This CPU is one of Intel’s best mainstream models that’s great for basic everyday use.

It’s from their 12th gen of processors, and even though that’s not the most up-to-date model that you can buy, it still remains highly recommended because of the few innovative features.

It has 12 cores, which is less than many processors on this list, however, what was innovative about it is that 8 of these cores are performance cores, while the remaining four are efficiency cores. 

Even though that might not sound like something that will work in the best manner, because of Intel’s adjusted instruction sets, this processor is able to have the right workload distribution throughout all of the cores and both core types.

When it comes to frequency, the 12700K is able to clock at 3.6 GHz, and it can actually boost up to 5.0 GHz.

Another thing that contributes to the 12700k’s performance is the 25 MB of L3 cache that’s shared between the two core types.

The power consumption is overall quite good, and even if it gets a bit high, it’s not without reason.

When looking into the performance per dollar ratio, however, this CPU scored quite high, meaning that you do get the most out of the $400 that you will pay for this processor.

Pros
  • Performance is comparable to the 12900K
  • Great price-to-performance ratio
Cons
  • There isn’t a CPU cooler included in the box

8. AMD Ryzen 7 7700X

Intel Core i7-12700K

Stefan’s Take:

While 7700X has a lot of innovations and great features, in theory, it seems like when it comes to it, in reality, its performance is comparable to things like Intel’s 12700K, but the price is higher.

If you have the funds and you are a big AMD fan, then going for this one can make sense, but as there are cheaper options with extremely similar performance, this wouldn’t be my first choice.

8.0
Performance 8
Power Consumption and Thermals 9
Platform Support 7
Price 8

This AMD processor is made with high-performance gaming in mind, so one of the first things that can be noticed about its performance is that I was able to play with all resolution options and game settings I tried.

The Ryzen 7 7700X is comparable to Intel’s 12700K, even though it comes with 8 cores and 16 threads.

Something that AMD increased significantly with this processor is the total cache size, with the total L2 + L3 cache being 40 MB after the last generation of CPUs had 36MB.

The base speed of this one is 4.5 GHz, but it can boost up to 5.40 GHz.

The graphics are integrated across the whole lineup of the Ryzen 7000 processors, meaning that AMD has made an option for people who don’t need a gaming CPU but wish to have something good with graphics that are integrated.

Pros
  • Significant performance improvements, especially for gaming
  • Integrated graphics
Cons
  • Only supports DDR5 memory and AM5 socket
  • Cooling requirements are high because of the high temperatures.

9. AMD Ryzen 9 5950X

Intel Core i7-12700K

Stefan’s Take:

The word “monster” has been thrown around quite a lot online in discussions regarding this processor, and there are good reasons that justify that.

The performance that this one shows is great, especially when gaming, so AMD really nailed it with this one.

However, the price is just as intense, so even though it will provide you with a lot, I recommend going for this one only in case you really have the funds for it.

7.75
Performance 7
Power Consumption and Thermals 10
Platform Support 8
Price 6

This Ryzen processor is the best that AMD’s Zen 3 series has to offer.

This isn’t surprising as it comes with 16 cores and 32 threads and a build that’s designed to have the high-end desktop segment reach the mainstream desktop segment.

However, the high-end experience is being brought to mainstream users at a more high price that’s set around $800.

For that price, you get a processor that works amazing for both gaming and video editing, meaning that your streams and content creation could go up a notch with this one.

When it comes to video editing specifically, the performance is very good, especially when compared to its brother, the 5900X, as well as Intel’s contender 13600K.

When talking about clocks, this one will boost up to 4.90 GHz, but it keeps the temperature as low as possible.

Pros
  • Excellent performance when rendering or multitasking
  • Improved performance compared to the previous gen, especially in gaming
  • Good power efficiency
Cons
  • Very high price
  • Supports only DDR4 Memory and AM4 socket

What to Consider when Buying a CPU for Streaming

Buying Guide

Your Twitch streaming quality will depend on various things – from your streaming CPU, headphones, internet connection to lightning.

We have listed 9 of the best CPUs for streaming and gaming, and here is what you should consider if you want to continue your research or decide on one of our choices.

Purpose

This one is kind of a given, but we feel obligated to mention it. All of these CPUs are great and at the top of their class; however, when you are choosing to buy one, you want to buy the one that will fit your needs.

If you are going to use your CPU only for gaming purposes, you might not need as much Cache or encoding power as when you are looking for a CPU that will be your biggest ally if what you do is streaming the games you play (or other content).

Processor Strength

A weaker processor will most likely not be up to the task of supporting the demands of online gaming and simultaneously streaming the games (on Twitch or YouTube, for example).

So, here are a few things that you need to consider when it comes to the processor strength

Clock Frequency

The higher the clock frequency, measured in GHz, the better, i.e., stronger your processor is. It measures the number of signals that can work their way through the processor in one second. Some processors allow “overclocking,” which means that the processor runs at a higher clock speed than originally designed.

Cores

Multi-core processors have separate cores that process different kinds of information simultaneously. The fact that the information is divided between two, four or more cores makes the processor faster. It will not slow down the CPU, as can be the case with single-core processors that get clogged with information—more cores-stronger processor.

Some streaming CPUs work better on a single-core benchmark, while others are great at multitasking with multi-cores.

Cache

Cache memory lets the processor access information and instructions faster than when you are not using it. The bigger the Cache memory of your CPU, the faster it will be.

Cooling

Cooling systems are very important when it comes to streaming since the process is demanding. Cooling is even more critical when your processor is overclocking.

Adequate cooling protects your CPU from overheating and crashing in the middle of a gaming or streaming session.

Some processors come with a bundled cooler, while others require separate purchases.

Conclusion

Which would be the best CPU for streaming and gaming to meet your needs, and budget is up to you to decide, but our opinion is that Intel Core i9-13900K is the most optimal choice with AMD Ryzen 9 7950X as a close second.

We haven’t made this decision lightly, and we stand behind our verdict.

If you disagree with us, we hope that this text would at least point you in the right direction of what you need to find to suit your needs the best way possible.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here is a list of a few of the frequently asked questions when it comes to a good CPU for streaming.

What is a good CPU percentage for streaming?

CPU percentage relates to the processor usage percentage during gaming or streaming. You can stream even at 100%, but your streams will lag, and the stream quality would be lower.

So, for optimum streaming quality, keep your CPU percentage at 70% or under if it is possible.

Do I need 2 PCs for streaming?

The simple and easy answer is no, you do not need two CPUs for streaming. The reason why some gaming streamers use two CPUs is to help the computer withstand the heavy load of streaming.

They use one CPU for gaming and another for broadcasting, and this ensures a better quality of the video, and the CPU will remain as cool as possible.

How many cores do you need for streaming?

Most processors have 4 or 6 cores. The minimum for gaming and Twitch streaming is 6, but 8 or more cores are preferable.

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Stefan

Stefan is a long-time content creator and one of the Stream Mentor's co-founders. He's a tech geek and a Dota 2 player (not even a good one) who wanted to help others become professional streamers and earn from the comfort of their home.

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