Top CPU for Streaming (2020)

After researching over 35 different processors suitable for multitasking, we think the Intel Core i9-9900K is the best CPU for streaming thanks to its multiple cores and unlocked clock speed that help in broadcasting your channel live.

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Intel Core i9-9900K Desktop Processor 8 Cores up to 5.0 GHz Turbo unlocked LGA1151 300 Series 95W
Intel Core i7-9700K Desktop Processor 8 Cores up to 4.9 GHz Turbo unlocked LGA1151 300 Series 95W
AMD Ryzen 7 2700X Processor with Wraith Prism LED Cooler - YD270XBGAFBOX
AMD Ryzen 7 3700X 8-Core, 16-Thread Unlocked Desktop Processor with Wraith Prism LED Cooler
AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2950X Processor (YD295XA8AFWOF)
Title
Intel Core i9-9900K
Intel Core i7-9700k
AMD Ryzen 7 2700X
AMD Ryzen 7 3700X
AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2950x
Max Clock Speed
5 GHz (unlocked)
4.9 GHz
4.3 GHz
4.4 GHz
4.4 GHz
Core/Thread Count
8/16
8/8
8/16
8/16
16/32
Cache
16 mb
12 mb
20 mb
36 mb
40 mb
Image
Intel Core i9-9900K Desktop Processor 8 Cores up to 5.0 GHz Turbo unlocked LGA1151 300 Series 95W
Title
Intel Core i9-9900K
Max Clock Speed
5 GHz (unlocked)
Core/Thread Count
8/16
Cache
16 mb
Price
Image
Intel Core i7-9700K Desktop Processor 8 Cores up to 4.9 GHz Turbo unlocked LGA1151 300 Series 95W
Title
Intel Core i7-9700k
Max Clock Speed
4.9 GHz
Core/Thread Count
8/8
Cache
12 mb
Price
Image
AMD Ryzen 7 2700X Processor with Wraith Prism LED Cooler - YD270XBGAFBOX
Title
AMD Ryzen 7 2700X
Max Clock Speed
4.3 GHz
Core/Thread Count
8/16
Cache
20 mb
Price
Image
AMD Ryzen 7 3700X 8-Core, 16-Thread Unlocked Desktop Processor with Wraith Prism LED Cooler
Title
AMD Ryzen 7 3700X
Max Clock Speed
4.4 GHz
Core/Thread Count
8/16
Cache
36 mb
Price
Image
AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2950X Processor (YD295XA8AFWOF)
Title
AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2950x
Max Clock Speed
4.4 GHz
Core/Thread Count
16/32
Cache
40 mb
Price

Best CPU for Streaming

Not only is the Intel Core i9-9900k a great processor for gaming, it is also our most ideal CPU for streaming. Thanks to its overclocking capabilities, unlocked max speed, and multithreading, live streaming with this Intel chip is worth every penny.

Pros:
  • Optimized for streaming
  • Awesome performance
  • multiple cores and hyperthreading
Cons:
  • Overclocking is not that impactful
  • Still more expensive than a Ryzen 9
  • Unlocked speed is not very drastic

Initially, you may think that the Intel Core i9-9900k is too overpriced compared to an AMD Ryzen but experienced Intel PC users know that this serves greatly when you are live streaming. This works very well if you are using Streamlabs – a live-streaming companion that makes it easier for you to connect with the chatroom and be aware of notifications – since the program is highly optimized for an Intel CPU capable of broadcasting.

Are You Intel Fan? See our review of the best Intel gaming CPU’s find out if you should buy Intel in 2020.

With its 8 cores and 16 threads, expect the CPU to perform smoothly. Also, the max clock speed is at 5.0 GHz but it is unlocked to go beyond that number. Overclocking is great too but even if you are not planning to exceed more than 5 GHz, overall performance is stellar as you run a game while using OBS (or any streaming tool) along with other things on screen.

Looking for an i9 power house processor? Check out our review of the best i9 CPU’s for Gaming and find out if an i9 is worth buying in 2020…

Best Value Intel CPU for Streaming

The Intel Core i7-9700k has enough juice to let you play games at medium to high settings while streaming at 1080p. It holds a great value and a more affordable price should you wish to stream using an Intel CPU.

Pros:
  • Performs well at 8 cores
  • Optimized for Streamlabs
  • Cheaper alternative to i9-9900K
Cons:
  • Still more expensive than Ryzen
  • Overclocking does not show much change
  • No cooling device included

The i7-9700k is one of the best gaming CPU’s and a strong favorite among the PC gaming community for Intel fans. But, is it good enough for streaming? Yes, but with some limitations. It does not have multithreading power since it carries 8 cores and 8 threads. Yet, that still means you can multitask as you run various programs at the same time. Just do not expect your PC to perform smoothly.

On a Budget? check out our best cheap gaming CPU review if you need a budget gaming processor.

The slight and seldom stutters while live streaming and gaming simultaneously are nothing major but may turn you off if you are the type that gets tilted if frames go less than 60 fps and loading for a bit. Nevertheless, it is still a solid pick for when you do not want to pay for something more high-end like an Intel Core i9-9900K.

PRO TIP: Keep your CPU cool, consider buying a decent AIO water cooler they are easy to install and offer lower noise, cooler temps and higher overclocking… While you’re at it see our NEW guide for the top thermal paste freshly updated for 2020.

Best Value AMD CPU for Streaming

With 8 cores and multithreading, the AMD Ryzen 7 2700X is friendly on the budget and friendly on gaming and recording performance. If you need a no-fuss low-priced CPU that is good for live streaming, the AMD Ryzen 7 2700X is a solid option.

Pros:
  • Multithreading
  • Affordable
  • 20 mb cache
Cons:
  • Limited overclock headroom
  • Heats up rather quickly
  • Consumes a lot of power

The AMD Ryzen 7 2700X is reputable for its eye-pleasing price and top performance. However, it does have some drawbacks here and there such as limited overclock headroom and an underwhelming stock fan but still, this is a very good CPU if you want an affordable way to start streaming.

Are You an AMD Fan? See our review of the best AMD gaming CPU’s find out if you should buy an AMD processor in 2020.

We highly recommend not using the overclock option while streaming as it consumes more power than your regular Intel processor. Otherwise, it is quite smooth in terms of simultaneous tasks and different programs running at the same time.

Best AMD CPU for Streaming

The AMD Ryzen 7 3700X is a powerhouse in terms of literal size and speed. It is exceptional when it comes to gaming and reaching more than 100 fps no matter what game you are playing. Pair it with streaming and you get to have an unrelenting live streaming experience.

Pros:
  • Multithreading
  • No need to overclock
  • Massive but reasonably priced
Cons:
  • Requires lots of manual updates
  • Motherboards without PCIe 4 support will have a hard time
  • May need to restart Windows to fully function

Beginners may feel intimidated when facing the AMD Ryzen 7 3700X because of a lot of manual configurations and prerequisites of updating its PCIe 4.0 on a motherboard but if you can follow the instructions carefully, there is no need to worry. The same goes for using this for streaming. Sure, it may not optimize with Streamlabs but its hyperthreading and large cooling space make up for it, giving you a buttery smooth experience that you will never settle for less. It comes with a pretty sweet price too which makes it worth your while rather than buying a more expensive Intel that underperforms compared to the AMD Ryzen 7 3700X. Best of all, it speeds up on its own, depending on your activity – meaning you will never even need to manually overclock it.

Most Powerful AMD

The infamous AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2950x is perhaps one of the most recommended CPUs for both gaming and streaming due to its future-proof specs and a large number of cores. If you want to secure your PC and work without a moment’s pause, this is your ticket.

Pros:
  • Unlocked clock speed
  • 16 cores and 32 threads
  • Unpretentiously smooth performance
Cons:
  • Takes time to install
  • Requires powerful components
  • Very expensive

The AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2950x is one of the most powerful CPUs in the current PC gaming market, blowing away all of Intel’s chips out of the water. First of all, this Threadripper is extremely huge. As it comes to no surprise, you are definitely going to need equally powerful components in a PC in order to match its strength. That means a modern motherboard, a large cooling fan, a powerful GPU and a big casing that can hold them all. Frankly, due to its 16 cores, 32 threads and unlocked clock speed, prepare for any equally large monthly electricity bill. Nevertheless, if you crave for power in order to stream at 4K while playing games at max settings, the AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2950x is a sure hit.

What We Would Buy

And those, my friend, are the best CPU for streaming. We assure you that these processors will provide you with a smooth live recording experience and great gaming sessions all the time. They work flawlessly when multitasking and will always run at great speeds if you ever open different programs simultaneously. In summary, we pick the Intel Core i9-9900K as the best overall; it is also arguably Intel’s best CPU for gaming. If you prefer something budget-friendlier but still powerful enough to live stream in HD at 60 fps, you will either need the Intel Core i7-9700k or the AMD Ryzen 7 2700X. Yet, when power comes to mind, you might want to consider getting the AMD processors, mainly the AMD Ryzen 7 3700X or the AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2950x. Whichever you choose is good. Whether you prefer Intel or AMD, it guarantees a well-paced streaming session everytime.

Still can’t decide? Check out our gaming CPU hierarchy for an overview of Intel & AMD processors.

Editor & reviewer of gear from iOS control pad’s to high-end PC gaming hardware. He’s been gaming since the 1980s and mostly plays CS GO & Overwatch.