The Best CPU for Streaming and Gaming 2022

The Best CPU for Streaming and Gaming 2022

This article was updated 30th May 2022

Gaming is one of the most intense demands you can place on a PC. Stressing the graphics card and CPU in equal measure as you mandate high frame rates, high resolutions, and high detail settings.

The only way you can push it further is by diving into professional tasks like video editing, or doing both at the same time. And that’s what game streaming is: your PC is both gaming and transcoding video in real-time while you play.

It Needs to Tick a Range of Boxes

Unlike gaming alone, where a powerful graphics card can shoulder the real load of your demand, streaming and gaming at the same time needs the CPU to really push itself too.

Where the GPU and CPU work together to render a game’s visuals, it’s the CPU that has to do the encoding. This means you need additional processor power if you’re planning to stream and game at the same time.

The one upside of transcoding, even in the context of doing it while gaming, is that it tends to scale very well with additional cores and the workload can be split well between them. That’s quite different from gaming, where single-threaded performance can make a much bigger difference to how well it can perform.

While you still need a handful of cores to handle the most demanding of modern games, once you go beyond six cores, there are seriously diminishing returns.

That’s what makes the best CPU for streaming and gaming a unique piece of equipment.

It needs to have a high per-core performance to handle the games themselves and ensure high frame rates, but it also needs plentiful cores for transcoding. That ensures that you don’t diminish your gaming performance by making demands of cores that are needed to help render the game, but also don’t diminish your viewers’ stream quality, by restricting yourself to transcoding at low resolutions or frame rates.

Image of a man sat in front of his streaming setup playing an FPS

Best CPU for streaming and gaming on a budget

It might seem difficult to imagine making a budget PC that can both game and stream at the same time, and it is. But it’s not impossible.

Chillblast has been making high-performance gaming PCs for almost two decades and that experience lets us wring every ounce of performance from even affordable PCs with high demands.

AMD Ryzen 7 5700G

For a PC that can play games and stream without breaking the bank, the AMD Ryzen 7 5700G is comfortably in the top spot as an all-rounder.

This CPU has 8 Cores and 16 Threads, with a clock speed of 3.8GHz, and Boost speed of 4.6GHz, making the 5700G a fantastic gaming chip capable of pumping out high frame rates in Esports and even AAA games (if you pair it with the right graphics card).

You’ll find this processor in PCs like the Chillblast Fusion Recoil, using AMD’s outstanding integrated graphics (APU), 16GB of 3200MHz RAM, and a combo of 500GB SSD & 1TB HDD storage for optimal performance. As a package, this ensures that nothing stands in the way of your gaming and streaming performance. By customising your build and adding a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 4GB Graphics Card, you can expect excellent performance in 1080p gaming, and admirable HD streaming quality.

Intel Core i5-10400F

There are a few Intel CPUs that can compete with the Ryzen 5 3600 on gaming performance, with the Core i5-10400F perhaps the best example of that. Like the Ryzen 5 3600, it also has six cores and 12 threads, but actually outputs slightly higher clock speeds.

You’ll find it in systems like the Chillblast Fusion Insight Family PC for around £930 which is a great little gaming machine.

Intel Core i5-12400F

For those that demand pure excellence, Intel’s Alder Lake CPUs have currently got the market in a stranglehold, dominating benchmarks for gamers and streamers alike. The Core i5-12400F represents amazing value for money, with next-gen technology that has been specifically designed for multi-tasking and gaming prowess.

You will find this processor in the Chillblast Next Day Core GTX 1660 Super Gaming PC, along with an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Super 6GB graphics card, 16GB DDR4 3200MHz and high-speed 500GB M.2 Gen 4 SSD as your storage solution.

Which is The Better Choice?

The reason the Intel Core i5-12400F is so much better for gaming and streaming, is its hybrid architecture that dedicates resources where they are needed, and keeps non-essential processing to a minimum. The 12400F also features the newer PCI Express version 5.0 and has 2 MB larger L3 cache size.

Intel has excellent pedigree in video transcoding performance and makes this the ideal chip for entry-level to mid-range gaming and streaming, along with the GTX 1660 Super as mentioned above. The latter, of course, uses NVIDIA’s dedicated hardware encoder for optimal streaming quality.

In terms of value for money, the Alder Lake chip succeeds in pushing out AMD’s nose, but if your budget is of primary concern, then it is hard to pass up the awesome value that is the Ryzen 7 5700G. naturally, pairing with a dedicated graphics card is the obvious winning strategy, but with an integrated GPU (Radeon RX Vega 8) and 5% higher Turbo Boost frequency (4.6 GHz vs 4.4 GHz), as well as slightly better power efficiency, the 5700G is a very capable chip in its own right.

Intel Core i5 12400F for gaming and streaming

If you want to overclock your AMD Ryzen PC too, you can close that performance gap to almost nothing. Chillblast is happy to overclock any CPU in a new PC build we put together. It won’t invalidate your warranty either. Feel free to ask one of our highly experienced system builders about overclocking your new PC, to find out how much extra performance you can get from your hardware for free.

Mid-range gaming and streaming CPU

If you’re more a high-end gamer with a powerful graphics card you want to make the most of or want to guarantee that your stream viewers can watch at higher resolutions or frame rates, a mid-range CPU can make a real difference to your gaming and streaming experience. Game-wise, we’re talking playing and streaming Twitch favourites such as Elden Ring and Red Dead Redemption 2 at the highest possible framerates and Escape from Tarkov in all its manic glory.

Intel Core i7-12700K

Sitting on the mid-range throne, and arguably the best gaming CPU right now is the Core i7-12700K, which is almost as fast as its more expensive headline-grabbing cousin, the Core i9-12900K. And that’s saying something. The ‘K’ suffix denoting the unlocked potential of the Alder Lake family, and significant overclocking capability.

It has twelve cores – 8 performance cores and 4 efficient cores – with 20 threads that leave its competitors in the dust. With a boost clock that hits 5.0GHz, you have unbridled power that delivers even when multi-tasking applications and gaming simultaneously.

For the tinkerers and tweak enthusiasts, overclocking the 12700K is simple, thanks to the latest tools in Socket 1700 boards, and clock speeds over 5.0GHz are achievable for those who are interested.

Like cheese and wine, the i7-12700K pairs beautifully with NVIDIA’s RTX graphics cards, benchmarking incredibly well with the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Ti 8GB in systems such as the Chillblast Fusion Vanguard, with stunning 1080p gaming performance.

AMD Ryzen 7 5800X

A contender to the throne of king of mid-range gaming and streaming is AMD’s Ryzen 7 5800X.

It’s a beast of a processor; offering the same eight cores as the Ryzen 3700X, but with an extra 300MHz on the base and boost clocks for a maximum boost of 4.7GHz. With a particular slant towards accelerating productivity tasks where it can bring all of its multi-threaded potential to bear, the Ryzen 7 5800X is such a killer streaming CPU.

It’s a solid CPU for gaming too, but where the Intel processors have a clear advantage on that front, the 5800X excels when you’re streaming and gaming at the same time. And it’s not even particularly expensive.

If you don’t need RTX 3090-level visuals when gaming, you can get a 5800X-equipped gaming and streaming PC for as little as £1829 with the Chillblast Next Day Zen RTX 3070 Ti gaming PC (as shown below). With an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Ti 8GB and 32GB DDR4 at 3200MHz, this completes the spec for gaming/streaming.

Really, this is at the higher end of the mid-range, but for the price, you wouldn’t know it.

Not enough for you? There are even more high-end alternatives for you to consider.

Intel Core i9-12900K Vs. AMD Ryzen 9 5900X

The two top CPUs of AMD and Intel’s mainstream contemporary lines bring even more cores to the table. The Intel Core i9-12900K has 16, while AMD’s top-tier Ryzen 9 5900X, has 12. The Intel flagship boasts a hybrid architecture enabling eight hyper-threaded performance cores and eight efficiency cores for a total of 24 threads. A 33% increase in thread count over the previous-gen Core i9-11900K. The 5900X also sports hyper-threading, with a total of 24 threads, but Intel’s core counts cannot be compared directly to AMD’s because they have different real-world capabilities, with P-Cores and E-Cores undertaking tasks with their own agenda.

For gaming performance, Intel take the W, with stunning 1080p and 1440p gaming (essentially dependent on GPU bottlenecks), though the AMD vs Intel gaming battle is a close run thing, with certain games favouring one or the other. This means you’ll need to check gaming titles and genres against the available processors to make a proper decision.

The needs of a competitive gamer who exclusively streams on Twitch being vastly different to a AAA fan who likes to make 4K videos for YouTube.

Intel Core i9-12900K for gaming and streaming

The Ultimate Gaming and Streaming CPU

If all you really care about is having the best processor for the best gaming and streaming experience for both you and your audience, then there are a few options that go beyond even AMD and Intel’s best mainstream CPUs.

Intel Core i9-12900K

There is little point looking anywhere else other than Intel’s Alder Lake currently, if you want a powerhouse CPU backing your RTX graphics card.

Performance goes off the charts with the unlocked chips, and AMD’s Threadripper processors are just about the only thing that can stand on the same podium against the dominant 12th-Gen processors. But from a gaming and streaming perspective, Intel is absolutely the way to go.

AMD Threadripper

If you are Team Red, and want to stream at ultra-high resolutions or edit video when you’re not live with the smoothest of live playback when dealing with your UHD video, then more cores than even the 5950X provides can come in handy. And AMD has a range of CPUs designed just for that.

They’re called Threadripper.

Previous generations of Threadripper CPUs have been amazing multitasking machines, but they fell behind the curve when it comes to gaming. Threadripper 5000 CPUs, however, have no such problems, and balance the whole workload across 64 cores, and 128 threads in chips like the AMD Ryzen Threadripper PRO 5995WX.

The jury is out on performance of Intel’s latest chips versus AMD’s Threadripper. Depending on your favoured editing software (Blender, Adobe Premiere Pro etc.) you might find the benchmarks see-sawing, with stunning performance from both brands in various applications.

Ryzen themselves dub these monster processors “workstation” CPUs, so this gives you a clue as to the type of work you can expect to breeze through. The 5000-Series is virtually designed to be an unrelenting powerhouse for encoding and transcoding, and though it is also ideal for video editing at high resolutions, a wiser choice would be a CPU that has higher specs in the single-core department.

If you’re interested in the video transcoding power Threadrippers offer, give Chillblast’s expert system builder’s a call, and they can walk you through whether they’re the right CPUs for you.

Close up of an AMD Threadripper CPU in a motherboard

Alternative – Make a Dedicated Streaming PC

If you already have a capable gaming PC and don’t want to perform a huge upgrade just to stream while you play, there is an alternative method some use to take the strain away from their main gaming machine: buy a dedicated streaming PC.

It’s possible to play a game on one PC and offload all of the work of video transcoding to the other.

And it doesn’t need to be something supremely powerful either, since it can focus entirely on the streaming part of your workload. If you get a CPU which has a built-in GPU as well, you don’t even need to splash out for a graphics card.

The only caveat is that you may need to pay for a capture card if your gaming PC’s graphics card doesn’t support the necessary encoders to send the footage to your streaming PC over a network connection. Make sure to factor that into any plans you have to create a secondary PC for streaming.

Intel’s Core i5-12400F is a fantastic choice for a streaming PC, and balances budget with next-gen performance. Its 6 Cores and 12 Threads, with a clock that boosts up to 4.4GHz when needed makes it a great chip for such a task. You’ll find that in capable, compact PCs like the Chillblast Next Day Core GTX 1660 Super Gaming PC for around £1199.

Until we see what AMD’s new 3D V-Cache processors offer on the bench, Intel is showing the way for gamers and streamers in mid-2022.

Further Considerations

The only other consideration to make with these entry-level machines outside of the CPU is the storage. It’s a good idea to equip them with enough high-speed SSD storage that all of the footage you’re transcoding has somewhere to reside while it’s being worked on. If you’re looking to transcode anything above 1080p, you’ll want a terabyte to play it safe.

What’s your dream CPU? Let us know in the comments below!

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