Best CPUs For Encoding

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Best CPUs For Encoding

When looking for the best CPUs for encoding like whether I should choose intel or AMD and focus on core count or clock speed will pop in your brain. Indeed, you would like to use such a CPU that makes the encoding process smooth and quicker without betraying your budget. 

To help you make the right choice we will be reviewing some top-performing CPUs suitable for encoding to answer all those nagging questions of your brain. So stick till the end of it. 

Top 5 Best CPU For Encoding Reviews 2021

These are our 5 best picks that you can consider any time and any kind of work. And the first product is our personal favorit.

1. AMD Ryzen 5 Processor

This one is the boss in the market, considering its six cores with 12 threads. It is good enough for its price since it can be overclocked for under $200. Who would not love that? It is equipped with a Wraith Stealth cooler and is compatible with an AM4 socket. Since most CPUs are available without a cooler, hence it can prove to be a good option.  

Highlighted features:

  • Has a base clock speed of 3.6 GHz and offers a boost of 3.6 GHz
  • The 3MB/16MB (l2/l3) cache helps with video encoding
  • The TDP is only 65 w which can work well with a stealth cooler to manage workload.
  • Like most Ryzen CPUs, this version is also unlocked, allowing you to overclock it to your needs.
  • Worth the price range
  • PCle 3.0 x 16 support
  • Multiple programs running
  • 3 year warranty
  • Has no integrated graphics
  • High temperature when overclocking

Keeping other options in the loop, this one is better in terms of affordability. The six-core processor allows smooth processing of programs simultaneously if we ignore overclocking.

Related Guide: Best CPUs For Programming

2. AMD Ryzen 5 2600 Processor

This product boasts a six-core processor based on a 12nm FinFETZen+ design.  It is a good fit for developing a compact PC since TDP is 65 W which is low. All of this is backed by a 65 W Wraith Stealth cooler.

Ryzen 5 due to its six-core processor is also a  good option for gaming, encoding. It offers a higher clock rate than AMD’s Ryzen 5 1600 processor. Thanks to this feature, you can speed up your system more than the base clock. So it is a step up. 

Highlighted features:

  • It has a base clock of 3.4 GHz and offers a 3.9 GHz boost. 
  • Ryzen five supports up to DDR4-2933 memory.
  • You can overclock the processor since it is unlocked.
  • Offers compatibility with motherboards sporting new X470 or older 300-series chipsets. 
  • Comes with Stormi Technology
  • Suitable for compact PC
  • Good gaming performance
  • 100 FPS
  • Weaker Stealth Cooler
  • Faulty parts upon delivery

Unarguably, it is the best CPU for encoding under the AMD name for less than $200. This product will survive more years, and you won’t feel the need to upgrade it with other higher versions. The reason is that the latest AMD generation, like 2600 X, doesn’t offer a striking difference. 

3. AMD Ryzen 9 5900X Desktop Processor

Content creators and gamers: here is a breakout processor. Ryzen 9 59000 X. The speed and efficiency of Ryzen 9 59000 X is 12 core and 24 processing threads. This is a trendsetter since it has beaten equivalent intel chips for content creation (encoding) and gaming. Under its price bracket ($500), it is the fastest gaming CPU. The single-core performance of this CPU is also very striking.

Highlighted features:

  • It gives a higher clock speed with 3.7 GHz as the base clock and a boost of 4.8 GHz.
  • Good for both single-threaded and multi-threaded performance.
  • It has the same low TDP OF 105 W as its predecessor.
  • It is compatible with old X570 motherboards so you don’t have to invest much while upgrading your system.
  • 100+FPS performance
  • Low latency
  • 70 MB cache
  • Unlocked
  • Cooler not included
  • Little overclocking headroom

Since it has no competition in its field, the price surge was justifiable. It may not come with its cooler, but it is balanced because it uses old support equipment like an AM4 socket and motherboards. 

4. Intel Core i9-10850K Desktop Processor

This ten core, 20 threaded processor is readily available than i9-10900 and cheaper. It is compatible with Intel 400 series chipset-based motherboards. With a speed of 3.6 GHz. It offers turbo frequency up to 5.2 under Thermal Velocity Boost. The high-end processor is based upon Comet late architecture (CML-S, 4th generation of Skylake).

Highlighted features:

  • With intel’s hyperthreading technology integrated, you can multitask effortlessly
  • Delivers a strong single thread and multi-thread performance.
  • TDP value of 125 W 
  • It is unlocked so that you can overclock it to 5.2 GHz.
  • Lower price range
  • Has DDR4-2933 RAM
  • Available in 14nm++ process
  • Similar gaming performance of  i9-10850K
  • Does not include cooler
  • Lesser cores comparatively

All in all, it provides flexibility with overclocking but still does not have enough headroom space. As often the i9-10900K is not available, it is a good option in its replacement. i9-10850K delivers competently in terms of graphics, encoding, and gaming. It manages load and multi-tasks well.

5. AMD Ryzen 5 3600 Desktop Processor

Another in the AMD series, this powerful 6 core processor revolutionizes encoding and PC gaming experience. Ryzen 5 3600 is an all-rounder in its own right. First of all, it is cheaper than its counterparts. Secondly, it provides a variety of features. 

This includes unlocked multipliers that allow simple overlocking, 12 thread design, and lower power consumption. Overclocking is made easy and more advanced in this version. You can overclock it either with hand-tuning or one-click A-XMP profiles. Its six core, 12 thread design competes with Ryzen 5 3600X, which is $90 higher (as of current price).

Highlighted features:

  • Ryzen 5 3600 comes with a 3.6 GHz base frequency and offers a precision boost of 4.2 GHz. 
  • Exhibits excellent 7 nm technology for more efficient processing.
  • Has its own 65 W Wraith stealth cooler, with maximum temperature of 95 C. 
  • It is supported by PCle 4.0 and  DDR4 3200.
  • 35 MB of game cache
  • Precision Boost Overdrive for autotune
  • Backward compatibility
  • Budget-friendly
  • No integrated graphics
  • Less overclocking space

Hence, according to its market value, it makes a good mid-range processor. It gives a decent single and multi-core processor, and it is efficient enough for gaming (100+FPS) and other applications. 

What is encoding, and Why do I Need it?

The importance of encoding can hardly be overstated. Encoding is the process of transforming data into a required format. The format can consist of letters, numbers, and special characters in a specific sequence.

The purpose is to make data storage, transmission, and compression more efficient. Once you encode your file, it becomes unreadable since it is no longer available in a straightforward language.

An example can be converting English text into a binary code. If you want to make your file (video, audio, etc.) safe, you can encode it. So even if your data is stolen, your files are unreadable unless they don’t have the algorithms you used to make that. 

It is an efficient way to secure information since it can’t be comprehended. Hence it is a reliable way to let third parties access your information but not hinder its safety. We are not finished here. Data can be easily structured and organized if we encode it and become more consumable.

Since the encoded file turns smaller, it takes less space saving your storage capacity. It is most beneficial to achieve large files. If you convert a Wave (.WAV) to an MP3 file, it takes 1/10th of the space of the original file. The complexity of data is drastically reduced, which makes transferring of files more smooth and quick. 

Types of Encoding Software

There are many options on the market worth considering. All of it still goes back and depends on your needs and the nature of the data you are handling. This includes image encoding, audio encoding, video encoding, and character encoding. 

For beginners, learning to choose the type of software will be difficult. In this case, it is helpful to use software that offers free trials.

Generally following are the types of encoding softwares available out there. 

1. Image encoding

Image encoding software compresses high-definition images that can be seamlessly uploaded to your website. When users visit your site, it takes less time for the web page to load. Since high-quality images are heavier, this software helps to retain the attraction of your web page. 

Some leading image compression software are ImageOptim, JPEG Optimizer, Kraken.Io, and cesium image compressor. They specialize in different formats of the image as well as devices on which they can be operated. 

2. Video Encoding

In this vast pool of social media, videos are competitive tools for marketing. Nothing seems more irritating than a video with lagging and technical issues. Video encoders are hence designed as an antidote to that. These encoding software ensure that the separated images that make one video are played smoothly in one flow. 

Lifestream video encoders are also now becoming a global phenomenon. Lifestream encoders change RAW video files into digital ones that are suitable for effortless broadcasts. It is also of importance since all the internet audiences don’t have the same internet speed.

Things to Consider Before Buying – A Complete Guide

There are factors to bear in mind while selecting the best CPU for encoding. Aligning your preferences with your requirements is the key. So let’s dive straight into it.

1. Core Count Vs Clock Speed

If you’re confused which to prefer, here’s the simplest answer. Core count and clock speed have their own significance. Having more cores count but lesser speed means that you can work on several applications simultaneously, but each will run slow. Conversely, having more clock speed with only 1 or 2 cores implies that you can manage a single application that takes less time to load. 

The importance of core count and clock speed depends upon your choice of encoding software. You must know whether your software likes more cores or faster cores. So it is not a battle as many people make it seem.

For gamers, a 6 -core processor is considered an optimal solution while editors who also do encoding can go for a quad-core processor.An important reminder here is that you can not completely rely on the number of cores. The performance of each core also accounts to the overall performance.

2. Desktop CPU Vs Mobile Processors

Although the function of both things does not vary, there are some characteristics of diversion in both. Desktop CPUs provide more thermal tolerance and more flexibility for overclocking while mobile processors tend to conserve energy since laptops depend upon charging.

This factor makes them slower than a desktop computer. The heat dissipation is slower and less in mobile processors. They have fewer cores in comparison so that less power is consumed. Consequently, desktop processors have more TDP and faster clock speed as a consequence. If you want to create a compact system, then a mobile processor is your way to go but the CPU is more reliable. 

Meanwhile, you may have to compromise on the efficiency and speed of your task. That does not mean that every CPU performs better than its mobile counterpart. Many powerful laptop processors may overlap with desktop CPUs in terms of performance, for example, intel mobile CPUs.   

3. Cache Memory

A cache is a chip inside the CPU that makes quick data retrieval possible. In layman terminology, it serves as a temporary storage site. Larger cache allows more files to be saved for swift data access.

 It is located very close to the processor. But it has less space than the main memory. It responds faster than RAM and takes a few nanoseconds. If you want your computer/laptop to be good overall, go for a minimum of 8 MB cache.

4. Thermal Design Power

All kinds of CPUs generate heat while working. Thermal design power is the maximum amount of heat generated by a CPU. That is why a suitable cooler is needed to dissipate heat accordingly. Higher TDP requires a better cooling system. So if you have a CPU with 65 W, then you require a cooler that can manage a 65 W processor, not lesser.

In many cases, a cooler is included with the product. However, most accompanying coolers may not be very efficient. In that case you have to carefully purchase a cooler of equivalent strength. The best coolers overall are Corsair H115i, Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo, and Noctua NH-D15.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Which is better, Intel or AMD?

There is not a straightaway answer to that question. Both have their highs and lows. Almost all Intel processors come with iGPU.. This makes it more suitable for content creators who do graphic-intensive tasks. 

For gaming, AMD Ryzen 9 or 7 CPUs have to be connected to a GPU since AMD does not have these features by default and you have to add them separately. AMD Ryzen 5000 series have beaten Intel in every spectrum, including power consumption, gaming, performance, and thermals.

 However, Rocket lake processors of Intel bring 19% IPC improvement and high clock speeds relatively. For single-core performance, such as in laptops, Intel is a wiser option at the cost of increased battery consumption.

For retaining battery life and less emission of heat, AMD wins the chase. When we talk about affordability, AMD had comparable prices in the past, but the recent price hike in the Ryzen 9 5000 series leaves behind intel.

  • How much should I spend on a CPU for encoding?

A decent mid processor can be found under $300 in the AMD and intel series. The higher the price, the better the cores and threads uplifting the overall performance. A CPU less than 6 cores and 12 threads is not the best CPU for encoding. In this case, Ryzen AMD 5 3600 is available for under $300 and has the required 6 cores.

 If your work consists of video encoding, you should generally opt for intel processors equipped with iGPU. Live streamers, however, have to choose more than 6 cores. In that case, the price can exceed $300. 

Suppose that you have to side with Intel due to your motherboard or some other reason, Intel Core I9-10850K is the best option available that comes without a cooler. Its current price is $399.9 (excluding shipping charges), performing equally well in encoding tasks.  

  • Why does my PC crash when I encode videos with Handbrake?

Handbrake is an easy and powerful choice to encode videos. However, disaster strikes when your PC crashes using Handbrake. This software is CPU intensive, and if you are encoding on a low-power device while running other applications simultaneously, and the temperature of the CPU can increase significantly. 

The most straightforward remedy is to uninstall and then reinstall, preferably using the latest version available. If it doesn’t work, you can try another video codec. Since Handbrake uses an x265 encoder, you can switch it to H.264 (x264) or H.264 (Intel QSV). 

Another trick is to limit the number of CPUs (if more than 1) used to run this application. You can go to the taskbar and allow only one CPU to run this. At the end of the day, if Handbrake does not work for you, you still have pretty good video encoders on the market. Find out what works for you.

  • How do you know if your processor can handle video encoding without crashing?

Before answering this, it is essential to know why CPU crashes in the first place. It can be due to corruption, overheating, hardware malfunction, etc. As mentioned before, your CPU has to be more than 6 cores, preferably 8 cores if you are encoding. It will ensure that your processor doesn’t get overwhelmed due to the usage of encoding software. The number of cores is not the only factor to consider. 

The core performance of each core is equally important. Typically, old versions of CPUs do not have ideal core performance. Ideally, there are various softwares available to check if the processor can handle video encoding without crashing or not.

A good example is Cinebench. You can evaluate how fast your video is running through this software. If the video preview is slow, it means your CPU is not suitable for encoding and you need to upgrade it.

  • Should I get an i7 or an i5 processor to handle video encoding smoothly and quickly?

I7 is typically better but not always. There might be some newer i5 that can outperform some older i7, if not all. An ideal processor for encoding would require a faster base clock, larger cache, and more cores. I7 meets all these specs in comparison to i5.

Since i7 allows smooth multitasking, media creation, gaming, and handling of more significant workload. i5 can also be sufficient for encoding , but you have to limit the number of applications running while encoding. However, both use the same socket, but you may have to invest in a fan while you are upgrading. 


To cap it off, the question of the best CPU for encoding is still open-ended to user specifications. All of it heavily depends upon the nature of your work, workload, and of course, your financial scenario. Hopefully, this article was able to erase some misconceptions you may have had about electronic hardware

Saqib Ali is a Computer Science Graduate and passionate about Technology. He loves to write about gadgets, computer devices, etc.

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