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AMD Ryzen™: An Elite CPU For Streamers

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pastedImage_0.pngIn the last five years, eSports has grown from a little-known niche corner of the gaming market to a global phenomenon on-track to reach $1 billion in revenue by 2019.

At the heart of this trend lies Twitch, which has helped feed the growth of eSports by serving as a cultural nexus for gamers (like me!) enjoying a community of like-minded people.

The simplicity and reach of Twitch’s platform has cultivated a new field of tools (like Radeon™ ReLive) that make it possible to broadcast game footage, audio, webcams, overlays, and other multimedia to legions of fans. In fact, gamers watched 4 billion man-hours of gameplay in 2015 alone!

But the simplicity of broadcasting to Twitch can come with some steep hardware requires. According to Twitch customer support: "many broadcasters will find that they get a lot of ‘input lag’ when playing video games.”

“Some games are very CPU-intensive and require a strong computer to run. These games are tough on your processor, especially if you are running the game on the highest settings,” Twitch Support reads. “To make matters worse, streaming is an extremely CPU-intensive process. Combine these two together, and it is trouble. If, on top of that, you open a browser to read chat, another program to play music, and a third program to keep track of donations, you might find that your game lags more than you would like.”

The proposed solution is expensive: “Use two computers to split up the workload.” One system plays the game, and a second system with a capture card receives output from the GPU and serves as a dedicated broadcasting system to alleviate performance bottlenecks. Many streamers will be familiar with this.

Many broadcasters also say the rise of hardware-based video encoding has not done much to address the needs of streamers that expect the best quality for their viewers. Many streamers also agree that the tight 3500Kbps bitrate limits of Twitch, and the short render-to-broadcast window for a timely stream, put the GPU at a disadvantage. Users often report that fixed-function encoders in CPUs and GPUS need more bitrate to achieve the same quality as the CPU-based x264 encoder preconfigured on streaming packages like Open Broadcaster Software (OBS) and XSplit. Though fixed-function encoders are getting better all the time, and work wonders for recording gameplay to disk, streamers often still rely on processors to give the best result for their fans.


Ultimately, these perspectives highlight that the typical 4C4T or 4C8T processors simply doesn’t offer enough performance to keep up with the demands of simultaneous gaming and video encoding. For such enthusiastic gamers, the AMD Ryzen™ 7 1700 can be a welcome relief.

With eight physical cores and 16 threads, one system with this one consumer processor now has enough hardware to simultaneously dedicate a full 4C8T to both the encoding and gaming workloads. Paired with a sufficient quantity of RAM and a powerful graphics card, it is possible for just one system to broadcast a top-flight 1080p/60 FPS/3500Kbps stream for viewers with little compromise to the performance or input latency of the game.

Since no streamer would willingly give their viewers a stream that fails 18% of the time, the balanced design of the AMD Ryzen™ 7 1700 processor sets the standard for effortless single-system streaming.

Robert Hallock is a technical marketing guy for AMD's CPU division. His/her postings are his own opinions and may not represent AMD’s positions, strategies or opinions. Links to third party sites are provided for convenience and unless explicitly stated, AMD is not responsible for the contents of such linked sites and no endorsement is implied. 

OBS to Twitch Results: Tested using DOTA™ 2 as of 2/14/2017. OBS Target Settings: 1920x1080 source resolution, 1920x1080 broadcast resolution, 60 FPS broadcast frame rate, 3500Kbps VBR target bitrate, x264 encoder. “Encode Failure Rate” defined as percentage of video frames dropped by x264 encoder due to “CPU too slow” errors. System configs: AMD Reference Motherboard (AMD) and AMD Ryzen™ 7 1700, ASUS X99 STRIX motherboard and Core i7-6900K, 16GB DDR4-2400, GeForce Titan X, NVIDIA driver, Windows 10 x64 RS1. Dropped frame count: 0/23000 (AMD), 4177/23000 (Intel). GD-111

Twitch Unique Monthly Broadcaster Source(s): Twitch yearly retrospective ({2012-2015} for 2012-2015; 2016 data source DMR Stats)

Use of third party marks / products is for informational purposes only and no endorsement of or by AMD is intended or implied.