7 Best CPUs For Streaming in 2024

Don't overspend! These processors feature optimal performance and affordable prices

Best CPUs For Streaming

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The two most demanding operations you can put your PC through are typically going to be gaming and video editing. Either is going to require high quantities of RAM, a current GPU and, of course, a powerful processor.

If you want to start streaming, you’re cramming the demands of both processes into one activity, which makes the need for all of those, but especially the processor, that much higher.

There are only two companies that make CPUs, which makes the choice a little easier, but the question of generations and price vs. performance still looms high.

Because of that, we’ve put together the best CPUs for streaming in 2024 to help you pick the best one for your budget and needs.

Be sure to check out our recommendations for other streaming gear:

Best CPUs for Streaming in 2024 Round-Up

The table below will give you a quick look at our selections for the 7 best CPUs for streaming currently available on the market. To read a full review, simply click on ‘review>>’ in the respective row.

Product

Image

Rating

1. Intel Core i7-13700K

''Best CPU for streaming overall''

9.9

2. AMD Ryzen 9 7900X

''Best AMD CPU for streaming''

9.8

3. Intel Core i5-13600K

''Best value for the money''

9.8

4. Intel Core i9-13900K

''Best-performing CPU for streaming''

9.7

5. AMD Ryzen 7 5800X

''Best budget CPU for streaming''

9.6

6. Intel Core i7-12700K

''Honorable mention''

9.5

7. AMD Ryzen 9 5900X

''Honorable mention #2''

9.4



1. Intel Core i7-13700K

Architecture: Raptor Lake | Socket: LGA 1700 | Cores: 16 | Threads: 24 | Base Frequency: 2.5 GHz | Max Boost Frequency: 5.4 GHz | TDP: 125 W

Intel Core i7-13700K

REASONS TO BUY

  • Excellent all-around processor
  • More efficient video encoder than AMD
  • Great performance per dollar
  • Top performance for gaming and streaming
  • Superb multitasking capability
  • Overclocking-friendly
  • Supports both DDR4 and DDR5 memory
  • Future-proof

REASONS TO AVOID

  • Doesn’t ship with a cooler
  • Power hungry 

Our Rating:   9.9/10

Our number one recommendation for the best CPU for streaming is, hands down, the Intel Core i7-13700K. This processor has the perfect mix of features for high-end gaming and video work–Massive core count, blazing-fast clock speeds, efficient encoding, and DDR5 support. Most importantly, it manages to do all of that at a very competitive price point compared to the competition.

Starting off with the specs, the i7-13700K is a 16-core, 24-thread processor featuring Intel’s latest hybrid architecture. This splits the cores into 8 Performance cores and 8 Efficient cores, which ensures both high-level performance as well as low power draw for low-demand, everyday tasks.

The lowest clock is 2.5GHz (on the E-cores), with a maximum clock of 5.4GHz. Compared to the 12th-gen i7, you get four extra E-cores and 400Mhz higher maximum speeds. Plus, the cache has been increased by 5MB, which is a sizeable 20% boost. As a ‘K’ processor, it’s also fully unlocked for overclocking.

When it comes to streaming, the CPU is capable of running a software encoder without too much effort, thanks to its higher core count, which is not the case with lower-tier processors.

For hardware encoding, the processor features an Intel QSV (Quick Sync Video) encoder, which is slightly more efficient than AMD’s VCE (Video Code Engine). However, the difference is negligible for streaming games, and you shouldn’t make your decision based on that.

As a part of the 13th generation of Intel processors, it’s compatible with the latest 600 and 700 series of motherboards, which support the latest connectivity standards. Unlike AMD, it supports both DDR4 and DDR5 memory for more flexibility. Plus, it’s rumored that the socket should remain the same for the next generation, meaning you should be future-proofed for future upgrades.

In terms of performance, this is a beast of a CPU with more than enough power to please even the most demanding streamers. It consistently outperforms its AMD competitors by 5-10% in gaming (depending on the title) and up to 20-30% in rendering speeds in applications like Blender or Adobe Premiere.

One thing to consider is the power consumption. It’s a powerful chip but also draws a lot of power, with max power consumption attacking the 280W mark. This means that you will have to invest in proper cooling and a beefy PSU with a good efficiency rating to make sure you get the most out of it.

A small drawback is the fact that it doesn’t ship with a cooler, but you should still get a high-quality cooler, as it can get really hot when not properly cooled. A quality air cooler will be adequate, but we recommend at least a 240mm AIO cooler if you plan on overclocking and pushing your system to its limits frequently.

All in all, the Intel Core i7-13700K is our number-one choice for the best CPU for streaming in 2024. It’s got all the performance a serious streamer will ever need for years to come, but more importantly, won’t break the bank–You really don’t need the i9 unless you know you need levels of performance typically associated with IT and content workstations.

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2. AMD Ryzen 9 7900X

Architecture: Zen 4 | Socket: AM5 | Cores: 12 | Threads: 24 | Base Frequency: 4.7 GHz | Max Boost Frequency: 5.6 GHz | TDP: 170 W

AMD Ryzen 9 7900X

REASONS TO BUY

  • Excellent performance for gaming and streaming
  • Great production app performance
  • Supports DDR5 and PCIe 5.0
  • Beefy integrated GPU
  • Overclocks very well with good cooling
  • More power-efficient than Intel
  • Future-proof

REASONS TO AVOID

  • Outperformed by Intel at a lower price point
  • Draws more power at idle due to a high base clock
  • Higher platform cost compared to Intel

Our Rating:   9.8/10

While Intel processors currently have the upper hand, the AMD 9 7900X is our top recommendation if you’re looking for an AMD chip. It’s a current-gen CPU that will stay relevant for years to come, and it’s got all you need for professional-level streaming while keeping the price reasonable compared to the higher-end processors, such as the R9 7950X or the X3D chips.

To start off, the AMD Ryzen 9 7900X is a 12-core, 24-thread CPU with a base clock of 4.7GHz and a maximum clock of 5.6GHz. You’re getting the same number of cores compared to its predecessor, the R9 5900X. However, you get a 1000MHz faster base clock, an 800MHz faster boost clock, and twice as much L2 cache (12MB now), leading to a much better gaming performance compared to the previous generation.

Just like any other AMD chip, it’s unlocked for overclocking (and it overclocks well) and comes equipped with a 2-core Radeon integrated graphics. The iGPU also features AMD’s VCE (Video Coding Engine), which fully supports hardware encoding for major streaming software (OBS, SLOBS, etc.).

Compatibility-wise, the CPU uses an AM5 socket, meaning it’s compatible with the latest AMD motherboards, including the X670, B650, and A620 chipsets. It does support the newer DDR5 memory, but unlike the Intel processors, it doesn’t have backward compatibility with DDR4. In terms of futureproofing, the AM5 is a freshly released socket, meaning it should be around for at least a couple of years.

Performance-wise, this is a top processor for gaming and performs virtually identical to the i7-13700K in gaming benchmarks, but as always, it depends on the title. Make sure to check benchmarks if you’re deciding between these two processors based on gaming performance.

Similarly, it handles streaming and complex multitasking without an issue, with virtually the same benchmarks as the i7-13700K. However, the price difference is around $40 between these two, meaning the Intel chip claims a victory when considering value for money.

What it’s got going for it compared to Intel is efficiency and power consumption. It still draws more power at idle because of its high base clock and no efficiency cores, but the maximum power draw is around 30% lower (210W) than the 13700K, which can be a consideration for some users.

Still, cooling requirements are high for this processor, and we recommend either a beefy air cooler for standard use or at least a 240mm AIO cooler if you plan on overclocking and pushing its limits frequently.

For streaming, you need a powerful processor, but you don’t need a super-expensive, top-of-the-line chip, and the AMD Ryzen 9 7900X fits the bill perfectly in that regard. You can get away with the 8-core AMD offerings, but this is a safer choice if you’re looking for a CPU that will stay on the high end for years to come.

Buying anything higher than this (R9 7950X, X3D chips) would be a waste of money both for gaming and streaming; this CPU has plenty of power and manages it at a reasonable price point compared to its bigger brothers.

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3. Intel Core i5-13600K

Architecture: Raptor Lake | Socket: LGA 1700 | Cores: 14 | Threads: 20 | Base Frequency: 2.6 GHz | Max Boost Frequency: 5.1 GHz | TDP: 125 W

Intel Core i5-13600K

REASONS TO BUY

  • Superb value for the money
  • Intel QSV encoder performs better than AMD
  • The beefiest i5 ever made
  • Beats AMD at the same price
  • Outstanding performance in production apps
  • Unlocked for overclocking
  • Supports both DDR4 and DDR5 memory
  • Relatively easy to cool

REASONS TO AVOID

  • High power consumption for an i5
  • Doesn’t ship with a cooler

Our Rating:   9.8/10

The Intel Core i5-13600K was voted the best CPU under $300 and is by far the best ‘budget’ CPU for streaming. It features great multi and single-core performance thanks to the higher core count along with impressive clock speeds, especially for an i5 offering. Plus, it’s decently efficient and easy to cool, making it perfect for lower-budget, mid-tier builds.

In terms of specs, this is a 14-core, 20-thread processor featuring the same hybrid architecture as the more expensive chips. This means you get six P-cores and eight E-cores (four more E-cores than its predecessor), which is more than enough for streaming and multitasking associated with it.

The minimum base clock (on the E-cores) is 2.6GHz, which ensures a low power draw for low-demand operating, while the maximum clock is 5.1GHz. That’s just a slight improvement of 200MHz over the 12th-generation i5, but enough to provide an extra boost in games. Plus, it’s unlocked for overclocking.

In terms of video encoding for streaming, the processor is equipped with integrated graphics (UHD Graphics 770 in this case) and the Intel QSV (Quick Sync Video) technology, which performs slightly better than AMD’s encoder. But again, the difference is negligible.

Compatibility-wise, you get access to the latest 600 and 700 series Intel motherboards with PCIe 5.0 connectivity and support for both DDR4 (3200MHz) and DDR5 (5600MHz) memory. As we mentioned in the i7 review, the LGA1700 socket should remain the same for at least one generation, so you could call this CPU future-proof.

Let’s talk performance. The i5-13600K is the beefiest i5 ever produced and punches way above its weight class. It offers a similar gaming performance as the i9-12900K, which is an impressive achievement by itself, but it also outperforms all of the Ryzen 7 5000 series processors as well as some chips from the current generation.

In the sub-$300 price range, it doesn’t have any competition. The higher core count takes care of streaming and running several apps in the background, while the fast clock speeds of the Performance cores deliver smooth FPS in games.

Power draw goes hand in hand with performance, and being the best-performing i5 also means that it draws a lot of power. The maximum power draw is noticeably higher than its Ryzen competitors due to the 14-core configuration at nearly 200W. However, while gaming, the CPU only draws around 70-80W, which is an average power consumption compared to all current and previous-generation processors.

Lastly, the cooling requirements are also higher than what you’d be used to from previous years, and Intel is aware of that, not including a stock cooler in the package. Our recommendation remains the same as with any other high-end CPU, which is to use either a beefy air cooler for standard use or at least a 240mm AIO cooler if you’re going to overclock.

All in all, it should be clear why the Intel Core i5-13600K is our choice for the best budget processor for streaming. Both single and multi-core performance are comparable to much more expensive CPUs, and the overall performance per dollar is off the charts. For around $300, you will be hard-pressed to find anything better.

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4. Intel Core i9-13900K

Architecture: Raptor Lake | Socket: LGA 1700 | Cores: 24 | Threads: 32 | Base Frequency: 2.2 GHz | Max Boost Frequency: 5.8 GHz | TDP: 125 W

Intel Core i9-13900K

REASONS TO BUY

  • Top-of-the-line gaming performance
  • Superb multitasking capabilities
  • Fantastic performance in production apps
  • High overclocking potential
  • Massive core count
  • Power-friendly at idle
  • Supports both DDR4 and DDR5 memory

REASONS TO AVOID

  • Premium price
  • Power-hungry at maximum loads
  • Overkill for streaming

Our Rating:   9.7/10

If you have more room in your budget and are looking for the best-performing CPU, the Intel Core i9-13900K should be your first stop. It’s got a massive core count, clocks up to nearly 6GHz, and will stay relevant for many years to come. However, unless you also do professional work and heavy rendering on the side, you’ll be wasting money on power you’ll never use.

To start off, the 13900K is Intel’s flagship 24-core, 32-thread processor that won’t even break a sweat for games and streaming. There is a total of eight Performance cores, which remains the same as the previous generation; however, you get double the Efficient cores, sixteen in total.

The base clocks start at 2.2GHz for the E-cores, whereas the Performance cores can boost up to 5.8GHz, besting both the i9-12900K and the Ryzen 9 7900X by 600MHz and 200MHz, respectively. The cache was also improved from 30MB to 36MB, a noticeable improvement of 20%.

Now, this is a ‘K’ processor, meaning you get all the goods Intel offers. This includes Intel’s latest UHD Graphics 770, the QSV encoder needed for streaming, and the ability to overclock the processor to your heart’s content. Fun fact: the i9-13900K currently holds an overclocking record of 9GHz with the use of liquid helium.

Compatibility-wise, you will get access to the latest 600 and 700 motherboards, including the premium Z790 motherboards with features like memory overclocking, PCIe 5.0 connectivity, or DDR5 memory up to 5600MHz.

In terms of performance, this processor tops nearly all benchmarks thanks to its massive core count and superior clock speeds. The only processor that’s able to beat it in some gaming and production app benchmarks is the R9 7950X, but Intel has the upper hand in most scenarios.

Edit: The freshly released X3D processors provide slightly better performance in gaming across several benchmarks, but they’re even more expensive.

Now, the Achilles heel of this processor is efficiency and power draw. Thanks to the hybrid architecture and mainly the efficient cores, the average power consumption at idle is around 50W. However, at high consistent loads, which will be heavy rendering (not gaming or streaming), this processor can reach up to 300W, which makes it the most power-hungry CPU on the market.

Because of that, you’ll need proper cooling, ideally a 360mm AIO liquid cooler. Intel doesn’t include a stock cooler with this one. Plus, If you’re going to pair it with a high-end graphics card, such as the RTX 4080 or 4090, a 1000W+ power supply is a must.

All things considered, the Intel Core i9-13900K is not for everyone–It’s a processor of choice for those who have room in their budget and are looking to make a serious investment to get the most powerful chip on the market. However, if you’re only going to play games and stream, you’ll be wasting your money on this CPU. Not to mention the money you’ll have to spend on cooling and power supply.

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5. AMD Ryzen 7 5800X

Architecture: Zen 3 | Socket: AM4 | Cores: 8 | Threads: 16 | Base Frequency: 3.8 GHz | Max Boost Frequency: 4.7 GHz | TDP: 105 W

AMD Ryzen 7 5800X

REASONS TO BUY

  • Excellent price-to-performance ratio
  • Great performance for gaming and streaming
  • Frequently on sale due to its age
  • Unlocked for overclocking
  • Lower power consumption
  • Power-efficient
  • Easy to cool

REASONS TO AVOID

  • No integrated graphics
  • Does not come with a cooler
  • Doesn’t support DDR5 memory

Our Rating:   9.6/10

With the release of the new 7000 series of AMD processors, a lot of the 5000 series chips are now heavily marked down, giving you an opportunity to secure a powerful chip, just like the Ryzen 7 5800X, for a fraction of its original price. The 5800X is still a high-performing CPU, and we strongly recommend it for streaming; you’ll just be missing out on compatibility with the newest motherboards and support for the DDR5 memory.

First off, this is an octa-core processor that uses AMD’s simultaneous multi-threading technology to create two threads per processor core for a total of 16 threads. This means sixteen different sets of software commands, or “threads,” to be prepared and executed by your CPU. This is a step down from the previous entries, but it’s adequate for high-level streaming and multitasking.

Additionally, it solidly holds its own in terms of speed, with a base clock rate of 3.8 GHz. Since this is an AMD CPU, it’s unlocked, meaning you’re able to overclock it over the 4.7 GHz boost clock. With the ability to synchronize at those speeds, you won’t notice any issues with speed or performance.

Overclocking isn’t necessary and will increase the heat and power consumption of your CPU, but it’s also going to give you noticeably improved speeds, especially in areas like framerate.

The CPU is compatible with DDR4 up to 3200MHz, which means that the size and speed of your RAM will deliver the performance you need to run high-end games while streaming and performing any other tasks you may need. If you plan on buying a DDR5 kit, then you’ll have to go for the new generation of chips.

At both the base clock and overclocked speeds, it’s friendly on power consumption. At the base level, it has a TDP (the amount of power it draws at the maximum allowed load) of 105W. Overclocked, it has a maximum draw of around 140W. It’s certainly not the lowest, even at the base clock, but you won’t have any issues arising from the power draw.

The relatively low power consumption also makes cooling easier. Unfortunately, you won’t be getting the Wraith Prism LED Cooler as was the case with the previous generation of AMD processors, but a decent liquid or even air cooler will keep this CPU nice and cool.

All in all, if you’re trying to build a mid-range PC but don’t want to sacrifice performance, this CPU is going to deliver the power you need to stream games at all but the highest settings. If necessary, it will handle more advanced components, but in most cases, the only thing you want to spend more money on than your CPU is your GPU. If you can find it on sale, which shouldn’t be that hard currently, it’s an amazing buy.

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6. Intel Core i7-12700K

Architecture: Alder Lake | Socket: FCLGA 1700 | Cores: 12 | Threads: 20 | Base Frequency: 3.6 GHz | Max Boost Frequency: 5 GHz | TDP: 125 W

Intel Core i7-12700K

REASONS TO BUY

  • Fantastic performance for the money
  • Excellent processor for gaming and streaming
  • High turbo boost speed (5.0 GHz)
  • Supports both DDR4 and DDR5 memory
  • High overclocking capabilities
  • Excels at both single and multi-core operations
  • Integrated graphics

REASONS TO AVOID

  • Higher power consumption
  • Does not come with a cooler
  • High cooling requirements
  • Outperformed by newer generations

Our Rating:   9.5/10

If you still want to reap benefits from the Intel hybrid architecture but can’t afford the new 13th-generation chips, the Intel Core i7-12700K is a strong contender. It offers excellent performance for the price, especially considering that it’s the second-best you can get from the Alder Lake line-up. And just like the previous-generation AMD processors, it’s heavily discounted from its original price.

First off, the base clock on this processor is a healthy 3.6 GHz, which is going to deliver plenty of speed and high framerates for gaming. The addition of streaming might cause some delays, but that’s where the overclocking comes into play. The i7-12700K is an unlocked processor that can be overclocked to a massive 5 GHz, an increase of almost 35%. That’s going to deliver smooth framerates on any game and an incredibly smooth streaming experience.

In addition, the core count is more than adequate to handle the multiple operations involved in streaming as well. A total of 12 cores means you’ll have the processing power to handle all the distinct programs and processes involved with streaming games and have some space left over for music while you play or video and web browsing between matches.

The combination of cores and clock rate makes this a fairly power-hungry CPU. At factory default settings, this can draw up to 125W, but under full load, that can almost double. If you’re going to overclock this one, make sure you have plenty of open capacity on your power supply.

With that additional power consumption comes a lot of extra heat, and the only major downside of this CPU. There is no cooler packaged with this CPU, which, all things considered, is probably for the best. If you’re not going to overclock it, you could get away with a standard air cooler and your case fans.

If you are going to overclock it, especially to the limit, you’ll probably need liquid cooling, which can really drive up the price of your build. If you’ve got a well-ventilated case with a lot of fans, you could probably still push it close to the limit, though noise could become a problem if you’re running it super high for extended time periods, and it’s still not a particularly cheap option.

The great thing about the i7-12700K and the 12th generation of Intel processors in general is the compatibility with both DDR4 and DDR5 RAM. So, no matter if you’re going to stick with your old DDR4 RAM or upgrade to DDR5 along with a new motherboard, you won’t have to worry about compatibility with your CPU. The i7-12700K supports speeds of 3200 MHz of DDR4 and up to 4800 MHz of DDR5 memory.

Despite being an older generation chip, the Intel Core i7-12700K is an extremely powerful CPU at an affordable price and a great overall processor for streaming and gaming. If you’re comfortable with overclocking, you’ll get levels of performance that you’d typically have to spend quite a bit more to get.

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7. AMD Ryzen 9 5900X

Architecture: Zen 3 | Socket: AM4 | Cores: 12 | Threads: 24 | Base Frequency: 3.7 GHz | Max Boost Frequency: 4.8 GHz | TDP: 105 W

AMD Ryzen 9 5900X

REASONS TO BUY

  • Excellent performance for gaming and streaming
  • Frequently on sale due to its age
  • Lots of cores for the price
  • Compatible with a large variety of motherboards
  • Outperforms Intel at the same price
  • Highly efficient
  • Large overclocking headroom

REASONS TO AVOID

  • Does not ship with a cooler
  • Doesn’t support DDR5 memory
  • No integrated graphics

Our Rating:   9.4/10

The AMD Ryzen 9 5900X is in a similar place as the 5800X right now, meaning it can be found much cheaper compared to its release price. It’ll perform everything beautifully, including high FPS gaming while streaming, and can still be the cornerstone of a premium build without doubling the amount you spend on your CPU.

The Ryzen 9 5900X is a 12-core CPU, which means that it’s composed of twelve different processing units in a single component. This allows it to perform multiple tasks simultaneously, which is a must for any modern computer, which is usually running dozens of background operations at any one time.

Usually, those operations have lower demand and can be handled by a dual or quad-core processor. The need for a large number of cores comes when you’re going to be doing multiple, high-demand tasks simultaneously, like gaming and streaming video.

Twelve cores will be enough for streaming even the most graphically intensive games. Even if you have multiple DRMs running or a lot of browser tabs/windows open, you shouldn’t notice any delays in launch and loading times.

As a 12-core processor, the 5900X has 24 threads, which further enables multiple complex operations to run simultaneously. The need to execute multiple simultaneous commands is essential when you’re streaming, as it involves multiple software running at once.

The base clock rate for the Ryzen 9 5900x is 3.7 GHz, which is almost 4 million synchronizing pulses per second, which will make for incredibly responsive operation. All AMD processors ship unlocked, which means that they can be overclocked. This extra ability and control is a large part of what makes AMD such a popular brand among PC builders.

If you choose to overclock the 5900X, you should be able to get to 5GHz+, which will be most noticeable in your framerate in games with high graphics settings. It should be noted that overclocking can slightly decrease the lifespan of your CPU and that the AMD warranty does not cover damage caused by overclocking.

In terms of memory support, the Ryzen 9 5900x is compatible with up to 3200 MHz DDR4 RAM, which is on the upper end of the possible performance but still leaves some peak components out of range. It does not support DDR5 memory, which is a significant drawback of this CPU and the whole 5000 series lineup.

Finally, if you opt for this processor, you’ll have to set aside some extra money for a CPU cooler, as this particular model doesn’t come with one. Keep in mind this is a high-end CPU, and therefore, you should pair it with a high-performing cooler, optimally a liquid cooler, if you plan on overclocking.

Overall, the AMD Ryzen 9 5900X is an excellent processor in a vacuum that will deliver the processing power to handle the most extreme streaming demands. The newer generations are still a better option, mainly because of the support for DDR5 RAM; however, you should currently be able to find it at a very enticing price point. Ultimately, if you’re building on the AM4 platform and looking for a high-end CPU, this is an excellent option.

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In Conclusion

CPU quality is pretty much linear. More cores, more threads, and higher GHz are, with virtually no exceptions, going to mean a better CPU. The price starts to climb more quickly the higher quality you get, but a more expensive CPU is almost always going to be a better one.

The main thing you want to keep in mind is that after a certain point, the operations you’re performing and the components you install around it are going to start to limit how much value you’re getting from your CPU.

This list includes the best CPU options for streaming, but will also work wonderfully for most gaming PCs and other builds. The biggest thing to keep in mind is to not overspend. Your CPU should be no more than 30% of your build’s budget. Usually, between 20-25% is best.

About Richard Gamin 237 Articles
My name's Richard and over the years, I have personally built many PCs for myself and my friends. I love gaming, programming, graphics designing and basically anything that has to do with computers and technology. If you ever need a hand with anything, feel free to contact me and I will be more than happy to help you out.

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