6 Best CPUs For Streaming in 2022 [Both Intel & AMD Options]

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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. So we’ve put together the best CPUs for streaming in 2022, with both Intel and AMD options for any budget.

Best CPUs for Streaming in 2022 Round-Up

The table below will give you a quick look at our selections for the 6 best CPUs for streaming currently available on the market. To read a full review, simply click on ‘review>>’ in the respective row.




1. AMD Ryzen 9 5900X

''Best AMD CPU for streaming overall''


2. Intel Core i7-12700K

''Best Intel CPU for streaming overall''


3. AMD Ryzen 7 5800X

''Best value AMD CPU for streaming''


4. Intel Core i9-10900X

''Best processor for X299 motherboards''


5. AMD Ryzen 5 5600X

''Best budget AMD CPU for streaming''


6. Intel Core i5-10400F

''Best budget Intel CPU for streaming''


1. 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


  • Excellent performance for streaming
  • Fantastic price to performance ratio
  • Superb multitasking performance
  • Compatible with a variety of motherboards
  • Outperforms Intel at the same price
  • Supports PCIe 4.0 standard


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

Our Rating:   9.9/10

Intel may have a larger market share (for now), largely due to their popularity with manufacturers of laptops and pre-assembled towers, but AMD is widely considered to be the better manufacturer, especially for gamers. AMD processors typically deliver better performance for the price, and their Threadripper series are hands down the most powerful CPUs on the market today.

If you’re familiar with the Threadripper and its four-figure price point, you’ll be relieved to know that it is NOT our recommendation for our best overall CPU for streaming. Even the 3960x (the smallest of the older Threadripper series) is more processor than you’re likely to need if you’re not going to be hosting servers and rendering animation in addition to (or possibly while) streaming.

In fact, we’re going to take a couple of steps back from the top of AMD’s current generation for our first recommendation: the Ryzen 9 5900x.

The Ryzen 5900x is at that sweet spot right before the ratio of price to performance increase starts to invert. 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.

When it comes to CPU performance, there are three main metrics that are typically used to determine quality: cores, threads, and clock rates. In each case, a larger number means more power and faster performance.

However, it is accompanied by rapidly increasing power consumption and cooling demand. Top-of-the-line CPUs are often going to require liquid cooling for peak performance, meaning a larger investment and more effort to get your money’s worth out of an already exponentially more expensive component.

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.

12 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.

“Threads” actually refers two to distinct, but largely related parts of CPU performance. A software thread is a series of commands used to execute operations. “Threads” as the term is usually used in CPU metrics refers to the number of spaces the CPU has to retain those commands.

The more of those distinct spaces your processor has, the more software commands it can run or be ready to run quickly. AMD CPUs use simultaneous multithreading (SMT, for short) to enable two threads per core, effectively doubling the number of software commands your CPU can execute.

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.

Now, the clock rate is how quickly your processor will send commands and synchronize with programs as well as the other components within your PC. So, while the cores and threads determine how many operations your CPU can carry out, the clock rate is how quickly or frequently they can be carried out.

This is why the clock rate is often the most important metric if you’re just gaming. For streaming, you need a high clock rate and a high number of cores.

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.

Overclocking, in the simplest terms, is adjusting the refresh rate of your processor, which will increase performance beyond the factory settings, usually by about 20%. It will also result in higher power consumption and heat output.

In some cases, this can create more heat than the default CPU cooler (The AMD Wraith Prism LED Cooler in this case) can handle, especially if your case is poorly ventilated.

If you choose to overclock the 5900x, you’ll find that the clock rate caps at 4.8GHz, 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.

There are a few other factors when it comes to processor quality, but they’re all going to be secondary to those first three factors we already discussed. Things like RAM compatibility, power consumption, and cache will affect the overall quality of your build and gaming performance, but will typically only be noticeable in cases where all other factors are the same.

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. DDR5 RAM is on the market, but substantially more expensive than most PC builders would be willing to spend for the relative difference in performance.

DDR4 is available in up to upwards of 4000 MHz, but the drop to 3200 MHz isn’t going to be perceptible for most operations and has virtually no effect on gaming or streaming.

The CPU cache, which AMD brands as the Game Cache, is a small quantity of storage space that the CPU will use to store data where it can be accessed even more quickly than if it would be on the RAM. This is useful for small, frequently accessed commands and files, which will further boost performance, especially in the context of gaming.

At the base clock (the default settings), the CPU has a 105W power draw. When overclocking, it’ll take about 140W.

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 for both streaming and gaming. It is going to deliver the processing power to handle all but the most extreme demands and components. Unless you know you need levels of performance typically associated with IT and content workstations or are streaming at the highest levels of competitive play this will be perfect for you. Anything lower and you might start to notice performance issues, anything higher, and you’ll notice the price more than the performance.

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2. 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 i7-12700KREASONS 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
  • Has integrated graphics


  • Higher power consumption
  • Does not come with a cooler

Our Rating:   9.8/10

If we were looking at just gaming, the Intel Core i7-12700K would have easily been our best overall processor on this list. It offers excellent performance for the price, especially considering that it’s the second-best you can currently get from the Alder Lake line-up. It’s also notably cheaper than its AMD counterpart, making it an absolute no-brainer if you’re an Intel fan.

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.

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 overclocked to capacity, 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 the compatibility with your CPU. The i7-12700K supports speeds of 3200 MHz of DDR4 and up to 4800 MHz of DDR5 memory.

Now, the total cache size is only 25 MB, which means you’ll have less storage immediately in your CPU, which means certain tasks could be milliseconds slower. But it’s not a difference you’ll notice in real-life scenarios.

All in all, the Intel Core i7-12700K is an extremely powerful CPU at mid-range prices 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.

The only major downside to this is cooling. You’ll need to spend a bit more time planning your build and the cooling involved. If you were thinking about trying out liquid cooling this is a CPU that will make it worth it.

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3. 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


  • Excellent price to performance ratio
  • Great performance for gaming and streaming
  • Unlocked for overclocking
  • Lower power consumption
  • Easy to cool
  • Fairly priced


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

Our Rating:   9.6/10

Where AMD really shines is delivering solid technical standards for the price point. The Ryzen 7 5800X is an excellent example of this.

It’s an 8-core processor, which means there’s a total of eight individual processing units. That’s a drop from the 12 offered by the previous entries.

However, the majority of gaming builds are often not leveraging more than 4 cores. The addition of streaming is going to introduce some extra demand, but 8 cores will be enough for all but the most demanding builds and graphic settings.

Besides that, it 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. As with cores, this is a step down from the previous entries, but it’s a level of performance that most builds aren’t going to be making full use of.

It solidly holds its own in terms of speed, with a base clock rate of 3.8 GHz. Since this is an AMD CPU, and ships unlocked, you’re able to overclock it up to a maximum of 4.7 GHz. With the ability to synchronize at those speeds you won’t notice any issues with speed or performance while gaming or streaming.

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.

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 should keep this CPU nice and cool.

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 stick with Intel processors for now.

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. This will be a good centerpiece of a build for experienced gamers looking to get into streaming or other people who might be upgrading from a starter PC.

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2. Intel Core i9-10900X

Architecture: Cascade Lake | Socket: FCLGA2066 | Cores: 10 | Threads: 20 | Base Frequency: 3.7 GHz | Max Boost Frequency: 4.5 GHz | TDP: 165 W

Intel Core i9-10900XREASONS TO BUY

  • Great all-around processor
  • The best option for X299 motherboards
  • Excellent performance for streaming
  • Superb multitasking performance
  • High overclocking capability


  • More expensive than AMD offerings
  • Power-hungry
  • Does not come with a cooler

Our Rating:   9.5/10

When it comes to Intel CPUs, you’re usually going to pay a bit more for the same power and performance you’d typically get from AMD. Intel is still the more widely used CPU, so there are advantages.

The wider usage means that there’s usually more compatibility, with manufacturers of components and peripherals often offering more options for intel CPUs and motherboards. Some models can have better latency than their AMD counterparts, so overall Intel is often a better bet if you aren’t wanting to do as much research on your build.

Intel’s tenth generation is also less prone to shortages. AMD’s better prices don’t mean anything if you’re getting gouged hundreds of dollars because the CPU you want is back-ordered everywhere.

While Intel has a huge array of CPUs around the $1000 range, and there are undeniable benefits to spending that amount of money on a CPU, the consideration should always be if you’re going to be getting your money’s worth out of the purchase. For streaming, the demands may be high, but in most cases, you’re going to get all the performance you need out of something like the Intel Core i9-10900X.

The Intel Core i9-10900X is a 10-core processor, meaning that it has a total of 10 individual processing units assembled inside the chip. This will allow it to perform a large number of simultaneous, high-demand operations, and essential ability for streaming, when you need your camera, mic, game, streaming platform, chat platform, and any other programs you may be using all running at once.

The 10-cores may require a bit more power consumption but will deliver an equivalent level of performance to the 12-core Ryzen above. The circumstances where you’ll notice the difference between 10 and 12 cores are quite rare.

The CPU uses Intel Hyper-Threading, which is essentially the same technology as AMD’s simultaneous multithreading. Hyper-Threading creates two threads (the storage space for individual commands) for each processor core. This enables up to twenty “threads” of software command to be stored at once, which in turn allows quicker response across a wider number of programs.

Streaming requires a rapid response from a large number of programs running simultaneously, so having a high thread count is just as important as having a high number of cores.

The base clock rate of this CPU is 3.7 GHz, which is going to handle your essential operations without any difficulty. This is an unlocked processor, so if you want to push your framerate, you can easily overclock it to higher frequencies.

Unlike AMD, Intel only unlocks a small number of its CPUs, but the ones that are unlocked can be clocked to even higher rates, which is another big part of why the brand remains so popular with gamers.

This one typically peaks at 4.7 GHz, though some users with dedicated overclocking rigs have pushed it as high as 5.1 GHz. Assuming you don’t have a rig built around testing the clocking capacity of various CPUs, the 4.7 GHz is an impressive leap of almost 30%. This is going to deliver frame rates well in excess of 60fps, or sometimes even 100fps, depending on the game you’re playing.

Overclocked or not, this CPU eats a lot of power. Base consumption is right around 135W and overclocked it’s going to be pushing 165W+. It’s nothing that a decent power supply can’t handle, but it’s worth noting that the only CPUs with higher power consumption are Threadrippers.

More than anything, that level of power consumption is going to mean that it’s putting off a lot more heat. This makes the fact that there’s no cooler included a bit of a mixed bag.

On one hand, the default cooler can be lacking, especially if you’re looking to overclock. So, you have all the options available to you, and the default cooler isn’t going to waste if you wanted to swap it out for something more powerful, like a liquid cooler.

On the other hand, a decent cooler is usually in the hundred dollar range, an extra expense that you wouldn’t be spending (or at least, wouldn’t notice) if it came bundled with the processor. It’s also more research you need to do, and if you decided to go liquid-cooled (very cool, totally worth it) it’s even more cost and setup.

The i9-10900X will support up to 256GB of DDR4 2933MHz RAM. That’s more than most motherboards support and way more than most operations require. The 2933MHz sync rate is on the lower side of what’s currently available, but that’s not something that you’ll notice for gaming.

It can have a slightly perceptible effect on streaming, but it’s not something that really makes a difference unless you’re trying to stream the current-gen of Triple-A games.

The cache is another one of those “could be better, but you probably won’t notice” areas. Every CPU has a small amount of storage for data and commands it’s likely to need to reuse frequently. This is called cache.

The larger the cache, the more of those commands it can store and the faster certain programs (especially games) can run. The 10900x only has 19.25MB, compared to the 70MB found on the competing AMD. You probably won’t notice the difference, and it can be offset by other factors, most notably RAM size and frequency.

All things considered, the Intel Core i9-10900X is a perfect choice if you’re looking for an older Intel CPU for multi-tasking and productivity – streaming, gaming, content creation, you name it. Just keep in mind you’ll need to spend more on cooling, but cooling is an area where you can really show off and customize your build.

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5. AMD Ryzen 5 5600X

Architecture: Zen 3 | Socket: AM4 | Cores: 6 | Threads: 12 | Base Frequency: 3.7 GHz | Max Boost Frequency: 4.6 GHz | TDP: 65 W


  • Excellent budget CPU for streaming
  • Lots of power for the price
  • Beats Intel’s counterpart in multi-core performance
  • Decent overclocking capabilities
  • Comes with a Wraith Stealth cooler
  • Low power consumption


  • Limited multitasking performance
  • No integrated graphics

Our Rating:   9.4/10

The Ryzen 5 5600X is a rarity: a budget-friendly CPU that gets rave reviews outside of budget lists. The overclocking capacity makes it a powerful gaming CPU, and the core and thread count gives you enough multitasking power for streaming as well.

You might run into some issues if you have a lot of programs running in the background, and it’s not a CPU you’d want to build a graphically intensive PC around. But if you’re trying to stick to a budget, you’ll be making few to no sacrifices with this CPU.

It’s a 6-core processor, which is going to deliver all the processing you need for gaming. You’ll need to be conscious of what programs you have running in the background when you go live on stream, but you’ll rarely experience anything more than a slight slowdown.

AMD’s simultaneous multithreading gives you double the threads per core, meaning that you can have up to twelve strings of command ready to execute. This is essential for multitasking and will make the combination of gaming and streaming video quick and smooth.

Like all AMD CPUs, the Ryzen 5 5600X is unlocked, so if the base clock rate of 3.7 GHz isn’t delivering the speeds or framerate you’re looking for, it can be overclocked up to 4.6 GHz. It’s an increase you’ll definitely notice and is as big as (about 25%) you’ll see on a lot of other unlocked CPUs.

At the base clock, this processor only draws about 50W, and fully overclocked it’s still typically below 70W. The light power consumption means that if you were to opt for a smaller build, like a mini-ITX, the smaller power supply won’t be an issue.

It also puts off surprisingly little heat relative to performance. That means the included Wraith Stealth Cooler is going to be more than adequate for temperature control, though you’ll probably want to include one or two case fans if you plan to overclock it. The included cooler does not have any RGB lights, so you’re slightly limited in customization, but there are other areas where you can make that up.

The 3200MHz DDR4 compatibility means you’ll be getting the most out of your RAM, even if you opt for a lower frequency RAM.

Finally, the processor boasts a 35MB cache, which allows a relatively large amount of data to be stared where your CPU can immediately access it for quicker execution and access of files and operations it will need to perform frequently.

This is the lowest AMD CPU you should consider if you’re planning on streaming. Anything below this is going to start seriously cutting performance for minimal savings. With the AMD Ryzen 5 5600X, you’re getting a solid baseline of performance with a streaming-ready build you can keep under a thousand dollars. This can be a great entry point to both streaming and PC building.

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6. Intel Core i5-10400F

Architecture: Comet Lake | Socket: FCLGA1200 | Cores: 6 | Threads: 12 | Base Frequency: 2.9 GHz | Max Boost Frequency: 4.3 GHz | TDP: 65 W

Intel Core i5-10400FREASONS TO BUY

  • Budget-friendly
  • Great power efficiency
  • Perfect for budget streaming builds
  • Comes with a cooler
  • Decent performance for streaming


  • Limiting performance
  • Poor multi-core performance compared to AMD
  • Locked – cannot be overclocked

Our Rating:   9.3/10

There’s a little space between the Intel Core i5-10400F and the rock bottom of Intel’s 10th generation line of CPUs, but not much. Like the 5600X above, it’s the point at which you would start making major sacrifices to performance for the sake of only 10 or 20 dollars.

This is a 6-core processor, which is the minimum amount of processing power you need to handle the multiple programs involved in streaming. You might find yourself limited in the number of background applications you run while streaming, but when you’re not streaming you’ll have plenty of multitasking power. If you plan to make streaming a regular part of your routine, the change in performance on and off-stream may become frustrating.

The hyperthreading technology that Intel uses creates two threads for each core. In a six-core processor like this one, that will allow a total of twelve software threads to be stored and readied in the CPU.

Again, this is pretty much the bottom end of what you’ll need for streaming, especially if you intend to include animations or broadcast video from multiple sources. When you’re not streaming, twelve threads is going to keep your regular operations smooth and quick.

One major drawback is that this CPU is not unlocked, meaning that it can’t be overclocked. The 2.9 GHz processor is typically going to be enough. If your goal is to stream games with high graphics settings, you might find that the framerate suffers. Outside of that, this is going to be an entirely serviceable option.

The lower processor speed and a smaller number of cores make this the least power-hungry Intel processor on our list, with a TDP (thermal design power, the power consumption at the highest performance) of only 65W. That’s going to make it compatible with even smaller builds, like a mini-ITX, a common choice for budget building.

This is also the only Intel on our list that shops with a cooler, which will be enough to handle the heat produced by the CPU since you aren’t able to overclock it.

It has a 12MB cache, which isn’t a lot of space but isn’t likely to be the bottleneck for any operations of performance needs.

You may run into issues with the DDR4 compatibility, which only goes up to 2666MHz, which means your RAM won’t sync with your CPU as quickly as it would with most other processors.

Overall, the Intel Core i5-10400F will be good for most budget builds, especially if you aren’t planning to overclock for any reason. There’s plenty of space in the streaming market for gamers who play indie games or engage in more casual competitive play. This PC is going to give you the ability to that and stream without delays or lag.

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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 201 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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