Plex Media Server is a great way to organize and watch your media. It can be installed on a computer or network-attached storage device and can be used to watch videos, listen to music, and view photos. Plex can also be used to stream content to other devices such as smartphones, tablets, and smart TVs.

For a proper setup of a plex home server, you need a powerful processor which can stream your videos and movies to your devices. However, if you’re using only a single device to stream your media, then I recommend going for a less powerful Intel’s Core i5 or the Ryzen 5000 series of processors. Otherwise, if more than five users are streaming the content simultaneously, then you will need a more powerful processor like Intel’s Core i7 or AMD’s Ryzen 7000 series of processors.

In this article, I’ve discussed every scenario of building a plex home server and the best CPU for each one of them.

Intel Core i5-12600K Best Pick CPU for Plex Server Intel Core i5-12600K Read More See On Amazon
AMD Ryzen 5 5600X Best CPU for Plex Server 4K AMD Ryzen 5 5600X Read More See On Amazon
AMD Ryzen 5 5600G Best Mid-Range CPU for Plex Server AMD Ryzen 5 5600G Read More See On Amazon
Intel Core i7-12700K Best High-End CPU for Plex Server Intel Core i7-12700K Read More See On Amazon

People usually make mistakes building their plex server and one of them is which CPU to choose. Using an Intel processor can get you a lot of benefits, you can use the Integrated GPU for transcoding and have a great streaming quality. As Plex currently doesn’t support transcoding on AMD chips other than Windows, an Intel processor is your best bet. However, if you’re attracted to AMD due to price, performance, and other qualities, then you have to buy a dedicated Nvidia GPU for hardware transcoding.

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Here are a few other mistakes you should know before building your own plex server!

The 4 Best CPU for Plex Server Reviews

Reasons to Buy

  • Easy to overclock!
  • Integrated GPU can handle upto 5 plex streams.
  • DDR5 support!

Reasons Not to Buy

  • A bit expensive.
  • Can get heated if not paired with a good cooler.

This Intel Core i5-12600K is a mid-range processor in the latest Alder Lake series. Despite being a mid-range processor, this processor comes with overclocking abilities. It means that you can extract more performance out of it if you have proper cooling.

I’ve chosen this processor because it comes with integrated graphics. This chip is featured with Intel UHD Graphics 770 which means plex can easily transcode your media. You can transcode up to 5 streams simultaneously with this chip which is just great.

With a total of 10 cores and 16 threads, this chip can handle all your plex server needs and other general productivity tasks. This time with alder lake processors, Intel included two types of cores. One is the performance-oriented cores and the other one is efficient cores. This processor has 6 performance cores and 4 efficient cores. Combining these two, this chip can give you a base clock speed of 3.7GHz and a boost clock speed of up to 4.8GHz.

Other than that, you can put together the max memory of up to 128GB which can be either DDR5 RAMs or DDR4 RAMs. For Plex, you don’t need a ton of RAM to operate, you can even go with the base of 64GB and get the most out of it!

The Intel Core i5-12600K comes with a minimum TDP of 125W and it doesn’t come with a cooler, so you have to buy a separate one. However, you don’t a high-end cooler, but a simple air cooler can do the job.

Overall, this CPU will be my go-to pick, if were to pick the best CPU for plex server. You can buy this processor from any store around for about $290-$300 which for mid-range processors is quite good!

Reasons to Buy

  • Fast & Quiet!
  • Also comes with a stock cooler.
  • Comes in an affordable price.

Reasons Not to Buy

  • No integrated GPU.

If you’re not relying on hardware transcoding, then the AMD Ryzen 5 5600X can be a great choice for you. The Ryzen 5 5600X is an unlocked mid-range CPU, which can perform very well with plex servers. It features 6 cores and 12 threads with a base clock speed of 3.7GHz and a boost clock speed of up to 4.6GHz.

This processor gives a great single and multi-core performance which is very similar to Intel’s 11th Gen Core i5-11600K. The single core performance of Ryzen 5 5600X matches the i9 10900K which compels the users towards it. However, the Ryzen 5 5600X is a lot cheaper than the competition. It costs around two hundred bucks but its performance justifies its price. Besides being cheaper, it also comes with a lower default TDP of 65W, which means that this processor is very power efficient.

It also comes with the default AMD Wraith Stealth cooler which can keep its temperatures under 95 degrees. This means you don’t need to buy a high-end cooler and you might spend those extra bucks to upgrade other parts of your plex server.

Unlike the Ryzen 5 5600G, there is no integrated graphics on this processor and you must have to go with some dedicated Nvidia GPU for transcoding your media. Furthermore, if we compare this to Intel’s 12th generation chips, the Intel 12th generation offers DDR5 and PCIe 5.0 slots support which this processor lacks and you need to go with DDR4 memory but I’ve not seen much performance difference between them!

Despite all of these limitations, the AMD Ryzen 5 5600X is still a great choice for a plex server. It’s cheaper than the competition, comes with a very power-efficient TDP, and gives a great single and multi-core performance.

Reasons to Buy

  • Comes with integrated graphics card.
  • Can handle software transcoding easily.
  • Can stream upto 4 users on plex.

Reasons Not to Buy

  • A bit expensive.

AMD Ryzen 5 5600G also falls in the mid-range category, however, it is a bit cheaper than the Intel Core i5-12600K. This 5600G is one of the few chips that come with an integrated GPU that can do transcoding for your plex server.

The integrated graphics card is not too powerful, but still, it can do the job for you. Furthermore, for plex, you might not be able to get the most out of it other than Windows OS, because plex currently doesn’t support AMD transcoding. That’s why you have to buy a separate graphics card from Nvidia which can do the transcoding for you.

AMD has flushed this processor with a number of cores and threads. With 6 cores and 12 threads, this processor is sure to meet your Plex server needs without any buffering issues. The base clock speed of this processor is 3.9GHz and it can go up to 4.4GHz which is good enough.

Compared to Ryzen 5 5600X in terms of the base clock speed, Ryzen 5 5600X comes clocked at a speed of 3.7Ghz while Ryzen 5 5600G has a base clock speed of 3.9GHz which is a bit more than 5600X. Although both these processors are unlocked and can be overclocked yet they differ in their max overclock limit. Ryzen 5 5600X can be overclocked up to a clock speed of 4.6Ghz but in the case of Ryzen 5 5600G, you can just take it up to 4.4GHz.

I was much surprised to know that there is no DDR5 support on this processor and you can pair it up only with DDR4 memory. Compared to 5600X, which comes with PCIe 4.0 support but we’re out of luck here as we get only PCIe 3.0 support on 5600g. Although it comes under the same price tag as the 5600X which is $180-$250, you’re still short of some features offered in the 5600X. The main edge you get with the 5600G is you get integrated graphics in this processor, which can help you in plex transcoding.

Reasons to Buy

  • Great price for the performance.
  • Two types of cores gives exceptional performance.
  • Support hardware transcoding with integrated graphics card.

Reasons Not to Buy

  • None for the Plex!

The Core i7-12600K falls in the high-end category of Intel processors and is one of the most purchased processors for gaming. This processor is a great all-rounder and is one of the best CPUs for plex servers.

This chip also comes with two types of cores just like the Core i5-12600K, however, this time you get 12 cores and 20 threads. You’ll get two extra performance cores and four extra threads which will help you in multitasking. As for the clock speed, you’ll get a base clock speed of 3.6GHz for P-cores and 2.7GHz for E-cores. The maximum clock speed you can achieve with this processor is up to 5.0GHz which is quite good.

Like the Core i5-12600K, you’ll also get a TDP of 125W but in this case, I should recommend getting a better cooler like Noctua NH-D15 which will keep the temperatures under 80-90 degrees even when you’re pushing the processor to its limits. The max temperature for this processor is 100 degrees which is why you need to make sure to get the best cooler!

This processor also supports both DDR4 and DDR5 memory types, so you can choose any type of memory you want for your plex server. As for the PCIe support, you’ll get PCIe 4.0 and PCIe 5.0 support with this processor which is the latest and greatest. This processor can get you the best plex experience with any LGA1700 motherboard.

The Core i7-12700K also comes with an integrated graphics card which is the same as the i5-12600K, but with extra cores, you can expect better transcoding and more users. The Core i7-12700K is a great processor for plex servers, however, it is quite expensive and will cost you about $380-$400.

With i7-12700K, you’ll also get slightly higher graphics dynamic frequency and Intel’s Max Boost Technology 3.0 which will provide 15-20% more performance. Overall, the Core i7-12700K is the best high-end processor for plex servers.

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James Hall
James Hall

I work in IT and love helping people build gaming rigs - it's a lot of fun! I also write content as a passion, and enjoy doing it because it allows me to share my thoughts with others.

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