Do you consider yourself to be a pro-gamer among your circle of friends and want to show off your skills? Maybe you have a knack for keeping people entertained while you sit and play games together? Whatever the case, it’s more than likely that becoming a streamer has crossed your mind. It’s a fun way to play games that gives you the chance to create your very own community across Twitch, Youtube and Mixer (and sometimes earn some cash while doing so).
It’s all well and good having the charisma to hold an audience’s attention for live gaming content but you also need a strong streaming PC setup. Do you have enough power to run your game while streaming? Can you keep a consistent video resolution when streaming? Any questions you may have, we have you covered. Our guide will take you through what to consider when buying a streaming PC.
Single streaming PC
Streaming yourself playing games requires a lot of power and a PC that’s able to multitask. Not only will your system be rendering the game, but it’ll also be capturing and encoding that footage which can get taxing for a single PC. That isn’t to say it can’t be done, with high-end specs you should be able to play and stream with no problem
Here’s some recommendation for single streaming PCs:
- At least a six-core CPU like the AMD Ryzen 5 3600. If you have the budget, higher-end CPUs like the Intel Core i9-10900K and AMD Ryzen 9 3900X have at least 10 cores and multithreading to better handle gaming and streaming simultaneously
- For many 8GB of RAM is enough for gaming but will not be able to handle streaming on top of that. 16GB of RAM is the minimum we recommend
- Any up-to-date Nvidia GeForce GPU comes with a built-in video encoder called the NVENC. This can take the processing load off of your CPU for faster frame rates on your game and stream feed
Dual streaming PC
For those looking to make a career out of streaming, a dual streaming PC setup is the way to go. Just about every big name in streaming will have this setup as it ensures you have dedicated power to your game and stream respectively. This gets rid of any frame drops, stutters or other technical difficulties so you won’t have to dip your graphical setting in-game and your audience still receives a high-quality video feed.
While it may be the best option for streaming it certainly doesn’t come cheap. Your dedicated streaming PC builds will be upwards of £1,500 which coupled with the cost of your dedicated gaming PC and two monitors will end up costing an arm and a leg. If you want to commit to the streamer lifestyle, get saving!
Streaming Software and Capture Cards
Using streaming software is a must when streaming online. This is where you can customise and control the stream output that your audience will see. The biggest streaming software is the free Open Broadcast Software (OBS) or the paid through subscription, Xsplit. OBS requires a second monitor to customise their overlay to reflect their own visual style. On the other hand, Xsplit makes this easier with a range of overlay options that are accessible from a single screen. They’re both good options but if you’re tight on budget then OBS is an easy recommendation.
If you want to incorporate console gaming into your streaming schedule, you may want to invest in a capture card. It works exactly like streaming software but the process of capturing footage is handled on the card rather than through software. While some modern-day consoles like the PS5 have built-in streaming options, retro consoles will require a capture card to stream. Some even use a graphics card for PC Gaming as it can take some of the weight off of the CPU’s processing power which can help stream quality and avoid frame drops.
Fast internet = great stream quality
Having high-end hardware is a must but it won’t mean much if you have a slow internet connection. Slow upload speeds can make streaming at high resolutions a choppy mess. Twitch recommends an upload rate of about 6,000 kilobits per second to stream at 1080p at 60fps. Most home routers should be able to handle this but if your internet speed causes you trouble, reducing the resolution of your stream output can make for a better experience on your audience’s end.
Having the high-end hardware and software for streaming are the bare essentials for a quality streaming experience for you and your audience. However, there are additional accessories that add that professional touch that takes your streams to the next level.
A quality microphone will be right at the top of the list for streaming essentials. Without directly talking to your audience and commentating on your gameplay, there won’t be much point in streaming. A quality microphone is at the top of the list of streaming essentials. If you have a decent gaming headset lying around then the microphone attached should be more than serviceable.
If you prefer your microphone detached from your head, a dedicated microphone gives a professional look and high-quality noise-isolating audio.
For great noise compression and studio-quality sound, we recommend Blue Microphones Yeti Professional and the Elgato Wave:3.
While not every streamer likes to appear on camera, it gives a more personal touch to your streams and it’s always nice for viewers to put a face to the voice of their favourite streamers. A high definition webcam like the Logitech C920 HD Pro Webcam or a GoPro can work perfectly for streaming. If you want to use something more professional, a DSLR like the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G7 can be plugged into your PC through a USB cable or by using a camera to PC interface like the Elgato Cam Link.
If you’ve ever watched a gaming screen, you’ve seen the classic visual set-up of the gameplay taking up the entire screen with the streamer superimposed over the footage in the corner. Want to emulate this? You’ll need a green screen! Just place a green backdrop behind you and in your streaming software, navigate to the chroma key options and the background will be transparent (just make sure you aren’t wearing a green shirt).
Should you invest in a streaming PC setup?
Streaming seems like the dream for anyone who plays games. If you have the charisma to carry people’s attention for hours on end you can provide entertainment to people and potentially earn a living if your audience continues to grow. However it doesn’t come cheap if you want the ultimate setup for dual streaming. If you see streaming as your calling then try it out on your current set-up, if you find you find great enjoyment in streaming then start saving to one day have a set-up just like your favourite streamers.
Author Bio: James Sayers has a passion for writing on media such as music, film and video games. He works at Tillison Consulting as an SEO Campaign Manager working on blog content and SEO improvements for clients.