Streaming is all the rage. Many a player can even finance his livelihood with it – this is how the hobby becomes a profession. This is of course exactly what drives many other hobby streamers.
Players can register for free on platforms such as Twitch. tv or Hitbox. tv and thus broadcast their games live for other people. But there is also a lot of technology behind the whole thing. Because depending on which games are played and in which quality you want to stream, you need a good PC in addition to a fast Internet connection.
While many professionals already have a second PC to take over this mostly very CPU-heavy work, the gaming PC has to do this for hobby streamers as well.
In this article, we will tell you what you have to pay attention to, which hardware you should at least have, and what other accessories are available.
What streaming platforms are there?
Many platforms now rely on live streaming. The best-known of these are certainly Twitch and Smashcast. But YouTube is also included. The principle is actually the same for all platforms. You create an account, verify your account with a stream key and enter it into your streaming program.
In addition, you should set which game you are streaming so that your stream ends up in the correct category. Changes to the game are of course possible at any time. Especially on Twitch, you can also connect your account to your Steam account, which then makes the rank in CS: GO visible in the stream, for example.
In order to introduce yourself to the viewers, you can publish all the important information that you want to reveal on an info page. Links can also be placed here. The donation button, which gives viewers the opportunity to send the streamer a donation, is particularly popular.
This is usually realized via a corresponding plugin with PayPal integration. In addition, the info page also offers space for sponsor or clan logos, which can also be linked.
What software do I need to stream?
Xsplit is very well known, but it has significant limitations in the free version and only offers many more functions in the Personal and Premium Edition. Much more popular and completely free is OBS, short for Open Broadcaster Software.
How to set up this program is well described in this article. In general, the higher the quality is set, the more the CPU is used during the game, and the higher the necessary upload. Don’t forget to set the Stream Delay.
Otherwise, viewers can follow what you’re doing in near real-time, barring a slight delay from Twitch and upload, giving them an edge when playing against you.
What do I need to stream?
Almost the most important thing is a fast internet connection – whereby the maximum upload is decisive. Below 1 Mbit/s upload you can practically forget about streaming. But even with this value, streaming is only possible in a moderate quality.
Twitch. tv, for example, provides a maximum streaming bandwidth of 3.5 Mbit/s for normal users – and more for Twitch partners. This means that FullHD resolutions with a high bit rate are also possible. So-called game capture cards are quite helpful, but not a must. These are available as internal or external solutions with USB 3.0 or PCI Express connection.
A game capture card picks up the graphics card signal via an HDMI connection and thus relieves the CPU when streaming. But also the recording of consoles is made possible. Here we have a few recommended models for you – also for 4k quality. NZXT Capture Card Signal HD60 (ST-EESC1-WW) Best offer of:93.51€incl.
Shipping 5 other prices and providers Avermedia Live Gamer HD 2 Best offer from: 127.67 € incl. Shipping 17 more prices and providers AVERMEDIA Live Gamer 4K GC573 – video recording adapter – PCIe 2.0 x4 (61GC5730A0AS) Best offer from: 154.99 € incl.
Shipping 20 more prizes and providers Last but not least, streaming games requires a really powerful PC – especially if stream quality is important to you. The processor cannot be powerful enough here. Because compressing in real time requires a lot of computing power. And the cleaner you want to compress, the more work the CPU gets – in parallel with gaming, mind you.
Therefore, we recommend an AMD Ryzen 5 or Intel Core i5 with four cores as a minimum. The same applies to the main memory. So far, four better but eight gigabytes of RAM have been sufficient for all common games.
The RAM must be increased to 16 GB. What is rather surprising for many: The performance of the graphics card plays a subordinate role in streaming. Because the transmission in real time does not add any additional graphic load.
The only important thing is that the games you want to play and the stream can be displayed smoothly with the existing graphics card. If the streaming quality is not that important, you can also use the NVENC codec, provided you have an Nvidia graphics card.
This allows streaming via graphics card calculation and thus does not load the processor, or only minimally. You can see the difference in quality compared to x264 in this video.
Use RTX encoding in OBS
In the meantime, Nvidia has optimized the encoding with the new RTX graphics cards in such a way that the quality when streaming via the graphics card is almost as good as via the CPU.
The advantage here is of course that the CPU is hardly loaded when streaming, since the RTX graphics card now takes over this.
As a result, a two-PC setup with good streaming and gaming at the same time is no longer absolutely necessary if the streaming quality of the new RTX encoding is enough.
Recommendations for streaming PCs
The hardware Scots have put together a few PCs for you to use as a guide. Depending on the budget, our recommendations start at around 850 euros, but can quickly cost several thousand euros for higher demands.
These PCs are intended as gaming and streaming PCs at the same time. You don’t need a gaming graphics card for stand-alone streaming PCs. Here the focus should be on a strong CPU with many cores – e.g. a Ryzen 7 is a very good choice here.
Entry-level streaming PC
If you’re fed up with not being able to play games well in the highest quality and are willing to make compromises in terms of transmission quality when streaming, then our entry-level streaming PC is just the thing for you.
Here you get a Ryzen 5 5600X with 32GB RAM, Nvidia RTX 3050 graphics card, and a 500 GB M.2 SSD for around 900 euros.
Mid-range streaming PC
Source: phanteks.com If you want to be able to play most current games smoothly and also look good when streaming, then we recommend the mid-range streaming PC.
Equipped with an AMD Ryzen 7 5800X3D, 32 GB DDR4-3200, 500 GB M.2 SSD, and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Ti, you are well equipped for the occasional live broadcast. The price is around 1200 euros.
High-end streaming PC
As a real hobby streamer, should your viewers be won over by good quality both in the game and in the stream? Then our high-end streaming PC is just what you need. Thanks to the new Intel Core i7-13700K with a clock speed of up to 5.4 GHz and a full 16 cores, 32 GB DDR4, 1 TB M.2-SSD, and an Nvidia RTX 3070 Ti.
This PC hardly breaks a sweat with most games and offers enough power for a high-quality stream. With just under 2000 euros, you have to dig much deeper into your pocket here.
If you need even more graphics performance, you can also use an RTX 3080/3090 or even an RTX 4080/4090 instead of the RTX 3070 Ti.