Streaming PC Buyer’s Guide: Stream Like the Pros!
Streaming: The Latest Craze
Whether it’s big live eSports tournaments, an exciting round of Battle Royale, or entertaining dawdling arcade and indie titles with friends, streaming enjoys great popularity. There is also a lot of streaming outside of the gaming scene, so from the cookery show to the night course you can find a huge selection on Twitch and YouTube. Twitch alone attracts around 15 million viewers every day. But it is not only watched: About 2.2 million Twitch streamers play every day in front of an international audience.
In order to ensure a smooth presentation, you need not only a fast and stable Internet connection but also the right computer: a streaming PC not only calculates the respective game, it is also responsible for the transcoding and transmission to the streaming service. In addition, the streamer interacts with its viewers via chat, microphone and face cam.
Streaming PC: Choosing the right components
A streaming PC therefore has several tasks to perform at the same time. For this reason, different rules apply when choosing the hardware components for such a computer than when configuring a regular gaming PC: In our online shop we offer some accordingly configured streaming systems.
Choosing the Right Processor
The processor should offer as many processor cores and threads as possible. This ensures that it can handle multiple tasks at the same time. In addition, video editing programs can generally handle multiple CPU cores very well. A six core processor is a good choice, but it can also be eight cores. In addition, a processor with SMT (Simultaneous Multithreading) can play to its strengths.
For price-conscious buyers, the AMD Ryzen 5 2600 is an excellent choice. The main processor has six cores and a total of two threads with a base clock of 3.4 GHz and is equally suitable for games and video editing. The Intel Core i9-9900K offers eight processor cores and 16 threads. With a clock frequency of 3.6 GHz, automatic overclocking up to 5 GHz and an open multiplier, it offers plenty of performance at a competitive price.
Which graphics card is suitable for streaming?
The stream does not look the same to the audience as it does on their own screen. Twitch supports a maximum of 1,920 x 1,080 pixels at 60 FPS at a transfer rate of three to six megabits per second. Beyond that, everything does not reach the viewers.
When it comes to choosing a graphics card, streaming is essentially about the viewer’s own experience. However, a powerful variant offers further advantages: It can prevent breakdowns of frame rates and enables a smooth playing in high resolutions and with more details.
How much memory does a streaming PC need?
A streaming PC performs several tasks at the same time. A good short-term memory is an advantage here: because in addition to the actual game, broadcasting software such as OBS, XSplit or Bebo must also do its job. This means the webcam is working away, sound is being processed, chat overlays are being faded in and out – and all this is occurring in real time.
A good rule of thumb to go by: double the amount of regular gaming PCs. If 16 gigabytes are good, 32 gigabytes are better.
Higher clock rates also provide higher bandwidth for RAM. This means that data is made available to the processor faster, with the end result being that the speed of the computer increases.
Hard Drives or SSDs?
Here traditional hard disks offer a particularly good price-performance ratio and a high life expectancy. Models with several terabytes of storage space are available in great variety at reasonable prices in our online shop. Storing data on a NAS system with RAID can also be advantageous from a certain amount of data.
However hard disks are relatively slow. In order not to bore the audience unnecessarily, the system should be installed on a fast SSD. These offer significantly higher data transfer rates, which makes applications and games start faster and load times are significantly reduced.
Anyone who, in addition to the direct live stream, also records on the local computer e.g. when uploading a best-of video with outtakes later, will also need a lot of hard disk space. Live streams tend to involve the creation of large quantities of raw material.
Advantages of a Second Computer
In order not to impair game performance while streaming, many streamers decide on a solution with two computers. One serves as a gaming PC and one as a streaming PC. In this setup, the gaming PC deals solely with running the game. The advantage: it can rely on 100 percent of its computing power at any one time. The streaming PC, on the other hand, is solely responsible for the live transmission and recording and can also bring its entire power to bear here.
This solution is also suitable for console players as they can do without a gaming PC with an expensive graphics card. For the operation of a pure streaming computer, an integrated graphics unit or a dedicated entry-level graphics card is completely sufficient.
Do I Need a Capture Device?
Whether with a gaming PC or console, a capture device such as Elgato Game Capture picks up picture and sound signals and loops them through to an output device such as a TV, screen or projector. Available as a PCIe plug-in card or external box with USB connection, such a device offers input and output for HDMI.
A Good Microphone is Worth its Weight in Gold
In addition to the computer itself, there are other accessories that can significantly enhance the quality of a stream. In particular, a powerful condenser microphone can make a significant difference to the viewers’ experience.
Which Camera is Perfect for a Webcam?
So you’ve grabbed your viewers‘ interest, and now they want to see the face behind the voice.
The Green Screen: Hollywood at Your Desk
In order to cover as little of the game as possible, many streamers use a green screen. This enables the release by means of keying. The means the player is in front of a smooth, green surface. This colour must not be present in the clothing of the streamer as it would be deducted from the picture and users would only see the background.
Optimum Image Quality with Softlights
Bright and even lighting can work wonders as far as image quality is concerned and is indispensable for keying. Small cameras like webcams suffer in low light situations, producing a low contrast, noisy image.