Live streaming is booming, thanks to faster internet and better hardware. People can now broadcast their unique content to thousands of viewers from anywhere in the world. It’s a multi-billion dollar industry, and it’s only getting bigger.
Whether you’re a pro streamer looking to upgrade or just starting out, this guide will tell you everything you need to know to build a PC for live streaming that will deliver a robust, silky-smooth experience for your viewers.
Whether you stream on Twitch, Facebook Gaming or YouTube, the information here will help you get the most out of your next streaming PC.
Almost any gaming PC can handle live streaming, but you’ll need to tailor your hardware if you want to offer the best possible quality footage at 60 fps at 1080p or 4K.
Here Are The Key Components You’ll Need:
- CPU: A powerful CPU is essential for live streaming, as it needs to be able to handle both the game you’re playing and the encoding process. We recommend an Intel® Core™ or AMD Ryzen™ CPUs.
- GPU: Your graphics card is also critically important. If you’re playing a demanding game, you’ll need a good GPU to ensure your stream runs smoothly. We recommend NVIDIA GeForce RTX or AMD Radeon GPUs.
- RAM: You’ll need at least 16GB of RAM for live streaming. 32GB is even better, especially if you plan on doing other things while streaming.
- Storage: You’ll need a fast storage drive to store your games and streaming software. We recommend a solid-state drive (SSD) for this and slower high-capacity storage if you plan to record your streams.
- Internet: A fast internet connection is essential for live streaming.
Should You Use One or Two PCs For Live Streaming?
The first choice you need to make is whether you want a single, powerful PC for live streaming that can do everything:
- Capturing video and audio
- Encoding the streams
These tasks may seem like a lot for one computer to handle well, but computer hardware has come a long way in recent years and can now do it all. Multi-purpose workstations based on Intel® Core™ or AMD Ryzen™ processors are well-suited for this type of workflow.
On the other hand, some streamers prefer a dual-system approach because it can produce more stable streams. Splitting tasks across two computers allows you to tailor the hardware to each job and improve performance. For example, you can fully optimise your primary computer for gaming. Your secondary computer can focus on everything else, such as recording and encoding.
Here are some pros and cons of each approach:
- Simpler to set up and manage
- Less expensive
- More compact
- Can be more demanding on hardware
- May not be as stable as a dual-system setup
- More stable
- Better performance
- More flexibility
- More complex to set up and manage
- More expensive
- Takes up more space
If you’re new to streaming or on a tight budget, a single-system setup may be your best option. A dual-system setup may give you better performance and stability if you’re a more experienced streamer or have the budget for it.
A capture card is a device that allows you to capture video and audio from an external source and make it available to your streaming software. You may need one or more capture cards in your PC for live streaming, depending on your streaming setup.
You don’t need a capture card if you’re using a single-system setup and a USB webcam. But if you’re using a multi-system setup, a DSLR camera, or streaming a console game, you’ll need a capture card for each video source.
There are two main types of capture cards: internal PCIe cards and external USB devices. We highly recommend an internal capture card from a reputable manufacturer like AVerMedia, Blackmagic Design, or Elgato for optimal stability. However, an external USB option is ideal if you need more flexibility and the ability to move your capture card from one system to another.
SSDs: the fastest storage for your workstation
Solid-state drives (SSDs) are the fastest storage drives available, making them ideal for your primary workstation drive. We recommend installing your operating system, Games, and other applications.
There are two main types of SSDs: SATA and NVMe. Both drive types are similar, but NVMe drives are faster and more expensive. If NVMe is in your price range, we recommend including them in your build to keep your loading times to an absolute minimum.
Use a Secondary Drive or NAS For Long-Term Storage
We also recommend pairing your primary SSD with a secondary drive for long-term storage. This could be a hard disk drive (HDD) or a network-attached storage (NAS) device. HDDs and NAS devices are slower than SSDs but have much larger storage capacities at a lower price per gigabyte.
This way, you can keep your most frequently used files and applications on your fast SSD and store less frequently used files and archived projects on your secondary drive.
Here is a table that summarises the different types of storage drives:
|Type of storage drive||Pros||Cons|
|SATA SSD||Less expensive than NVMe SSDs||Slower than NVMe SSDs|
|NVMe SSD||Fastest type of SSD||Most expensive type of SSD|
|HDD||Largest storage capacity||Slowest type of storage|
|NAS||Large storage capacity||Can be accessed from multiple devices|