A Streaming PC is not just a Gaming PC
Just because a Gaming PC can play games at high settings and high frame rates, doesn’t mean it’s also capable of streaming too. Not at all. A Streaming PC is more than just a Gaming PC. With a purpose-built streaming PC, every component must be carefully considered.
It needs a great graphics card for the games. An equally powerful processor, not just for the frame rates but all the encoding it needs to handle too. It needs plenty of memory. Lightning-fast SSD storage for responsive boot and load times. Plentiful capacity in the form of high-RPM HDDs for archival video footage. Plus, a robust capture card capable of recording at least full HD, 1080p video, particularly for those that plan to stream console games. And last, but by no means least, it definitely needs to stay cool and quiet – no pro-streamer should break a sweat during those long hours of recording, or discover their audio has been ruined by the roaring of several high-RPM fans.
One PC is all you need
You might be thinking "Do I need two PCs to Stream?" and although you could, it’s pretty unnecessary for the average streamer. With today’s hardware, having a CPU-GPU combo powerful enough to handle the demands of simultaneous gaming and streaming is easily achievable. Not only that, but it’s more power efficient too, making it far friendlier to the environment (as well as your wallet)!
But I know my favourite streamer uses two PCs? How come?
Sometimes, and particularly in the case of high-level professional streamers, two PCs are in fact necessary. Though, this is usually because their busy streaming schedules clash with a regular upload schedule for VOD content via their YouTube channels. In other words, streaming 6 hours of gameplay 3-5 days a week doesn’t leave a lot of time to upload the many hours of previous footage. So, some streamers will have a second PC dedicated to editing and uploading their YouTube and VOD content, which can run separately to their streaming rig whilst they stream new content. It’s not necessarily because their Streaming PC couldn’t handle simultaneous gaming and streaming, like some people are inclined to believe.
So how powerful does a streaming PC need to be?
This answer largely depends on the content you want to stream. If your gameplay videos consist of many esports titles like CS:GO, LoL, Dota or Valorant, then the hardware demands will be far less than those of huge AAA titles, like Cyberpunk 2077, Red Dead Redemption 2, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, and so on. What’s more, which resolution you want to play at, as well as which you’d like to stream to your audience, will also impact this.
If you’re planning to play and stream at 1080p in esports titles, we’d recommend at least a 6-core multi-threaded processor (e.g. an AMD Ryzen 5 5600X, or an Intel Core i5-11600K), paired with 16GB of DDR4 RAM, and at least an RTX 3060 Ti or an RX 6700 XT.
Meanwhile, for those wanting to play and stream at up to 1440p, or are looking to start streaming more demanding AAA titles, we’d suggest stepping up to at least an 8-core multi-threaded processor (e.g. an AMD Ryzen 7 5800X, or an Intel Core i7-11700K), paired with at least 16GB of DDR4 RAM, and at least an RTX 3080 or an RX 6800 XT.
As for 4K gaming and streaming, you’ll want nothing less than the best available hardware. Whilst 8-core multi-threaded processors should still do the trick, to avoid any potential bottlenecks, we’d suggest stepping up to a 10 or 12-core processor (e.g. an AMD Ryzen 9 5900X, or an Intel Core i9-10900K). Pair this with 32GB of DDR4 RAM, and either an RTX 3090 or RX 6900 XT, and you’ll be good to go.
Configure your Streaming PC
Check out our Reign Sentries for a great entry point into Streaming PCs, knowing that if you can’t see something that meets your desired spec, you can almost certainly create one using our custom configurator. Need to add additional storage, more RAM, or an Elgato Capture Card? You can change all of this and more – configure your own custom Streaming PC.