How to Build the Best PC for Streaming (GUIDE)

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Today, it is easier for an ordinary person to become famous than ever before. With modern technology, an average person can become a celebrity if they have some luck and skill on their side.

While many people succeed as bloggers, podcasters, or youtube personalities, one of the best options is to let people watch your gaming sessions live.

Anyone who can entertain their viewers by live streaming games can acquire a following. While very many people live stream their games, the market is not necessarily too saturated for you to have a chance. So many people watch live gaming on twitch.tv and similar websites that there is always room for new gaming live streamers.

A best, a live gaming personality, can get rich. More realistically, a live streamer can become slightly famous. Even if you cannot make a living at it, live streaming games is a fun way of making some side income.

If you want to stream games to a live audience, you are going to need a PC that can handle it. Merely having fast Internet is not enough. Your PC has to be able to handle running new games on high graphics settings. People are not likely to watch the live streams of someone who has an older computer and has to dial down the graphics.

On Twitch.tv, fifteen million users spend an average of more than a hundred minutes a day watching live streams.
On Twitch.tv, fifteen million users spend an average of more than a hundred minutes a day watching live streams.

One of the best ways of getting a PC capable of live streaming games to a real audience is to put the PC together yourself. Choose all of the components yourself, from your graphics card to your power supply, and put them together. This way, it will not cost a fortune.

If you build rather than buy an excellent live streaming PC, you can spend money only on what is necessary and not on things that are not relevant.

On Twitch.tv, fifteen million users spend an average of more than a hundred minutes a day watching live streams. There is still room for new live streaming channels as long as you have what it takes to succeed!

What do you need to build the ultimate streaming machine?

First and foremost, a PC used for live streaming has to be a powerful gaming PC. People are not likely to want to watch you play games with the graphics turned way down or with a poor framerate.

A real gaming PC is required, it does not quite have to be top of the line, but it needs some real power.

As well as being able to run graphically intensive games, a streaming PC also have to be capable of streaming the content online at the same time. Having to upload the imagery while playing the games puts added strain on the hardware and can slow the machine down if it is not powerful enough to handle it.

A powerful PC is needed to stream games
A powerful PC is needed to stream games

Your PC, of course, must also be capable of recording the video of you playing in real-time. With all of these requirements, you are going to need a powerful computer. However, it does not have to be as expensive as you might think.

If you buy the parts separately, you can put a streaming PC together for an affordable, although not low price.

The CPU

Just because a CPU is excellent for gaming does not always mean that it is great for live streaming. Only some of the CPUs that can run newer games are good for live streaming.

The CPU has to do many different hardware testing tasks at the same time. This requires a CPU that can multitask very well. Not all gaming CPUs are capable of multitasking to the extent of playing the game, recording the video, recording the audio, and sending it to the viewers at the same time.

Since multitasking power is needed, you want to go with a CPU that has as many cores as possible. A four-core processor was the standard for a long time, but it might not be enough anymore. You might need more than four cores as your PC will have to take on multiple distinct tasks at once.

A Ryzen 8-core processor may also be a good idea. Your processor does not have to be particularly high end, but it does have to be good.

If you aren’t willing to spend more than a little money, you cannot realistically create a great live streaming PC.

If you are willing to spend enough money, 16-core processors are available, such as the Ryzen Threadripper. Otherwise, an eight-core processor is often good enough.

AMD ryzen threadripper and ryzen 7 8-core

When live streaming a game, there is a risk that your CPU will overheat. The Corsair H100i PRO CPU cooler is one of the best choices as it is a very powerful cooling system.

corsair h100i pro cpu cooler for games streaming
corsair h100i pro cpu cooler for games streaming

RGB lighting

RGB lighting might be a good idea if you are live streaming games. You might not care about RGB lighting yourself, but it does make your hardware look more impressive to your audience.

The little things matter when holding your audience’s attention, so RGB lighting is a relevant feature. A new potential viewer that is looking at your channel for the first time can lose their focus very quickly and for very little reason. Little things, such as making your PC look more impressive, do matter here.

The motherboard

Some motherboards allow for multiple graphics cards. More than one graphics card can be quite an advantage, so a motherboard that supports more than one might be the right way to go.

The motherboard should be able to deal with heat well. If your streaming PC overheats easily, you will not be able to be a successful live stream.

The MSI B450 is one of the better options, especially with its powerful heat sinks, and is not even very expensive.

Another option is the Asus ROG, which the company designed specifically with gamers in mind.

ASUS ROG and MSI B450 motherboard

Is a lot of RAM necessary?

Going with the full 32GB of RAM is a good idea. You may believe that you can run new games with only 16GB – but remember that your PC must do a lot of other work at the same time as the calculations required for gaming.

Even a computer that can run new games smoothly may slow down if you try to do streaming as well. RAM is essential as your computer is going to be doing two different RAM intensive tasks at once. Many RAM units also contain heat-reducing features, which do make a difference.

Solid-state vs hard drive memory

Solid-state is absolutely required these days. Hard disk drive memory is old fashioned and is no longer fast enough to run newer games.

While you get less storage space with solid-state memory than with hard disk drive memory, games boot up much quicker and run much faster with solid-state.

Any computer that does not have solid-state memory is far and not slightly below the standard. There is nothing wrong with a mix of solid-state and hard disk drive memory. A mix of the two will run just as fast as solid-state memory does and not somewhere in between. With a mix of the two, you must install all of the games you currently play into your solid-state drive for better performance.

How relevant is the power supply?

Buying an extra-powerful power supply will not boost your performance as adding more RAM or a better graphics card will. A power supply merely has to adequate, and supplying the computer with more power than it needs isn’t going to make any difference.

However, the last thing you want is a power supply that is too weak for the job. Remember that your computer will be running at an unusually high intensity when you are live streaming, and it may require more power than usual.

Power supplies can also be loud, so you want one that has a reputation for being quiet as well as being powerful. Some power supplies offer 1000 or more watts of power – that is more than enough even if your PC is doing such a demanding job.

Can one live stream with a laptop rather than a desktop?

Usually, trying to do this with a laptop is not a good idea. Some laptops can make reasonably powerful gaming machines, but desktops tend to be more powerful.

As well, a desktop is more straightforward to upgrade than a laptop. Many laptops cannot be upgraded or can only have some of their parts taken out and replaced.

How much resolution do you need to run your game on?

While the image needs to be clear, you do not have to have 4K resolution on all the time. Competitive multiplayer games are what draws an audience, and these games often run better on 1080P than on 4K, even with a high-end machine.

You might be best going somewhere in between 1080P and 4K. Certainly, people can tell the difference between 4K and 1080P, but they may not be able to tell the difference between 2K and 4K unless the screen is huge. No one runs games on 8K resolution, and you cannot tell the difference between that and 4K anyway.

Graphics card

When you are trying to run a game smoothly with the graphics turned up, your graphics card is the single most relevant part of your computer. Nothing boosts your computer’s overall power for smooth gaming better than your graphics card. With a better graphics card, you can set your resolution and your graphics detail settings higher without causing the frame rate to slow down.

The same graphics card is often available at very different prices in different locations. You can usually get a better price on Amazon than in stores, but this is not always the case.

Your graphics card must be compatible with and not too advanced for your computer’s other components.

You cannot get good results running a newer graphics card on an older computer. If you do not do your research first, you might not be able to use your graphics card at all. It could be completely incompatible with some of your other hardware, even if your other hardware is very new.

The GTX 1050 TI and the Sapphire 390 Nitro are both excellent choices that do not cost a fortune. You might also go with the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060, which is quite capable of running graphically intensive games without slowing down.

Gigabyte Geforce GTX 1050 Ti for games streaming
Gigabyte Geforce GTX 1050 Ti

It is worth mentioning that the graphics card is not going to be involved in recording video or transmitting this video to your viewers. Other parts of your computer hardware are responsible for recording and transmitting the video in real-time. Therefore, if you have a graphics card that is good enough for gaming, it should be good enough for streaming as well.

Storage

Again, you have to store your games in solid-state memory, or else they will be too slow.

Many newer computers have 512 GB solid-state drives. 512 MB should be more than enough to store your games. If you do need more room than that, you should use a mix of standard hard disk and solid-state memory.

You could store games and programs that you are not currently using on the hard drive and games that you are now using on the solid-state drive.

Not all solid-state drives are the same speed. Some are much faster than others. If you want a high-speed hard drive that has a whopping 960GB of solid-state memory, you might want to give the SanDisk SSD Plus a try. As well as its speed and storage space, the SanDisk SSD is also heat resistant.

sandisk ssd plus how to build a pc for streaming

If you are looking for something cheaper, you could get a 240MB or 120MB SanDisk drive. The smaller drives are just as fast as the 960GB drive.

The case

Usually, live streamers have much of their hardware visible to their audience. Appearance matters. Again, little things make big differences when trying to keep the audience’s attention.

Make sure your case is flashy looking and not merely functional. You might make sure that the case is transparent. The sides of the case should be glass as that looks better than transparent plastic. The inside of the machine might be lit with an interesting color scheme so that your fans can see inside of it.

The keyboard and mouse

This is less important than other considerations. However, whether or not the colors match does matter. Make your case, keyboard, screen, mouse, and other hardware the same color.

Sound system

A good sound system also helps to improve the quality of your videos and increase your number of viewers.

While your ability to entertain your audience is more important than anything else, those that have large audiences do everything they can to make their videos as good as possible. Lousy speakers can reduce the overall quality of your work.

Sound cards

Sound cards might sound like an out of date piece of technology that was necessary back in 1996 but is now included in each motherboard and not of any use.

If you buy a separate sound card, you can get better sound quality than with the sound card included in your motherboard. Sound cards are not as popular as they were before, but they still improve your sound quality.

Webcams

A bad webcam will, of course, lead to bad videos. There are a few different factors to consider when buying a new webcam.

The frame rate has to be good. Even if your computer has a high frame rate, your webcam might not be so fast.

Thirty frames per second is the bare minimum. Sixty frames per second is better. People usually cannot tell the difference between sixty and more than sixty frames per second.

A webcam should also be able to focus automatically. If your webcam does not have autofocus, you might end up your video quality blurring out as a result of only some minor movement.

The quality of the lens is separate from and even more essential than the webcam’s resolution. High resolution does not always mean high image quality!

After buying a webcam, you will also have to learn a little bit about lighting. If your room is poorly lit, you will end up with dull-looking video, even if you have an excellent webcam.

Experiment with different ways of getting the lighting just right. Logitech is a trusted brand if you want to buy a webcam. There are a lot of bad webcams for sale out there, so do your research carefully before you buy one.

We suggest to take the Logitech C922x Pro Stream Webcam a look because it is a really good product for your game streaming.

Putting the computer together

Now that you have your case and all of your components, it is time to assemble your machine. Don’t worry about this being very difficult. It is a fun, minor challenge that requires some but not very much effort.

If you have never assembled a PC from scratch before, it may take you longer than you expected, but there will not be any frustration involved for most people.

You may notice early on that you do not have all of the parts or all of the tools. You might not have all of the fans or cords that the PC needs. You will need a small screwdriver that is suitable for taking apart and putting together computers, and some suitably small screws.

One of the best things about desktops is that you can modify them as much as you want. With laptops, you might have to buy a new computer just to upgrade your RAM.

You will need wire cutters, pliers, a knife, a wrench, and maybe a flashlight to assemble the computer.

First, remove anything that is currently inside of the case. Cut any plastic straps that might be there for the sake of shipping the case safely. Make the case as empty as possible.

Putting a computer together yourself sounds very safe, but this is not really true. The edges of the case are sharp, and you can cut yourself this way.

There is no risk of serious electric shock while you are working on the computer as long as you do not try to modify it when it is plugged in.

However, you can damage a computer with static electricity. A mild static shock might not matter to you, but you can ruin some of the delicate components of the computer. Therefore, use a grounding strap to prevent any risk of static electricity building up.

After looking through manuals and youtube videos carefully, you should put the hardware into the case in this order:

  1. The motherboard
  2. The hard drive
  3. The CPU
  4. The CPU fan
  5. The main fan
  6. The power supply

You may run into problems if you do not install everything in that order. It is not always possible to fit it together if you start with something other than the motherboard.

After screwing everything into place, you should connect the cables. Triple check the cable wiring, because you can damage your new computer if it wired up the wrong way.

After you finish the wiring, it is time to put the side panels back in, plug the computer in, and hope it all works properly. Even if you have never done this before, it can often be done in a single day.

Are there any good choices if you do not want to build a computer yourself?

Yes, you can do reasonably well even if you do not assemble your live streaming computer yourself.

Building a computer yourself will save you money, but it is not for everyone. Simply look for a computer that works very well as a gaming machine is powerful enough to multitask and does not overheat easily.

The Skytech Archangel is one of the best options if you are looking for something that does not cost a fortune.

Another good option is the iBUYPOWER Gaming PC. These computers come with everything you need to start live streaming today.

iBUYPOWER Gaming PC for streaming
iBUYPOWER Gaming PC for streaming