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Best Streaming PC

We take a look at some of the best hardware options for a gaming & streaming PC.

 

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When it comes to building the best streaming PC, there are a few key components that you should focus on. A powerful processor, dedicated graphics card, and plenty of storage are all essential for a smooth streaming experience. In this article, we will be discussing the best components to use in a gaming and streaming PC, focusing on video editing performance and rendering times, as well as the frame-rate implications of streaming using software such as OBS.

What kind of processor is needed for streaming?

Choosing the right processor for streaming is crucial for ensuring a smooth and efficient experience. A powerful processor is necessary to handle the workload of gaming and streaming at the same time. This is because the processor is responsible for handling multiple tasks such as encoding, gameplay, and multitasking. Without a capable CPU, a powerful GPU like the RTX 40-Series will be bottlenecked and unable to unlock its full potential. This is particularly true when using high graphics settings and features like Ray Tracing, which can put a significant strain on the CPU.

The NVIDIA Ada Architecture in the RTX 40-Series does alleviate some of the processor usage, but it is still important to have a powerful CPU to handle the demands of streaming. Live streaming also intensifies the demands on a PC. Encoding, gameplay, and multitasking are all workloads that require a competent GPU and CPU. Encoders like NVIDIA's NVENC are essential for high-quality, low-loss streaming.

In the near future, we will likely see an increased adoption of AV1 encoding and streaming on platforms like Twitch and YouTube. AV1 is a new video compression standard that promises better compression efficiency and improved video quality. Both NVIDIA and Intel have developed technology that allows for AV1 encoding and streaming.

Recommendation:

The Intel Core i7-13700K is a good option for streaming as it is a powerful CPU that can handle the demands of gaming and streaming simultaneously. It offers fast processing speeds and multiple cores, which are important for handling the workload of encoding and multitasking. Additionally, it supports Intel's Quick Sync Video (QSV) which powers the Xe Media Engine, and the Intel Arc AV1 Encoder which can beat NVIDIA and AMD's offerings. The Intel Core i7-13700K fills our criteria of being a powerful CPU that can handle the demands of gaming and streaming while also providing advanced encoding capabilities and support for AV1.

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Intel Core i7 13700K Raptor Lake-S CPU
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  • Base: 3.4GHz, Turbo: 5.4GHz
  • 16 Cores, 24 Threads
  • Socket 1700
  • Intel UHD 770
  • *No Cooler Included*

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CCL Code: CPU0783|
Part Number: BX8071513700K

What kind of graphics card is needed for streaming?

When it comes to streaming, one of the most important components of a setup is a dedicated graphics card, which is necessary for running demanding games and streaming software with ease, and it also supports ray tracing and DLSS, which can help to improve video quality and reduce rendering times. The graphics card is also responsible for encoding the video, which is then transmitted to the streaming platform.

NVIDIA has been a market leader in this area since the release of their Kepler-based GeForce 600 series in 2012. This series introduced the NVENC (Nvidia Encoder), which made it easy for streamers to broadcast HD gaming footage, and also allowed users to make use of open-source broadcasting applications like OBS. The latest versions of NVENC, in the Turing and Ampere architectures, offer even more advanced features like third generation Tensor Cores, which provide higher performance.

When choosing a graphics card for streaming, it is important to consider not only its gaming performance but also its encoding capabilities. A good graphics card for streaming should have a powerful encoding engine like NVIDIA's NVENC or AMD's VCN, which can provide high-quality and low-loss streaming.

Recommendation:

The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 is a great option that fills these criteria and can provide a smooth streaming experience with its powerful performance, ray tracing and DLSS capabilities, along with its advanced encoding engine. 3080 is capable of offering reliable gameplay and streaming at high refresh rates up to 1440p resolution - placing it in a relative sweet-spot in terms of price vs performance, as shopping for further improvements in performance at this point pushes your costs up quite a bit - so it's not really worth it unless you want to step into 4K territory.

  • Palit GeForce RTX 3080 GamingPro 10GB GPU
  • MSI GeForce RTX 3080 Ventus 3X Plus 12GB OC GPU

Storage for Streaming

High-speed storage, specifically Solid State Drives (SSDs), are essential for gaming and streaming setups. The larger file sizes and bandwidth demands of modern games require faster storage options, and SSDs provide significantly faster read and write speeds compared to traditional hard disk drives (HDDs). SSDs use NAND flash memory, which allows for faster data access and transfer, resulting in faster game loading times and faster boot-up speeds. A Gen 4.0 SSD can even load in HD textures and larger game worlds in a flash.

When it comes to SSD speeds, a minimum of a Gen 3.0 drive is recommended for gaming, with read and write speeds of up to 3,500 MB/s and 3,000 MB/s respectively. However, the fastest drives on the market are Gen 4.0 SSDs, which can reach sequential performance exceeding 7,000 MB/s. It is recommended to go with the fastest drive that fits your budget, and to choose NVMe over slower SATA and HDD models.

As for SSD size, 1TB or 2TB models are recommended for gaming setups. These larger sizes provide enough headroom to load up titles from virtual game libraries without constantly having to make room for new releases. Furthermore, 1TB and 2TB drives tend to run slightly faster than smaller drives in the same product line.

Recommendation:

The Samsung 980 PRO 1TB is a powerful and versatile option for streaming, designed for graphics-intensive games and heavy-duty applications. Leveraging Samsung's custom controller and PCIe 4.0 technology, the 980 PRO delivers double the data transfer rate of PCIe 3.0, with sequential read and write speeds of up to 7,000MB/s and 5,000MB/s respectively, and random read and write speeds of up to 1,000K IOPS. The drive also features smart, reliable thermal control and optimised power efficiency, making it ideal for high-performance computing systems and heavy duty applications.

  • Samsung 980 PRO 500GB M.2-2280 PCIe 4.0 x4 NVMe SSD
  • Samsung 980 PRO 1TB M.2-2280 PCIe 4.0 x4 NVMe SSD
  • Samsung 980 PRO 2TB M.2-2280 PCIe 4.0 x4 NVMe SSD

Conclusion: Best Streaming PC

There's always more than one correct answer to this type of question, but with our recommendations above we're looking at a high-performance system capable of 1440p gaming and streaming, with a good price vs performance balance. Add to this a minimum 16GB of high-performance memory - balancing price and performance again we'd be looking for some reliable DDR4 - and a bit of extra storage for holding onto those large video files and the Horizon 7 Gaming PC below hits the nail on the head.

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Horizon 7 Intel RTX 3080 Gaming PC
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Horizon 7 Intel RTX 3080 Gaming PC

Marvel’s Midnight Suns GeForce RTX Bundle
Windows
Windows 11 Home
CPU
Intel Core i7 13700K 3.4GHz
RAM
16GB DDR4 3200MHz
Graphics
GeForce RTX 3080 10GB
Storage
1000GB Samsung 980 PRO NVMe SSD
2TB Seagate BarraCuda HDD
Wi-Fi
2,400Mbps Built-in Wi-Fi

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But wait, there's more

If you've done, or are doing your research on streaming, you'll know that the bulk of the difference in what you need compared to a regular gaming PC will come in the form of peripherals. You'll want to ensure you have at least two monitors so you can multitask and manage your stream while gaming, and you'll need all the obvious accessories - webcam, good quality headset or headphones and microphone, lighting and so on. You can view our streaming section here for more ideas on streaming accessories.