If you don’t have thousands of dollars to throw at a powerful streaming setup don’t worry. You can still have a great quality stream even with a low end PC. There is nothing more frustrating than firing up your stream, only to be met with lag and dropped frames from OBS.
We are going to go through the best OBS Stream settings for lower-end PCs. With these settings you will have a buttery smooth stream, allowing you to focus on your content rather than the tech.
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Below I have added the recommended settings in a quick table if you just want to copy the settings. If you want to understand how things work you can read on.
Best OBS Studio Settings For Low End PCs
|Base Canvas Resolution||1280 x 720|
|Output Scaled Resolution||1280 x 720|
|FPS Type||Common FPS Values|
|Output Settings 1 (Software x 264)||Non Nvidia GPU|
|Rescale Output||1280 x 720|
|Output Settings 2 (Hardware NVENC)||Nvidia NVENC GPU|
|Rescale Output||1280 x 720|
Use output settings 1 if you have an AMD graphics card or an older Nvidia Card without NVENC. Use output settings 2 if you have an Nvidia NVENC enabled card.
OBS Video Settings For Low End PC
We want to first adjust the Base Canvas Resolution. To get the best performance out of your stream you will want to set this to 1280 x 720. Your stream may not look as crisp as a 1080p stream however it will use less resources on your computer.
If everything is running smooth in 720p you can adjust upwards to 1080p later down the line and see if your computer can handle it.
Next up is the Output Scaled Resolution. We also want to set this to 1280 x 720 when starting out. This will give your viewers the best possible viewing experience. If you still find that your stream is lagging you can try a lower scaled output resolution however I would not recommend moving any lower than 852x480p as your stream will look extremely poor.
For Downscale Filter select Bilinear if you’re not scaling between your base canvas resolution and output canvas. If your scaling from 1080p to 720p you should set this to Bicubic for this setting.
FPS Type should be left at Common FPS Values and this should be set to 30. Do not set this number any higher as it will put strain on your PC.
OBS Output Settings For Low End PC
When it comes to our output settings there are two options we can choose from (Hardware & Software). This means we will either use our GPU or CPU to encode the stream. Which option you should use will depend on your specific build. If you are using Hardware and find that your graphics card is throttling and causing games/streams to lag then switch to Software and vice versa.
Select the Output tab in settings and select output mode as advanced. This allows us to access more settings.
There are two ways we can do this depending on whether we want to use Software or hardware encoding.
Option One (Software x264)
Set the encoder to x264 (This means you will use your CPU to stream). Select Rescale Output and set it to 1280 x 720. Again if this is struggling you can always adjust downwards later.
We want to set Rate Control to CBR and set our bitrate to 3000 Kbps. If 3000Kbps is still laggy or jittery then adjust downward in 500 Kbps increments until you reach the sweet spot.
You should also set CPU Usage Preset to Veryfast.
Option Two – Nvenc
If you have an Nvenc-enabled GPU I would recommend utilising the Hardware NVENC encoder.
Set your Audio track to 1. Select Nvidia NVENC as your encoder and select Rescale output and set it to 1280 x 720.
Rate Control should be set to CBR with your Bitrate set to 3000 Kbps. If you find that your stream is still lagging you should adjust your Bitrate downward in 500 Kbps increments until you hit a sweet spot.
Your Preset should be set to Performance and Profile set to main.
If you find that your stream is running smoothly and you want to up the quality you can change the Preset from performance to quality.
Settings Wrap Up
These are the main settings that you want to adjust in OBS Studio to make the biggest difference in your stream. However, if you find that you’re still having some problems on your stream you should check out the extra tips below.
How To Improve Stream Performance On A Low-End PC
Close Out Of Any Unnecessary Apps When Streaming
If you have any other apps open on your computer such as chrome, Spotify or editing software make sure to shut these down before going live. Even though these apps might not be doing much in the background they can still take up a considerable amount of your computer’s resources. Especially Google chrome that thing eats RAM like crazy.
Use A Simple Overlay
If you have an animated overlay on your stream this will take up a huge amount of resources on your computer. I would recommend just using a static overlay when starting out. You may not even need to use an overlay at all other than your camera if you use one.
Lower The Settings On The Games Your Playing
When streaming you’ll likely have to play your games on lower settings than you would when you’re not streaming. Knock down your settings a little bit in the game you’re playing and you’ll see a nice performance boost.
Remove Animated Alerts From Your Stream
If your alerts for followers or donations are animated you may want to move to a static option. You may find that when you get an alert your game has a massive lag spike. This is because these alerts take up more resources than you would expect.
Best OBS Settings For Streaming On A Laptop
If you are streaming on a Laptop, the settings above should also work great for you. However, for most non-gaming laptops it will be unlikely that you can run a game and stream from the same laptop.
If you are using your laptop with a capture card you should be able to use the settings above and have a great-looking stream.
Hopefully, this article has helped you improve your stream settings and have a smooth, great-looking stream even on a low-end computer. Enjoy streaming and building your audience without the headaches of having a freezing stream.
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