Streaming games on PC or console is very popular these days and while streaming on console is pretty straightforward, in order to steam on PC you do need the right hardware. Streaming on PC does have its advantages as you have a lot of customization options and a lot more flexibility compared to the experience you get on consoles. In this article, I am going to go over the minimum requirements for a streaming PC for those looking to stream on a budget.
If you just want a quick list of components we recommend check out the table below.
What are the minimum requirements for a streaming PC? We recommend having no less than a AMD Ryzen 5 3600 for your processor and a GTX 1660TI as your graphics card. You can shop around for other components depending on your budget however these two components will allow you to stream on a budget.
Building A Streaming PC On A Budget
Before even getting into the hardware side of things, you need to finalize the resolution that you are going to be streaming at. 720p is the bare minimum that you should be aiming for but 1080p is the most common in 2021.
So our streaming PC recommendations are with the 1080p 60 FPS target in mind. You are streaming on PC, might as well hit 60 FPS and let the viewer get the same experience as you. Note that the same need not apply to the webcam that you are using. You can use a 720p 30 FPS webcam and that is going to be ample.
The general rule of thumb is that the higher the resolution and frame rate, the better hardware you are going to need for your streaming PC. As our recommendations are for 1080p 60 FPS streaming, you will be able to make do with slightly slower hardware if you are going for 720p resolution.
On the other hand, if you are aiming to stream at 2K or higher then you are going to need much better hardware than what we have mentioned below.
Twitch Streaming And Game Requirements
While Twitch recommends a dual-core CPU and 4GB of RAM for streaming, note that is for Twitch as a platform only. That does not take into account the hardware requirement of the game that you will be streaming. In order for you to stream a game to Twitch or any other platform for that matter, your PC needs to be able to run said game and there needs to be enough headroom for your PC to be able to stream.
Fortnite, for example, recommends that you have a 2.6 GHz Intel i5 CPU or better with 8GB of RAM and the Nvidia GTX 660 or AMD 7870 with 2GB of VRAM. All this needs to be added to the Twitch requirements in order for you to be able to run your Fortnite and stream it. There are other games that have higher requirements. The recently released New World, recommends using an Intel i7 2600K or AMD Ryzen 5 1400 CPU with an Nvidia GTX 970 or AMD Radeon R9 390X graphics card. You are also going to need 16GB of RAM with that.
The point is that you should not trust the minimum requirements provided by Twitch as they are not even close to the kind of hardware you need in order to run and stream games on a PC.
Minimum Requirements For A Streaming PC
The following are the PC parts that we recommend as the minimum for streaming games at 1080p 60 FPS.
For the CPU, I would recommend something with 6 cores so that you have ample headroom for your games and streaming. With 6 cores you would also be future-proof and you can rest assured that the CPU is going to last you a couple of years at least before you need to upgrade it.
The AMD Ryzen 5 5600X is the latest mid-tier CPU that has 6 cores and 12 threads. The CPU has a base clock speed of 3.7GHz and can boost to 4.6GHz. It is unlocked so you can overclock it to get even more performance out of the box with the right cooling. It does come with the Wraith Stealth cooler, so you do not need to buy one separately.
Alternatively, you can go with something older like the AMD Ryzen 5 3600. This is another 6 core CPU that offers decent performance. The older architecture is not as efficient as the latest one but if you can find one at a discounted price then you should definitely go for it. Both of these CPUs use the same AM4 socket. So you can pick up the 3600 and upgrade to the 5600X without having to change your motherboard.
The graphics card is the most important part of this streaming PC build, as it is going to be doing the heavy lifting in terms of running games and rendering everything that you see on the screen.
The relatively new Turing and latest Ampere graphics cards from Nvidia are great for streaming PC builds as they come with the Nvidia NVENC Encoder. This takes a significant amount of load off the CPU when streaming. These graphics cards have dedicated chips for streaming and that is why we recommend one of these for a streaming PC build.
The Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti is a great example that we can recommend for your streaming PC build. It features 6GB of GDDR6 VRAM and a boost clock of 1770MHz. That is the speed of the reference design model and you can get a higher clock speed by buying other variants of the card. It features 1536 CUDA cores and a 192-bit memory bus. Performance-wise it is on par with the older GTX 1070 and can run pretty much any game at 1080p 60 FPS without any issues.
You can save some money and go with the non-Ti variant that also comes with the Nvidia Nvidia NVENC Encoder but the performance is going to be lower. I for one would go with the 1660 Ti and that is the graphics card that I would recommend.
On the AMD side of things, we can recommend the Radeon RX 570 8GB variant. This GPU has 2048 stream processors and the performance on paper is double that of the PS4. It does not feature the Nvidia NVENC Encoder but if you want to go with the Red team then this is the GPU that we can recommend.
RAM makes your computer snappy and allows you to multitask without things slowing down. 16GB of RAM is what we recommend as that is the sweet spot for gaming right now. Many of the new games that are releasing in 2021 recommend that you have 16GB of RAM and that is why we recommend the same.
The speed of the RAM also affects in-game performance but high-speed RAM costs a lot of money. Going with 3200MHz or 3600MHz is the sweet spot but slower memory is going to work adequately if you are on a budget. Do remember to have your RAM configured in dual-channel in order to improve performance rather than getting a single stick of 16GB RAM.
We can recommend a 2x8GB kit of Corsair Vengeance LPX, Crucial Ballistix, or HyperX Fury. Any one of these is going to work fine for your streaming PC setup.
When it comes to streaming, storage is not all that important. You can opt to go with a traditional hard drive. If you are streaming then chances are that you will be making content for YouTube and other video platforms as well. If that is indeed the case then you are going to need a large amount of storage as recorded video can take up a lot of space.
We recommend going with a 1TB hard drive at least. This should be ample storage for you to record gameplay, edit it and then upload it. You can then delete the older files once you are done in order to make room for newer projects if you find yourself low on storage. The Seagate BarraCuda and Western Digital Blue are both tried and test HDDs that we can recommend.
While the HDD is the budget option, we do recommend getting a smaller SSD to store your OS on at least in order to get faster boot times and make sure that your system does not slow down over time. SSDs are much faster than HDDs and because they have no moving parts, they do not slow down over time. Getting a small SSD for your OS and a couple of games and pairing it with a larger HDD for your project files is the best way to go. The Crucial P2 and Kingston NV1 are budget-friendly SSD options that you can consider pairing with your HDD.
Your motherboard houses all the components so make sure that you have a supported motherboard. You will not have any issues with the graphics card you do need to check the CPU socket type. If you are going with AMD Ryzen AMD Ryzen 5 3600 or AMD Ryzen 5 5600X then you need an AM4 motherboard. The latest socket for Intel is LGA 1200. Your Ryzen CPU is not going to work on the Intel LGA 1200 socket, so be sure to keep that in mind.
Other than that, you can get a motherboard with 4 RAM slots if you are interested in upgrading to 32GB of RAM down the line. The Gigabyte B550M DS3H for example is a great option to consider for the AMD Ryzen 5 3600 or AMD Ryzen 5 5600X. If you are interested in going with the AMD Ryzen 5 3600 then you can opt for an older motherboard in order to save money. The Asus TUF Gaming B450-PLUS would be a budget-friendly option in this case.
Power Supply Unit (PSU)
Now that you have all the parts sorted out, you need a power supply that is going to provide power to everything. The CPU and the GPU are the most power-hungry parts of a PC. So the more power the CPU and GPU the higher capacity PSU you are going to need. With our recommendations in mind, you can pick up a 500W power supply and have everything up and running. We do recommend getting a PSU with a power efficiency rating of 80%. This is going to help keep your electric bills low.
The EVGA 500 W1 and Thermaltake Smart 500W are both great options to consider. Both feature voltage protection and come with extensive warranties of up to 5 years. So you can rest easy.
These are the minimum requirements for a streaming PC if you want to stream modern titles at 1080p 60 FPS. Remember that if you are going for a higher resolution or frame rate then you are going to need better hardware.
Ultimately if you want a reasonably good gaming setup you will have to fork out some cash to get a system up to task with streaming and gaming. Hopefully this guide helped you pick out the best components for your streaming PC.
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