Streaming - on a budget
With the growth of Twitch and other game broadcasting platforms such as YouTube Gaming, Mixer and even Facebook joining the fray, streaming is now more popular than ever.
And so one of the questions we are asked more and more frequently is: "What is the cheapest way for me to get into streaming?"
Tough question. But that's the kind of question we like :)
While setting up a stream to broadcast your gaming prowess to the world is in itself quite simple to do, it generally does require a fairly high level of hardware to do it successfully, key points being the minimising of stream lag and maximising broadcast quality.
However, the streaming of less graphics-intensive games can indeed be done on lower-level hardware. So if MOBA's are your thing, or CS:GO, or maybe even FIFA, you don't necessarily need thousands of pounds worth of gear to start your Twitch career!
The two key considerations are of course CPU and GPU.
The Intel Pentium G4560 is a revelation in terms of price:performance. despite being just dual core this Pentium has a tidy clock speed and is socket 1151 friendly meaning it can be replaced with a beefier chip at a later date without having to change the motherboard.
Then of course we also have to strongly consider AMD's Ryzen CPU's, which are arguably superior when it comes to media and encoding. The new 2300X and 2500X are serious contenders, with their 4GHz turbo clock straight out of the box.
Then for the Graphics card either the NVIDIA GTX 1050 Ti or the AMD Radeon RX 570 are fantastic budget gaming cards which fit well in a lower end streaming situation, or a mid-range gaming PC without the streaming requirement.
The motherboard needn't be anything too fancy - all you need is a micro-ATX board with PCI expansion for the GPU and perhaps room for another card in the future such as a capture or sound card.
When it comes to memory, the more RAM the better, but remember we are talking about the streaming of lower end or older games here, so 8GB would be sufficient.
So next to storage - SSD's are becoming more affordable week by week, with a decent 240GB model now roughly the same price as a standard 1TB mechanical Hard Drive.
In terms of power, we always recommend at least a bronze rated unit, and for a PC with components as described so far, 500W is sufficient.
Which just leaves the case. Always difficult to recommend as this is a very subjective area, but if LED and RGB fans aren't your thing, or can be sacrificed in order to save money, then practically any Mid/ATX tower will do.
Again it must be stressed that a PC based on the above specification would only allow for a decent stream capability for lower end games such as League of Legends and DOTA etc.
But if you want to dip your toe into the stream at this level, then check out the following range of PC's:
To step up from this level, the natural progression would be an Intel i5 CPU or a Ryzen 5 2600X and an NVIDIA GTX 1060 6GB Graphics card - however, this level of spec, while making for a perfectly good mid-range gaming PC, may fall short in terms of delivering a quality stream and for the price point, you might want to consider spending a little bit more in order to obtain a better stream quality.
So, for a mid-range PC specification where you can literally stream any type of game you would need to set your sights just a little bit higher in terms of CPU and Graphics card.
For the CPU you would need to be considering either an Intel i7 CPU or a Ryzen 7 2700X and for the graphics card you would ideally want to be looking at the very least an NVIDIA GTX 1070.
This would allow for great game performance via the Graphics Card, and leave headroom on the CPU for encoding the stream. Or you could lower the in-game graphics settings and allow the stream encoding to be performed by the Graphics Cards' hardware, leaving the CPU to take up any slack in the background.
And at this level you are definitely going to want to have 16GB RAM in the system, just to keep everything running smoothly.
If you want to get into streaming at this level, the following range of PC's would tick these boxes nicely:
Don't forget, if you need a bit more information on this subject or on the above products, you can get in touch via the usual channels - call 01782 450 573, email firstname.lastname@example.org, find us on facebook.com/AWDIT or use @AWDIT on Twitter.There's always a member of the team ready to help!
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