To find out what kind of hardware you need to put into your computer; you first need to find out what it is going to run. If you want to show yourself through a webcam, doing whatever, it will take much less than if you are going to play demanding games.
We will be looking into different scenarios in this article, but keep in mind that your build is depending on what you need from it. You should do your diligence before completing the order at your hardware store.
Playing video games while streaming
Playing games on your livestream will be demanding from your hardware, as you need to run the game simultaneously with the game you are playing. Games have different demands based on how graphics, physics, effects, and processing of situations.
If you can play the game with ease and no struggles from your computer then chances are, that you can also produce the livestream. Of course, this depends on your livestream quality and settings, as higher quality takes up more demand from your computer.
A good rule of thumb is that a broadcasting software like OBS will take about 3-5% and then, depending on stream quality, another 10-20% to produce the stream. That gives you an overhead of 13-25% CPU usage from the production itself, then comes your game on top. Again, this depends on your hardware, quality, and settings both in the game and on your livestream. You should do run some tests before starting the livestream for good.
If you do not have the best CPU, then you can always stream with NVenC, a technology coming with the new Nvidia graphics cards. You will need a higher bitrate to reach the same quality as your CPU but takes up fewer resources in general.
A thing to look out for when streaming from your graphics card is how much V-Ram the game requires, as that is also the space your rendering will take from when streaming.
Capture you console
If you are playing on your console and want to livestream that content, then check if your console has a module for streaming directly from the device. If not, then you can get yourself a capture card that can intercept the transfer from your console to your tv and show a copy to your computer.
It sounds advanced, but it is not that difficult. You can buy a USB Capture Card. It works like dragging the output from your console to the capture card and then from your capture card to your monitor. The capture card then shows a copy of the content to your PC, which you can put into your livestream.
The sound runs through the cable between your console, capture card, and television – so that should also get through the capture card.
IRL streaming on the go
If you are planning to livestream yourself on the go, at events or other places not from a computer, then IRL (“In real life”) streaming is most likely what you will be doing. Running such a stream requires little from your hardware, as it usually only needs to process the webcam feed and send it along.
If you have a newer phone, chances are that you just need to download an app to start streaming. Twitch has its own app with built-in streaming capabilities.
If you are using other sites, the Stream Labs app allows you to stream to Twitch, Youtube, Mixer, Facebook, Periscope, and Picarto out of the box. If you are not using any of these sites, then you can get yourself an RMTP-Server and stream to that with the Streamlabs app also.
Streaming with a Dual-PC setup
If you have the money for it and want to offload your content rendering to another device, then dual-pc might be your solution. This is, however, complicated to set up and requires more know-how to do.
You will need a capture card that can load the output from your main computer and then send it back out for you to see on the monitor. You will also need a way to re-route sounds from your main computer to your secondary computer while being able to hear them yourself.
It sounds simple in this format, but have caused trouble for most people trying to configure this simply. If the interest is high enough, then maybe a standalone article will be written about the dual-pc structure.
You should always look out for the requirements of what you want to livestream. This will influence how expensive hardware you will need to run and produce the stream. Are you not streaming something from a computer, but your phone, then the Streamlabs APP is the simple choice to go with.
If you need to run high demanding programs or games, then a dual-pc setup could be worth looking into if you have the technological know-how, that is.