The minimum recommended machine hardware (Single-PC)
Running a livestream requires a few things to get started. If you want to be live on the go, most phones can through an APP livestream to various platforms. This will not need much hardware or equipment, but more on that soon!
Are you on the other side planning on a gameplay channel, or maybe a place to show your photo/video editing skills. This requires more from your hardware. This, of course, wildly depends on what games or software you are going to run while streaming.
Let us dive into the different setups and what they potentially require from you. This is only a recommended setup, as it is impossible to write a “one fits all” article. If your hardware is below not living up to these recommendations, test it before you go on a shopping spree to upgrade your hardware.
IRL and mobile streaming
If you are planning towards running an IRL (“In Real Life”) stream, which most people do from their phones. You should consider a few things before you start. The first thing is your phone; does it have a good camera and how is the antenna for the mobile signal?
Having a good upload speed gives you the opportunity to push out better quality to your viewers. It will, however, require that you have a great camera built-in your phone. The next thing to look for is how well the built-in microphone is good or if you have the possibility of using an external microphone.
When you have your equipment in order, the next thing is to find the provider with best coverage and internet speeds. You should also look into how much data they allocate you monthly as livestreaming will burn through a lot of data. The higher the quality, the more data it takes. If you have the opportunity of utilizing a hotspot or wifi signal, this could balance your internet usage when at home, on Mc Donald’s or other places with available wifi.
Streaming your gameplay
Showing your gameplay on your stream is, depending on what your playing, more requiring of your computer when also livestreaming. Some games take up more of your processor (CPU), other games take more of your graphics card (GPU) and some take up both.
The easy way to know what kind of hardware you need, is to check the recommended hardware spec for the game you are going to play and then add some. The easiest way to know if your current build can run a game properly is to use the website CanYouRunIt.com. (Requires you to download a plugin that has access to see your hardware specifications.)
If you do not know what you are going to play yet, but just want to have an idea what it takes. Then we recommend that you look at the evolution of technology and game development to assess what to buy. Right now we recommend that you look into buying these components or better.
- CPU (Processor): Intel Core i7 4970K
- GPU (Graphics card): NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Ti
- RAM: 16GB DDR4 2666MHz
- Drive (Storage): 500GB SSD
The required spec for your setup also depends on if you are going to stream from your CPU or your GPU. We recommend that you use NVIDIA graphic cards as most of their cards have a built-in chip that outputs their buffer. This buffer can be picked up by various streaming softwares and will demand less from your overall hardware.
If you want to know more, check out the official NVIDIA Video Codec SDK website.
If you are more into AMD, they have worked on an alternative called VCE which is short for “Video Coding Engine”. There is still not much information about it officially, and we do not want to rely on other peoples experiences for this. We recommend that you try it out on your own to assess if it works for you.
Streaming your console through a PC
If you are thinking about streaming your console gameplay through a computer, you will typically be using a Capture Card to duplicate the input to both a television and your computer. This means the computer will only need to process the input and only be able to handle the software sending it through to your streaming platform. Maybe also be able to run a webcam, depending on your canvas.