Build A PC for Streaming – What You Need to Know
If you want to build a pc, it isn’t that hard – just buy the most expensive stuff. However, finding a balance between value and top-notch performance is where things get a bit more complicated.
If you want to get into streaming, gaming or content creation of any kind, you’re going to need a strong enough machine to handle the heavy load.
So right now, we’re going to build a PC configuration that’s going to be strong enough for playing all the latest titles, while at the same time being as affordable as possible. Now, obviously “affordable” is a very relative thing, but you’re going to need to invest a solid amount of money since you’re going to be streaming in 1080p while at the same time playing at maximum settings.
AMD vs. Intel
The age-old clash is present in this process as well. Should you go for an Intel CPU or an AMD one? This was a lot easier a couple of years ago. Intel generally has better single-core performance, so they’ll always give you a couple of additional frames regardless of the game.
They’re fantastic all-around, however after AMD introduced the Ryzen series of processors – everything changed. And that’s not an overstatement.
With Ryzen processors, AMD started offering top-tier processors and performance for less money than Intel. More cores, more threads, and they’re all coming unlocked, meaning you can easily overclock them for a lot more power – given than you have ample cooling.
The more threads you have, the easier it will be with both streaming as well as multi-tasking. Ryzen processors are absolute beasts when it comes to productivity and media creation – especially for their price point.
Because of this, we’re going the AMD Ryzen route.
For this article, I’ll only be focusing on specific components. Obviously you need a fairly capable (500W/600W) power supply as well if you’re going to be using a top-tier graphics card, and you need a motherboard as well – and since there isn’t a dedicated streaming motherboard, it really doesn’t matter which one you go for as long as it’s compatible with the rest of your components.
That said, make sure to get a B350 AM4 motherboard. It’s going to be compatible with our CPU, and by getting a B350 chipset, you’ll also be able to overclock the CPU for some extra performance.
As I mentioned above, we’re going for an AMD Ryzen 5 1600X. It has a base 3.6Ghz clock speed, 4.0Ghz turbo speed, six cores and an insane twelve threads for just $199 on Amazon at the time of this writing.
The fact that you can get such a powerhouse for under $200 is absolutely insane, and it’s a CPU from 2017, so it’s barely a year old. It will be more than enough to satisfy your needs.
And of course, you’re going to be overclocking it for that last bit of extra power. It’s a phenomenal CPU that you’ll be able to use for years and years to come, it’s pretty affordable (especially when you compare it to what Intel is offering in the same category) and it’s the perfect CPU if you want to build a PC not just for gaming but for streaming and editing as well.
Your CPU will be transcoding your gameplay and sending it over to Twitch or YouTube Live. You’ll also be using it for gaming, so having a solid multi-core processor really helps to get the job done.
Ryzen processors work best with some top-tier, fast DDR4 memory, so you’re going to need at least 8GB of RAM memory, or perhaps even 16GB if you have the money to spend. The games you’ll be playing could also influence the amount of RAM memory you’ll need. If you’re looking to stream Fornite, then eight gigabytes are enough, but if you want to play Assassin’s Creed: Origins at 1080p then perhaps getting sixteen gigabytes would be the better choice.
You should be looking at 3000Mhz RAM, or perhaps even 3200Mhz if the prices aren’t insanely high – they tend to fluctuate quite a lot depending on the time of year.
Next up, you’re going to need a very solid graphics card. This is where things get a bit more complicated in the build a PC process due to high GPU prices, but the best “bang for the buck” that you can get right now would be the GeForce GTX 1070.
Virtual currency mining really took off a couple of years ago, and it’s hard to get a high-end graphics card without paying around 30/40% more than what it went for when it came out.
You can get an 8GB GTX 1070 version for around $400 which, while far from a budget solution, is still a fairly solid price considering how much power you’re getting. It’s going to be more than enough for 1080p gaming at the highest settings, as well as your streaming and editing needs.
Things to Consider When You Build a PC
Obviously, you’re going to need a couple of hard drives to store all your games and software. You’re also probably going to do some editing (highlights, montages, etc.) of your gameplay or just content creation in general, so you’re going to need ample space to preserve all your video material.
It’s best to go for an SSD for your operating system and the games you’ll be playing the most – so a 250GB SSD should be enough. Unfortunately, today’s games go up to sixty or even seventy gigabytes in size, so if you’re playing one of those triple-A games, this SSD might not be enough, but if you’re looking to stream esports games and something similar, then this should be more than enough to get the job done.
You’re getting an SSD not just for faster in-game load times but for a more responsive operating system as well. Once you get used to the blazing fast speed of a Solid State Drive, you really can’t go back to mechanical hard drives.
In addition, a one terabyte HDD would also be a good investment, and you can get one for cheap these days. You’ll be using an HDD mainly for storing gameplay and other types of content.
Not Just For Gaming & Streaming
Having a multi-thread CPU like the Ryzen 5 1600X and a powerful GPU like the GTX 1070 will speed up both your editing and rendering, and that’s fantastic. If you want to work on your content and create as much as possible, you need the right tools (in this case hardware) in order to complete tasks as quickly as possible.
You also won’t need to upgrade any part of this configuration for quite a long time. You could go for more cores and more threads – something like the Ryzen 7 or a top-of-the-line eighth generation Intel CPU, but you’ll reach a point of diminishing returns fairly quickly.
You Don’t Need The Latest And Greatest to Build a PC
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to auction off your kidneys in order to buy a solid computer for streaming, or gaming. Now, obviously if you’re going for something a bit more mid-tier, you’re going to have to sacrifice performance, but you don’t need the most expensive components to have an enjoyable gaming or streaming experience.
You can game at Medium settings on a five-year-old GPU, as long as you spend a couple of minutes fine-tuning your settings before jumping into a match. And the latest and greatest titles have such incredible graphics that even on Medium or Low you’re still getting a ton of details and top-notch graphics.
When it comes to streaming, encoding and editing, having stronger components will help out a ton, and you could set-up a complete configuration for around $1100, which isn’t that expensive considering just how much you’ll be able to do on it, and how long it’ll remain relevant hardware-wise.