Want to use a PC for live streaming? Well, will your current PC work or what should you buy?
Let’s talk minimum specs for a streaming PC.
For live streaming the three most important specs to look at on your PC are the CPU, the central processing unit, the GPU, the graphics processing unit, and the total amount of memory.
I’ll explain what to look for in those in a minute.
But if all you want is a super simple stream with a single camera source, then you can get by with a 2GHz quad core CPU, a DirectX 10.1 compatible GPU and 8GB of RAM.
But in reality, that’s really not going to give you much room to grow or add anything fancy.
And we all love fancy, don’t we?
Side note – now these facts are from our testing and our results, but you may experience something different depending on a whole lot of factors.
For example, the OS version that you’re using, any hardware that you might have plugged into your computer, any software that you might be using actively while streaming or just installed could be bogging down the system.
So, in other words, your results may vary.
All right, let’s break it down, starting with level 2 streaming specs.
Level 2 live streaming is when you’re streaming from a browser-based service like Restream or StreamYard.
And in that case, the minimum specs for your PC should be at least a 2GHz quad core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM and that DirectX 10.1 compatible GPU.
But if you’re going to be going fancy bringing in guest interviews, lots of graphics, then you really are going to be safer with at least a 3GHz quad core i7 processor and 16GB of RAM.
Now on to level 3 streaming specs.
Level 3 live streaming is what we call using downloadable software onto your computer like vMix or OBS.
And for this, the minimum specs we would recommend for your PC should be at least a 2.8GHz, 6th generation quad core i7 processor, 8GB of RAM and that DirectX 10.1 compatible GPU.
But if you’re going fancy, you’re going to bring in those multiple cameras that you’re going to have guest interviews, send the vMix output into Zoom, things like that, then you’re going for a minimum of 3.8GHz sixth generation quad core, i7 processor and 16GB of memory.
Remember, the more attractive streams and videos that you see are graphics heavy, which means you’re going to need a more robust system.
So use these specs as a minimum.
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The good news is, unlike Macs (yeah you can feel superior right now) PCs can actually be modified and upgraded over time with certain components and within reason.
But that gives you a little bit more future proofing kind of built in.
Just keep in mind that in order to upgrade the CPU later, you might also have to upgrade the entire motherboard and memory as well. So keep that in mind for your budget.
And also the question is, do you really want to have to do that?
If yes, you don’t mind doing that, then great.
If no, you don’t want to do that, then make sure you plan to spend that budget now rather than later when it is time to upgrade your PC.
Then here’s how we recommend prioritizing that spend.
First, look at your budget and purchase the best option in each of these categories in this order.
First priority, CPU. vMix and other streaming software that you download rely heavily on both the CPU and the GPU, so they should be your first priorities.
Minimum level would be an AMD Ryzen 5 or Intel i5 6th generation or later.
But we really recommend an AMD Ryzen 7+ or Intel i7 4th generation or later.
The second priority would be the GPU, the graphics processing unit.
And at a minimum here you’re looking at the Nvidia GPU like a GTX 1050 but really recommended would be the RTX 2060 and up.
Third priority memory. Always get as much as you can afford.
Now you might be able to get by with 8GB of RAM here, but over time with software updates, this will wind up being on the lower end of what you really need.
So if you can afford it, go for the 16GB as a starting point minimum.
Your fourth priority is storage space.
While 256 gigabytes of storage can go a long way if your computer is doing only streaming and nothing else.
But if you’re going to be multitasking and using other apps as well on that computer, then you really should consider going for that 512 gigabytes or more.
Also, if you can go for the SSD, the solid-state drive, they’re so much faster than the mechanical drives of the olden days.
By the way, if you’re storing any files in the cloud with Google Drive or Dropbox or anything like that, be sure to stop all background syncing, right?
Yes, because that will kill your stream, and that is just one of the tips that I give you in the video that I want you to watch next linked to in the description all about how to test your Ma…
Woh…wohhhhh…Oh, I didn’t just do that.
…how to test your PC to see if you can use it or you need to buy another one.
Remember, a successful livestream is not just about the computer itself.
So take a look at this video to learn about the entire tech chain to get the most professional streams possible.
I’ll see you there.