Essential Hardware for Streaming
What Hardware Do You Need to Stream?
Thanks to Twitch, streaming has become easier than ever for gamers and has exploded in popularity. Unlike many other tech-focused hobbies, there isn’t that much you need to begin streaming.
However, if you want to take it seriously, you will need a streaming computer setup. You’re going to have to get certain things if you’re going to ensure the best quality stream. Below, we discuss what you’ll need, from the non-negotiables to the luxury items.
ALT: Closeup of a desktop screen and microphone
While you can stream with one monitor, the better choice is having two. Considering you will be playing on one, the other can be used for stream management, looking things up, changing settings, and so on. Think of the second monitor as an admin monitor.
This second monitor doesn’t need to have the same specs as your primary monitor, making buying a second monitor more budget-friendly than you may think.
A good microphone is needed to allow your audience and fellow players to hear you properly. It also ups the quality of the stream and shows that you are taking it seriously. Microphones come in all shapes and sizes and suit most budgets.
Many brands now sell ranges of microphones that are specifically for the streaming niche. While you can find microphones for relatively cheap, buy a good quality one right off the bat, and there is far less chance of you having to replace it quickly.
If you’re going to want your audience to see you, you will need a camera. Much like a microphone, there is no need to go out and buy the most expensive DSLR camera that you can find..
Webcams have become far more advanced over the past few years, and many of them are more than capable of streaming high-quality videos. Considering that some of the most popular streamers use webcams over regular cameras – they can definitely do the job.ALT: Two desktop screens and a keyboard and pair of earphones on a wooden desk
4. CPUNow onto the big-boy components that you will need. Streaming takes a lot more processing power than you might think, and having a top-of-the-range CPU (central processing unit) is necessary to ensure that your PC can keep up with your streaming needs. A high-end CPU will prevent bottlenecks and allow for seamless streaming and gaming. AMD’s Ryzen series CPUs may be expensive, but they are powerful enough for multitasking, and compatible with many different motherboards. While you can use lower-end and cheaper CPUs for streaming, you have to remember the function of the CPU in this process. Gaming and video editing are two activities that require a lot of CPU power, and streaming combines them. A higher-end, more expensive CPU is a better investment in the long run.
5. GPUA graphics card is what gives you the visuals when playing a game. While you don’t need a great one if you are going to be streaming early 80s indie games, the majority of games nowadays need a reasonably robust GPU to keep up. If you want a seamless stream, no screen tearing or blurriness, you will need a good GPU. Most gaming PC’s and consoles come with these built-in, but if you’re building a PC yourself, this is an area where you should spend as much as your budget allows and get the best possible GPU. Once again, think of it as a long-term investment.
6.Memory is needed to run pretty much every task on a PC. Opening up and playing a game requires a certain amount of memory that depends on the game you’re playing. If the game says you need 8GB worth of RAM, you need 8GB to get the best experience. Once you add streaming into the mix, you now have to account for the amount of RAM you need to play the game, as well as the amount being used to stream. A good middle ground is 16GB, as even the most data-heavy games don’t use that much. RAM is often overlooked in the gaming PC building process, and while aspects such as the CPU and GPU are essential, RAM should be near the top of your priority list.
7. Capture cardA capture card is a piece of hardware that records your gameplay in high-definition. While it’s not completely necessary, if you plan on using your stream footage to make videos for Instagram or, more importantly, YouTube, you will need a capture card. The camera you use will be recording you, but you are also going to want to record your gameplay. Consoles have this feature built-in to some degree, but PC gamers will have to buy one. This is also where a two-PC system comes into play. A lot of the big streamers have two PC’s going at the same time. One is for gaming, and the other is used for admin tasks and their capture cards. They have become a huge deal, and you should consider investing in one sooner rather than later.
ALT: A PC gaming setup with purple lights
8. Noise-cancelling foam
While this isn’t a necessity, it does help with regulating the noise in your streaming room. The foam pads will soak up excess noise and give your audience a better listening experience.
9. Gaming chair
If you are going to stream seriously, you will be sitting for hours and hours each day. You’ll need a chair that is not only comfortable but supports your back, especially your lower back, adequately.
You can’t use a dining room chair or a stool for this; you should invest in a high-quality chair that can support your body for the time you sit streaming. Every streamer talks about having leg and lower back pain, and you should do what you can to avoid that.