Let’s address one of the most common misconceptions about streaming: you don’t need cutting-edge equipment to get started. Sure, top streamers like Ninja are rocking some absolutely incredible PC builds, but many of your favorite streamers got started with a standard setup and waited until their careers took off before upgrading. To get the most out of your current equipment - without spending a fortune on unnecessary or preemptive upgrades - there are just two requirements
Most of you will already meet these requirements, but let’s run through some quick checks regarding upload speed and hardware.
Ensure you have enough bandwidth to both play your game and simultaneously upload your stream. This should be your top investment and priority when starting out streaming or building a new setup. Go to https://speedtest.net and figure out the upload speed of your home router. After that’s done, go check the recommended fps and video quality settings for your streaming platform of choice (480p, 720p, 720p 60fps, 1080p, 1080p 60fps, etc.).
Can your computer handle streaming? The most important thing to remember regarding your PC is that you want to provide your viewers with a stable experience, for example at 720p 30fps. Maximizing these settings without overloading your computer will take trial and error: Start streaming at minimum graphical settings and slowly increase them to ensure your computer can handle the increased workload for longer periods of time.Core components to check:
Pro Tip: If you’re a Pipeline member, you can check out our partner pages for the latest discounts on gear from CORSAIR, RAZER, and more!Pipeline’s Recommended Budget System Build (about $650):
Most people use their computer processors (CPU) to handle video encoding, but if your graphics card is powerful enough to handle the work, it may be better to use the GPU to handle the stream.
In order to convert what you see on your computer monitor into data that can be broadcast online, the computer needs to reformat that data into something your network can manage. We call this process encoding, and it works by compressing that raw information into small packets that you can upload to your channel. The bitrate is the file size created every second when encoding. Here are some important things to keep in mind:
Source selectionAs mentioned before, encoding your stream is an intensive task, so it is important to make sure you are optimizing your computer’s resources. You can encode data with either your computer processor (CPU) itself or your graphics card (also known as a graphics processing unit, or GPU), but each will impact your computer’s performance differently. While the CPU has potential to output a higher quality product, it also takes valuable processing power away from your game. Graphics cards, on the other hand, are not able to provide the highest quality, but prevent processing power from being diverted from your gameplay. This is because GPU does “hardware encoding,” meaning it uses built-in, dedicated hardware to encode, while CPU does only “software encoding.”Without going into too much detail, we recommend:
SoftwareNow that you have chosen how to encode your content, you need to set up your software. This is an iterative process and we highly recommend running multiple test streams to find the optimal settings for your computer.For more advanced users, using dedicated PC-streaming software will allow for increased customization. Here are a few basic software options for streaming to various platforms:
We’ve provided our starting recommendations for encoding below, but you can access all the settings in the streaming software of your choice.
Finally, you’ll need to set your resolution and FPS (frames-per-second). For PC gaming, the target is often 60 FPS. Here are our recommended settings:BitrateHigh Motion ResolutionFPSLow Motion ResolutionFPS3000-40001280x720301280x720304000-50001280x720301920x1080305000-60001280x720601920x1080306000+1600x900601920x108060Other Settings and Notes
Remember, you don’t need to upgrade your setup immediately. Instead, prioritize making the best of the tools you already have. If you have any questions about optimizing your setup, feel free to contact any of our specialists at Pipeline for personalized support. Stay tuned here for more streaming insight to come!