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How to build a tiny Twitch streaming PC

Whether you play on console or PC, having a dedicated computer to run your streams makes everything much easier.

At the beginning of the pandemic, like many gamers, I decided to dedicate some time of my new stay-at-home life to livestreaming.

It provided me with the much needed social interaction that we’ve all been robbed of.

twitch.tv/greatbritom

Since then my stream has grown and evolved, but I recently decided to make the biggest investment yet outside of my gaming PC.

I built a second computer that’s completely dedicated to livestreaming.

Gaming on a PC requires as much usage of your computer’s components as possible and, even with companies like NVIDIA building dedicated encoding chips into their graphics cards, streaming on the same machine is going to steal away resources that could otherwise be put towards running a game.

Call of Duty: Warzone is a prime example of this. Even keeping the resolution at 1080p on a GeForce RTX 2080 super, the game doesn’t come close to hitting 60fps when simultaneously streaming.

Activision

Having a dedicated streaming PC is also handy if you want to play console games and have access to all the premium streaming features of a PC.

It’s also much easier to build than you might expect if you’re a first-time PC builder.

Tom Caswell / Input

Plus a streaming PC is relatively affordable, mostly because it doesn’t require an expensive (and almost impossible to buy) graphics card.

Origin PC

$672

How much I spent on this streaming rig. This is about half the cost of a decent gaming PC.

The full parts lineup.

Tom Caswel / Input

The gear:

- Case: SilverStone SG13

- Capture card: Elgato HD60 Pro

- CPU: Intel i5-10400

- Motherboard: ASRock B460M-ITX/AC

- Power supply: Corsair CX 450

- RAM: Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB

- Storage: Kingston A400 240GB SSD

ASRock B560M-ITX/AC

ASRock’s B560M isn’t going to win any awards, but it works and it’s cheap (the classic ASRock sales pitch).

Keep in mind that while you don’t need a dedicated GPU, you will need some kind of GPU, so make sure you choose a processor with one. I did, so this ITX board’s sole PCI-E slot will go to the capture card.

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$94.99 on NewEgg

Even with a dedicated capture card (which we’ll get to in a moment), you’ll need a strong CPU to run the streaming software, the browser, and all the other bits of software you’ll need to make your stream happen.

Tom Caswell / Input

Intel i5-10400

Intel’s i5-10400 is a chip that offers good multi-threaded performance thanks to its hexacore design at a very reasonable price. It does have an integrated GPU and comes with a cooler.

$159.99 on Amazon

Video? In the web browser? Sounds like a recipe for needing a shitload of RAM. I decided to go with 16GB of basic RAM to keep things affordable.Tom Caswell / Input

Elgato HD60 Pro

A capture card is a device that re-encodes incoming video (either from another computer or a game console) so that it can be livestreamed to Twitch and other platforms. It does this by using specialized hardware to take the load off of the CPU.

Elgato’s HD60 Pro is great for someone starting out, but if you want to step up to 4K you can opt for the Elgato 4K60 Pro for $249.99, which is what I did.

$179.99 on Amazon

On the software side, I recommend Logitech’s Streamlabs OBS. It has all the great functionality of the original Open Broadcasting Software, while sprinkling Logitech’s accessible plug-ins and overlays on top.

Watch a tutorial on OBS here.

A heavy load

This is a screenshot showing my CPU and RAM usage while running a stream, with all the apps and tools open that I utilize during a livestream. As you can see, it’s stressing the system more than you might think.

Having a PC dedicated to streaming has been an even better move than I predicted, freeing up even more resources on my main computer now that I don’t have a bunch of peripherals plugged into it.

I recommend it to anyone that has the funds and the desire to stream!

twitch.tv/greatbritom

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