Building a PC is easier than it sounds and it can be one of the best decisions you make when it comes to setting up your stream equipment. Whether you plan to game and broadcast from the same computer or you have decided on a dual PC setup for your stream, you will need a computer that can handle the strain of both gameplay and streaming.
This post will cover whether or not you should build a custom streaming PC and what parts it will require if you do.
Benefits of Building a Custom Gaming PC
There are several benefits to building your own custom gaming or streaming PC. Here are just a few:
- You select each part – when building your own PC, you can choose each component and pick the ones that are best for the types of games you play. You can also ensure that you have enough hard drive space to handle saving and working with video compilations or guides for YouTube. Custom PCs are exactly that – customized to your specific needs. Take note of what you want and need and prioritize those features first.
- Gaming PC cooling system – one of the components you should look at is your cooling system. Many PCs don’t come with a cooling system that is adequately designed for gaming or streaming. When building your own, you can ensure that there is plenty of airflow so that your stream can run smoothly without your system overheating.
- Stay Within Your Budget – when shopping for a pre-built gaming PC, you might often overpay in order to get some of the features you want. While gaming parts are also expensive, creating something custom will help you decide where your extra funds will go. It is also often cheaper to purchase parts separately and assemble them yourself rather than buying a computer that is pre-made.
- Upgrade Gaming PC Components – once you have the know-how on how to build a computer, it is far easier to upgrade different components as you can afford to do so. If something begins to fail or you simply want to give the machine more power, you will be able to do one piece at a time without replacing the whole tower.
- Extended warranties – you can often get longer warranties on specific parts than you would for a pre-built computer, meaning you can get things replaced or repaired for longer. This can potentially add a lot of value to your ultimate spending point on your PC.
The PC Components You’ll Need for Streaming
When building your own streaming PC, here are components you’ll need and the minimum requirements for each:
- Processor (CPU – Central Processing Unit)
- Motherboard (MOBO)
- Graphics Card
- Storage (SSD or HDD)
- Power Supply Unit
- Streamer PC Case
Processor (CPU – Central Processing Unit)
If your computer was an animal, the processor would be the brain. It takes the instructions it receives from the computer’s hardware and software and puts them into effect. A higher-quality processor can simultaneously process more tasks and do so faster than basic ones.
As a streamer, Twitch recommends that you have at least an Intel Core i5-4670 CPU or the AMD fx6300. Intel tends to have better processing per core, though AMD has better graphics and runs a bit cheaper. While the i5-4670 is no longer available through Intel, you can purchase it new or used through third-party sellers. For a big step up from the i5-4670, look to get at least an Intel Core i5-9600K. This model has a higher frequency and can handle more tasks than the discontinued model. It does take 12% more power consumption.
Motherboard (MOBO) for Streamers
Your motherboard pulls together the other components that help your computer run. There are a few features you want in your MOBO. As streaming (and gaming) can really heat up your computer, find one that withstands high temperatures and/or provides effective cooling. You also want to ensure that it will be able to support your GPU (read more about those below) or multiple GPUs.
Graphics Card (GPU – Graphics Processing Unit)
Your graphics card allows you to see what is happening on your computer. If you are a competitive gamer, a good GPU is necessary. Note that you need a good CPU to enable your graphics card to work properly. Make sure that they are compatible and will work flawlessly when making your selection. Some GPUs are built into the CPU at the beginning.
It is also important to figure out if the GPU is compatible with the motherboard. If anything is off, you can have problems down the road. Be sure that it will fit within the motherboard and that you have the power requirements to make it run properly.
RAM (Random Access Memory)
As a streamer, you should have at least 8GB of RAM (Random Access Memory). The more RAM you have, the easier it will be for your computer to run multiple applications. We recommend that you have at least 16GB of memory. This will minimize issues and allow you to use more applications. Additionally, use two or more sticks if you are able. You will get better results with 2 8GB over 1 16GB RAM sticks. Get the highest frequency that you are able to afford as it can greatly impact your FPS.
Storage (SSD or HDD)
The amount of storage you have won’t directly influence your streaming. It can decrease some game loading times. If you want to save clips or footage for future use, you may need to increase the amount of storage to save them or use external hard drives.
Power Supply Unit (PSU)
Your power supply unit won’t directly affect your streaming unless it isn’t powerful enough. After you have made your other selections, use a power supply calculator to determine what PSU you should get to run your system.
Make sure that your PC case is adequately large enough to fit the elements you need to store inside of it. There should be enough space in it to keep your CPU cool. Look into options on how you keep things cool and make sure that fits in the case as well.
Consider where the vents on the case are located. A friend of mine got one where the vents were on top. It worked great until his toddler spilled milk all over the desk, onto the case, and all over the MOBO, etc.
You should also consider the quality of the case and how it looks. Make sure that it will last for years and that it won’t be an eyesore in your home.
Building your own streaming PC could feel a little daunting at first, but there are several guides online that can teach exactly how to put it together every step of the way. Once you have compatible pieces, you should be able to build them in a matter of hours.