Is my Computer Good Enough to Stream on Twitch - It's a Big Maybe

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Almost every one that wants to stream on twitch asks this simple question. Is my PC good enough to stream on twitch? 

Streaming onto twitch can seem like a strange new experience. You’re not sure of how all the parts work together, but you do have a general idea. 

Today we’ll be going over the parts of the computer that are most important when streaming on twitch, and discuss what paths you can take to upgrade your computer to handle streaming.

Since there is such a wide variety of possible combinations of computer parts for streaming. We will focus on an overview of computer parts that play a role in twitch streaming. 

This means we will focus on the CPU, GPU and RAM. You will be able to compare your own computer parts to our own suggestions. 

But First,

If your computer is bad for Streaming, Try the PC and Console Method.

If you’ve looked at all the information available and have determined your computer is not good enough for twitch streaming, then try using your computer to stream your PS4 or Xbox One. 

This method is like the method of using two PCs to stream onto twitch, were one computer is used to play the game and the other is dedicated to encoding the gameplay footage and streaming it to twitch. 

My suggested method is to play your games on your PS4 or Xbox one and then use your computer to encode and stream your gameplay. 

For this to work you will need to invest in a capture card, but that is usually cheaper than investing in a whole new computer. 

This method works because it takes the load of gaming off your computers’ CPU and gives it the sole job of encoding and streaming to twitch. 

You also don’t need a good graphics card or even a dedicated graphics card if you us this method.

In this setup, the PS4 or Xbox One plays the games and does the heavy lifting, while your PC streams at a more manageable workload. 

Is your CPU Good Enough for Streaming?

The most vital part of streaming your games onto twitch is the CPU. The CPU does all the work of streaming, mainly encoding the x246 video format. 

Encoding basically means converting your screen to another format that can be streamed onto twitch. 

If you think about it, that is all streaming is, converting your recording to a stream. 
I recommend your CPU have at least 4 cores.

If you plan on streaming with a laptop, it should be expensive, if you paid less than $1000 for your laptop, then it’s unlikely it’ll be able to stream onto twitch. 

To see if your PC can stream onto to twitch, you need to check the benchmarks for your CPU, testing the x246 criteria.

The reason we are only looking at the benchmark for x246 encoding is because that is the most important ability of the CPU during a stream

You can see your CPUs score by clicking here, and using Ctrl + F to find your CPU. 

If your CPU score is below 30, then you will have a difficult time streaming onto twitch.

If your computer has a CPU score lower than 30, I recommend upgrading your computer to something a little higher than that score. 

You don’t have to spend too much to get a CPU above the 30 points. 

CPU During Game Streaming

There are a few more things you should consider when checking you CPU score. 

First, you have to think about how much overhead you need to play your games.

Remember that the CPU benchmark testing twitch encoding is a CPU only running the benchmark.

You also have to think about the types of games you’re playing.

If you’re playing games that have a lot of in game physics, then they will most likely have more CPU usage.

You can check your CPU usage from a game by simply glancing at the task manager while gaming. 

If your games do have a higher CPU usage, but your CPU has a score higher than 30, then I recommend shutting down background tasks and maybe lowering distance rendering.

Your Computer Needs a Dedicated GPU for Twitch Streaming

Your objective when it comes to streaming is to make sure your computers CPU has the least load as possible.

Some CPUs have integrated graphics, or a graphics chip inside the CPU itself.

If you use your integrated graphics, I highly recommend getting a dedicated graphics card. 

You don’t want your CPU doing the graphics work, the encoding work, and the physics work because then your twitch stream will just end up being a laggy mess.

If you choose to use your integrated graphics, then your gameplay will also be dropping fRAMes, and most likely unplayable. 

Using your dedicated graphics card instead of integrated graphics is pretty much mandatory.
The graphics work should be done separately from the CPU, so the only thing your CPU has to worry about is encoding your stream and game physics. 

Your Computer Also Needs Enough RAM to Stream

The RAM of your computer is sometimes overlooked, but it does play an important role in twitch streaming.

While you’re streaming you can have multiple progRAM running that are required immediately.

For example, whatever streaming software you’re using, probably OBS, run on RAM.

Maybe you have a browser open with your Twitch chat displaying, that also uses RAM.

And finally, you have your game, which is also using a good amount of RAM.

As you can see, RAM plays a major background role in your streaming. 

I recommend you have at least 8GB of RAM, that has become the standard minimum. 

Does your Streaming computer have wired or wireless internet?

Another topic that gets overlooked when streaming is whether your computer has a wired internet connection or a wireless one. 

Your computer having a wired internet connection is the most ideal for Twitch streaming, but sometimes a wired connection is hard to make. 

The reason a wired connection is better than a wireless connection while streaming is because of constant upload. 

With a wireless connection to your computer, your stream can lag and your upload rate can fluctuate. 

Instead, a wired connection to your computer allows for a consistence speed with little fluctuations

If you have to use a wireless connection to your PC, then I suggest you buy a great Wi-Fi expansion card, and perhaps a new router that is of high quality.

Ending Notes about Computers for Streaming

Streaming may be a new experience to many people reading this post. But here are just the important bits to remember if you are reviewing your PC or looking to buy/build one.

When it comes to streaming, the CPU is easily the most important part. Streaming to Twitch requires encoding, and this done with the CPU. 

Another important thing to remember is that you want to make the job of your CPU as easy as possible, and this done by ending background tasks and having a dedicated graphics card. 

The graphics cards take the load off of your CPU if you have integrated graphics, and allows the CPU more overhead. 

One detail that is often for gotten is the have the right amount of RAM, having 8GB of RAM is best. RAM basically holds all your programs for streaming, so your applications can be accessed quickly. 

If you know you computer is bad for streaming, then I recommend you use your gaming console, like a PS4 or Xbox One to stream and use your computer for only encoding and streaming to twitch. This makes the job of the CPU easier and let’s your gaming console do the hard work.

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