If you’re an aspiring streamer, maybe you’re thinking about upgrading to a dual PC streaming setup, you’ve come to the right place!
Before, you needed a desktop or laptop to stream live gameplay, but now some small computer comes with can deliver all the performance you need while also saving on desktop real estate.
Why Need Get Streaming With a Second PC
Many of the top streamers today are beginning to use a second PC to broadcast their stream, because it helps allowing their main desktop computer to focus its resources on the game.
That means for those on a budget, Getting a second PC just to stream may seem ludicrously lavish.
So a common mistake for first-time streamers is they stream and game on the same machine.
Gaming can already be demanding on the processor and the graphics card—if you then throw live streaming that same game into the mix, it could impact the quality of the stream and the video game, making it an unwatchable experience for your audience.
In worst-case scenarios, the game or the stream—and sometimes both—can crash. That’s bad news for streamers!
Besides stream quality, a heavy load can also affect your gameplay. In competitive video games where you play against other players, every advantage counts; and if your game stutters for even a millisecond, it could easily mean your defeat.
The most straightforward solution is to get high-end graphics cards and high-end processors, of course. But considering the market, this can easily rack up an expensive bill, which isn’t always an option especially if you’re a streamer on a budget. So, what do you do? You invest in a dedicated streaming PC.
Why Choose a Mini PC As a Dedicated Streaming PC
Small compact computers, we mean small. Some of them are small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, but they’re still equipped with enough processing power for office use and even some moderate gaming! You can hook them up to a monitor, a keyboard, and a mouse, and then use them the way you’d use a regular-sized desktop.
That’s not what we’re using them for in this guide, though.
A Dedicated streaming mini PC can be a great option for those looking for a high-performance system that will stream 4K content.
A mini-PC can help you stream by shouldering the responsibility of live streaming, allowing your main desktop computer to focus its resources on the game and only the game. This lets you crank up the graphical settings to the max while still outputting a smooth and crisp stream to your watchers.
Another great benefit is that the mini-PC is compact enough to be tucked away in a corner of your desk while still leaving plenty of space for your desktop computer. Desk space is an especially precious resource for any streamer, since you need plenty of it to also set up your webcam and your mic.
Does Your Streaming PC Need a GPU?
Compared to your gaming PC, your streaming PC does not need to be very powerful. This PC does not need a lot of graphical power. As a matter of fact, you could easily get by without a graphics card and simply choose a CPU with an integrated graphics processor.
Can mini PC Supports Streaming 4K Content?
Streaming 4K content on PCs has become an important trend, but the question is, can mini PC support it?
Yes! many mini PCs now support streaming 4K content even if they only have an integrated graphics card.
But before you make the purchase, be sure to read all the specs. While some models might be sufficient for everyday tasks and video chatting, they may not be enough for serious streaming 4K video.
Here are some tips to help you make a smarter decision!
What Should You Look For in a Mini PC?
Minimum Specs For A Streaming PC
- Processor: Intel Core i5 or its AMD variant
- Operating system: Windows 7
- RAM: 4GB
- Storage Space: 128GB
- Graphics Card: UHD graphics processor
As with all computers, the most important computer parts a prospective streamer should look out for are the graphics card, the processor, and the RAM.
A computer that is dedicated to streaming doesn’t really need a powerful graphics card or lots of RAM. This is good news, because graphics cards are usually the most expensive part of a computer, followed closely by the processor.
Virtually any modern graphics card is more than enough for streaming since it’s a more processor-intensive task. You could also get away with having only 8 Gigabytes of RAM, which is roughly the standard amount needed for a modern computer to run smoothly.
As for the processor, you will need at least a quad-core processor on your mini PC. Twitch recommends having at least an Intel Core i5-4670 processor (or its AMD equivalent). What happens when you stream is that your computer essentially “records” a video of your gameplay, but instead of it being recorded, processed, and then shown, all these processes happen at the same time. In order for your mini PC to do that, you’ll need a moderately capable processor.
So I Have to Build My Own Mini-PC?
The good news is – you don’t have to! Since this guide is about easy-to-manage setups, we’ve included two starter mini PCs you can get you started on your streaming journey. Either option is under 500 USD, which is a great benchmark for budget computers.
The Intel NUC 8 Bean Canyon
Besides the really fun name, the Intel NUC Bean Canyon is Intel’s foray into compact, affordable computers. NUC stands for Next Unit of Computing, and the name is a testament to Intel’s commitment to the future of mini PCs. The great thing about the NUC Bean Canyon is its inclusion of a pretty powerful processor—the Intel i7-8559U. This is more than enough for your streaming needs.
Though there is a little bit of legwork involved—there’s no RAM, no hard drive, and no operating system, so you’ll have to buy those as well—it’s a great starter for a streaming PC as it comes in at only 480 USD.
The Geekom Mini IT8
The Geekom Mini IT8 is a little bit bigger than most mini PCs, coming in at about 4by 4 inches, but the good thing is that it comes purchasable with a hard drive of up to 16Gb of RAM (though again, we only really need 8Gb for dedicated streaming). Very thoughtful on Geekom’s part!
Its sleek black design is also easy on the eyes. A mounting bracket on the rear side means this recommendation can fixed to a bracket on the wall if needed. A plethora of ports also means that the Mini IT8 can support up to four screens. You won’t really need that many for dedicated streaming, though, but it’s an impressive feature nonetheless.
With an Intel Coffee Lake i5 8259U processor, it’s not quite as powerful as the Intel NUC Bean Canyon, but it’s enough to get the job done for your needs. It also ships with Intel’s Iris Plus Graphics 655; this combination means the IT8 is capable of handling some moderate gaming as well. Given all its inclusions, you could easily pack the IT8 when traveling and have a reliable, fast PC wherever you go. Although this is a recommendation for a dedicated streaming PC, it’s worth mentioning how easy it is to bring the IT8 anywhere and use it anywhere.
It also ships with Windows 11, having been released in 2021, so there’s no need to purchase an operating system either. The Mini IT8 is truly plug-and-play and it’s our top recommendation, considering this mini PC for streaming and all of its inclusions start at 399 USD.