5 Best Desktops for Live Streaming – Price & Buyer’s Guide

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What are the best desktops for live streaming? Live streaming is one of those aspects of the internet that has grown to be quite popular recently.

Various kinds of content creators stream their content online, which can be educational, business, or entertainment-based.

Live streaming is basically when one creates and uploads the content at the same time. There are no edits or modifications and whatever gets uploaded is what they have been doing in front of the camera.

Now although the upload is real-time, there is always some lag that takes place. The one conducting the stream has the choice to reduce or increase this delay, given the internet speed is decent.

The creator also has control over other aspects of the stream, like its quality, bitrate, and such.

For the smoothest playback from a viewer’s end, and to make sure the stream maintains its quality throughout, certain attributes are necessary for the PC(s) the streamer uses.

This article you are viewing currently is going to help you find the best pre-built options for streaming, no matter what your budget is.

To further ease your decision, there is a buyer’s guide at the end in which we have talked about certain things in further detail.

Desktops for Live Streaming – Price (Top Picks)

Minimum & Recommended System Requirements for Live Streaming

The kind of software you use for live streaming would determine the kind of configuration that you’d need on your desktop. Also, your stream quality, and what other things you want to run at the same matter here.

Now any standard streaming software like the OBS Studio needs at least a Direct X10 compatible GPU and Windows 8/8.1 or Windows 10 as the OS.

Others like the NVIDIA broadcast require a Ryzen 5 2600 or Core i5-8600 or better processor, an RTX or Quadro GPU (some), and 8 GB or more system memory.

So based on this, here is what we think your desktop’s spec sheet should look like if you are willing to live stream on any platform.

Minimum System Requirements: Ryzen 5 2600 or better processor │ Integrated AMD Radeon or Dedicated GTX 1660 or better GPU │ 16 GB or more RAM │ 500 GB or bigger SSD (additional storage if needed)

Recommended System Requirements: Ryzen 7 3700X or better processor │ GeForce RTX 3070 or better GPU │ 32 GB RAM │ 1 TB SSD (additional storage if needed)

5 Best Desktops for Live Streaming:

1. Dell Alienware Aurora R10 – Best Overall

Dell Alienware Aurora R10

Bottom Line: The Aurora R10 is the most reliable and efficient desktop on this list that you can choose for live streaming. The higher variants tend to get pricey, although it is worth it overall.

Key Features:

  • Processor: AMD Ryzen 7 5800X
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070
  • OS: Windows 10
  • RAM: 32 GB
  • Storage: 1 TB SSD

Pros

  • Compact size
  • Great performance
  • Latest connectivity features

Cons

  • Cooling can still be an issue under a workload
  • Not very upgradeable
  • Design isn’t for everyone

What could be better to start the list with the Aurora R10, a premium gaming PC that you can utilize for a variety of purposes, including live streaming?

The CPU used in it is AMD’s latest Ryzen 7 5800X, which is an octa-core, 16 threaded CPU with a maximum speed of 4.7 GHz.

It has an RTX 3070 GPU that can not only provide you ray-tracing capabilities in some of the games you play but also has a large VRAM of 8 GB.

The storage present in it is 1 TB, and an SSD has been used.

Even though compact in size like the other Auroras, the R10 has a few places where you can make expansions and upgrades.

While these are enough for the average user, those who like to tinker around hardware might be a bit disappointed.

It has excellent connectivity too, with both a USB Type-C port and WIFI 6 available. So no doubt it deserves a place at the top.

Had the price been slightly lower, we would have crowned it the perfect, to say the least. Check out Dell Alienware Aurora R10 Review.

2. Thermaltake LCGS View 380 Gaming PC – Runner up

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Thermaltake LCGS View 380

Bottom Line: The Thermaltake LCGS View 380 has got some very capable specs that would come in handy for your live streaming sessions. Be it software or hardware encoding or running demanding games, the desktop can handle everything.

Key Features:

  • Processor: AMD Ryzen 7 5800X
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080
  • OS: Windows 10
  • RAM: 16 GB
  • Storage: 1 TB SSD

Pros

  • Excellent performance
  • Good storage
  • Compact Size

Cons

  • Quite expensive
  • Building a PC would provide more customizations, at a lesser price
  • Too much glass in the chassis might be an issue

This is one of Thermaltake’s custom prebuilt desktops, and it did impress us, as it should you.

The top-of-the-line features that the PC offers, make sure that it can take on live streaming and the most intensive games or software at the same time. Thus, eliminating the need for a second PC.

The Glacier View 380 has got an AMD Ryzen 7 5800X CPU which is one of the most powerful processors in its segment.

It has a base frequency of 3.8 GHz but can go up to 4.7 GHz, and that too without overclocking. For memory, you get 16 GB of RAM pre-installed.

Complementing the other specs is the RTX 3080 GPU which is a very powerful consumer-grade GPU. There are only a few video cards that are better than it, both in terms of value and performance.

And even though it only has an SSD installed, it’s speedy and big enough to solve your immediate requirements.

All of this comes in ATX form factor, adored with RGB lighting. In terms of connectivity too, there are few complaints.

But the PC is expensive, and a build in this price tag could cost you much less if you can get your hands on the right hardware.

However, if you do choose this, you would be getting a live streaming and gaming performance that only a few other desktops can offer. Check out Thermaltake LCGS View 380 Gaming PC Review.

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3. SkyTech Blaze II – Value for Money

SkyTech Blaze II

Bottom Line: If you’d like to start small and make upgrades along the way, then the SkyTech Blaze II would be the right choice for your live streaming aspirations.

Key Features:

  • Processor: AMD Ryzen 5 2600
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660
  • OS: Windows 10
  • RAM: 16 GB
  • Storage: 500 GB

Pros

  • Budget pricing
  • Decent mid-range specs
  • Simple design and RGB lighting

Cons

  • Not the most recent specs
  • Not always available
  • Fans can be loud at times

And then there is the Skytech Blaze II which is the most budget-friendly option we have for you.

This is a PC that you can blindly trust for entry-level content creation and live streaming.

However, we won’t promise you the best frame rates while playing and streaming games at the same time.

The Blaze II has a 2nd gen Ryzen 5 processor, coupled with a GTX 1660 GPU and 16 GB of DDR4 RAM.

The advantages of the Turing architecture of the GPU would soon be visible as you start using graphics-intensive applications.

There is an even cheaper option that has 8 GB of RAM and a GTX 1650 video card, not the best choices for your intended purpose.

You’d be getting a 500 GB SSD in either of these, however.

While the PC is going to effortlessly run most games at 60+ frame rates (some on adjusted settings), those numbers are to drop while streaming them.

The specs are decent no doubt, but there are better iterations of both the CPU and the GPU that could have solved this problem.

But overall, the micro ATX form factor, RGB lighting, and the ability to run two monitors make it a desktop you cannot ignore.

One of the main reasons we say this is the fact that there are very few pre-built options that provide these features at such an affordable price tag. Check out SkyTech Blaze II Review.

4. CUK Stratos Micro Gaming Desktop – Best for Dedicated Live Streaming

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CUK Stratos Micro Gaming Desktop

Bottom Line: The Stratos Micro is an absolute treat if you’d like a second desktop to specifically power your live stream, while another desktop handles the games or other software that you want to show to the audience.

Key Features:

  • Processor: AMD Ryzen 7 Pro 4750G
  • Graphics: Integrated Radeon Graphics
  • OS: Windows 10 Home
  • RAM: 32 GB
  • Storage: 512 GB SSD + 2 TB HDD

Pros

  • Robust CPU performance
  • User-friendly design
  • Good warranty span

Cons

  • Can be Expensive
  • No Type-C port
  • Can get noisy

Next, we have the CUK Stratos Micro Gaming Desktop, and this is the best option on the list if you’re looking for a dedicated desktop solely for live streaming. To know why you must read on!

The desktop comes with a Ryzen 7 4750G processor, which is almost as good (even better at times) as a Ryzen 7 3700X. So good that some even consider this as the best APU on the planet.

There are cheaper variants of the desktop too that you may consider, that are more pocket-friendly.

In terms of graphics too, you have the Integrated Radeon Graphics, and it works decently. We have few complaints here since not much can be expected from an iGPU.

You can always add a dedicated GPU in this, which makes things very interesting for the desktop.

The RAM present is ample for live streaming, and it won’t be necessary to upgrade it beyond the 32 GB already provided. There are dual storage drives too that offer enough primary and secondary storage space.

The Stratos Micro makes complete sense if you won’t be gaming or streaming at the same time on this desktop.

But it can still provide 60+ fps on some popular games on mid to low graphics if you do not run any live stream of course.

You can always use a capture card and play on a dedicated gaming desktop, and stream through this. Check out CUK Stratos Review.

5. SkyTech Chronos Gaming PC – Impressive Specs for a Mid-range Live Streaming Setup

SkyTech Chronos Gaming PC

Bottom Line: The SkyTech Chronos is the optimal choice for those looking for an affordable live streaming machine, but with good specs. Should the existing hardware feel exhausted, you always have the choice of upgrades.

Key Features:

  • Processor: AMD Ryzen 7 3700X
  • Graphics: NVIDIA RTX 3070
  • OS: Windows 10
  • RAM: 16 GB
  • Storage: 1 TB SSD

Pros

  • Offers a good amount of value for your money
  • Impressive performance
  • Decent connectivity features

Cons

  • A bigger storage drive could have been provided
  • Can be loud at times
  • Some models may not have a USB Type-C port

An even cheaper option with impressive specs is the Skytech Chronos Gaming PC that you can get.

This has an RTX 3070 GPU in it too, and a previous version of the AMD Ryzen 7 octa-core CPU accompanying it. And not to forget the glass panel at the side and RGB lighting provided already.

The Ryzen 7 3700X processor used in the desktop operates at a base speed of 3.6 GHz with boosted speeds of up to 4.4 GHz.

It has a 32 MB L3 cache so the processor can take up a lot of instructions at the same time and start executing them.

That would be done with the help of RAM, which in this case is 16 GB.

The RAM is quite fast at 3200 MHz and some tuning in the BIOS would let you utilize their true potential.

Now connectivity is not the best, but there are several distributed between the front and back sides.

There are multiple video ports too, which you can use to add more monitors to your setup.

As a streamer, these features are going to be very useful for both gaming and live streaming purposes. Check out Skytech Chronos Gaming PC Review.

How to Choose a Best Desktop for Live Streaming?

There can be a variety of reasons why you stream, as a profession or as a hobby. Similarly, there are several things that you can stream about as we said earlier.

There are no limitations to what you choose to share with the rest of the world, and live streaming takes special skills as there are no retakes or edits.

Certain platforms like Youtube, Steam, Twitch, etc have made it easier for both beginners and professional content creators to share their skills and gameplay with others on a worldwide scale.

For a constantly smooth stream with no lags and to maintain the popularity you might have earned by working so hard, it is thus imperative to choose the right specs.

Needing an expensive desktop to start live streaming is a thing of the past now, and what matters most is how you utilize the hardware you already have. And, the kind of software you choose for the things related to your live stream.

Be it a prebuilt desktop or one that you plan to build by yourself, this guide is going to be very helpful for either purpose.

Are You a Content Creator, a Gamer, or Both?

If you are interested in video games, then you must also be interested in watching Live Streams of the popular titles today. That too is a form of live streaming, but not the only kind.

As any sort of content creator, the PC has to record you through the webcam and the microphone primarily. Those of you who have Tech channels or show tutorials would need to run other software as well.

While the other forms of live streaming have similar kinds of system requirements, gaming and graphics-intensive software require some better set of specs.

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Hence for these purposes, you need both a good CPU, GPU, and the overall configuration must be decent as well, depending on the software being run.

Gaming usually takes up a considerable amount of both the CPU and GPU and as you run heavier ones, the more the workload.

Certain things matter here though, like the quality at which you are playing, and more importantly, how good you want the stream to look. Viewer satisfaction is what counts most in this industry, after all.

Are Two separate PCs better than a Single One for Live Streaming?

Well, not really but it depends on your requirements and the budget based on which you plan on buying the PC. There are instances where content creators use two separate desktops to divide the workload.

Usually, one of these is used to play or record, and the other just for uploading that into the stream. It has its advantages, but also requires a bigger budget and the use of a capture card.

Now, most modern live streamers have a single desktop in which they both record and live stream at the same time, but it is a high-end one.

Based on what they stream and the quality of the games they play (if any), the specs are decided. But in the majority of the cases, it at least has upper mid-range specs.

So your setup is choice and preference. For the first option, as long as you have enough space in your room for both the rigs and enough budget, you can employ more than a single PC.

If you choose the second option, if done correctly, you might be able to save some money. Also, it removes the extra complications of more wires, capture cards, and stuff like that.

You would need a second monitor though in either case, for a better experience.

Hardware or Software Encoding?

Gone are the ways when only the CPU was capable of encoding, transcoding, and such things that are the most important in a live stream.

Newer software, like the NVIDIA Broadcast, and software encoding especially, has changed the game.

Now the usual x264 live streaming does not even require a dedicated GPU, and more focus is on the CPU performance.

The cores on the processor are utilized to conduct the live stream and run any other software alongside it.

However, that changes drastically as you use hardware encoding, like the NVENC encoding available in the NVIDIA GPUs.

This shifts the majority of the workload from the CPU to the GPU, thus resulting in a much smoother live stream.

The hardware encoding route is a much more efficient way now but requires a more expensive video card.

Other things, like transition effects, artificial background, and such necessarily require an RTX GPU.

Processor

Live streaming is mostly CPU intensive and it does need a good amount of its abilities.

In usual video recording, the data is stored in local storage, say in your hard disk or SSD.

But here, that is instead sent to the world at large using the Internet and a dedicated streaming software or OBS.

Your desktop’s CPU, therefore, must be capable of taking on the extra workload.

The resolution at which the stream is being conducted plays a major role here, with more processing power needed as the quality increases.

Things get more complex when you are also a gamer. You’ll have to provide the PC with whatever resources the game being played needs, and more for uploading it online.

Most gamers thus use octa-core CPUs with fast clock speeds that can be useful for streaming, gaming, and editing videos later on, among other purposes.

Even if you use hardware encoding, a decent CPU is of utmost importance. No matter what software or game you may run, the CPU has to be good enough.

Without enough power from the CPU, the stream would suffer in ways like lags, skipping some parts, low quality, and such.

This happens when the PC cannot keep uploading whatever is being recorded, simultaneously.

You cannot afford things like this on a professional level, as the viewer experience largely matters.

Thus, for streaming, any modern Intel or AMD quad or Hexa-core CPU is enough, and if the budget is not a constraint, you may opt for an octa-core processor.

Lowering the core count would have adverse effects on your stream, as we have mentioned. This puts CPUs with lower core count out of the question.

Graphics

The amount of graphics needed regarding live streaming depends on what you stream, and partly its quality.

Any graphics are handled entirely by the GPU which needs to be powerful enough.

And again, the requirements increase when you game, and even more when intense games are being played at higher qualities.

The PC then has several things to do at the same time. It has to run the game and render graphics therein, record it, encode it through the CPU or GPU for upload, run your monitors, etc.

Hence your GPU choices should start from anything with at least 4 GB of VRAM, even if there is a separate PC to run the stream.

A decent mid-range graphics coprocessor is what should be best for you if you are a budget-buyer like a majority.

With a higher budget, there are wonderful options that you can choose from.

If better ray-tracing and more VRAM is what you crave, there is NVIDIA’s RTX series.

These can also be used for encoding, which in most cases is better than that done by the processor.

Even AMD has some options, but those are limited. Even though newer 6000 series GPUs can rival against the best, NVIDIA still has some added features, like G Sync, ray-tracing, and NVENC.

Not that these are absent in the Radeon GPUs, but they are nowhere near the competition, at least until now.

RAM

Now the memory is very important, as all the applications you run and the stream would be needing it.

Even on using two desktops, the amount of RAM needed in each of them is still on the higher side.

So what should you be looking for? Well, any popular OBS for live streaming or game today requires 8-16 GB of RAM at least, and whatever you do make sure to have some extra installed than the minimum amount necessary for running said software.

Used-up RAM in any instance would be disastrous to the live stream as it will slow down everything, starting with the CPU.

With low RAM, there is a high chance of a bottleneck and as a result, there can be system crashes and disruptions in normal stream playback.

The exact amount of memory would change from one PC to another, but 16 GB of it should be good for most of you live streamers here.

Those that intend to play and stream on higher resolution, like 1440p or 2160p, however, would need more RAM. That can be anywhere between 32 – 64 GB, depending on the applications being run at once.

Such an amount of RAM in your system can help in other things too like high-quality video editing or 3D rendering.

Storage

Any content creator needs a large storage space to store both the finished and unfinished projects.

For a streamer, however, not all of it needs to be saved locally as the platform where he streams acts as a storehouse of his work.

But even then, you must keep at least 512 GB of space on your desktop, along with external drives and cloud storage active.

An SSD might be the better choice as the storage drive in most of the scenarios, but it has nothing to do with live streaming solely.

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However, if you intend to record your gameplay for the future, then the SSD has a big effect.

For general streams, whatever is being recorded is constantly uploaded on the internet without leaving any trace of it on storage.

This means that your live stream wouldn’t be harmed when using an HDD, nor would it be better by using an SSD.

The differences with using an SSD would be more prominent in usual usages, like boot-ups, opening applications, and so on.

Also, when you game or run some other software, the data being saved therein does get stored on the drive present on your PC.

Connectivity

We don’t need to mention explicitly how important connectivity is for a live streamer.

Not only for the peripherals, but there are also a lot of other ports necessary for speakers, headphones, microphones, webcam, and so on.

But the most important sort of connectivity is the one with the internet.

To make sure that your streaming sessions run smoothly as desired, you need to have a fast internet connection and the right provisions in your PC to connect to it.

The hardware or software aspects can only do so much, and the larger part of uploading the stream is only possible when the internet connection is good enough.

This is why both Ethernet and Bluetooth are mandatory. The former would provide better bandwidth, while the latter can be used to connect with peripherals, headsets, and such.

Make sure that the PC you buy also has WIFI adapters in-built so that you don’t have to buy one separately.

Accessories

There are tons of things required in the basic live streaming setup, but you can start with some cheap accessories as well. So following are some suggestions that might be of use to you.

Other than a mouse, keyboard, and the ones listed below, you may need some other things as well, ambient lighting and a quiet room for example.

Yet needed is a gaming chair for added comfort, though these are the things best left at your discretion.

Capture Card

A capture card is a device that takes in signals from another device and transfers them to a processor that can then take it as input for processing.

That device can be a different computer, a DSLR Camera, or a gaming console, for example.

While its uses have been reduced, it is still necessary for those of you who would be using two separate PCs for live streaming.

What a capture card would do is that it would record data from the PC you use to run a game or software, along with other visuals and commentaries of you, and transmit that to the second desktop.

This second desktop is for streaming only, and the data it takes from the capture card is then processed by it, encoded, and uploaded.

Capture cards come in several price ranges, and different interfaces like USB, PCIe, and such. The PCIe kind is the most reliable among them.

These are the most useful when you need to record from a second PC, gaming console, or a Playstation. If you do have any such setup, then using one is imperative.

If you use a single PC, a capture card can still be used but it won’t be necessary and you could save some money.

Also, there would be times when it would hinder performance, so in this case, it would be better to forego one.

Webcam

Any live stream is incomplete without the streamer showing himself/herself to the rest of the audience. This is why you’ll be needing a webcam.

And this isn’t just for gamers, anything that you stream over the internet is better when the people watching it can also see you.

You can provide more accurate reactions that way, and this would help to boost your popularity.

However, it is something that you might make do without, and it’s completely fine if you live stream without showing yourself.

Microphone

Based on what you stream about, you are going to have to choose a microphone as well.

You might have already bought one, but if you are not done shopping yet, make sure to add a microphone to the list.

There can be very expensive ones that are dedicated to live streaming or music production, while other cheaper options are for general uses.

The cheapest route to go would be using those present on your headset (in case you are gaming).

And you can always buy an external microphone later when it’s more convenient.

Headphones

Very few live streamers interacting on their stream do not own a good pair of headphones, and the count hits zero when we are talking about gamers.

On average, every PC user has some sort of headphones lying around, so not everyone has to buy new ones.

However, for better quality and a comfortable audio experience, you have no other choice than to invest in branded headphones or headsets.

It needs to provide good sound quality and be comfortable on your ears at the same time.

With so much time to sit at your PC wearing them, proper cushioning is very important.

Some headphones already come with a microphone, so you may not have to buy one separately.

However, this largely depends on what you do on your live stream, and those who don’t game are going to need these separately.

Multi-monitor setup

There isn’t a hard and fast rule, but as a streamer, your setup would be best when it consists of at least two monitors.

One of these can be used to play the game or run the other software being shown on your stream, while the other is for watching the chat box under it, or for any other purpose.

If the software being run is graphics intensive, or you have gaming needs for example, then the first monitor must have some attributes of its own.

These include lower response times, better refresh rate, high resolution, and so on.

The stream quality is going to depend on the quality of the monitor you use for creating content for the live stream, so make sure you make the right choice.

The other can be with an ordinary display and doesn’t need to have any of these features. It should be good even with an FHD display, or you can buy a better monitor as well if your budget suits you.

You can even have more displays running in front of you, but the minimum should be two.

There are certain advantages in this that a single monitor can never be able to compensate you with while live streaming.

The size of these monitors can be whatever you feel comfortable with.

The average gaming monitor measures about 24-28”, though some prefer wide-angle ones too.

FAQs:

What PC Do You Need for Streaming?

This depends on the kind of encoding you intend to utilize when live streaming and the kind of software you want to run. Now a desktop is a much better option than a laptop because of more affordable pricing and heat management.

You may consider any of the following options if these fulfill your requirements:

Dell Alienware Aurora R10
Thermaltake LCGS View 380 Gaming PC
CUK Stratos Micro Gaming Desktop
SkyTech Chronos Gaming PC
SkyTech Blaze II

What Specs Do You Need for Live Streaming?

For the average live streamer, a 6-8 core CPU, and at least 16 GB of RAM are necessary. Now if you use GPU encoding, then you’d also need an RTX GPU preferably.

Those who use the CPU for encoding, should focus more on the CPU and hence get a better processor. Graphics is not much important for the stream itself in this case.

Do I need to use a separate PC for Streaming?

The need for a dedicated PC for streaming depends on what the specs are on one or both of your desktops. Currently, given the kind of software and facilities available, you can focus your entire budget and get one single PC instead of two.

A second PC divides the workload, but there are inconveniences with using two separate desktops. So what matters to you is more important, and you can go with either.

Finishing up

What’s very important in live streaming is your uniqueness, and no amount of external factors can influence the audience as much as your style or personality will.

But certain things still influence the quality of your live streams, like your setup and the computer hardware being used. Our suggestions should give you an idea of where to start, or how you can develop your existing setup.