Do You Need a Dedicated Streaming PC for Twitch?

Live streaming yourself playing video games has become a popular hobby amongst gaming enthusiasts. With over 15 million daily active users, Twitch is the original platform for games live streaming. If you’re looking to start streaming on Twitch, then you’ll need to make sure that you have the right equipment to do so.

One of the main questions here is: Do you need a second dedicated PC for streaming on Twitch, or can you do it all with your existing PC? In this article, we’ll look at the pros and cons of a dedicated streaming PC and some options for building one.

Pros for Having a Dedicated Streaming PC

One pro of having a dedicated streaming PC for Twitch is that it will keep your gaming environment separate from your streaming one. This will mean that you can keep your hard drives for each purpose separate and organized.

A PC for gaming will also have different requirements for a PC for streaming, and so, with separate PCs, you can make sure that you have the best machine for each purpose. For example, on your gaming PC, all you’ll need to focus on is having your games and the right input devices (a mouse, a keyboard, etc.).

Likewise, all you’ll need for your streaming PC is a microphone for picking up audio and a way to control what the audience is seeing (e.g., Open Broadcaster Software’s Advanced Scene Manager, which allows you to control the layout of your streaming feed).

Another advantage of a dedicated streaming PC relates to encoding and image quality. Encoding is the process of converting raw video and audio data into a compressed file type that can be understood and played by your streaming software. For streaming to happen, encoding needs to be occurring first. Encoding requires a large amount of processing power and having your streaming PC’s computer processing unit (CPU) able to focus completely on this task will result in better image quality for your stream.

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At the same time, having your streaming PC’s CPU focus on encoding means that your gaming PC’s CPU can entirely focus on running your game with the highest quality settings. Again, this will increase the image quality of your stream. Also, because your gaming PC will be doing all the rendering work for your game, the processor of your streaming PC can focus on simply streaming high-quality video.

Finally, in terms of pros, you won’t need a graphics card for your streaming PC as it won’t require a lot of graphical power. You’ll be able to get away with simply the integrated graphics processing unit that comes as part of your CPU.

Cons of Having a Dedicated Streaming PC

The most obvious con of having a dedicated streaming PC is the extra cost involved. Not only will you have to buy a second PC in the first place, but these two PCs will take up more power than just one. You may also end up using more bandwidth on your internet connection.

Another con is the complexity of having two PCs. For example, you’ll need to find a way of sending in-game audio from one PC to the other to transmit that with your stream. To do this, you can either connect your two PCs over a virtual network (less reliable), or physically connect them using a cable, an audio interface, or an audio mixer.

Practical consideration of having two PCs is the space that it will require. Two PCs will obviously take up more room than one and, if your gaming space is limited, it may not be the best idea. Again on a practical note, you may need to plug each PC into two separate electrical outlets to avoid overloading and tripping your breaker. Do you have enough outlets for this?

More computers mean more fans in the room, which may cause interference with your audio. It also means you’ll have another heat source in the room, which could get uncomfortable on hot days.

Lastly, a streaming PC has different requirements than a gaming PC, and it isn’t necessarily something that you can get right out of the box. You will probably need to build your streaming PC yourself, which is not too difficult, but it is extra work.

Taking into account all of these cons, if you’re serious about live streaming, then a dedicated streaming PC is still a great idea. Next, we’ll cover what makes up a good streaming PC.

Building a Dedicated Streaming PC

Having a dedicated streaming PC is an extra cost but, due to the lower specifications required for this machine, we estimate that you could build it for just $400. Here are the elements that you’ll need to gather:


amd ryzen 3 3200g processor image

For an affordable CPU, we recommend the AMD Ryzen 3 3200G Processor. This quad-core processor comes with plenty of power for a streaming PC. It also comes integrated with advanced Radeon Vega 8 graphics; all you’ll need in terms of graphical power for a streaming PC is output to a monitor, and this CPU’s integrated graphics processing unit (GPU) is perfect for that. As an added bonus, this CPU comes fitted with AMD’s Wraith Stealth cooler, meaning that you won’t need to buy a separate cooling unit.


asus b450m a prime image

The motherboard is the part of your computer that holds all of its components together. A good motherboard will have a fast bus speed, which means that the circuit (bus) that connects the different parts together can handle a lot of data at the same time. For a motherboard for your dedicated streaming PC, how about the ASUS B450M-A Prime? It’s compatible with the Ryzen CPU mentioned above.


Random Access Memory (RAM) is a hardware device that allows information to be stored and retrieved on a computer. Information is accessed randomly instead of sequentially (like it is on a CD or hard drive), and, because of this, access times with RAM are faster.

patriot viper 4 series 3000mhz ddr4 image

The more RAM your computer has, the faster it will be because it won’t need to fall back on using the slower hard drive for data storage. A good option for your dedicated streaming PC is the Patriot VIPER 4 Series 3000MHz 8GB Dual Channel DDR4, which comes as two sticks of 4GB RAM each.


corsair force series mp300 m.2 ssd image

The Solid-State Drive (SSD) is the data storage technology that is beginning to replace hard disk drives (HDD). Although we have an HDD in this list below, we also recommend getting a CORSAIR FORCE Series MP300 120GB NVMe PCIe M.2 SSD. This will allow your streaming software to run faster.


western digital blue 2tb image

For a hard drive, you can’t go wrong with the Western Digital Blue 2TB. With 2TB of storage, this will give you plenty of space to store your streaming videos. It also comes with free Acronis True Image WD Edition cloning software, which will enable you to back up your videos.


cooler masters masterbox q300l image

You won’t have a dedicated streaming PC without a case to house all of the components. You’ll need something that will fit your CPU and motherboard, leaving enough room for cooling and cable management. The Cooler Master’s MasterBox Q300L is ideal for those on a budget and still looks great. It’s compact but has a variety of cooling configurations too.


thermaltake smart 500w psu image

You’ll also need some way of getting power to your machine. In terms of a power supply unit (PSU), we rate the Thermaltake Smart 500W 80+ White Certified PSU. It guarantees 80% or higher efficiency under normal loads.


So that’s our recommendation for the ideal dedicated streaming PC. Bear in mind that you’ll also need an operating system (go for Windows 10) and an internet connection (wired or with a WiFi adapter). If you want to stream from your console, too, you’ll also need a capture card to convert your gameplay to a streaming-friendly format. We recommend the Elgato Game Capture HD60 Pro.