Best Streaming Software for Low-end PCs

The Best Streaming Software for Low-end PCs

With the rise in popularity of Twitch streaming and live broadcasting of gaming events, streaming software has continued to evolve to meet the demands of a growing streamer base. Featuring over nine million streaming accounts as of 2019, there are countless streamers using a wide range of streaming softwares. From free to freemium to paid-for subscriptions, there’s a host of streaming software choices for every kind of streamer. When choosing the best streaming software for low-end PCs, you’ll have to decide what features are essential to your stream and how much you’re willing to invest (in terms of both time and money) in your channel. 

Minimum Requirements for Streaming

Before choosing a streaming software, it’s essential that your PC meets at least the minimum system requirements for streaming, though for the best quality stream you should aim for PC specs above the bare minimum for streaming. Twitch recommends at least an Intel Core i5-4670 or AMD equivalent, and 8BG of RAM. You’ll also need a reliable internet connection, with a minimum upload speed of 3mbps to deliver a 1080p stream at 30fps, with substantially higher minimum requirements for 1440p+ streaming at 60fps. 

Software Features 

With several software options available for streaming across a wide price range, the best way to compare softwares is to look at the features they offer (or lack). Free streaming softwares like OBS (Open Broadcaster Software) or Streamlabs will lack the advanced features of paid-for softwares like multi-streams, virtual sets, and stream overlays. Free softwares also lack the centralized support teams of their subscription based competitors, meaning that any troubleshooting for technical issues will require some additional time and effort. Fortunately, due to the wide-spread usage of free streaming softwares like OBS, there is a wealth of community guides and active forums offering support in everything from stream setup and optimized stream settings to in-depth technical support. 

OBS (Open Broadcast Software)

When it comes to streaming software, OBS is the overwhelming community favorite for both advanced users and streamers new to the scene. A free open-source software with an active development team consistently pushing out extensive updates with new features and plug-ins, OBS is the first stop for the majority of streamers. With a host of advanced configuration features, savvy users will find an almost limitless amount of settings to fine-tune their stream to be perfectly optimized for their system and streaming preferences. 

For many users, the sheer amount of customization options and endless configurations for various stream settings can be daunting, as new users will face a steep learning curve when first starting out. This difficulty for beginners is often compounded by the lack of a centralized support team for OBS, with no clear line of communication for users to receive direct help from developers. When using a lower-end PC setup, this can compound the number of issues new users will face, as lower end PCs will require additional optimization to run smoothly. 

Yet OBS’s lack of a dedicated support team shouldn’t discourage new streamers from starting their channels, as the widespread usage of OBS across the streaming community means that a host of resources are available for those in need of help. With so many streamers currently running OBS, everything from settings optimization to advanced customization guides are available on the extensive OBS forums, as well as youtube tutorials. As an incredibly customizable streaming software with low CPU usage, OBS is one of the best free streaming softwares available today.

Streamlabs (SLOBS)

Originally starting as just a streaming tool within OBS, Streamlabs (or SLOBS) has evolved into its own standalone streaming software specifically oriented towards gamers. SLOBS has done an admirable job streamlining the whole streaming process to address the difficulty old OBS users faced when first starting out. Taking a number of lessons from its predecessor, SLOBS started by creating a new intuitive UI, incorporating many of OBS’s plugins into a single, easily manageable interface. Features like an integrated chat, sub/follower/donation notifications, real time game alerts, thousands of free overlays, easily implemented (and highly customizable) stream overlays, and a host of other intuitive options make SLOBS the perfect streaming software for anyone wanting to skip the lengthy setup process of OBS. Adding to this, all of these features are housed within a single, easy to navigate interface! No more juggling several different windows to adjust your stream on the fly. 

For users with low-end streaming PCs, SLOBS has an auto-optimization feature which automatically adjusts the software settings to match your PCs specs. With many converts from OBS complaining of the poor optimization they experienced due to the overwhelming number of settings, SLOBS is the best software for streamers wanting to jump right into delivering quality streams without the fuss of a lengthy settings management process. This is largely possible due to a SLOBS’s game specific encoding system, which allows users to optimize SLOB for each specific game they stream, reducing the CPU usage necessary to run SLOB in the background. 

Unfortunately, as a software originally based off of OBS, any major changes/updates to OBS will require a similar update by SLOB, though the software often lags behind the development of its parent software. With a smaller, less active development team, this means that users of SLOB will often have longer wait periods between important updates, as well as less extensive updates when they do arise. SLOB is also a streaming software still within BETA development, meaning a number of bugs/crashes should be expected by users. As a final downside, SLOB is only available on the Windows OS, so Mac users will have to look for other alternatives for streaming software. 

Xsplit

The final software on our list, Xsplit is an advanced streaming software with a freemium service model. While the software’s free version does allow for standard streaming, any streams over 30fps/720p will include watermarks on their live feed. Anyone wanting access to Xsplit’s premium features will have to pay for a monthly subscription ($5) or a substantial one-time fee ($200). For new streamers wishing to use their stream as a source of income, Xsplit will cut into any revenue generated by their stream until they gain a more substantial following to offset the subscription cost of Xsplit. 

Yet while Xsplit doesn’t offer users a completely free price tag, it distinguishes itself as one of the best premium streaming softwares with a number of premium features unavailable in free streaming softwares such as OBS and SLOB. Xsplit’s premium subscription comes with a virtual camera, Skype video camera, local streaming, stream delay, simultaneous broadcasting to multiple streaming sites, source transitions and projector, editing resources, priority support, and countless other premium features which can help your stream stand out from others. 

Despite the overwhelming positives of using Xsplit’s streaming software, it does come with a few inconvenient limitations. Experienced streamers may find Xsplits recording formats limiting, as they are only available in FLV and MP4 file types. On top of this, Xsplit does not offer popular presets for the most common streaming sites such as Youtbe or Twitch. This means that without prior knowledge of encoding, new users may experience some difficulty when starting out. Finally, Xsplit is only available on the Windows OS. 

Conclusion

Ultimately, there are several solid streaming softwares for all experience levels, but the best streaming software for low-end PCs will depend on your priorities when streaming. Want to customize every aspect of your stream with an endless list of configuration and fine-tuning possibilities? OBS is the gold standard for both new and veteran streamers, with countless settings and options to tinker with. Just want to hop right in to streaming without any setup hassle? SLOBS is the perfect streaming software for gamers wanting to skip a lengthy settings configuration process, and go directly to streaming. If you want to distinguish your stream from your competitors, Xsplit has a wealth of premium content and features which will give you the tools to separate your stream from the other channels.


Best Equipment for a YouTube Streaming Setup

Best Equipment for a YouTube Streaming Setup

Last year YouTube introduced a new gaming hub that has made it easier than ever to start streaming live on their platform.

There’s no better time to start streaming your games on YouTube but you can’t start without first getting the right equipment.

If you’ve been dreaming of starting your own streaming setup for YouTube then get started now. We can help! Check out this complete guide to start your own streaming setup.

Value of the Best Streaming Setup

Anyone can jump into the fray of streaming their games live on YouTube. That’s why the competition is steep. While having the right personality and style help, you also need to have the right setup in order to stand out from the crowd.

It takes a lot of processing power to not only load your game but also to stream it live. Viewers get frustrated if the video freezes or the audio cuts out constantly—meaning they’ll probably stop watching once they lose patience with your video.

If you’ve chosen YouTube as your main streaming platform, then you should know that it tends to work better on Android devices. This means if you plan to stream on your phone, having an Android phone is a plus. This is probably thanks to YouTube being owned by Google.

Can Your PC Handle It?

If you’ve chosen to use your computer to live stream your games, then it will need to have the following recommended capabilities. An Intel Core i5-4670 or the AMD equivalent.

You should also have at least 8GB of RAM, Windows 7 Home Premium or later and a graphics card running DirectX 10 or above. YouTube, unlike Twitch, doesn’t set these as its minimum requirements. However, having the baseline equipment can only help your channel.

To be honest, you may want to invest in better hardware. With the bare minimum mentioned above, you’re not going to be able to even play a AAA title at higher resolutions.

If you’re not prepared to build your own PC, Alienware and Origin are a reliable starting point. Plus, they guarantee their parts are optimized to work well together. You can always opt to upgrade individual components when more power or memory are necessary.

Internet Hook Up

Streaming online doesn’t just rely on the ability of your computer or devices. You also need to have a great internet connection with decent upload speed. The bare minimum for quality is going to be around 3 Mbps, but to stream in HD at a high FPS you’ll need closer to 20+ Mbps.

You can determine what your actual current Internet Service Provider’s speed is by using an online tester like this one to find out. Always aim for higher than the bare minimum requirements, and not that actual speed is often lower than advertised speed.

Capture All the Action

You can’t start streaming without the right equipment to record you playing. That includes a webcam and a quality audio feed. Part of the reason your fans are tuning in is to watch and listen to your candid reactions.

Some computers already have a decent webcam and audio recording. You may not even need to invest in additional devices. It’s worth testing them out with some recordings prior to going live to see if you need an upgrade.

Picture Perfect

If your webcam can use an upgrade then an HD 1080p webcam should do the trick. Especially one that will adjust accordingly to lower light. Some webcams will even blur out the background of the recording and only focus on you.

Crystal-Clear Audio

Viewers won’t miss a word with a separate microphone to capture all of your candid reactions. Some include different modes such as cardioid mode that isolates audio coming from someone directly in front of the mic. It’s specifically designed for gamers.

If you’d rather not waste precious desk space on a whole microphone hook-up you can also opt for a versatile headset. You’ll get the benefits of hearing amped up sounds and also communicate with confidence to all your listeners.

Broadcasting Applications

Now that you have all of your tech ready, you will still need to choose your broadcasting application. A broadcasting app is what takes your gaming stream and sends it to YouTube as it is happening live.

We’d recommend an app like OBS Studio. It is free to use and easy to install.

XSplit Broadcaster is another popular choice by gamers and has some pretty powerful offerings. Keep in mind that it only works on Windows. You can install this app for free. However for video resolutions that are higher than 720p you are required to make monthly payments. Still, it’s known for being easy to use and straightforward when it comes to setup.

Your broadcasting app will allow you to overlay your webcam video, plus audio on top of your game feed. That way your viewers can take in all of the action at once. You can also add a watermark using the apps mentioned above.

This is a great way to label your video content and create brand awareness as you build your audience.

Pros and Console

If you’d prefer to stream from your gaming console, then the setup is simpler. Consoles tend to have their hardware built into the machine itself. It’s easy to set up your video and audio using cameras designed for your specific console.

Plus, Playstation 4 makes it easy to connect by simply using a DualShock 4 controller that has a “Share” button built-in so you can instantly start streaming live once you’ve logged into your computer.

Xbox One players will need a capture card to live stream on YouTube. This allows you to send your stream to a computer first. Typically they opt to stream on Twitch instead, which is much easier for them.

Capture cards such as the Elgato HD 60S, will sit between your console and television. It sends a separate feed to your computer so you can take more control over how your stream looks. You also have the option to take content from another console.

Quality is Key

When it comes to streaming live don’t skimp on your streaming setup. It’s easy to get your channel started with the right tech. Then you can save time for the fun part, gaming with your favorite people.

Looking for more advice and pro tips on live streaming and other insights? Check out our blog for the latest news in the PC gaming world.


How to Make Money on Mixer

How to Make Money on Mixer

Mixer is a streaming service platform that aims to rival Twitch and YouTube. It’s now attracting top talents like the popular Twitch streamer, Cory “King Gothalion” Michael, who jumped ship recently.

The platform has been slowly gaining traction in the streaming community. This means it has the potential to be as big (or even bigger) as the two.

If you’re considering this platform for your channel, you must be wondering how to make money on Mixer. Let’s get right on that; keep on reading to know how you can create income from the platform.

1. Ask for Donations

One of the most straightforward ways to earn money on Mixer is to ask your followers to give you money. You’ll have to use a third-party service for accepting donations, though. As of this writing, the platform doesn’t limit what you want to do to raise money.

You can, for example, use Patreon to accept a certain amount of money each month. Of course, you must have something to give to your patrons in exchange for their goodwill.

Many streamers upload exclusive content that’s only available for the patrons. They can also get access to things like your private group chat, movie nights, and Q&A sessions. Recognition, merchandise, and such are also common rewards.

You can implement a tier system, in which a patron gets more access the more they donate. You can also choose to get monthly donations or a one-time fundraising event instead.

The key here is offering some sort of additional value to your stream, and then reminding them of the perks. You aren’t directly asking for donations on stream, but instead offering perks to supporters.

2. Get Sponsorship Offers

Many streams would argue that the best money comes from sponsorships. It works as you would expect – companies give you money to promote their product. It’s that simple, but the process to get sponsorships isn’t.

Sometimes, if you’re an exceptional streamer, you’ll eventually get the eye of an interested party. They’ll reach out to you and you discuss the deal.

If you’re only starting, however, you may have to work to get a deal. You’ll have to be the one to reach out to companies. You’ll have to pitch your channel and convince them that you can give them results.

3. Become a Mixer Partner

Becoming a partner on the platform opens up the opportunity for you to earn through ad revenue. In other words, it works like the YouTube Partner Program that monetizes your content.

Mixer says, though, that its partnership program is something more than a way to gain income. It’s also about nurturing the relationship between the partner and the platform.

Partners get perks like emotes and free Pro status. They can even give away free codes for Pro and subscription to whomever they want once every month. They get dual streaming, priority support, priority feedback, and more.

You do have to fit the requirements to even get reviewed. You need to have at least 2,000 followers on an account at least two months old. You must also have at least 12 streams per month amounting to 25 hours or more of streaming.

Once you pass these requirements, you still have to pass Mixer’s quality review. The platform says it focuses on Uniqueness, Professionalism, and Community Building. Still, it looks at other things to form a final decision.

If you’re already established on another platform, like Twitch or YouTube, you can reach out to the team for special consideration.

4. Activate the Direct Purchase Program

Streamers can now earn money by promoting the game they’re playing. Announced in 2018, the Direct Purchase program lets viewers buy whatever the user is streaming through a button at the top of the page, alongside the channel name.

The whole purchasing process happens right on the page, so you don’t need to open a new tab to complete it. Once you’ve successfully bought the game, it goes right into your Xbox or Windows 10 game library. This also means only the games in the Microsoft Store are available via Direct Purchase.

Streamers can earn 5% of every game bought via their channel. They can also choose which to promote: the base game, any other edition, or the DLC.

It also seems Mixer allows any stream to active the program, whereas Twitch only makes it available to its partners.

5. Get Your Viewers to Use Skills

Skills are something that viewers “buy” to be able to send stickers, gifs, and other effects on a stream. Each time a viewer uses a skill, the streamer gets a financial benefit. Although that financial benefit is small and the streamer has to be a partner, the money you get from this method can add up.

Viewers can also support a streamer financially using sparks. They earn this “currency” by watching streams. They can then spend it on skills. They can also use it to help partnered streamers reach milestones for small cash payouts.

6. Build a Following

Learning how to make money on Mixer is one thing, but making actual money is another. The only time you can earn big bucks via the methods above, though, is after you’ve established your channel.

Think about it – if you only have a few followers, you only get a small chance of getting patrons, you can’t become a partner, you won’t get a sponsor, and you won’t have enough viewers to take advantage of the Direct Purchase program.

To build a huge following, you must have good content. Find your niche and then stick to it; you’ll be more likely to build a tight-knit community that way. Make sure your streams are high-quality by using good equipment, including a green screen.

Interact with your followers, even if they’re still a small bunch. Viewers like watching someone they think they can be friends with. Appreciate each one of them and you’ll get more of them in no time.

Learn More About How to Make Money on Mixer

If you’re serious about creating an income by streaming, you must focus on building a loyal following by finding your niche. Once you’ve found it, focus on making your stream more professional by upgrading your equipment.

Top equipment to consider or upgrade, in order of priority:

  1. Choosing a quality webcam
  2. Using a capture card to reduce strain on your gaming PC
  3. Upgrading your lighting
  4. Adding a green screen


The Top Video Game Streaming Equipment Necessary for Twitch

The Top Video Game Streaming Equipment Necessary for Twitch or Mixer

Twitch has exploded in popularity in recent years due to streamers like Ninja, Dr. Disrespect, and Shroud bringing the platform into the spotlight.

But, you don’t have to have millions of followers (or thousands of dollars in equipment) in order to start streaming your own gaming sessions. However, there are some bare necessities that you’ll need in order to provide a quality experience for your viewers.

Not sure where to start? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.

Let’s take a look at everything you need to know about what video game streaming equipment you need.

A High-Quality Microphone

A built-in microphone on a laptop or external webcam isn’t going to cut it if you want to achieve a professional level of quality while streaming. Instead, you’ll need to invest in an actual microphone.

‘High-quality’ here doesn’t have to mean ‘expensive,’ though. There are plenty of affordable microphones suitable for streaming that you can connect to your computer or laptop through its USB port.

If you want top-tier quality, though, you’ll have to take an extra step past a USB connection, as studio-quality microphones require an audio interface in order to use them with your computer.

For those with an extensive setup budget, this is the best route to take if you don’t mind configuring an extra device. If not, a USB microphone will do just fine (especially in the era of your Twitch streaming).

A Pop Filter or Windscreen

Ever seen someone mount a circular, mesh-looking device in front of their microphone? This is known as a pop filter, and its function is crucial to facilitating quality recordings.

When we say words that have a ‘B’ or ‘P’ in them, the puff of air that our mouths produce causes the volume of the recording to briefly spike, resulting in a low-quality, popping sound. You may have noticed this while watching other streamers or during interviews where the speaker uses a bare microphone.

A windscreen is a foam covering you often see on microphones during news reports, and it serves a similar purpose.

While a windscreen is easier to set up (you simply slip it on over the microphone), it can cut off the higher frequencies of your voice, which may result in a slightly muffled sound while you’re speaking.

Regardless, it will prevent you from spiking the audio during your streaming sessions.

A Microphone Suspension Stand

Placing your microphone on your desk in front of you isn’t an ideal way to record your audio.

If you don’t want to continually hunch over while you speak into the mic, you’ll need to turn up the gain value (this controls how sensitive the microphone is).

While it’s great to be able to sit up straight and speak, a microphone with the gain cranked all the way up is sure to pick up plenty of white noise. These include things like AC units, passing cars, and even people’s voices in other rooms.

Additionally, a microphone with a high gain setting that picks up loud noises (like a dog barking or door slamming) can cause a drastic spike in audio that your viewers won’t appreciate.

Instead, you’ll want a microphone stand that you can mount to the side of your desk or another nearby surface. This will allow you to adjust your microphone to an ideal distance from your head while you speak.

If you prefer, you can even extend the arm of the stand over your head and mount your mic upside-down, allowing you to record without the microphone in the frame or your video recording.

Speaking of video, you’ll also need…

A Webcam

Your viewers not only want to see who you are, but they also want to see how you react to different situations while you play. It’s in your best interest to get an external webcam to record yourself, as built-in cameras are often notorious for their poor quality.

Many webcams on the market are designed with streaming in mind, allowing you to record at 30 FPS in 1080p quality. While you could take things a step further and record in 4K quality, only viewers with a monitor that can display 4K resolution will benefit from this.

So, 1080p will be just fine for your streaming sessions, as all standard displays can handle this quality.

A Capture Card

If you’re playing PC games while you stream, you won’t need this device. You’ll be able to use software to record your screen while you play so that your audience can watch.

If you plan on streaming console games, though, you’re going to need a capture card.

Luckily, there are cards you can connect to your computer’s USB port to make the process as simple as possible. From here, you can connect both your computer and your TV to the HDMI port.

This will allow you to stream your gameplay in high-quality resolution even while you’re playing a device like a Gamecube or Xbox One.

Stronger capture cards require installation in your machine, so those who want to avoid this scenario or use a laptop for streaming are better off with external capture cards.

Twitch Video Game Streaming Equipment: Final Thoughts

Since you have the potential to make money off of your Twitch streams, consider this video game streaming equipment an investment.

From here, you can focus on growing your following and providing the best experience possible for your viewers.

Want to learn more about how to grow your Twitch channel? This article has plenty of useful info.


How Do Capture Cards Work?

How Do Capture Cards Work?

To maintain FPS and stream quality, capture cards are almost always a necessity for streaming. While widely known as a product, the specifics of how capture cards work can be a mystery. While they appear to be a complicated piece of technology, these cards are actually more simple than you might think. 

Understanding how capture cards work requires a basic understanding of how video game graphics work. Games render their animation in real-time, by sending signals to the GPU which then turn those signals into the visuals you see on your screen. These real-time visuals differ from the pre-rendered files that are used for most videos. As most modern games are generally GPU intensive, your GPU can struggle to both render your game graphics and also encode them into video footage for streaming. This is where capture cards come into play.

Internal vs External Capture Cards

There are two types of capture cards, internal and external. While they have different methods of installation, the basics of how they work are largely the same. An internal capture card will be installed directly into the computer, while an external card will be connected through USB or other similar means. 

An internal card simply needs to be installed in the PC you are playing games on, and the video and audio signals will be sent directly from the card to your streaming PC for encoding. For PC’s, the internal card is installed directly onto the motherboard of the Gaming PC via one of the PCI slots. 

An external card connects to the device you are using to play games on, and the device you are going to record/stream the footage on. 

How the Card Works

The capture card works as a sort of “bridge” between whatever device you are gaming on and the computer used to upload the footage. The gaming device can range from another PC to consoles like an Xbox One or even a Switch. 

Due to the density of the data, most capture cards will end up creating a small amount of lag between the gaming device and streaming device. Better quality capture cards will reduce this lag considerably. If you’re simply saving this video file for later use, such as uploading gameplay footage to YouTube, this footage will be stored on the streaming PC.

The resulting file will likely be encoded in an H.264 format, which is the standard format used for almost all video files. If you’re going to be streaming the footage through Twitch, Mixer, or other streaming sites, the video file will be encoded and sent directly out to your viewers. 

It is important to note that the capture card does NOT do the encoding itself; that will still be done by your streaming PC. A common misconception is that capture cards will both capture and then encode the video files, which would lead to some offloading of processing from your computer to the capture card. Many consumers tend to be disappointed when a capture card does not end up lightening the processing load of their streaming PC, but this is simply not something most capture cards are capable of doing. 

Some capture cards are capable of performing some encoding, but this is typically a process for only the highest end cards. Throughout the whole transfer process, most capture cards will do little more than transmit data from one device to another. 

Not all capture cards are created equal, so it’s extremely important to do your research on top capture cards. Some capture cards aren’t able to simultaneously receive and send out data, making streaming impossible. These capture cards will still be able to store the recorded files for use onto an external drive, making them work fine for recording gameplay footage for reviews or Let’s Plays

No matter how you plan to use a capture card, it should be able to get you your footage cleanly and easily. If you’re planning on entering the world of streaming, or just want to learn more about it, understanding the mechanics of these important devices can prove invaluable.


The 5 Best Gaming Monitors

5 Best Gaming Monitors

Purchasing the best monitor in the market will make browsing, viewing and browsing much easier. After all, visuals are an essential part of user’s experience when computing. In addition, it will make the experience more immersive and more pleasant. Although some monitors are not very pocket friendly, the best monitors that we’ve included in this article are priced reasonably. Therefore, everyone will certainly the best monitors that will perfectly meet their needs in the list below. These monitors fits the needs of all users, regardless of whether they’re looking for massive screens, speed or high resolutions. We’ve thoroughly reviewed and tested this list of best monitors that are currently available in the market.

1. LG 27UK850-W

  • Resolution: 4K - 3840 x 2160
  • Size: 27 in
  • Response Time: 5ms
  • Refresh Rate: 60Hz
  • Panel Type: IPS
  • Inputs: HDMI (2x), Display Port, USB-C

Selecting the best monitor basically depends on the needs of the user. However, this LG 27UK850-W monitor meets all the needs for multipurpose display. The monitor has 4K HD Ultra resolution (3840 by 2160 pixels). This resolution will make you enjoy brilliant picture quality on the 27” screen with a functional and sleek design. 

This monitor’s IPS (in-plane switching) panel allows for viewing angles of 178 degrees, vibrant and accurate pictures. In addition, the monitor supports HDR (high dynamic range) technology. This monitor might not reach the peak color and brightness range that some enthusiasts of HDR mode look for. However, it delivers a great experience for professional video or photo editing and media watching. In addition, people searching for a monitor that will satisfy their gaming needs will not be disappointed by LG 27UK850. 

2. Acer SB220Q bi

  • Resolution: 1920 x 1080
  • Size: 21.5 in
  • Response Time: 4ms
  • Refresh Rate: 75Hz
  • Panel Type: IPS
  • Inputs: HDMI, VGA

If you are shopping for a monitor on a restricted budget, then this Acer SB220Q monitor is the best option. Although its price tag is low, this monitor has a collection of features that are packed in its frame. It has a 21.5” screen and a full HD 1080 pixels IPS panel. This IPS panel offers better overall picture quality and viewing angles than the typical TN panels within this price range. This monitor is versatile and has additional features for the gamers. The monitor has a refresh rate of 75 hertz and supports AMD FreeSync. 

Nevertheless, this monitor’s solid and sleek design does not include USB input but it has 1 VGA and 1 HDMI port. These are some of the minor concessions that keep this monitor affordable. 

3. ASUS PG27U ROG Swift

  • Resolution: 4K - 3840 x 2160
  • Size: 27 in
  • Response Time: 4ms
  • Refresh Rate: 144Hz
  • Panel Type: IPS
  • Inputs: HDMI, Display Port

This ASUS PG27U ROG Swift monitor is the best option if you’ve a gaming setup that requires a powerful monitor. The premium 27” 4K IPS monitor in this ASUS hardware line brings all the recent display technologies in 1 impressive package. Additionally, this monitor supports the DCI-P3 cinema standard color gamut that’[s wider than the normal sRGB range. It therefore produces accurate and rich colors for gaming and media work.   

Gamers will certainly want image quality along with speed while gaming. Luckily, this ROG Swift can reach up to a response rate of 144 hertz with a response time of 4ms. The G-Sync support of this monitor makes gameplay smoother for users with the compatible Nvidia graphic cards. Additionally, it keeps the gamer’s eyes comfortable during the long sessions using low blue light technology and flicker reduction. 

4. Samsung CHG90

  • Resolution:  3840 x 1080
  • Size: 49 in
  • Response Time: 1ms
  • Refresh Rate: 144Hz
  • Panel Type: QLED
  • Inputs: HDMI (2x), Display Port, Mini Display Port

The standard aspect ratio of widescreen is 16:9 whereas the normal ultra-wide monitors with a screen of 34 inches have an aspect ratio of 21:9. However, this ‘super ultra-wide’ Samsung monitor has a 49-inch screen and a 32:9 aspect ratio. That is like two 16:9 27-inch monitors combined together. The tight 1800 R curve of this screen helps viewers see edges of its large real estate in their peripheral vision. 

When it’s combined with the HDR mode, this monitor produces great picture quality and vivid colors. Additionally, this monitor markets itself as the gaming monitor. It has a response time of 1ms and a refresh rate of 144 hertz that will absolutely serve gamers perfectly.

5. AOC U3277PWQU 4K LED 32” Monitor

  • Resolution: 4K - 3840 x 2160
  • Size: 32 in
  • Response Time: 4ms
  • Refresh Rate: 60Hz
  • Panel Type: IPS
  • Inputs: HDMI, Display Port

This AOC U3277PWQU Monitor is the best option if you’re looking for a monitor that you can use to watch the movies in your computer. It has a 3840 by 2160 4K Ultra high definition screen that is 4 times the HD display resolution. This monitor includes viewing angles of 178 degrees with constant image quality across its board. In addition, this monitor has 2 3w speakers on every side for enhanced audio. 


Top Green Screens for Streaming

Top Green Screens for Streaming

If you’re looking to make your stream more professional, a green screen is a great next step. There’s a lot of options out there, and choosing the best for you really depends on the space you have for your set up.

A few main factors to consider when choosing a green screen for streaming:

  • How big of a screen do you need?
  • Does it need to be portable and easy to take down? 
  • Will the material easily wrinkle If you need to frequently put away the screen?

We’ve reviewed our top 5 choices for stream set ups below. After you’ve picked out the best fit for you, consider upgrading your lighting for streaming.

Emart Collapsible Green Screen

Emart Collapsible Green Screen

61.02 x 72.44 inch when open

3.94 x 4.72 x 61.02 inch when retracted

Light-weight and portable

Wrinkle resistant

Emart Studio Kit

102 x 120 inch screens

Comes with stand and clips

Has storage bag for components

Comes with 3 screens

Fancierstudio  Collapsible Backdrop 

Doesn’t come with a stand

Comes with 2 screens

Has a storage bag

Fotodiox Pro Collapsible Kit

60 x 84 inch

Collapsible

Comes with a stand

Dual Sided: Green on one side, blue on the other

Fancierstudio Green Screen Kit

72 x 108 inch

Adjustable stand

Has a bag to store the kit components

Doesn’t come with clips to hang the screen

1. Emart Collapsible Green Screen - Highest Rated

  • 61.02 x 72.44 inch when open
  • 3.94 x 4.72 x 61.02 inch when retracted
  • Light-weight and portable
  • Wrinkle resistant

Our highest rated green screen is the Emart Collapsible Green Screen. It’s the most portable and it’s Pro Level Chroma Key Screen makes it easy for you to remove the green background and put your own gaming video in. The wrinkle-resistant material leaves you worry free from ruining the material and can be quickly set up when it is needed and then put away just as quick. When retracted, it can also easily fit in any small space to be taken out again later.

If your set up requires you to put away your green screen in between streams, this is definitely your best option.

Pros

  • Quick and easy to set up and take down
  • Doesn’t take up much room when put up
  • Held up by a pneumatic x-frame
  • Lightweight and frame made of aluminum

Cons

  • While very convenient, the easy up /down design does make this green screen more expensive than other options

2. Emart Studio Kit

  • 102 x 120 inch screens
  • Comes with stand and clips
  • Has storage bag for components
  • Comes with 3 screens - black, white, & green

Our premium green screen set up recommendation is the Emart Studio Kit. This set comes with 3 screens of different colors and clips to hold them on to the adjustable stand. The stand is made of aluminum, making it lightweight and it comes with a durable nylon bag to hold everything in.

Pros

  • Comes with clamps, 3 screens, stand, and carry bag
  • Has an adjustable stand to fit the needs of your set up
  • Budget friendly

Cons

  • The material can wrinkle if not put away carefully
  • It will take up a lot of space when set up

3. Fancierstudio Collapsible Backdrop

  • Doesn’t come with a stand
  • Comes with 2 screens
  • Has a storage bag

The best green screen for a lower budget is be the Fotodiox Pro Collapsible Kit. While it does not come with a stand, a good stand wouldn’t run you much. We recommend pairing it with the Fovitec Stand Kit. It is 90 inches tall and capable of holding the both screens.

Pros

  • Comes with 2 screens
  • It is really good if you’re on a budget
  • Comes with a storage bag for both of the screens

Cons

  • Doesn’t come with a stand
  • The material could easily get wrinkled if put away wrong

4. Fotodiox Pro Collapsible Kit

  • 60 x 84 inch
  • Collapsible
  • Comes with a stand
  • Dual Sided: Green on one side, blue on the other

The Fotodiox Pro Collapsible Kit green screen is a 60 x 84 inch green screen. It comes with a stand and is double sided with a blue screen on the back of it. It’s a little on the expensive side and doesn’t come with a storage bag for your screen and stand to go into, but it is collapsible.

Pros

  • Double sided screen makes it where you have fewer screens to keep track of
  • The stand can go up to 7 feet tall to hold the screen
  • Collapsible screen to conserve space

Cons

  • Is on the expensive of the green screens
  • Doesn’t come with a bag to store everything if you need to put it away between streams

5. Fancierstudio Green Screen Kit

  • 72 x 108 inch
  • Adjustable stand
  • Comes with one screen
  • Has a bag to store the kit components
  • Doesn’t come with clips to hang the screen

The final screen on our comparison list is the Fancierstudio Green Screen Kit. It comes with one screen that is 72 x 108 inches and an adjustable stand that can hold it up to 9 feet tall. It doesn’t come with any clips to help hold the screen up, but it does come with a bag to store everything in.

Pros

  • Comes with clamps, 3 screens, stand, and carry bag
  • Has an adjustable stand to fit the needs of your set up
  • Budget friendly

Cons

  • The material can wrinkle if not put away carefully
  • It will take up a lot of space when set up


Largest Gaming Mouse Pads

Largest Gaming Mouse Pads

Odds are you’re looking for the final piece to complete your perfect custom gaming setup: a new large gaming mouse pad. However something so simple has quickly evolved, moving from the regular small flimsy cloth to monstrous sizes featuring wireless charging, RGB lights, and prints from the latest games. 

When it comes to your setup, smaller changes can change your entire gaming performance. Being able to quickly jerk your mouse without running off the pad is essential. To help you avoid this issue, we compiled a list of the largest gaming mouse pads we could find.

Note: If you’re looking for a mouse pad with less width, check out our reviews of the best extended gaming mouse pads.  The mouse pads reviewed below are typically the same length, but have a much larger width. 

1. Havit - Best Budget Buy

  • Surface: Non-Slip Rubber Base
  • Size: 35.43 X 15.75 inches
  • Thickness: 0.12 inches

The Havit mouse pad is large enough to contain your mouse movement when you have to do a 180 to aim at the guy shooting your back. It’s design guarantees fast movement, excellent speed and effortless control during gaming.

Its frame is designed to be more durable, made from mercerized waterproof material, so you don’t have to worry when your drink spills or other accidents. And thanks to its rubber bottom, it wouldn’t slip off when you are playing very intense games. It has a stunning matte black finish.

Pros

  • Low price
  • Water resistance
  • Surface smooth for tracking

Cons

  • Surface fades with time
  • The cloth surface is vulnerable to scratching

2. AUKEY Gaming Mouse Pad XXL - Best Overall

  • Surface: Specially textured cloth surface and stitched edge
  • Size: 35.4 X 15.75 inches
  • Thickness: 0.15 inches

The AUKEY Gaming Mouse Pad XXL is a large size mouse pad designed to keep everything in place if you make a lot of movements while gaming, this oversized pad is large enough to contain your gaming movements. 

It is designed with a rubber bottom that prevents it from slipping off. Its smooth surface helps you maintain accuracy, and make the mouse movement feel like cutting through butter with a knife. Its surface is wide enough to accommodate even your keyboard and other gaming setup.

Pros

  • Conveniently wide and soft
  • Its rubber surface helps keep your keyboard from moving during use

Cons

  • Not the most durable compared to other options. You’ll likely have to replace it sooner

3. SteelSeries QcK XXL Mouse Pad - Highest Quality

  • Surface: Smooth cloth surface
  • Size: 35.43 X 15.74 inches
  • Thickness: 0.15 inches

From one of the most well known names in the gaming mouse pad space, the QcK XXL Mouse Pad by SteelSeries offers a comparable size to the other pads reviewed. It offers the same quality and smooth surface we’ve come to expect from the QcK line.

The potential downfall of the QcK XXL is that the black material is very susceptible to stains and fading. After about a year of use, I had to replace mine because of white stains that would no longer come out and ruined the esthetics of my setup.

Pros

  • Its rubber base helps prevent slipping
  • It is smooth enough for easy mouse movement

Cons

  • Its cloth surface could get stained
  • It wraps with time

4. Glorious 3XL Extended Gaming - Editor's Choice

  • Surface: Cloth surface and stitched edge
  • Size: 48 X 24 inches
  • Thickness: 0.12 inches

The Glorious 3XL prides itself as the world’s largest mouse pad.

The smooth cloth surface makes control easier and enhances the speed of your mouse movement. The stitched edge is designed to guide the mouse pad from fraying and also improve its overall beauty and durability.

Pros

  • It has an even surface 
  • Stitched edges make it more durable
  • It has an awesome look
  • It is extremely large enough to contain all your peripherals

Cons

  • Difficult to clean

5. Corsair MM350 - Premium Option

  • Surface: Micro Woven Cloth
  • Size: 36.6 X 15.7 inches
  • Thickness: 0.2 inches

If you play with Powers DPI and sensitivity settings, you certainly need a large mouse pad to contain the massive mouse movement. The Corsair MM350 is large enough to do the job; it is the size of an average desk and can contain both your keyboard and mouse comfortably.

The Corsair MM350 is a premium cloth surface, mouse pad with a rubber bottom to prevent slipping and stitched edges to prevent fraying.

Pros

  • It’s affordable despite premium construction
  • Very large – 2nd largest on our list
  • Thickest option

Cons

  • Color / patterns will fade over time
  • Known chemical smell that takes a few weeks to wear off

If you are looking for a mouse pad, there are three things you should put into consideration; size, design and surface quality. If you’re looking for maximum surface area, then the Glorious 3XL Extended Gaming is your ideal gaming mouse pad. But if you want a mouse pad that has more to its’ esthetics than a plain black mat, consider the Corsair MM350. For optimal surface quality & durability, the SteelSeries QcK XXL Mouse Pad is your best bet.


Best Custom PC Cables For Your Next Build

Best Custom PC Cables For Your Next Build

If you’ve ever seen a PC without proper cable management, you know how it can turn a beautiful custom build into a rat nest. That brand new 2080 hidden beneath a jungle of thick wires is a damn shame.  That’s why we believe it’s essential to invest in a cable kit when you’re building your next PC. Your PC will look better, be easier to clean (we know you’ve been putting it off), and your shiny new RGB components in your glass case will thank you for it later.

Asiahorse Cable Kit
Asiahorse Cable Kit
Asiahorse Cable Kit
Antec
CableMod
Asiahorse
Editor's Choice
Premium Option
Budget Option

1. Antec

  • Highest Rated
  • Best Warranty: 3 Years
  • Cables tend to run stiffer than other brands

For those who’ve never used a cable kit mod before, Antec is a great place to start. Currently one of the highest rated cable kit companies on the market, it’s easy to understand the hype behind Antec’s cable products. Antec cable kits feature cables made from quality materials with premium PET sleeves, a choice between 300mm or 500mm cable length, and solid 16AWG cables. There’s no denying that Antec is a company that has spent the time and resources to make a terrific product. On top of offering a quality cable kit, Antec backs their products with a generous three-year warranty, something I’ve yet to find in other companies selling comparable cable kits.

Regarding aesthetics, Antec offers the same clean design featured in many of their other PC components. While only offering a modest number of color options, the color schemes available cover a wide range to fit any build or RGB setup, with sharp vibrant cables and classic all black or white options.

In respect to compatibility with PSUs, each Antec cable kit will include a set of standardized cable sizes necessary for most standard builds, including a 24-pin ATX cable, two 8-pin and two 6-pin PCI-E cables, a 4x4pin ESP, and matching-colored cable combs for easy installment.

If you are unsure whether their cable kit will be compatible with your PSU, make sure to double-check before purchasing a kit. Given that Antec is one of the few companies selling quality cable kits for most builds, they’ve made it a point to offer true first-class support for their products. They actively advertise that should you have any specific questions regarding the compatibility of their cable kits, you shouldn’t hesitate to contact them through their support site.

2. CableMod

  • Premium Option
  • Easiest to find the perfect cable kit
  • Biggest Color Selection
  • Shorter Warranty
  • Most Expensive

When it comes to cable kits, CableMod sets the gold standard for cable management. Offering premium, easy to install cable kits with almost limitless customization, CableMod has really cornered the market in terms of deluxe cable kits. It’s clear the cables from CableMod were built to last, with a modern, sleek design made from quality materials and top-tier aesthetics. 

To start, CableMod kits come fully equipped with a staggering number of innovative features that just haven’t been matched by their competitors. One of the most notable features is that CableMod offers cable kits which are meant to be complete replacements for the existing cables in your build. In other words, rather than just selling cable extensions that hook into the cables connected to your PSU, CableMod is able to “cut out the middle man” by offering their own unique cables which connect directly to your build’s PSU. This cuts down on the excess & unused cable length that can buildup when using cable kits which only come as extensions to your build’s existing cables. 

Since one of the main selling points of cable kits is to offer a cleaner more organized aesthetic inside your build’s case, we’re surprised that complete cable replacement kits haven’t become an industry standard for companies selling cable kits.

Another feature unique to CableMod kits is their trademarked “ModFlex Sleeving”, a special sleeving which is softer than normal nylon sleeving and thinning than traditional cloth braiding. If you’ve ever experienced trying to connect inflexible cables around a motherboard or other components in a cramped case, you’ll know it’s an exercise in futility. Thankfully, the Modflex cables are flexible, twistable, and bendable, a godsend when working with limited space in a fully decked-out case. For those looking for a stiffer cable, they also offer a line of cables using “ModMesh” which provides more rigid support for the cables. The ModMesh also offers a more vibrant color for anyone looking to really maximize their build’s color setup.

Continuing on with aesthetics, CableMod offers the most customization in regards to color compared to other brands. With over 30 colors to choose from, including dual-color options and a number of RGB light strip accessories, you can pick the perfect cables to fit your build’s color scheme. And since all of CableMod’s products come in their trademarked sleeving, they’re 100% heat-shrink free, a material used in many cable kits which covers the internal wiring with a rubber-like material (think boring matte black). 

Finally, in terms of compatibility, the team over at CableMod has really gone out of their way to ensure they have a cable kit for every major power supply brand. EVGA? They’ve got you. Corsair? No Problem. The same goes for SeaSonic, ASUS, XFX, and a number of smaller brands. If you’re not sure about which cable kit to buy, CableMod has listed their entire catalog of cable kits on their site along with the respective matching power supply. (Don’t be an idiot like us and buy the wrong cable kit from Amazon. I’m not kidding, I didn’t realize until I went to build my new rig.) 

3. Asiahorse

  • Cheapest option on market
  • Big Beefy 18AWG cables for maximum durability
  • No support options on their website
  • No warranty offered on kits
  • Limtited Color Options

The last entry on our list, Asiahorse offers solid cable kits at a great value, perfect for anyone making their first build. While lacking some of the customization options offered by their competitor’s, Asiahorse offers all the cable kit essentials you’ll need for your next build at a budget-friendly price point. 

With a basic no-frills aesthetic you’d expect from the least expensive entry on our list, there’s not much to say about Asiahorse concerning looks. A few color options with standard braided cables terminating with all-black combs. In this case, Asiahorse’s cable kits may be your best option if you already know your case will be opaque or will lack a clear view of the inside. 

For anyone indifferent about aesthetics or hesitant to invest into a more expensive cable kit, Asiahorse cables kits are a safe bet offering all the functionality you’ll need from a cable kit. 

While they may not be the flashiest products on the market, we were pleasantly surprised by the quality of the Asiahorse cable kits. With durable triple-weave 18AWG cables at a length of 300mm and enough flexibility to maneuver around the bulkier components like the motherboard or GPU, Asiahorse’s cable kits strike a nice balance between performance and price. Note however that they do not offer a 500mm size, so anyone building a full size PC could run into cable length issues. Each kit includes the standard cable setup, with a 24-pin ATX cable, two 8-pin and two 6-pin PCI-E cables, and a 4x4pin ESP cable. 

Unfortunately, since Asiahorse is a company based outside of the US, they don’t have a site offering support for their products. This means if you have any questions about your build’s compatibility with Asiahorse cable kits, you won’t have any means to get in touch with their support team. We also couldn’t find any information on a warranty for their cable kits, something we don’t foresee being a problem but is worth pointing out.

Whether purchasing a new build or updating an existing one, we love the organization cable kits provide. With companies like CableMod offering cable kits with a variety of color options and a streamlined approach to cable management, they’re the perfect addition to anyone looking to make the perfect build. 


Best Extended Mouse Pads

Best Extended Mouse Pads

We’ve all experienced it the anger of missing the AWP shot and dying in CSGO because your mouse ran off the pad when you were doing a 180. Let’s be honest, there’s nothing more infuriating.

Making the move to an extended mouse pad makes gaming more comfortable since there is enough space for you to move the mouse freely without restrictions to your gameplay. Depending on the style you choose, it also makes your battle station look even better.

When deciding on a new extended mouse pad, you should consider the following options:

  • Surface: Is the surface hard or soft? Is it stain resistant or will dirt eventually prevent the mouse from gliding?
  • Quality: If cloth, will the edges become frayed with use?
  • Comfort: How thick and large is the mousepad?
  • Features: Do you care about visual features like RGB lights? Is the bottom of the pad a non-stick material?

To make this transition easier for you, we’ve compiled our favorite mouse pads and have highlighted these features for you.

1. HyperX Fury S (X-Large) - Premium Option

  • Surface: Cloth, stitched anti-fray edges
  • Size: 35.43 X 16.53 inches
  • Thickness: 0.15 inches

The X-Large HyperX FURY S offers gamers a stable mouse surface; it is designed to ensure consistent glide and keep the mouse in check during rigorous gaming. The entire surface is in uniform, helping the mouse move fluidly and optimizes for speed. Its soft densely woven cloth surface gives the wrist comfort, and offers the second largest surface area of the mouse pads tested.

While more expensive, it’s thicker than the average pad which will reduce wrist strain during long gaming sessions.

Pros

  • Can be rolled up without damaging the pad
  • Surface optimized for speed
  • Rubber textured underside

Cons

  • It can wrap or wrinkle with time

2. LUXCOMS Large RGB Mouse Pad

  • Surface: Cloth
  • Size: 31.5 X 11.8 inches
  • Thickness: ~0.16 inches

If you’re an RGB everything gamer – the LUXCOMS RGB Mouse Pad is for you. It’s designed with a rubber bottom; this will make sure it sticks firmly wherever you place it when you are gaming the mouse will not slip off the desk. And its smooth surface will give you accuracy and make your gaming experience stress free.

Pros

  • Conveniently wide and soft
  • Its rubber surface helps keep everything in place
  • Customization through pre-set RGB colors
  • Can be rolled up – even with RGB lights

Cons

  • Not the most durable compared to other options. You’ll likely have to replace it sooner
  • Customization is limited since RGB colors are preset – only 9 modes available (7 static, 2 color-changing)

3. Razer Goliathus Extended Chroma

  • Surface: Micro-textured cloth surface
  • Size: 36.2 X 11.6 inches
  • Thickness: 0.1 inches

The Razer Goliathus Extended Chroma is another masterpiece from the Razer gods (we’re big Razer fans here). The Razer Goliathus offers more than just size; it illuminates a full spectrum of colors while gaming and personal effect. The soft texture surface guarantees you a perfect mouse control and a balanced movement.

This mouse pad helps you achieve responsive tracking thanks to its ability to integrate with your gaming mouse laser and optical sensors.

Pros

  • Comes with RGB lighting
  • Its surface enhances speed and control
  • Its rubber bottom prevents pad movement

Cons

  • Top to bottom length is shorter than most extended mouse pads

4. VicTsing Extended Gaming Mouse Pad

  • Surface: Water resistant cloth with durable stitched edges
  • Size: 31.5 X 15.75 inches
  • Thickness: 0.1 inches

The VicTsing Extended Gaming Mouse Pad is a large extended mouse pad that is designed for comfort and easy control while playing. It is made from very durable materials and it is water resistant; if your drink spills on the pad, you can quickly wipe it off without the water soaking much into the pad. The rubber bottom makes the pad firm on the desk, so you shouldn’t be scared of your mouse or keyboard moving during any of your rage fits.

Pros

  • Can be rolled up without damaging the pad
  • Surface optimized for speed
  • Rubber textured underside

Cons

  • The black surface will fade with time

5. AmazonBasics Extended Gaming Mouse Pad

  • Surface: Cloth
  • Size: 35.7 X 16.7 inches
  • Thickness: 0.1 inches

The AmazonBasics Extended Gaming Mouse Pad is the largest pad on our list, but is also tied for the thinnest. It’s exactly what you’d expect for an AmazonBasics product: one of the cheapest options and perfectly adequate for your gaming needs. If you’re looking for surface area without any bells or whistles, this pad is the one for you.

Pros

  • Stitched edges
  • Environmentally friendly construction
  • Smooth mouse control by surface design

Cons

  • Cloth surface is known to be easily stained