To stream live content, you need a seriously powerful streaming PC or laptop with a few specific strengths. But how do we define powerful? Well, this depends on the content you are streaming.
Multitasking – that’s what a PC does while streaming. And to do that, your PC will need RAM, a lot of RAM.
Each application has a different RAM requirement for optimum performance. When you are streaming, your PC is performing multiple tasks simultaneously in perfect sync such as –
- Processing and rendering the game
- Recording and distributing the game display
- Maintaining other apps/processes to keep the above two in perfect sync
So, without ample RAM, you can forget about streaming from your PC.
Laptops are even more challenging to use for streaming. While most custom-built PCs have multiple slots for adding extra RAM sticks, laptops generally have only one slot for upgrading. Hence, it is vital to plan early on and get a laptop that is best suited for streaming.
Video Streaming: How much RAM do You Need?
Video streaming is possible either by using a dedicated application or using inbuilt features for live streaming available with social media websites. Streaming with social media platforms generally works through their software system allowing you little or no control over the quality and contrast of your video. Such streaming can be possible with an entry-level device having a minimum of 4 GB RAM.
If you are using a capture card to record video from a device and stream on a different device, you will require at least 8 GB of RAM if your PC is hardware encoded to process your live videos and stream them online.
But if your PC is not hardware-encoded, the requirement for RAM rises significantly, and you won’t be able to get decent performance with anything less than 16 GB.
Game Streaming: How much RAM do You Need?
For live streaming games, the requirement for RAM will depend upon the display settings, in-game requirement, and third-party software. We recommend installing 16 GB of total RAM in the combination of 1+1, meaning 2 RAM sticks of 8 GB each. Doing so, you increase the maximum bandwidth of your RAM, providing optimum performance.
Some sources claim 32 GB offers better performance than using 16 GB, but as per our review, there was very little to no difference in performance while using 16GB and 32 GB RAM.
RAM Specifications: How to Best Upgrade RAM for Streaming?
When purchasing RAM for your PC, you must understand the key factors that can make a significant difference. When upgrading your RAM or purchasing new RAM, it is important to note your motherboard’s capability.
Your motherboard will have the specifications of either DDR3 or DDR4 unless you have a really old computer system. If you have a DDR4 motherboard, you can install a RAM of up to 3200 MHz.
- DDR3 – Supports 1066 -1600 MHz of RAM
- DDR4 – Supports 2133 – 3200 MHz of RAM
A 2600 MHz RAM will have 23% lesser clock speed as compared to a 3200 MHz RAM, equivalent to lower performance. As such, you should always go for the highest frequency in your budget. There are several additional features when comparing RAM, which may include a custom heat sink design or RGB design, but the actual performance depends upon its peak capability.
RAM or Processor, which one is more dominant.
Other Hardware to Consider for Streaming
1. Capture Card
It allows you to capture content from another device and stream it on your current device. If you want to stream games from another PC or from a console, a capture card will help you transfer the audio and video to your streaming PC. A capture card works without interfering with your PC’s performance. There is a large variety of capture cards available in the market varying across output qualities and connectivity options.
You can use an external capture card with HDMI support. It will easily record and stream HD content. Pro users use high-end cards such as the Elgato 4K60 Pro. You will need a beast of a computer to best utilize the Elgato though!
For streaming, we recommend using dual displays. Alternatively, you can use a single display for streaming content. But then, you will have to run the broadcasting software and the game or other digital content on the same display, a difficult proposition. If the splitting screen doesn’t work for you, go for dual displays.
Your microphone is just as important as your camera. While viewers will accept low res videos, the below-par audio quality will make your stream a dud. Depending upon your streaming setup, you would need a microphone. You can even use an off-camera microphone.
Most streamers use a USB connected microphone and there is a large variety of microphones built specifically for live streams.
4. Broadcasting Applications
There are a large number of broadcast applications available online. All of these come with a free version, which will help you get started with streaming such as OBS Studio, X Splits, and StreamLabs. There are a lot of other broadcasting applications available in 2020. To learn about more applications, click here.
How much RAM does OBS use?
Open Broadcast Software is a free to use software for streaming and recording. It is recommended to have at least 4GB of RAM, when combining this with streaming go for 8 GB or 16 GB dual channels RAMS.
Does graphics card affect streaming?
Graphics card does not affect streaming quality directly. With a powerful graphics card, you can increase the graphics quality and resolution in-game that will naturally show up when you stream. Better quality and resolution can help you gather a larger audience too.
How much RAM does XSplit use?
It is recommended to have at least 8 GB to optimally use XSplit. In comparison to OBS, XSplit does offer a higher video quality other than x264/x265 codecs for YouTube uploads as well. Quite naturally, it needs at least 8 GB RAM to run smoothly considering that you are gaming live as well.
If you have around 16 GB worth of RAM plugged into your PC motherboard, you can stream, and game all you want. Any less and you may just see that bit of lag. Or, you may be forced to dial down on the graphics quality while managing the in-game fps. There is no point in streaming excellent graphics at 30 FPS.