Anyone can start streaming these days, but to be a proper streamer you first need to invest in the right hardware. Your broadcast quality plays a huge role in first impressions, and it’s only basic that the stream looks and plays right for both you and your audience. Here’s a look at all the necessary components.
One of the most important pieces needed for a PC is a CPU, and a good CPU is required to run games while recording and processing video and audio.
A good multi-core CPU is more important to a streamer than a regular gamer. With so many high-intensity programs like the game, the streaming software and even the video and audio encoding running simultaneously, a streamer needs a robust chip that can handle this large volume of processing concurrently.
Therefore, multi-core chips with high clock speeds are preferable for a streaming set-up. Choose one that is within your budget, but we wouldn’t recommend skimming on a CPU. The latest Intel Core i9-9900K is definitely a top of the line processor that is a great fit for both gaming and content creators alike. Other options are available such as the rest of the new Intel 9th generation processors or AMD's higher tier Ryzen 7 and Ryzen 5 processors.
With so many programs running when live-streaming a game, it is only natural that you would need a healthy amount of RAM. If you run out of RAM, it can cause the PC to slow down notably as it starts relying on your storage drive, which is usually several magnitudes slower in access than RAM. This is particularly bad when streaming as it causes stutter and ruins stream quality (and experience).
Therefore it is recommended to have a minimum of 16GB DDR4 RAM. You can opt for a 32GB RAM if you want absolutely no slowdowns or plan on streaming higher-end games but for Fortnite, 16GB is plenty.
Now that we have the RAM sorted out, we need to think about storage. If you hadn’t already noticed, the theme for hardware is all about speed and avoiding slowdowns during a stream.
The type of storage you choose is important because having a fast read/write speed translates to better quality and a smoother experience. Having important programs stored on the SSD will help reduce load and startup times for your games while also ensuring your streaming software encodes the video without stutters. Due to the limited capacity of a typical SSD, you will probably have to pair it with a more capacious HDD for a balanced storage ecosystem.
Our recommendation would be to have your OS, key games and streaming software stored on an SSD while having the recordings (if any) stored on a fast HDD. A PCle-based SSD is also preferable over a SATA-based SSD due to their vastly superior transfer speeds.
For SSDs, we would recommend the ADATA XPG SX8200 480GB if cost is a key factor. But if top-drawer performance is what you seek, look out for Samsung's 970 Pro or 970 SSDs. As for HDDs, you can’t go wrong with a Seagate or WD hard drive. 2TB is usually more than enough storage even if you are saving your streams locally, but if you intend to do some intensive editing, than 4TB would be a safer bet.
Lastly, we have the graphics card. Although GPUs do not directly affect the streaming quality, having a low-end GPU means you have to play on lower settings for a smooth experience. What's captured on-screen wil, therefore, be of a lower quality.
This isn't so much of a concern if you are planning to stream games with low graphical requirements like FTL (Faster Than Light). For Fortnite, it is still recommended to have at least a mid-range GPU. If you are on a budget, an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060. If not, an NVIDIA GTX 1070 or higher would be the better investment to anticipate changing tastes and growing game requirements.