One PC Setups
On the next pages you can find different setups using just a single PC to stream and/or record your games, which you play on that same PC:
- Simple/Default One PC Setup
- One PC Setup – using a Capture Card (with or without passthrough)
After reading those Guides, check out how to find your perfect bitrate, what encoding means and how you decide which software is the best to use.
Simple/Default One PC Setup
Depending on your game the CPU and GPU need to be very powerful to stream and play at the same time. You could think of a second Monitor to keep contact with your viewers in chat and answer their questions. Tablet, Laptop, Smartphone all could be used for the same purpose. But now lets start a bit more basic.
To play and stream you need a streaming software that is capable of doing a Screencapture of your System while playing. There are virtual camera solutions available and software like dxTory that offer many streaming programs a connection to do so. FFSplit/OBS/XSplit/Wirecast and similar appilications either offer you the ability to use dxtory or offer their own game/monitor capture modules.
You can also use a Capture Card in a one PC setup. Cards like the Live Gamer HD offer abilities to encode the generated Video to remove all load off your CPU. This is ofcourse a viable option for High Quality Recordings, though for streaming purposes most tests showed the need of higher bitrates using the hardware encoder. This means you need a higher upload and your viewers a higher download speed to view your stream at a decent quality compared to the widely used CPU encoding. Capture Cards can be useful if your program or game resists normal capture methods or if you want to capture a console or if you want do high quality recordings. For streaming, currently CPU encoding is the way to go.
I would always recommend testing with a free version of your favourite Streaming program if your CPU is powerful enough to encode and play your games at the same time. Encoding is very intensive, but there are alot of guides available that will give you more info on this topic. So just check the other sections.
To in or exclude audio sources you have a lot of options, check our Audio Guides to learn more. And you always have the option to keep your current system when upgrading the next time and build a 2pc setup.
One PC Setup, using a Capture Card (with or without passthrough)
In most cases a Capture Card will not help your performance! But games can be hard to capture or, in some cases, you might wanna use the hardware encoder of the capture card to do the encoding. (Which is not recommended for streaming, its good for high quality recordings to your harddisk) The onboard encoders are mostly inferior to the normally used CPU encoding, so be sure you to try CPU encoding before buying a capture card. And even then, think about upgrading your system.
So, no matter which is your case, you have to decide on which capture card you want to get and if it should offer you a passthrough option or not. Now “passthrough” just means, it offers you to directly connect a monitor to the capture card that gets a 1:1 copy of the capture cards input. With this option you could for example directly connect your HDMI cable coming from your graphics card to the capture card, and use a second cable to connect to your monitor from the capture card. Without passthrough you have to use one of your graphic cards outputs or a splitter, so either be sure you have a free connector that is useable and fits to the inputs of your capture card or check this guide.
One thing we do not have to worry about is the Audio part in this case. As you are using the software on the same pc you are working with, it should be able to capture all sounds you want.
Last but not least, make sure the CaptureCard you are going to get is fully supported by the software you are planning to use. There is nothing worse than spending a lot of money on useless crap. Now if you are looking to stream console Input you might wanna check the following guides:
- Console Streaming Setup
- Which Capture Card should I get? And do I need one?
- What kind of Video Splitter should I get?
Finding the right settings to stream is a question of many factors. So everyone has to find out his or her best setup.