The Best Hardware for Streaming While Gaming2018.04.17 6:00 PM
- Steaming while gaming is more popular than it has ever been before
- The CPU and graphics card are still the most important components to consider when streaming while playing
- ZOTAC has solutions to consider if you're looking into upgrading or beginning your own streaming setup
Live streaming a PC game isn’t necessarily the new thing, but it is massively popular now. In recent years, live streaming a PC game, while actually playing it in real-time in front of hundreds and even thousands of people at any given time, has become extremely popular among PC gaming fans. Mix in a fun personality with hilarious commentary and you’ve got yourself some entertaining entertainment! Popular streaming platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, and of course Twitch are getting in on this new popular media. Although PC hardware and streaming continues to improve, what graphics card and CPU you choose remains as the most important components in a streaming system.
A more modern game, streamed at a higher resolution, with maxed out visual settings will be more taxing and of course, require more performance out of your system's components. Most games will utilize the rendering power of a discrete graphics cards. However, the ability to stream while playing is also heavily reliant on a system's CPU. The faster the CPU, the more cores it offers, in addition to cache, the better the streaming performance will be for you and your viewers.
Today, popular games such as League of Legends, Overwatch, Hearthstone, PUBG, and Fortnite dominate PC game streams, but other popular titles such as CS:GO, Starcraft II, and Rocket League are also popular and don’t require as much heft compared to those other titles. The decision to choose a fully built system or a particular component should rely heavily on which game you want to commit to streaming while playing.
ZOTAC provides a few solutions that are up to the task and are pretty much ready to go out of the box. If you are looking to start your own stream, but don't really have the time or skillset to build your own system, consider the following products:
A part of ZOTAC GAMING, the MEK1 is the first product offering in a new lineup of extremely capable gaming systems. RGB lighting runs along the entire front and upper/lower sides, further enhancing the overall thin design of the MEK1's ITX build. Inside is a ZOTAC GeForce GTX 1070 Ti graphics card and a 4 core (8 when considering Hyper-Threading) Intel Core i7 CPU that can boost itself up to 4.2 GHz, when the situation calls for more processor performance. A top tier CPU married with the performance of the ZOTAC GeForce GTX 1070 Ti promises to deliver very good streaming capabilities while you play at close to maximum visual settings. You can check out the full specifications here. If you’re still not sure what exactly eSports is and why it’s so popular, give one of our previous articles a read through to better understand the phenomenon: What Are eSports?
The MEK1 is so capable, it has been selected as the official gaming system for the ZOTAC CUP Masters CS:GO 2018 eSports Tournament, where players from all over the globe will face off in an intense gaming competition. For more information about the ZOTAC CUP Masters, including the live stream, visit here.
The MAGNUS EK71080
If size is a concern or you want something a bit more discrete, the MAGNUS EK71080 is jammed packed with even more performance. Featuring a discrete desktop graphics card, the EK71080 offers a ZOTAC GeForce GTX 1080 Mini graphics card coupled with an Intel Core i7 CPU that is capable of boosting itself to 3.8 GHz. It too has 4 cores (8 total when also considering Hyper-Threading) and although slightly slower than the MEK1's CPU frequency, the EK71080 more than makes up for it with its powerful and discrete ZOTAC GeForce GTX 1080 graphics card. With the EK70180, streaming while gaming is a great experience for both you and your viewers. View the full specs here.
If you already have a CPU you prefer and are looking to build or upgrade an existing streaming system, the following ZOTAC graphic cards are sure to provide maximum performance for you and all of your viewers:
The ZOTAC GeForce GTX 1080 Ti and 1080 Series
The ZOTAC GeForce GTX 1080 Ti and ZOTAC GeForce GTX 1080 series features a wide range of different models. Both series provide a Mini variant as well as AMP! Extreme and AMP! Edition tiers. Both series also have Articstorm versions of their own, if watercooling is your thing. These two beastly series of graphics cards provide several CUDA cores with the GeForce GTX 1080 series providing 2,560 cores and the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti providing 3,584 core. Both cards provide more than enough memory with 8GBs going to the GeForce GTX 1080 and 11GBs for the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti. Both cards are also able to boost themselves well beyond 1600 MHz. These series of GPUs are more than capable of providing maximum graphics settings while streaming at higher resolutions. Match these graphics cards with a beefy multi-core CPU and streaming while playing should be a buttery smooth experience for everyone. These graphics cards are the best of the best for a reason. View the full specs of the 1080 Ti series here and the 1080 series here.
The ZOTAC GeForce GTX 1070 Ti and 1070 Series
If you can’t quite stomach the cost of a top tier graphics card, the ZOTAC GeForce GTX 1070 Ti and ZOTAC GeForce GTX 1070 graphics cards are worth considering. Feel free to max out your visuals settings, but bring down the resolution a bit. The 1080 resolution still remains a sweet spot and these graphic cards do very well with it. Also featuring Mini, AMP! Extreme, and AMP! Edition variants, the 1070 Ti series provides 2,432 CUDA cores with the 1070 series providing 1,920 cores. Both have 8 GBs of memory and both provide boosts beyond 1600 MHz. These are excellent graphics cards to consider if you’re looking to maintain a tight budget. For full specs, visit the 1070 Ti series here and the 1070 series here.
Although they didn’t make it into the top picks, the following ZOTAC products provide enough performance for 1080 resolution streaming with game settings set from medium-high (depending on the game, of course). The MAGNUS EN1080K and EN1070K are more than up for the task of both streaming while playing. The EN1080K features an Intel Kaby Lake Core i7 with 4 physical cores and 4 Hyper-threading cores, along with the ability to boost itself up to 4.2 GHz. Coupled with a ZOTAC GeForce GTX 1080, the MAGNUS EN1080K can hold its own against the demands of gaming while streaming, especially with older PC game titles. Similarly, the MAGNUS EN1070K features a ZOTAC GeForce GTX 1070 coupled with an Intel Core i5 (4 physical cores, but no hyper-threading) and is at the entry-level of PC game streaming. View the full specifications for the EN1080K here and the EN1070K here.
If a component is what you’re looking for, the ZOTAC GeForce GTX 1060 AMP! Edition can get you going without breaking the bank. Its compact design will fit in most cases, it provides enough performance to handle moderate visual settings at the comfortable 1080 resolution, and its AMP! Edition product title means it’s built to perform beyond the average GeForce GTX 1060. Full specs on this might but tiny card can be viewed here.
Since this article was all about PC gaming while streaming, remember to check out the ZOTAC CUP Masters CS:GO 2018 eSports tournament. This major global event, featuring a $300,000 USD prize pool, will be streamed live in front of thousands of viewers. Watch the stream here.