Using a streaming PC (and NDI)

2pc vs 1pc setup

Pros

Cons

2pc setup with NDI

With one Ethernet port on both; each line is an Ethernet cable:

    Router
    /    \
Gaming Streaming

With two Ethernet ports on the gaming PC:

Router - Gaming - Streaming

Remember that you can always just buy another Ethernet port over PCI-e instead of getting a motherboard with two ports.

Requirements

CPU

Your CPU must support instructions for

Your gaming CPU will also be put to work slightly when you send your output via OBS on your gaming PC to OBS on your streaming PC.

Networking
Settings

Caveats

I see a lot of people have issues with NDI for whatever reason. I’d advise against buying a streaming PC for the purpose of NDI streaming since there’s a risk it might not work for inexplicable reasons.

A recurring problem I see is people who “don’t have true 60 FPS”. Make sure this is a resolved problem by the time you give NDI a shot.

Potential fixes suggested in the link include:

And of course, since you’re doing local encoding, games and video can bottleneck OBS which uses your GPU to render scenes, yes, even when you encode using your CPU. GPU hogs like Apex Legends are a pain to stream and need to be FPS-capped.

We all know what it’s like to have issues with free software we depend on for streaming with OBS Studio, but with NDI, there’s the additional aspect of hardware-specific issues.

Keep in mind that NDI means that encoding happens on the gaming PC, too, which means you can bottleneck OBS.

NDI vs non-NDI setup

Pros
Cons

Videos

Virtual audio over Ethernet

While your at it, you can also cut out a lot of audio hassle with mixers and whatnot by sending your audio to your streaming PC over Ethernet using VBAN. Here’s a quick how-to video:

Official Twitch guide

Check out Twitch’s official two-PC broadcasting guide, too.

Form factors

In order of size:

NUC

Intel’s Hades Canyon:

NUCs aren’t cases but complete computer builds except your have to get the RAM yourself. One obvious reason the DDR4-2400 RAM don’t come with the NUC is that DDR4 prices are all over the place right now.

NUC are an all-in-one solution, which greatly simplifies buying and setting up the computer. The downside is of course that you can’t upgrade and customize them.

SFF/Mini ITX

Console form factor

Mini ITX covers many sizes, but I am partial to those with a console form factor such as Fractal’s Node 202 (w/ PSU):

Cube form factor

Other mini ATX designs are cube-like; most are designed as small desktop PCs rather than something with portability.

Corsair’s Carbide Air 240 and Graphite 380T series do a great job of catering to this crowd.

  1. Gamers Nexusreview of the Elgato 4K60 Pro is a must-watch. The thermals are a serious issue that need to be handled either by you or Elgato themselves. ↩︎ ↩︎2