Using a streaming PC (and NDI)
- 2pc vs 1pc setup
- 2pc setup with NDI
- Virtual audio over Ethernet
- Official Twitch guide
- Form factors
SPC: Streaming PC
GPC: Gaming PC
2pc vs 1pc setup
- Optimal gaming performance
- Uncapped FPS
- Optimal streaming quality and stability
- Using a VPN is much easier
- SPC can use it always to protect against IP leaks
- GPC can turn it on and off for each use case
- GPC can reboot and crash without ending the stream
- Without NDI (see below), you have to route GPC output through a capture card1 and use an audio mixer
- Requires elaborate wiring and audio setup
- Audio over Ethernet (see below) can address some of these issues
- Requires full monitor capture of GPC
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.
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.
- Gigabit Ethernet
- Proper cable
- gaming PC
- original resolution (eg 1080p)
- high bitrate (eg 50,000)
- maybe faster preset
- streaming PC
- downscale resolution (eg 720p)
- max bitrate (eg 6,000)
- default/slower preset
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:
But unchecked the option on both and my FPS was good again. It was the Multi-Adapter compatibility option. Apparently this option copies every frame to memory and helps eliminate tearing I believe. But in my case where I am only using 1 GPU, was causing my fps to be locked at a low level even though twitch video stats showed my stream at 60fps.
- Using game capture—not display capture
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
- Less complicated: handle audio without a mixer and cable spaghetti
- Less expensive: mixer and capture card1 not needed
- Less revealing: full monitor capture of your GPC not needed
- Encoding happens on both PCs; games and video can bottleneck OBS
- NDI is still new with plenty of teething issues
- Debugging streams and OBS is a lot harder
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.
In order of size:
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.
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.