Streaming live gameplay on websites like Twitch has become a popular way to share the experience of gaming, and for some a way to make money from their passion as well. YouTube has also started a streaming service, and sites like Livestream and Ustream offer similar capabilities but are aimed more at customers and use cases outside of gaming. Live streaming of a video feed or capturing what is displayed on a computer desktop is a lot less demanding than gaming, so this PC focuses on the needs of enthusiast and professional gamers. Everything about this PC is applicable to other types of streaming as well, though.
Software based streaming is the most basic type of streaming, which uses programs like Open Broadcaster Software or XSplit that depend on the CPU to handle the process of capturing video game content and encoding (compressing) it on the fly. Modern multi-core processors handle that pretty well, and most Intel Core series processors will only use 5-20% of the CPU’s time to do that capture and encoding. If your games don’t need the CPU’s full attention to provide good performance this can be a fine approach to streaming, and software of this kind also supports a lot of options for mixing in a webcam, additional audio sources, and more.
Modern graphics processing units (GPUs) have dedicated video encoding/decoding hardware built-in, which is usually not operating when games are being played. NVIDIA has taken advantage of this to provide hardware-accelerated game capture – either recording or streaming, but not both at the same time. They call this technology Nvidia ShadowPlay, and it is available for free on GeForce series video cards as part of the GeForce Experience software package. ShadowPlay is easy to set up but the features and configuration options are more limited than robust software programs like OBS. Including a webcam feed or microphone input is easily done, but that is about all: no options for overlays, streaming is limited to Twitch only, etc. It is a great way to get started with streaming, though, since it doesn’t cost anything (at least for gamers using GeForce cards) and has almost no impact on CPU usage or game performance.
The MonsterLabo First is the best performing fanless heatsink-case pc, able to cool a wide variety of processors and graphics cards. The case measures 8.1×8.5×17.0 inches (LxWxH). The First is built around a large heatsink that absorbs heat from the processor and graphics card through 12 heatpipes. It is compatible with Mini-ITX motherboards, processors with TDPs of up to 95W, and graphics cards with up to 160W. There is space for up to 3 2.5″ storage drives. The case has a headphone jack, microphone jack, 2 USB 3.0 ports, and a power on/off button on its top side. It is compatible with internal or external power supplies.
MonsterLabo took on the challenge of designing a high-performance cooling solution, in a small form factor chassis, compatible with standard electronic components. So The First was born, a compact chassis with a unique and fanless integrated cooling solution.
Designed and built around its cooling solution, The First presents a shared radiator between the motherboard and the graphics card. It is the centerpiece of the chassis. Its design has been patented. With a capacity of 19 litres, The First optimizes volume and reduces empty spaces to their strict minimum. As a Small Form Factor chassis, The First is the only one to propose a fanless integrated cooling solution able to deliver a power worthy of the greatest. By combining CPU and GPU cooling, The First can run passively without any cooling noises.
We are impressed by the heart of The First which is an enormous heatsink with two cold plates for the CPU and GPU and two sets of six heatpipes… If you want to drastically reduce how much noise your PC makes, then The First is likely to be of interest, and you can still build a competent gaming PC inside it – we saw RTX 2070 and Ryzen 7 2700 running without problems. That said, it is the little details which hold it back, meaning it’s worth a look if you really want a very quiet/silent PC.
This configuration includes a Gigabyte motherboard, an Intel i7 processor, 16 GB of DDR4 RAM, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 graphics card, 500 GB of SATA solid state storage, a 600 W internal power supply, and Windows 10 Pro.
The i7-8700 processor has the following specs:
# of Cores – 6
# of Threads – 12
Base Frequency/Core – 3.2 GHz
Turbo Frequency/Core – 4.6 GHz
Cache – 12 MB
TDP – 65 W
Integrated Graphics – Intel HD 630
Passmark Benchmark – 15,279
Passmark Graphics Benchmark – 1,233
The RTX 2060 graphics card has the following specs:
# of CUDA Cores – 1,920
Base/Boost Frequency – 1,365/1,680 MHz
Memory – 6 GB GDDR6
TDP – 160 W
Passmark Graphics Benchmark – 13,102
Ports – DisplayPort, HDMI, & DVI-DL
Rear Motherboard Ports:
4 USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type A Ports
1 USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type C Port
2 HDMI Ports (1 1.4 & 1 2.0)
1 DisplayPort 1.2
2 RJ45 Ports
2 Wi-Fi Antenna Ports
3 Analog Audio Jacks for 5.1 Channel Audio w/ Realtek ALC1220