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 HDPlex H5 is the best performing fanless heatsink-case pc, able to cool a wide variety of processors. The case measures 13.9×16.9×4.0 inches (LxWxH). The H5 case is a heatsink that directs heat from the internal parts to the outside of the case through either 8 or 16 heatpipes. It is compatible with all motherboard sizes and processors with TDPs of up to 95W. There is space for up to 4 2.5″ storage drives. It is compatible with graphics cards or other PCIe expansion cards. The case has a 3.5 mm audio jack, 2 USB 3.0 ports, 2 USB 2.0 ports, and a power on/off button on its right side. It is compatible with external power supplies.
This configuration includes an Asus motherboard, an Intel i7 processor, 16 GB of DDR4 RAM, an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 graphics card, 500 GB of SATA solid state storage, a 330 W external 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 GTX 1070 graphics card has the following specs:
# of CUDA Cores – 1,920
Base/Boost Frequency – 1,506/1,683 MHz
Memory – 8 GB GDDR5
TDP – 150 W
Passmark Graphics Benchmark – 11,112
Ports – DisplayPort 1.4, HDMI 2.0b, & DVI-D
The AC68 wireless card has the following specs:
Bands – 2.4 GHz, 5 GHz
Max Speed – 1,900 MB/s
1 DC Power Connector
1 PS/2 Mouse/Keyboard Port
2 USB 2.0 Ports
1 COM Port
1 D-Sub Port
1 HDMI 1.4b Port
1 RJ45 Port w/ Intel I219V
2 USB 3.1 Gen 1 Ports
3 Analog Audio Jacks w/ Realtek ALC887