Gaming laptops require heavy investment, not just for buying but for maintenance as well. So it’s only natural that their users have high demands. Often, they expect their laptops to be good at more than just gaming. If you’re spending a hefty amount, for instance, you would want it to be the best laptop for streaming as well, wouldn’t you?
This is especially true in the current climate, where streaming platforms like Twitch, Discord, and even YouTube are gaining widespread popularity within the gaming community.
Specifications Required for Streaming Seamlessly
Many people think that streaming will require more or less the same kind of specifications that a gaming laptop would have in the most basic sense. But that’s not the case – those are two different activities, although there is a large amount of overlapping.
However, both gaming and streaming demand distinct specifications from a system and its adjoining components.
Let’s talk about a practical example for better understanding. What do you require for running a high-end game smoothly?
The primary component you would require is a graphics card. But for a smooth streaming experience, only a strong processor could help you.
So, if some fixed dimensions dictate the flow of streaming and gaming together, it’s better to purchase a laptop that has such specifications. And that is what we’re here to do – highlight all the specifications and features necessary for streaming.
If you want to stream while gaming, you need to have a powerful graphics processing unit. If you don’t have any budget restrictions, simply go for the most powerful and reliable one you can find on the market.
If you don’t, you can explore other options within your price bracket. An ideal product would be NVIDIA’s GeForce RTX 3000 series graphics cards.
The thing about a strong GPU is that it will allow your system to withstand higher-resolution gaming/streaming as well as provide high frame rates.
But that’s not all – powerful GPUs offer a multifaceted solution to both your gaming and streaming needs.
For instance, a strong GPU produced by NVIDIA will also support GPU-NVENC accelerated video recording. In simpler terms, these powerful GPUs lessen the burden on your system’s CPU when you are simultaneously gaming and streaming. The division of labor is essential if you don’t want your laptop to collapse after hours of gaming.
The other benefit of going for the latest-gen NVIDIA graphic processing units is that you will enjoy several of their exclusive features, such as:
1. Dynamic Boost 2.0: The dynamic boost is a powerful, AI-based feature that allows your laptop to optimize its performance while you are gaming and streaming. What it does is automate the power shared between the GPU, CPU, and memory for sustained and better performance.
2. Whispermode 2.0: More often than not, when gamers try to play within their desired acoustic settings, their gaming laptops end up overheating for a while. With Whispermode 2.0, this will no longer be an issue. This is also an automated feature that brings an enhanced version of acoustic control. It allows users to choose their desired acoustic level and the feature will automatically set the required components to deliver it efficiently.
3. Resizable Bar: This ingenious is a gold mine for gamers, as it enhances the streaming performance and gaming prowess of a laptop by ten-folds. What the resizable bar does is grant the CPU access to the whole GPU frame buffer. After this, the performance of the most strenuous activities is optimized.
So, that brings us to the conclusion of this point – the latest NVIDIA RTX 30 series is a gold-standard GPU option to fulfill all kinds of gaming and streaming requirements. However, it is not the affordable, bridge option that many would look for.
So, if you cannot afford to purchase a high-end GPU, you can opt for an older edition instead. But make sure that the specifications are as competitive as possible, otherwise, it’ll cause a serious blow to your experiences.
Central Processing Unit
The second facet important for gaming/streaming experiences is the CPU of the system. So what are we looking at, in terms of the brain of the laptop?
Firstly, it would be ideal if you go for a CPU that comes with multiple cores. All the modern games in the industry are so well-refined that they thrive on multi-thread experiences. Thus, for both streaming and gaming, multi-core CPUs are a clear hack.
These kinds of CPUs are also better at the delegation of work, meaning that your system, as a whole, won’t be facing much workload while running excessively high-demanding games for long hours. This is something that lacks in older CPUs that boast fewer cores.
In terms of names, you cannot overlook the likes of the latest-gen AMD Ryzen processors, primarily designed for both gaming and streaming.
There are multiple laptops in the market that pair up the dream duo of a multi-core Ryzen processor along with the latest-generation NVIDIA GPUs to provide a heavenly performance.
But don’t worry – you don’t have to for such expensive laptops if you don’t have the budget. There is nothing wrong with Intel. In fact, their Comet Lake H-series mobile CPUs are built excellently, handling all kinds of gaming and streaming combinations with their six-core and eight-core alternatives.
These are, of course, the high-end options of this series, but you can opt for cheaper ones too, albeit while compromising on the performance.
The main thing about the CPU and GPU choice is to ensure that they can work in tangent with each other, and perfectly complement each other’s strengths and weaknesses.
Using the Right Settings for Streaming
We’ve already discussed just how important it is for customers to get their hardware right. But they’re not the only factor that determines the performance of a gaming laptop while streaming. It is equally important for the users to find the right settings to complement their streaming requirements.
For instance, if you stream at a quality higher than what your laptop can handle, your system will struggle, your stream will crash, and you can suffer some chronic damage as well.
To avoid situations like that, we’ve mentioned some tips that you can implement to have a smooth, safe, and fun gaming/streaming experience.
Don’t go for the Maximum Settings
There’s no argument for the fact that your viewers will be hooked if your settings are too high. After all, it would be cool for them to view a stream that is clean and awesome-looking. But you don’t want to put a whole lot of pressure on your laptop.
If you check all the features and set the resolution too far high, your streaming quality, instead of looking good, will be horrendous because of the lag. At the same time, your laptop won’t be able to handle your gaming requirements simultaneously either.
There are multiple options in a game like ray tracing and anisotropic filtering that the user can turn on. But they have a huge impact on the performance of the laptop. If you check too many settings, your laptop will bear the brunt of it and collapse in a while. Do consider disabling the features that you can live without for the sake of a good and smooth streaming experience.
However, if you want to play your games on the maximum settings possible while streaming, you need to spend big.
Invest in one of NVIDIA’s latest RTX graphic processing units. They can help you play and stream with maxed-out settings because of their built-in deep learning super sampling (DLSS) which helps the laptop gain a tremendous boost in terms of performance.
Set an Appropriate Frame Rate
Typically, there are two frame rates that you can use while gaming and streaming – either 30 fps or 60 fps.
Ideally, it would be great if you can run your stream and games on 60 fps. However, this is not something that all laptops can handle very efficiently. For running a game on 60 fps, the laptop would need to have a stellar GPU and CPU combination to ensure seamless performance without overheating.
30 fps won’t appear quite as smooth, especially while streaming. But at the same time, it won’t put a lot of burden on your system.
So if you don’t have expensive processors or a good GPU, you can always opt to compromise on the smoothness for the sake of just enjoying the experience.
It is crucial, however, for the users to only pick the frame rate that is within their laptops’ capabilities.
For instance, if your laptop cannot handle 60 fps and yet you choose that setting, the stream won’t look good. It will lag, have quality issues, and is frustrating to watch.
Can Gaming Laptops Provide a Wholesome Streaming Experience?
Streaming is more than just projecting the games you are playing to an eager audience – it’s an entire experience. That’s why most professional steamers have built a whole computer system around this need.
The streaming system is not just about finding the right hardware and software requirements.
Professionals go as far as purchasing additional equipment to provide the best viewing experience to the audience. With better lighting, better chairs, and a better backdrop, they build a rapport for themselves in the streaming community, because that’s what the viewers want to see.
So, a gaming laptop by itself cannot provide a very thorough experience. Customers might need to purchase some additional equipment and accessories to get the overall feel.
Here’s what you can look into –
1. A Spare Monitor
Our Recommendation –
Laptop screens have improved significantly over the last few years. This is especially true in the case of gaming laptops. But is it still quite enough for gamers and streamers?
The answer is a big no.
For a complete experience, an additional monitor is a must. This becomes a necessity if you have a long list of followers and audience because you need an additional monitor to keep an eye on what the audience is saying through chats, comments, and so on.
But there are some downsides as well – having an additional monitor may take a toll on your laptop. So make sure that you have a decent processor with a nice GPU to back the performance up. Otherwise, the whole streaming setup might collapse.
So as far as additional accessories go, purchasing an additional monitor should be on the top of your list.
2. Solid, Reliable, Consistent Internet
This is neither a piece of equipment nor any accessory. But it’s as important as any hardware or software in the market for a smooth streaming experience.
Imagine, you’ve done everything right – built a great laptop for streaming and can run all the games smoothly. But when you start streaming, your audience starts seeing stuttering frames of your gameplay because your internet connection is fluctuating. How frustrating would that be!
So before you even start looking at laptops, have a look at your Wi-Fi connection and see if it’s up to date.
Our recommendation –
If you think that the built-in camera of your laptop can support your streaming requirements, you are wrong.
If you are serious about it, then you need to purchase a dedicated web camera that supports at least 720p resolution.
Although, ideally, it’s better that you go for the 1080p options if you have the budget for that.
The resolution, although the most important, isn’t the only factor that you must take into consideration while purchasing a webcam. There are other features like landscape/portrait rotation, the ability to track faces already including ring lights, and so on.
It would also be great if you can choose a webcam that supports HDR recording while streaming. But keep in mind that the more features you choose, the more expensive it’ll get.
In all these cases, you have to be a smart shopper instead of a hard shopper.
Like webcams, the built-in microphones that you get with your gaming laptops are nowhere near good enough to fulfill your streaming requirements.
You’ll have to purchase a dedicated microphone for this purpose. If you don’t want to spend a lot of time researching this area, you can simply opt for a decent USB microphone. They are easy to set up and are highly affordable.
But if you want to go big instead of going home, consider purchasing an XLR mic – they are more complicated and have a larger price tag, but their quality and performance are phenomenal.
5. Optional Setup
Whatever accessories we mentioned above are more or less crucial for a wholesome streaming experience. A gaming laptop alone cannot provide the experience that you must be looking for.
As such, you need to get the equipment listed above or make do with a mediocre version of what you aspired to do.
Now, there are some other optional things that streamers can look at if they don’t have any budget restrictions. Let’s talk about them –
Streaming deck is something that should only interest the highly-serious and professional streamers. It acts as a mini-keyboard where users can customize different keys to look like any symbol.
The users can also dictate what action a particular key would trigger when it is pressed. You must have seen many popular streamers who play random noises or send emojis in a matter of seconds. They can do so only because they have a streaming deck where some keys are specialized to do those tasks for them.
This is another thing that only professional streamers should consider. Improving the lighting of the setup makes it convenient for the audience to see everything.
But apart from that, it also creates a gaming environment where people get more into what they are seeing, psychologically speaking.
There are a few different types of lighting that you can look at for your streaming needs –
Softbox: This is the most basic form of lighting, and features only one or two bulbs shrouded slightly by a piece of thin fabric. It helps modify light colors, casting soft glows, and so on.
LED Light Panel: These light panels are perfect for streaming setups as they don’t take up a lot of space and the lighting effect is not enjoyed by an entire room. Dimmable LED Light Panels are hugely popular among streamers because they can be controlled well.
Ring Light: These are quite simple, glowing bands of light that are circular. Streamers use these ring lights to spread an even glow across the setup, eliminating shadows.
Green Screen: Last, but the grandest accessory that you can purchase to up your streaming game is a green screen. It allows streamers to stand out from the crowd and brings something extra to the table. It also makes them look highly professional and invested in what they are doing, something that the audience admires.
Can gaming laptops work for streamers? This is a highly debated question that does not have a simple answer.
Sure, you can use a gaming laptop for streaming purposes if you have the right hardware and software. But that’s not all.
For a complete, immersive experience, you need to invest in and know a lot more. Keeping that in mind, we compiled all the information, everything that you would need to know about using a gaming laptop as an appropriate device.
Vishal is a founder of the ElectronicsXpert.com, and loves to play around different electronics gadgets and share his real life experiences on the website to help people make the right choice and buying decision.