There’s no better way to share your gaming experience than through streaming. However, there are lots of different things to take into consideration, ranging from which platform you should be streaming on, to the peripherals you need to improve the experience you and your viewers get. However, a big question facing many potential streamers is whether or not they can stream from their gaming laptop.
Most of the time, the graphic card (GPU) is the priority in a gaming laptop. However, while the game is handled by the GPU, the processor (CPU) tends to handle any streaming software and encoding the video that’s being streamed. This means that if you don’t have a decent CPU, your stream won’t be of the quality that you want it to be.
Ideally, you’d have a graphics card that’s at least as good as an RTX 2080Ti and a processor at least as good as one from AMD’s Ryzen 4000 series. This is the ideal setup – as long as you set up your games and streaming software correctly, you can stream from a lower-end laptop with no problems.
Most streamers use a variant of the Open Broadcaster Software (OBS) to stream. It’s free and there are plenty of tutorials to help you learn. There are less complicated options available, but as OBS is trusted by thousands of streamers on multiple different streaming platforms, it’s an excellent place to start your streaming journey.
Your gaming laptop probably comes with an in-built microphone, but it won’t give you the same level of sound quality as a USB one. It’s important to have a USB microphone rather than one which plugs into the microphone jack, as this can negatively affect the sound quality.
Popular microphone options include the Blue Yeti, so it’s obvious that many streamers consider a good-quality microphone worth investing in.
Similarly to the microphone that’s built into your gaming laptop, the webcam likely isn’t the quality that you want to have on your stream so investing in a 1080p webcam is vital. You don’t have to use a webcam while you stream, but viewers do tend to prefer it because it lets them connect with you on a more personal level.
Webcams also add an extra layer of entertainment when it comes to watching the streams as they get to see both the game and your reactions to events as they occur, especially if you’re playing a game you haven’t played before.
You’ll almost certainly be running your game on your laptop monitor, but to more easily read the things your viewers are saying and to keep control of the stream through your streaming software, you’ll need a second monitor.
This doesn’t have to be of the highest quality, as you’ll primarily be using it for reading messages and statistics, but it is useful to have. A second monitor is also very helpful in your everyday life, so it’s another investment worth making.
Capture cards take game footage from one device, such as a console, and then either record it or stream it live on another device, like a laptop or PC. You can use them with two-PC setups, but it adds an extra layer of complication into streaming that isn’t necessary unless you want to stream from a console like an Xbox or PlayStation.
Stream decks give you easily accessible buttons that you can program to do things specific to your stream. This can include switching scenes, launching media or even adjusting sound as you go.
They can also trigger chat messages, tweets and many other things you’d have to leave your game to do. They’re not necessary, but they can make your streaming experience a lot smoother, and make everything look more professional.
If you’re using a webcam and don’t want your bedroom, living room or office to be seen by your viewers, you’ll probably want to invest in a green screen. This also means that less of your game screen will be taken up with your camera, so you can give your viewers the best experience possible without letting them into your home unless you want to.
Lights, camera, action
You can buy extra lights and cameras to give different angles and different lighting effects to make you appear less washed out. Again, this isn’t necessary, but some streamers find that a second camera adds to their reactions if they look in a certain direction when certain things happen.
Extra lights that make you look your best are also a good choice, but they take up a lot of space, and you might not want to set them up all the time if you’re streaming in multiple places.
You do need certain internet speed requirements to stream. Twitch recommends 3-6Mbps (megabits per second) of upload speed, but having more gives you a little more leeway in terms of quality – for high-quality streams, you’ll probably want at least 10.
If you’re not sure whether your internet speed has a high enough upload speed to stream, you can check it using websites like speedtest.net.
If you have amazing wifi, you’ll be able to stream using that, but it is less stable than having a wired Ethernet connection. To get a wired connection for a laptop might involve buying a USB to ethernet adapter, as not every laptop comes with an ethernet port, but the extra stability for your internet connection and your stream is worth it.
Using a wired internet connection might also limit the places where you can stream. This is because there has to be an ethernet cable from your router to the room in which you want to connect for it to be truly effective.
The heat is on
Gaming laptops can get very hot from just playing games. So because streaming stretches their capabilities even more, you may find you need some kind of cooling system.
It is possible to stream from a gaming laptop, but to do so effectively you need to make sure that all your settings are just right. You also need an excellent graphics card and processor, and potentially cooling in case the laptop gets warm.
Extra peripherals like microphones, cameras, green screens, extra monitors and more add to the stream quality and give your viewers a better experience. The other key thing to consider is your internet connection – you can’t stream without this or your laptop. The internet connection needs to have a decent upload speed and it’s more stable if it’s wired.
Author bio: Rachel Gowland works at digital marketing agency, Tillison Consulting. She’s a passionate gamer and avid reader who loves to travel, using her knowledge of foreign languages to connect with people around the world.