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Is a Dual PC Streaming Setup Worth It?

A lot of professional streamers use two computers at once, also known as a dual-PC stream. This is considered the gold standard if you want to offer your viewers the best viewing experience. But is having two computers necessary? Let's quickly go over the pros and cons of the dual-PC (or laptop) setup.


  • Performance: Modern games are very taxing on your CPU/GPU, especially if you like to play your games on their highest performance and graphics settings. Streaming is also demanding, with various encoding and streaming-relating tasks constantly running in the background. Even with a top of the line computer with 8 cores or more, gaming and streaming from the same device can cause lag and performance issues, making your stream less smooth. Minimize the risk of lag, glitches, or crashes mid-stream by having two computers share the workload, one for gaming and one for streaming. If you play less demanding games, this becomes less of an issue, and a 4 to 6 core computer should be able to handle it. Just be mindful, as every little thing adds up, even if it is just streaming music or checking discord.

  • Higher Resolution Stream: As streaming advances beyond 1080p to 4K, and 8K, you will want to offer your viewers the best viewing experience. This is possible with a dual setup. With just one device, especially if you are playing a demanding game, you may find yourself struggling to output anything beyond 720p, unless you have a top of the line computer.

  • Backup computer: If one of your computers runs into issues, you will be able to use other in the meantime. Most often the gaming PC will crash, leaving your stream intact, so you can still talk to your viewers and explain what happened. If there is a serious hardware issue, this also leaves you with a backup computer that you can use to keep up your regular streaming schedule while the broken one is being repaired.

  • Mobile Potential: If your second computer is a laptop, you now have a mobile solution that you can take with you. A good quality laptop can handle gaming and streaming simultaneously, though not as well as a dedicated dual-PC setup. Stay connected with your audience when you are away from your streaming setup, with an on-the-go solution.

  • More peripherals: Peripherals take up bandwidth, and older computers have limitations on the number of USB devices that can be connected and controlled at once. For example, many computers have difficulty handling multiple webcams being connected, if you want to have multiple views of your stream (or maybe you want to set up a Puppy Cam or Kitty Cam). By having two computers, you can connect whatever you want, whenever you want without issue.


  • Might be overkill: If you already have a top of the line computer, and it isn't struggling at all when you game and stream, there is no need for a second one.

  • Price: Since you are buying two PCs, this can be very expensive, especially since you need both to have decent levels of computer power. You will also need a capture card and an extra monitor, keyboard, mouse, etc.... And let's not forget about the extra space you'll need to set everything up and the cable management involved. That being said, the streaming computer doesn't need to be nearly as powerful as the gaming PC, so it will be much less expensive.

  • Complex Setup: If you're not tech-savvy, setting up and maintaining a dual PC streaming setup can be a real headache. It requires a bit of knowledge about networking, hardware, and software. This makes troubleshooting a bit of a pain. But don't worry, there are plenty of online resources and tutorials to help you out.

So, is a dual PC streaming setup worth it? It really depends on your needs and budget. If you're serious about streaming and want to provide your viewers with the best possible experience, then a dual PC setup is definitely worth considering, especially if you play demanding games or have a complex streaming setting. But if you're just starting out or don't have the cash to spare, a single PC setup can still work great, just make sure it is upgraded enough to handle the games you play while streaming simultaneously. Check out other streamers who play the same game and see what specs they are running to give you a rough idea of what your needs will be.


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