Streaming to YouTube while playing a game on PC can be quite taxing on your hardware, especially your CPU.
In this guide I will show you the OBS settings I use to stream, but keep in mind my computer specifications and internet connection. It’s also important to note that some games will require more CPU power than others which can drastically affect your streams performance.
Here was a live stream I did using the settings on this page while playing No Man’s Sky. No Man’s Sky is very CPU intensive as is ARMA 3. You’ll notice during warping that the stream quality goes down. Unfortunately there’s not much we can do about that unless we’re streaming at 25000 bitrate… which is going to require a monster connection.
Since NMS is a CPU hog, I decided to use the NVENC H.264 codec to encode the video which is available for modern NVIDIA graphics cards. If you don’t have one, you’re out of luck.
NVENC uses your GPU to do the encoding rather than your CPU.
The only real downside is that at lower bitrates, NVENC isn’t quite as crisp as x264, especially for fast moving games. However, it’s still pretty darn good and they keep improving it over time.
Software & Hardware
I’m Using OBS Studio V.19.0.X.
- EVGA Geforce GTX 980Ti 6GB SuperClocked
- Asus Sabertooth z97 mark 2
- Intel i7-4790k
- G.Skill Ripjaws 16gb
- SAMSUNG 840 Series 2.5-Inch 500GB (SSD)
Having a fast upload speed is important. If your connection can’t handle uploading a lot of data, it’s going to cause your stream to be chopping, degrade in quality or just simply fail due to connection issues. There are other places to test your connection, but I recommend having at least 100Mbps upload speed when using my settings. If you’re playing an online game while streaming, you may need more speed.
Here are my results from speedtest.net (I was doing some other stuff online while testing, usually down speed is pretty close to the upload):
I’m not going to lie, having 150+mbit fiber optic connection for both download/upload speed is sweet. However, it’s not an average connection and may not be available in your area. Heck, it’s not cheap either!
Okay, let’s get to the OBS settings! Keep in mind that OBS is constantly updating and the screenshots you see may not be what the current version looks like. However, if you can find the following options, it should work out the same.
I play games at 1920×1080 at 60fps+ with a lot of power left to stream so there is no need for me to rescale/downscale.
Advanced Output Tab
Encoder: NVENC H.264
Rate Control: CBR
Keyframe Interval: 0
Preset: High Quality
Two-Pass Encoding: Yes
Downscale Filter: 1920×1080
Lanczos (Sharpening scaling, 32 samples)
Common FPS Values: 60
There are many factors that can affect your streams quality. If your computer struggles to play a game above your desired frame rate, streaming will make it worse because your PC has to work that much harder.
You may have to do a variety of tests to see what works best for your setup. If your setup can’t handle my settings, try streaming at 720p, 30fps and/or adjust the bitrate to something like 3500 and go from there.