Old PC Streaming Setup
Old Becomes New Again
My old gaming PC was based off an i7 4790s which was an old four core processor that couldn't even be overclocked because I bought it with an old prebuild HP PC back in 2014. Using this set up on a fresh install of Windows 10, I was able to push these quality of settings in OBS with 50-70% CPU usage (depending on the movement on the screen, more movement = more CPU usage). You'll be able to stream at 720p with no issues at all, but at 864p you could see some dropped frames.
Make sure to switch over to Output Mode Advanced to access these options.
Rate Control: CBR
CPU Preset: Medium
Keyframe Interval: 2
x264 Options: trellis=1 rc-lookahead=60
With these settings, you'll have an amazing looking stream even when in higher motion games and it worked amazingly well for an old processor. It's been a great benchmark to help people find the perfect settings for their setup too. For example, you can find a Ryzen 3400G which on paper is much more powerful than the i7 4790s for just around $230. If you have an old computer, it's definitely more than possible that it'll work perfectly for a streaming PC. I've even seen some of these old ASUS M51AD's for just about $350 on eBay!
Overall, it made as a great streaming PC to help reduce the CPU strain that streaming brings when using x264, although with the new NVENC encoder, they say that it's comparable to the settings we have here. I've tried both, and still think that x264 Medium is much better than the new NVENC at the same resolution.
You'll also need a capture card to send the video over to the streaming PC and the best choice would be the Elgato HD60s which allows you to passthrough the video from your PC or console to your screen of choice. The only downside is that it's a bit pricey at $200. There is a cheaper option which works amazingly well for the price. The DIGITNOW Audio Video Capture Card is only $15 and you would be able to project your screen to this device as if it's a second display. You can do this by creating an "Output Projector" in OBS on your gaming PC. This doesn't use too many resources to run, so it'll have little to no effect on your framerates. Follow the steps below to get it set up:
Please keep in mind that the lower cost capture card can only do 720p 60fps or 1080p 30fps. I would definitely recommend leaving it as 720p as that's what we're streaming at.
Plug in the $15 capture card into your streaming PC.
Connect an HDMI out from the gaming PC to the capture card.
Start OBS on your gaming PC.
Create a scene in OBS.
Create a source in OBS (I normally use display capture)
Right Click the Scene you've just created.
Select Full Screen Projector and Select the $15 capture card or Elgato.
Head over to the streaming PC and start OBS.
Create a Scene in OBS.
Create a source and use video capture device.
You should now see your gaming PC screen on the streaming PC and depending on the device you're using, you should change the canvas resolution to match. Now that the video is being sent over, we need to get the audio too.
Honestly, getting the audio over to the streaming PC was more difficult then I would care to admit. There's a few good options, all of which require some software to achieve and luckily the software is free! You're essentially having to clone the audio signal so it can be sent over to your headphones and the HDMI cable at the same time. It sounds easy, but it takes a bit of work to get it right. The best way I've found so far is using an awesome piece of software called Voicemeter. If you've used Voicemeter before, then you'll know how to send the audio signal to another output, but if you've never used I'll do my best to get it broken down into simple steps:
Install Voicemeter Potato
Set your playback to Voicemeter AUX (bottom right sound icon on your task bar)
Head over to the top right of Voicemeter and set the A1 as your headset/speakers and A2 as the HDMI out.
In the middle of Voicemeter, you'll see three sliders and A1 should be green which means that channel is sending audio over to that output. Since we've selected A1 and made our primary output Voicemeter AUX, the audio should be getting routed through to your headphones/speakers.
Since you're most likely using a microphone too, the four "HARDWARE INPUT" on the left can be assigned to pick up your microphone or any other input. Click on the "HARDWARE INPUT" and select your mic input. If done properly, you should see the meters (green volume indicators) moving as you make noise. Make sure you're sending the MIC only to A2 and not A1 unless you want to hear your own voice.
In OBS on the streaming PC, you should also see the volume monitors moving in sync with VM.
Play some audio on your gaming PC to make sure you can hear it and that you see the volume monitor moving on your streaming PC. As long as the game is set to send sound through the default, it'll get send through the Voicemeter AUX.
The audio should now be cloned and you can adjust the volume as you need it. I generally recommend that your voice be a little bit louder than the game sounds so you don't get drowned out in the game.
That's exactly how I had it set up on the old streaming PC and I hope that it helped! You can check out my streams here: https://www.twitch.tv/vibeologist and if you have any questions, I would love to help out! If you look at the clips I have as highlights, they're all made with the old i7 4790s and the settings I've posted above.
Pictures and Details:
Old Gaming PC that turned Streaming PC.
Processor: i7 4790s 3.20ghz (4ghz turbo)