Question Components for a beginner, upgradable streaming/gaming custom build?

Jul 25, 2019
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Hello! I'm hoping this is the right place for this.

I'm looking into building my first custom gaming/streaming pc. Although I do not want to stream professionally/full time, it would be fantastic to stream and not drop to 30-40 FPS while I'm playing. The current laptop I use runs anywhere between 60-110 FPS without streaming, but as soon as I use my broadcasting software and stream, I drop to 50-60FPS during latent scenes and 30-40 FPS during intense fights, scenes etc.

I want to stream 720P 60 FPS on twitch and I play games like Fortnite, Apex, C&C and old school retro games. Playing at an in-game FPS at 100-120 while streaming with low settings would be fantastic.

I do have some hardware knowledge, but it isn't enough to come to a decision on components. For example, I was looking into an i5-9400F because it's on the cheaper end and I will have GPU so I won't miss the lack of integrated graphics (hopefully I'm correct here lol). But some people tell me that it's too intense for what I want being 6 cores and 6 threads.

My big thing is that I don't want to overspend, and if I want to upgrade certain components later, I can.

Thanks for any advice/opinions!
 

WildCard999

Titan
Herald
For streaming you'll want to get a 2nd/3rd gen Ryzen as you'll want the extra threads and AMD should be rolling out one more generation of CPU's before moving onto a newer socket so all around it's a better choice over the 9400F (great budget choice if you weren't streaming).

Max budget?

Do you own any parts that could be used with the new build?

Need peripherals or monitor?

Do you need a OS key? (People won't want to watch a stream with the watermark on it)
 
Jul 25, 2019
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For streaming you'll want to get a 2nd/3rd gen Ryzen as you'll want the extra threads and AMD should be rolling out one more generation of CPU's before moving onto a newer socket so all around it's a better choice over the 9400F (great budget choice if you weren't streaming).

Max budget?

Do you own any parts that could be used with the new build?

Need peripherals or monitor?

Do you need a OS key? (People won't want to watch a stream with the watermark on it)
I've been an Intel user since day 1 so making the change to an AMD build has me a bit hesitant. I'm unsure of the Intel-AMD equivalents, but I want to make sure my in-game performance doesn't suffer at all while maintaining the FPS range mentioned above.

Right now, my max budget would be around $1000 -$1100 CAD, with the ability to upgrade later on if I would like.

I don't own any preexisting parts. I'm starting from scratch! (Pretty excited about it lol)

I'm good on the operating system.

In terms of peripherals, I have a 75HZ monitor and a Logitech gaming mouse. The only thing I don't have is a keyboard.
 

WildCard999

Titan
Herald
The Ryzen 3600 is equivalent to the Intel i7-8700 so for the price its a excellent CPU. The motherboard would need to have the BIOS updated to support it so if there's a shop or store such as Microcenter and if you buy it via the store maybe they'll update for free for you.

This would be a good 1080P/75hz gaming/streaming system for your budget.

PCPartPicker Part List

CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 3600 3.6 GHz 6-Core Processor ($259.50 @ Vuugo)
Motherboard: ASRock B450M Pro4-F Micro ATX AM4 Motherboard ($105.25 @ Vuugo)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws V Series 16 GB (2 x 8 GB) DDR4-3200 Memory ($85.99 @ Newegg Canada)
Storage: Intel 660p Series 1.02 TB M.2-2280 Solid State Drive ($124.99 @ Canada Computers)
Video Card: Zotac GeForce GTX 1660 6 GB GAMING Video Card ($294.99 @ Amazon Canada)
Case: Fractal Design Focus G Mini MicroATX Mini Tower Case ($66.00 @ Newegg Canada)
Power Supply: Corsair TXM Gold 550 W 80+ Gold Certified Semi-modular ATX Power Supply ($99.99 @ Amazon Canada)
Keyboard: Corsair K55 RGB Wired Gaming Keyboard ($67.99 @ Newegg Canada)
Total: $1104.70
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2019-07-26 13:15 EDT-0400
 
Reactions: DMAN999
Jul 25, 2019
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The Ryzen 3600 is equivalent to the Intel i7-8700 so for the price its a excellent CPU. The motherboard would need to have the BIOS updated to support it so if there's a shop or store such as Microcenter and if you buy it via the store maybe they'll update for free for you.

This would be a good 1080P/75hz gaming/streaming system for your budget.

PCPartPicker Part List

CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 3600 3.6 GHz 6-Core Processor ($259.50 @ Vuugo)
Motherboard: ASRock B450M Pro4-F Micro ATX AM4 Motherboard ($105.25 @ Vuugo)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws V Series 16 GB (2 x 8 GB) DDR4-3200 Memory ($85.99 @ Newegg Canada)
Storage: Intel 660p Series 1.02 TB M.2-2280 Solid State Drive ($124.99 @ Canada Computers)
Video Card: Zotac GeForce GTX 1660 6 GB GAMING Video Card ($294.99 @ Amazon Canada)
Case: Fractal Design Focus G Mini MicroATX Mini Tower Case ($66.00 @ Newegg Canada)
Power Supply: Corsair TXM Gold 550 W 80+ Gold Certified Semi-modular ATX Power Supply ($99.99 @ Amazon Canada)
Keyboard: Corsair K55 RGB Wired Gaming Keyboard ($67.99 @ Newegg Canada)
Total: $1104.70
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2019-07-26 13:15 EDT-0400

Wow! this is a fantastic start, thank you so much.

I will definitely look into the 3600 especially if it's equivalent to an i7-8700, since that was a great processor I was looking at in the first place.

Out of curiosity, what would be the price difference/advantages (if any) if this were to be converted to an equivalent Intel build?
 

WildCard999

Titan
Herald
Honestly, no advantage, just a higher price and getting a worse GPU and/or PSU will only bring lower performance in general. Plus I don't know if the 10th gen will work in the newer 1151 motherboards so really no upgrade path.

PCPartPicker Part List

CPU: Intel Core i7-8700 3.2 GHz 6-Core Processor ($399.75 @ shopRBC)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 Black Edition 42 CFM CPU Cooler ($44.75 @ Vuugo)
Motherboard: ASRock B365M Pro4 Micro ATX LGA1151 Motherboard ($124.70 @ Vuugo)
Memory: Crucial Ballistix Sport AT 16 GB (2 x 8 GB) DDR4-2666 Memory ($85.99 @ Amazon Canada)
Storage: Intel 660p Series 1.02 TB M.2-2280 Solid State Drive ($124.99 @ Canada Computers)
Video Card: Zotac GeForce GTX 1660 6 GB GAMING Video Card ($294.99 @ Amazon Canada)
Case: Fractal Design Focus G Mini MicroATX Mini Tower Case ($66.00 @ Newegg Canada)
Power Supply: Corsair TXM Gold 550 W 80+ Gold Certified Semi-modular ATX Power Supply ($99.99 @ Amazon Canada)
Keyboard: Corsair K55 RGB Wired Gaming Keyboard ($67.99 @ Newegg Canada)
Total: $1309.15
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2019-07-26 13:53 EDT-0400
 
Jul 25, 2019
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Honestly, no advantage, just a higher price and getting a worse GPU and/or PSU will only bring lower performance in general. Plus I don't know if the 10th gen will work in the newer 1151 motherboards so really no upgrade path.

PCPartPicker Part List

CPU: Intel Core i7-8700 3.2 GHz 6-Core Processor ($399.75 @ shopRBC)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 Black Edition 42 CFM CPU Cooler ($44.75 @ Vuugo)
Motherboard: ASRock B365M Pro4 Micro ATX LGA1151 Motherboard ($124.70 @ Vuugo)
Memory: Crucial Ballistix Sport AT 16 GB (2 x 8 GB) DDR4-2666 Memory ($85.99 @ Amazon Canada)
Storage: Intel 660p Series 1.02 TB M.2-2280 Solid State Drive ($124.99 @ Canada Computers)
Video Card: Zotac GeForce GTX 1660 6 GB GAMING Video Card ($294.99 @ Amazon Canada)
Case: Fractal Design Focus G Mini MicroATX Mini Tower Case ($66.00 @ Newegg Canada)
Power Supply: Corsair TXM Gold 550 W 80+ Gold Certified Semi-modular ATX Power Supply ($99.99 @ Amazon Canada)
Keyboard: Corsair K55 RGB Wired Gaming Keyboard ($67.99 @ Newegg Canada)
Total: $1309.15
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2019-07-26 13:53 EDT-0400
Okay this is good to know. Just a couple follow up questions:

1. Why does the AMD CPU not need a cooler? Does it come with manufacturer fan?

2. I’ll likely need a second monitor for streaming purposes. Is it worth it to get a 144Hz monitor for my game and use the 75Hz monitor as the secondary?

3. Is there a major advantage to getting the 1660ti vs. the regular model? I can’t seem to find a definitive answer on that.
 

WildCard999

Titan
Herald
1. Both come with a fan, the AMD Wraith CPU coolers are really good while I wouldn't trust the Intel stock cooler to keep that 8700 within safe ranges.

2. Depends on the games, I've owned both 75hz & 144hz and 144hz is nice to have for FPS and racing games but on slower titles 75hz is fine. That being said I do fine in FPS (typically 3/1 KD) with 75hz.

3. Depends on budget, the ti does perform a bit better but for the price difference it may not be worth it if your gaming at 1080P. The 1660 is better then my RX 580 and I game at 2560x1080P on High preset at 70 FPS (Division 2) so its a solid GPU.
 
One rule of thumb for a balanced gaming pc is to budget 2x the cost of the processor for the graphics card.
I imagine that your combined processor/gpu budget should be around $600, leaving $400 for other stuff.
That would buy you the $200 i5-9400F and a GTX1660ti graphics card.
You get what you pay for at each price point in graphics cards
The next best card is the RTX2060 super, a $525 part.
The cheapest current gen ryzen would be the 3600 , a $260 part for which you might need to back off on graphics power. The main benefit of ryzen is cheap threads. the negative is less processing power per core

You are correct that with a discrete graphics card, you do not need integrated graphics.

What is the make/model of your laptop?
In particular, what is the cpu, gpu and ram size.
You should be looking at a good boost from that.

The processors will come with adequate stock coolers.
I suggest paying a bit more than needed for a top quality psu.
I very much like the Seasonic focus line, it will probably cost you $110 for a 550w unit, but they are often on sale.

For storage, I like Samsung EVO for performance and reliability for the OS.
It is not clear what your storage requirements are.
SSD devices are getting cheaper 256gb is minimum for windows.
If you need bulk storage in the 1tb range and higher, then a HDD is the best way.

You will need a case.
It needs to hold your parts and have adequate ventilation for your graphics card.
Past that, cases are a personal choice.
Looks count.
You will be looking at it for a long time.

As to a second monitor, I highly recommend one.
It will have no impact while gaming and is most useful for desktop work.
I use a second one to hold email and performance monitors.
For fast action games, you likely need a tn panel that can be faster, but at the cost of image quality and viewing angle. Have you considered a wide monitor which can be more immersive for gaming.
Consider this purchase carefully, a monitor is a long term purchase.
 
Jul 25, 2019
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One rule of thumb for a balanced gaming pc is to budget 2x the cost of the processor for the graphics card.
I imagine that your combined processor/gpu budget should be around $600, leaving $400 for other stuff.
That would buy you the $200 i5-9400F and a GTX1660ti graphics card.
You get what you pay for at each price point in graphics cards
The next best card is the RTX2060 super, a $525 part.
The cheapest current gen ryzen would be the 3600 , a $260 part for which you might need to back off on graphics power. The main benefit of ryzen is cheap threads. the negative is less processing power per core

You are correct that with a discrete graphics card, you do not need integrated graphics.

What is the make/model of your laptop?
In particular, what is the cpu, gpu and ram size.
You should be looking at a good boost from that.

The processors will come with adequate stock coolers.
I suggest paying a bit more than needed for a top quality psu.
I very much like the Seasonic focus line, it will probably cost you $110 for a 550w unit, but they are often on sale.

For storage, I like Samsung EVO for performance and reliability for the OS.
It is not clear what your storage requirements are.
SSD devices are getting cheaper 256gb is minimum for windows.
If you need bulk storage in the 1tb range and higher, then a HDD is the best way.

You will need a case.
It needs to hold your parts and have adequate ventilation for your graphics card.
Past that, cases are a personal choice.
Looks count.
You will be looking at it for a long time.

As to a second monitor, I highly recommend one.
It will have no impact while gaming and is most useful for desktop work.
I use a second one to hold email and performance monitors.
For fast action games, you likely need a tn panel that can be faster, but at the cost of image quality and viewing angle. Have you considered a wide monitor which can be more immersive for gaming.
Consider this purchase carefully, a monitor is a long term purchase.
Thanks for the detailed response geofelt! More great stuff to think about.

You can find the specs of my laptop below:

HP Envy x360 Convertible 15-cn0xxx series
  • CPU: i7-8550U 1.8 GHz (4 cores, 8 threads)
  • Memory: AData 2400 MHz 16 gb DDR4
  • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce MX150 / Intel integrated graphics
  • Storage: SK hynix 512 GB SSD
This laptop was bought initially for school and ended up being decent for gaming as well. Just not the best for gaming and streaming (although possible, the in-game experience is far from great).

As of now, I have a dual PC set up for streaming using the NDI Plugin for OBS, hoping some of the CPU power could be taken away from my main laptop. I have no interest in a dual PC setup in the future, so I'm hoping my build can do both without issues.
 
Your laptop has a quite strong i7-8550U processor.
Laptops have limited space for cooling.
Under load, they are prone to throttling and slowing down to control heat.
Possibly this is a contributing factor in your slowdown while under heavy load.
Check to see that your cooling pathway is clear of dust.
If a performance monitor like HWmonitor shows you had a max temperature near 100c, then you have been throttling.

One measure is the passmark performance rating which is 8290. That is the capability when all 8 threads are fully utilized. When streaming and gaming the total number is most important.
The single thread rating is 2138, still very good.
The single thread performance is most important for games such as sims, strategy and MMO types that are cpu centric and often dependent on the single master thread.
Multiplayer games with many participants are the types that can use many threads.

MX150 has a rating of 2205 and is the weak point if you play fast action games.
The GTX1660ti mentioned above has a rating of 11977. surely a big boost for fast action gaming.

The problem, as I se it is that as good as the 8550U is, it is not good enough in total to handle the load of streaming and gaming.

The 9400F I mentioned above as an example would be an improvement, but not a big enough one that I would recommend.
The rating is 12156/2394.

The ryzen 3600 recommended above is a very good one.
It has 6 cores and 12 threads. It is not easily overclocked and gets it's performance from many slower threads
For ryzen, you will need to spend a bit more for fast ram to get the best performance.

The approximate intel equivalent for your requirements might be the i7-9700K.
While it also has only 8 threads, they are each very fast, amounting to about twice the capability of the 8550U.

When overclocked using the Intel Performance maximizer app you should see 5.0 on all cores.
You would need a z390 based motherboard.
Intel does not depend on fast ram for performance.

Either processor would do the job for you.

Normally, 16gb is plenty.
But, I wonder if you are gaming and heavily multitasking if it might be a good idea to spring for a 2 x 16gb ram kit up front.
Do not make the mistake of thinking you can add ram later.
Ram is sold in kits for a reason.
A motherboard must manage all the ram using the same specs of voltage, cas and speed.
The internal workings are designed for the capacity of the kit.
Ram from the same vendor and part number can be made up of differing manufacturing components over time.
Some motherboards, can be very sensitive to this.
This is more difficult when more sticks are involved.
 
Jul 25, 2019
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Your laptop has a quite strong i7-8550U processor.
Laptops have limited space for cooling.
Under load, they are prone to throttling and slowing down to control heat.
Possibly this is a contributing factor in your slowdown while under heavy load.
Check to see that your cooling pathway is clear of dust.
If a performance monitor like HWmonitor shows you had a max temperature near 100c, then you have been throttling.

One measure is the passmark performance rating which is 8290. That is the capability when all 8 threads are fully utilized. When streaming and gaming the total number is most important.
The single thread rating is 2138, still very good.
The single thread performance is most important for games such as sims, strategy and MMO types that are cpu centric and often dependent on the single master thread.
Multiplayer games with many participants are the types that can use many threads.

MX150 has a rating of 2205 and is the weak point if you play fast action games.
The GTX1660ti mentioned above has a rating of 11977. surely a big boost for fast action gaming.

The problem, as I se it is that as good as the 8550U is, it is not good enough in total to handle the load of streaming and gaming.

The 9400F I mentioned above as an example would be an improvement, but not a big enough one that I would recommend.
The rating is 12156/2394.

The ryzen 3600 recommended above is a very good one.
It has 6 cores and 12 threads. It is not easily overclocked and gets it's performance from many slower threads
For ryzen, you will need to spend a bit more for fast ram to get the best performance.

The approximate intel equivalent for your requirements might be the i7-9700K.
While it also has only 8 threads, they are each very fast, amounting to about twice the capability of the 8550U.

When overclocked using the Intel Performance maximizer app you should see 5.0 on all cores.
You would need a z390 based motherboard.
Intel does not depend on fast ram for performance.

Either processor would do the job for you.

Normally, 16gb is plenty.
But, I wonder if you are gaming and heavily multitasking if it might be a good idea to spring for a 2 x 16gb ram kit up front.
Do not make the mistake of thinking you can add ram later.
Ram is sold in kits for a reason.
A motherboard must manage all the ram using the same specs of voltage, cas and speed.
The internal workings are designed for the capacity of the kit.
Ram from the same vendor and part number can be made up of differing manufacturing components over time.
Some motherboards, can be very sensitive to this.
This is more difficult when more sticks are involved.
Interesting food for thought.

I bought a cooling pad for my laptop specifically because it does get quite hot when I game.

So no doubt there's a problem there.

In terms of streaming and gaming, all I really need is the bare minimum (that being the bare minimum required for 720P 60FPS @ 60-120 smooth FPS in game).

I'm starting to feel the conversion from Intel to AMD especially considering my budget.

In terms of RAM I'm looking into 16gb @ 3200 MHz. Hopefully this is fast enough?

Also, what are your thoughts on setting the Affinity of my broadcasting software from All Processors checked to just 2 processes (i.e. CPU 3 & CPU 7 checked)?
 
I am not experienced with streaming.
3200 speed is fine for intel.
For ryzen, you would want faster.

It is very good that you have the option to select the number of processors for your broadcasting software.
You have the wherewithal to test out running with two threads.
I suspect you will do well.

The new ryzen 3000 series processors look to be very good.
I might worry a bit about new product teething issues.
Stability will come once there are sufficient product out there and the inevitable motherboard bios issues get resolved.
 
Jul 25, 2019
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Are RAM speeds higher than 3200 MHz absolutely necessary for my needs? I hear that the net performance increase of the ryzen using higher speed RAM isn’t worth the extra cost.

Also what is the difference between CL14, CL15, CL16 etc.?
 

WildCard999

Titan
Herald
Are RAM speeds higher than 3200 MHz absolutely necessary for my needs? I hear that the net performance increase of the ryzen using higher speed RAM isn’t worth the extra cost.

Also what is the difference between CL14, CL15, CL16 etc.?
There hasn't been any recent testing I've seen with memory speeds that include the 3rd gen however I do remember reading some testing with those who went up to 3466 on the second gen and the performance improvement was very minimal

The CL is CAS Latency, the lower the number the better however it can get quite expensive once you get to CL14 (Currently double the price of the CL16 version) and I don't think the performance improvement is much. With AMD Ryzen as long as it's 3200mhz you'll get good performance, I use 2x8gb @3200 (CL16) with a Ryzen 2600 and get good FPS on the majority of my games (using a mid range RX 580).
 
Are RAM speeds higher than 3200 MHz absolutely necessary for my needs? I hear that the net performance increase of the ryzen using higher speed RAM isn’t worth the extra cost.

Also what is the difference between CL14, CL15, CL16 etc.?
Nothing is absolutely necessary.
Worth can only be determined by YOU.

CL 14/15/16... are timing parameters they represent the number of cycles needed to access ram.
At the same speed lower CL is better.

As to performance differences, here is one study for ddr4 ram scaling for Intel.
It shows little performance sensitivity to speed with the exception of integrated graphics. Perhaps 2%
http://www.silentpcreview.com/article1478-page1.html

ryzen is more dependent on ram speed for performance, perhaps 5% for games.
Here is one study:
https://www.anandtech.com/show/11857/memory-scaling-on-ryzen-7-with-team-groups-night-hawk-rgb/7
 
Jul 25, 2019
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There hasn't been any recent testing I've seen with memory speeds that include the 3rd gen however I do remember reading some testing with those who went up to 3466 on the second gen and the performance improvement was very minimal

The CL is CAS Latency, the lower the number the better however it can get quite expensive once you get to CL14 (Currently double the price of the CL16 version) and I don't think the performance improvement is much. With AMD Ryzen as long as it's 3200mhz you'll get good performance, I use 2x8gb @3200 (CL16) with a Ryzen 2600 and get good FPS on the majority of my games (using a mid range RX 580).
I heard the 1660 is a slight step up from the RX 580, and even more so with the Ti version. I've heard good things about all 3 as budget verisons.
 
Jul 25, 2019
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Nothing is absolutely necessary.
Worth can only be determined by YOU.

CL 14/15/16... are timing parameters they represent the number of cycles needed to access ram.
At the same speed lower CL is better.

As to performance differences, here is one study for ddr4 ram scaling for Intel.
It shows little performance sensitivity to speed with the exception of integrated graphics. Perhaps 2%
http://www.silentpcreview.com/article1478-page1.html

ryzen is more dependent on ram speed for performance, perhaps 5% for games.
Here is one study:
https://www.anandtech.com/show/11857/memory-scaling-on-ryzen-7-with-team-groups-night-hawk-rgb/7
Oh nice!

I will give both of these studies a good read
 
I heard the 1660 is a slight step up from the RX 580, and even more so with the Ti version. I've heard good things about all 3 as budget verisons.
RX580 is older tech and is somewhat power hungry.
That said, there is a continuous spectrum of gpu capabilities at any price point.
If really in doubt, Buy a EVGA graphics card. You will have 90 days to trade up to a stronger card and get full credit for your purchase.
Read the fine print.
 
Reactions: WildCard999
Jul 25, 2019
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Revisiting this a couple months later because there was something I wanted to clarify with AMD builds.

Will the Asrock B450 Pro4 Motherboard present BIOS related issues and pains paired with the Ryzen 5 3600? Should I pick a motherboard that will bypass these issues?
 

WildCard999

Titan
Herald
Revisiting this a couple months later because there was something I wanted to clarify with AMD builds.

Will the Asrock B450 Pro4 Motherboard present BIOS related issues and pains paired with the Ryzen 5 3600? Should I pick a motherboard that will bypass these issues?
If the BIOS hasn't been updated then yes it could be problematic. The easier method would be to get a motherboard such as the MSI B450 Tomahawk that allows you to flash the BIOS without a CPU or MSI's newer MAX boards which have been updated to use 3rd gen Ryzen.
 

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