Thanks to the rise of Twitch, Mixer and YouTube Gaming, livestreaming your video game exploits to eager viewers can be a fun and sometimes lucrative pastime. However, to get your stream off the ground, you'll need a few things, including a capture card and a solid internet connection. Our forum member liongamerx32 is looking for a laptop capable of livestreaming from a console. That would be easy enough to find, but there's a catch: Liongamer has a budget of $500.
Before we start talking laptops, we should note the following: If liongamer has a PlayStation Camera ($43.49) or a Kinect ($45.53), they can livestream directly to Twitch or YouTube from the console. Xbox owners can also broadcast to the Mixer service. However, you might lose out on some of the fancy effects that you can quickly access on a laptop with some smartly programmed hotkeys.
I actually recommend that liongamerx32 look into one of the aforementioned console cams. Thanks to system requirements put forth by streaming services such as Twitch, it's difficult to find a $500 laptop that's capable of streaming games, even if the console is doing the heavy lifting. To stream to Twitch, a notebook needs, at minimum, a 3.4-GHz Intel Core i5-4670 processor or an AMD FX-8350 CPU with 8GB of RAM, as well as Windows 7 and Nvidia GeForce GTX 700M Series graphics or an AMD equivalent.
I know what you're thinking: Isn't the console, not the laptop, going to be doing the heavy lifting? Yes. However, the laptop still needs to render everything, and that can tax even the best processors. Throw in the streaming aspect, and it's hard for weaker CPUs to complete the task — and that's if your stream doesn't turn into a stuttering mess.
If you're willing to stretch your budget a little bit, liongamer, I do have one recommendation. Dell's Inspiron 15 5000 Gaming laptop ($549.99) has a 2.6-GHz AMD A10-9630P CPU; 8GB of RAM; a 1TB, 5,400-rpm hard drive; and AMD Radeon RX 560 graphics with 4GB of VRAM. To get a machine other than that one, you have to raise your budget a couple of hundred dollars to get a laptop capable of delivering a smooth livestream.
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Sherri L. Smith has been cranking out product reviews for Laptopmag.com since 2011. In that time, she's reviewed more than her share of laptops, tablets, smartphones and everything in between. The resident gamer and audio junkie, Sherri was previously a managing editor for Black Web 2.0 and contributed to BET.Com and Popgadget.