The latest CPUs from Intel have made it easier than ever to livestream. If you want to get serious about your Twitch, Mixer, or YouTube channel, and don’t want to spend your time scouring Newegg for deals, Intel and livestreaming tool creator Streamlabs have your back. They are teaming up to offer multiple solutions that enable you to stream your existing gaming devices from a separate, dedicated box.
Intel and Streamlabs have started a program where they will provide stream-capable hardware and software to third-party device manufacturers. Those companies will then sell these systems to simplify the process of getting your existing devices onto video website.
The hardware partners include Shuttle, Simply NUC, Zotac, and Acer. And the systems will run on at least a recent Core i5 CPU. Since streaming is a CPU-intensive process, a powerful multi-threaded chip with four-to-six cores is crucial.
“These devices help simplify the streaming process and enable creators to connect to a worldwide audience more efficiently than ever before,” Streamlabs chief executive Ali Moiz said. “This represents an opportunity for us to fulfill our vision and help content creators turn their passion into a business.”
For Intel, this fits into its narrative of providing the best CPUs for gamers and content creators. While AMD certainly has great chips for gaming and streaming, Intel is hitting that message louder with initiatives like this one.
“At Intel, we view live streamers as creators, and we are committed to working alongside industry leaders like Streamlabs to build technologies and solutions that power their contributions,” Intel desktop product boss Chris Silva said. “By powering these new PCs, we not only help streamers easily share their creativity, but we enhance the viewer experience to allow them to consume, personalize, and interact with their favorite live streamers.”
What’s a livestreaming PC?
This program is not just about slapping a sticker on existing PC boxes. Instead, you’ll get a bit more variety.
Here are the options:
Shuttle is launching an off-the-shelf streaming bundle this fall. With this tiny box, you plug in a game console or a separate gaming PC and the Shuttle handles the rest.
This package comes with everything you would need to get started streaming except for the gaming PC or console. That includes a high-quality webcam, USB microphone, headset, keyboard, and mouse. Those peripherals are in addition to an Intel Core i5 processor and Streamlabs’ version of the Open Broadcasting Software.
Simply NUC has a similar box called EasyCast. It is minuscule 4-inch-by-4-inch box that starts at $29 per month as part of Simply NUC’s device-as-a-service program. It includes the i5-730U vPro processor. That’s a two-core chip with hyperthreading and a clockspeed of 2.64 GHz that turbos up to 3.5 GHz. Simply NUC’s device also includes 8 GB of memory and 256 GB of storage.
Zotac and Acer
Zotac, meanwhile, is preparing its ZBOX MI553B Series. It will work like the other boxes when it launches in the first quarter of 2019. And Acer is working on something along these lines as well. It is planning to show it off in a concept state at this weekend’s TwitchCon fan gathering.
Who are these devices for?
I haven’t ever used anything like an EasyCast or Shuttle, but they strike me as entry-level options for people who want to take their streaming seriously. If you have a console or a PC, you can probably start streaming now. So a dedicated second box would provide you with more control and higher-quality video.
So something like the Shuttle comes across as an aspirational product. If you see people making money livestreaming from their bedrooms, maybe you buy the Shuttle to get the device and all the gear you need to become the next Ninja. Whether these devices are worth for people who want to go down that route will depend on price, and — at the moment — only Simply NUC’s $29 per month option is public.
I’ll try to take a closer look at these products in the future and as the technology around livestreaming changes.