Best Cheap Streaming PCs for 2021


With the streaming industry booming, it’s no wonder that you decided to join it!

Before you start playing games and growing a community, you do need a solid streaming PC. Fortunately, this guide is all about finding you the best cheap streaming PC!

You will also learn the differences between an all-in-one gaming rig and a dedicated streaming PC. 

We’ll present you with our top 3 picks for each use case.

Lastly, you may be wondering which PC components matter the most for streaming. Don’t worry, we’re also going to go over the specs that you mustn’t overlook when shopping for a new streaming PC as a beginner.

All in One Gaming/Streaming Rig vs Dedicated Streaming PC

Before we go looking for your new streaming PC, there is one question that you need to ask yourself. 

Should you go for an all-in-one solution or a dual PC setup?

Both options have their pros and cons. Your budget, current PC build, and the types of games that you’re planning to play will have the biggest impact on your decision.

What Is an All in One Streaming PC?

An all-in-one streaming PC is a streaming setup based entirely on a single computer.

This way, the same PC components are responsible for running the game and streaming at the same time.

The majority of Twitch streamers rely on a single PC setup, while most of the top streamers choose to divide the load across two systems.

Single PC Setup Pros

Single PC Setup Cons

As you can see, an all-in-one gaming rig makes a ton of sense for beginner streamers. Not only is a single PC setup much more straightforward, but it can also be considerably cheaper.

When it comes to upgrades, there’s only one PC that you need to worry about. An additional 8GB RAM stick, for instance, will benefit both the streaming side and the gaming side.

Having said that, not every gaming PC will be sufficiently powerful for both tasks. As gaming is mostly GPU-based, a single PC setup without a fast graphics card may lack in stream quality.

What Is a Dedicated Streaming PC?

A dedicated streaming PC is a dual PC setup where one computer is responsible for running the game and the other for streaming it.

Dual PC setups only work if you have either a capture card or use software such as NDI.

Dedicated PC Pros

Dedicated PC Cons

The two major upsides of a dedicated streaming PC are performance and reliability.

Having an additional CPU and GPU means that your game’s quality never declines. Most importantly, if the PC that runs your game crashes, your stream does not.

The reliability factor is why so many top streamers go for a dedicated streaming PC. Having to restart a stream not only takes time but can also lose you a lot of viewers.

The two biggest downsides of a dual PC setup are the cost and the setup process.

If you only have a weak laptop, for example, you’d need to buy two separate gaming PCs. 

However, if your current system is sufficiently powerful to run most games, a dedicated PC just for streaming may be exactly what you’re looking for.

When it comes to setting up a dedicated streaming PC, you’ll have to connect all of your alternate sources to it. 

Things like the microphone, the camera, or the stream deck should not use your gaming PC’s resources.

Top 3 Cheap All in One Streaming PCs

Best All-Around: MSI MPG Trident 3 10SI-002US

MSI just took prebuilt gaming PCs to a whole new level!

For under $1000, MSI MPG Trident 3 truly packs a punch. 

Key features of this powerhouse include an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 SUPER graphics card, an Intel Core i5-10400F processor, and 8GB of DDR4 RAM.

Moreover, you get a whopping 512GB SSD, a 1TB HDD, built-in wifi, and a good selection of ports, including USB Type-C. The free keyboard and mouse are ergonomic and sturdy.

Probably the most impressive aspect of this cheap streaming PC is the ridiculously small form factor. 

Despite having only top-notch components on the inside, MSI managed to fit them into 4.72 liters of space. 

Having a console-sized streaming PC can be very useful, as streaming setups often get messy, distracting you from the game and your audience.

8GB of RAM means that you’ll probably need to add an additional memory stick down the line. Additionally, the tiny form factor does make it somewhat more difficult to upgrade the components. 

That said, except for the RAM, you won’t need to worry about upgrades any time soon.

To sum up, MSI MPG Trident 3 10SI-002US offers you high-end specs and an extremely compact design. The fast 6-core processor, together with Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1660 SUPER GPU, should allow you to stream and play games at the highest possible settings.

Best Entry-Level Option: SkyTech Archangel II Gaming Computer Desktop PC

If you’re just getting into streaming, then look no further!

SkyTech Archangel II comes with Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1060 graphics card, AMD’s Ryzen 5 1400 processor, a 1TB HDD, and even 16GB of RAM. 

You’re also getting built-in wifi, Windows 10 Home OS, 5 USB 3.0 ports, and a free keyboard and mouse combo.

The on-board components are powerful enough to stream most games at 1080p resolution. Since the graphics card is much stronger than the CPU, it’s best to use GPU encoding when streaming.

While SkyTech Archangel II is a wonderful entry-level option, it does leave some things to be desired. 

The lack of a solid state drive is a meaningful setback, as SSDs tend to be up to 20 times faster than HDDs. Hence, a 256GB or larger SSD should be an upgrade to consider.

Lastly, the design of this streaming PC may not appeal to all gamers. 

You will either enjoy the futuristic look or find it too aggressive. That said, it’s nice that you can choose between a black case with red LEDs and a white case with blue LEDs.

To conclude, SkyTech Archangel II Gaming Computer Desktop PC has a lot to offer to a beginner streamer. From a solid GPU to 16GB of RAM, the on-board components should not disappoint most gamers. Keep in mind that there’s no SSD, and the design is far from subtle.

Best Graphics: Lenovo IdeaCentre T540

An all-in-one streaming PC with GTX 1660 Ti GPU for less than $1000? Sign me up!

Lenovo IdeaCentre T540 is packed with premium specs. This cheap streaming PC has an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti graphics card, a 9th Gen Intel Core i5-9400F processor, a 256GB SSD, and even 16GB of DDR4 RAM.

Furthermore, it comes with Windows 10 OS, built-in wifi, and plenty of ports, including USB Type-C. While there are no fancy RGB lights, Lenovo instead put the focus on high-end components and a more universal, minimalist design.

You should have no problems gaming and streaming at 60fps, 1080p resolution. The GTX 1660 Ti graphics card is perfect for things like GPU encoding and Virtual Reality.

The only noteworthy downside of this streaming build is the small SSD size. 

While SSD is much faster than HDD, 256GB will be way too little for most gamers. However, other exceptional components, such as the GPU and the CPU, far outweigh the lack of storage.

To summarize, Lenovo IdeaCentre T540 is a gimmick-free streaming PC with premium components on the inside. It does a phenomenal job as an all-in-one rig due to amazing graphics and a fast hexa-core Intel processor.

Top 3 Cheap Dedicated Streaming PCs

Best for CPU Encoding: CUK Continuum Micro Gamer PC

CUK Continuum Micro Gamer PC offers excellent CPU encoding at a very reasonable cost.

Key features of the CUK Continuum Micro Gamer PC include a 6-core AMD Ryzen 5 PRO 4650G CPU, 16GB of 3200MHz RAM, a 256GB NVMe SSD, and integrated AMD Radeon graphics.

What is more, it comes with a 500W power supply, built-in wifi, an LED mouse and keyboard combo, and customizable RGB lighting. A nice included perk is a magnetic dust filter on top of the chassis.

It’s quite easy to identify the strengths and weaknesses of this cheap streaming PC. 

The main advantage is the ultra-fast Ryzen 5 processor. The CPU is what makes CUK Continuum Micro Gamer PC such a fantastic dedicated streaming option.

When we take a look at the cons, the GPU and the lack of storage are the biggest ones. 

However, while the integrated graphics and 256GB of SSD would not be enough for most games, you are using a separate PC for gaming.

In addition, since you are getting this PC for around $800, you can use the extra $200 or so to upgrade the graphics card on your gaming PC.

In conclusion, CUK Continuum Micro Gamer PC is one of the best dedicated streaming PCs, thanks to its wonderful CPU encoding capabilities. 

While the integrated graphics and the storage are lacking, it is a fair trade-off, especially considering the quality of the CPU, the amount of RAM, and the very attractive price.

Best Budget Option: CUK AsRock DeskMini

If you’re after an affordable dual PC setup, then CUK AsRock DeskMini has got you covered!

For under $600, CUK AsRock DeskMini comes with an integrated AMD Radeon RX Vega 8 graphics card, an AMD Ryzen 3 3200G processor, a 512GB NVMe SSD, and a substantial 16GB of 3200MHz DDR4 RAM.

Moreover, this ultra cheap streaming PC has a sturdy and visually pleasing design. The most shocking aspect is the insanely small form factor. 

Its dimensions are 6.1 x 3.15 x 6.1 inches, plus it only weighs 7 pounds.

When it comes to streaming, having a compact dedicated streaming PC can be very beneficial. While you may not have enough space in your room for two full-size gaming PCs, CUK AsRock DeskMini should easily fit on your desk.

As was the case with the previous PC, there is no dedicated graphics card. That said, the processor is sufficiently powerful, so you should use CPU encoding with this PC. 

Also, even if you choose to upgrade the GPU, the total cost will probably be lower than most prebuilt PCs.

In a nutshell, CUK AsRock DeskMini will do an amazing job as a dedicated streaming PC. 

The fact that it’s super compact means that your streaming setup should be less crammed. Finally, the low cost is a significant advantage, especially knowing that dual PC setups tend to get pricey.

Best for Dual Screen Setups: HP Pavilion All-in-One 24

Last but not least, you may be interested in a dedicated streaming PC that is also an AIO.

Instead of buying a new monitor and a new PC, you can get this all-in-one powerhouse. 

The HP Pavilion All-in-One 24 includes a 24″ FHD IPS touchscreen display, a 10th Gen Intel Core i5-10400T CPU, 12GB of DDR4 RAM, a 256GB SSD, and an Intel UHD Graphics 630 GPU.

On top of that, you’re getting an excellent webcam, built-in wifi, Windows 10 OS, a USB Type-C port, an HDMI cable, a USB extension cable, a mouse pad, and a keyboard plus mouse combo. 

While it is one of the more expensive PCs on this list, it is also one of the most feature-packed builds.

Having a dual monitor streaming setup has a ton of advantages. 

For starters, you can use HP Pavilion All-in-One 24 for both streaming and displaying the Twitch chat. The fact that it has an IPS display with wide viewing angles is a nice bonus as well.

Although the integrated graphics aren’t out of this world, you’re most likely not going to use this desktop for gaming. When it comes to encoding your live streams, the impressive 6-core processor, combined with 12GB of RAM, should do a wonderful job.

All things considered, HP Pavilion All-in-One 24 is a fantastic option for those looking for a dual screen setup. Powerful CPU, plenty of RAM, and excellent build quality make this an incredible dedicated streaming PC. 

The beautiful full HD IPS display does not have to be limited to streaming either, as it is also great for watching movies.

Streaming PC Buying Guide

Not all prebuilt streaming PCs are created equal. Some manufacturers put an emphasis on a strong GPU, while others rely on the latest CPU.

When picking an all-in-one or a dedicated streaming PC, there are three main components to keep in mind:

These will have the biggest impact on your stream’s quality.

Remember that your viewers would most likely not see your flashy RGB case. Even if they would, their top priority is nevertheless smooth, zero lag visuals.

Graphics Card

All in One Streaming PC: If you’re going for a single PC setup, then no component is more important than the graphics card.

Most popular games, such as Fortnite and League of Legends, are mostly GPU-based. Hence, a powerful graphics card will go a long way.


Pro tip:
If you’re streaming using OBS or Streamlabs, choose Nvidia’s NVENC encoder. This way, you will offload some of the work from the processor.

Dedicated Streaming PC: While the GPU is nonetheless a crucial component, it is primarily relevant for your gaming PC. 

Using GPU encoding when you have a stronger CPU will lower the quality of your stream.

Processor

All in One Streaming PC: The processor is right behind the GPU in terms of importance.

As you’re most likely going to use GPU encoding, a 4-core processor should be enough. 

Additionally, both Intel’s and AMD’s CPUs are more or less comparable. However, Intel’s processors tend to come with more powerful graphics cards.

Dedicated Streaming PC: A fast multi-core CPU should be your main goal.

Knowing that dual PC setups can get expensive, going for an AMD CPU will save you a lot of money. 

For instance, AMD’s Ryzen 5 3600 processor is a great budget option that still allows you to stream at the highest settings.


Pro tip:
If you’re using OBS or Streamlabs, choose the x264 encoder unless your CPU is weaker than your graphics card.

RAM

All in One Streaming PC: As the RAM is essential for both gaming and streaming, you should aim for at least 16GB.

Bear in mind that RAM is one of the easiest and cheapest components to upgrade. Hence, first put your focus on future-proofing the GPU and the CPU.

Dedicated Streaming PC: Since you’re splitting the load between two PCs, 8GB of RAM in each should be enough.

Having said that, to stream at the highest settings Twitch will allow (1080p 60fps), you may want to increase the RAM in your PC to 16GB.

Capture Card

If you’re planning to buy a dedicated streaming PC, then a decent capture card should also be on your radar.

A capture card is a device that captures and encodes everything that’s happening on the screen, including your gameplay. In a dual PC setup, a capture card is what connects your gaming PC with your dedicated streaming PC.

When searching for a capture card, 1080p is plenty, as that is the maximum Twitch resolution. 

Depending on whether you plan to stream at 30 fps or 60 fps, pick a card that supports that specific frame rate.

One thing to note, high-quality capture cards tend to get fairly expensive. If you currently don’t have the budget for a capture card, you can always use free NDI software instead. 

Be aware that there may be some delay and potential quality loss.

Conclusion

Now you know everything there is to know about streaming PCs. As you can see, affordable can also mean powerful.

Whether you’re interested in an all-in-one streaming rig or a dedicated streaming PC, there is a build just for you.

When it comes to evaluating the components of a cheap streaming PC, you should mainly look into the GPU, CPU, and amount of RAM. 

Keep in mind that the more easily upgradable a PC is, the more future-proof it’s going to be.

Before you go streaming with your new PC, leave a comment saying what made you decide to join this booming industry. 

Also, share this article with other folks with laggy streams or outdated PC builds.