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Setting up a "Stream PC" - Two PC Streaming Configuration

If your current PC just can't handle the load of streaming and gaming at the same time, or if you're like me and are sick of the input delay and laggy "feel" you get while streaming and gaming on the same system, a "stream PC" may be the solution for you. 

In this article, I'll document how to set up the second PC as your "stream PC", and go through all the options I had to feel my way through when setting it up on my own. Hopefully this will help a bunch of new streamers get started-- with an added benefit of increasing your game play, and also your stream quality. 

Requirements:

  • Two PCs-- one for gaming, one for streaming
  • HDMI Output from your Game PC's GPU
  • A Capture Card or similar Capture Device
    • If internal, you'll likely need a PCIe slot available in the Stream PC
    • If external, I believe they require a USB 3.0 port open
  • Normal capture cards require an Intel Core 2 Duo or higher CPU with 512MB of RAM or higher on the Stream PC
  • HDMI cable (included in the AverMedia Capture Card I use) 
    • Make sure the PCs are close enough or your HDMI cable is long enough to reach between the PCs!
  • OBS or Xsplit streaming software

First, you need to make sure you have a capture card installed in your second PC (which I will call the "Stream PC" moving forward), and all related software/drivers installed on the OS as well. In my case, I have the AverMedia LiveGamer HD card, and that's what you'll see in the example screenshots here. 

Next, you'll connect the HDMI Output of your gaming computer's GPU to the HDMI INPUT on the AverMedia (or similar) capture card in your stream PC. This is the cable in which both audio and video are captured.

On the Game PC

Now on your game PC, you'll likely see the capture card show up in your video card control panel (in my case, NVIDIA). You should configure the second display, the capture card, to be a clone of your primary monitor-- which enables the Stream PC to "capture" the video from the game PC. I did this from the "Set up multiple displays" category within the NVIDIA Control Panel. 

NOTE: This may not occur for you, but in my installation, the AVERMEDIA_HD card showed up as the "1" monitor, and in order for me to continue to get 120hz on my main Game PC monitor, I had to change the clone SOURCE to be the "2" monitor, which was my BenQ. See below.

At this point, you have the two PCs connected via the HDMI cable from your GPU to your capture card, and the second "display", which is the capture card device, is recognized within your video card control panel. Video should be duplicated across the wire to the Stream PC, which leaves the configuration required for audio as the next steps.

From within the NVIDIA Control Panel, you should see the "Digital Audio" category. Verify that under HDMI you see your capture card, as shown in the screenshot to the right. 

From here, right click on the Audio icon in the bottom right of your taskbar in Windows, and select "Recording Devices".

NOTE: What you'll see in my screenshots is likely to be different, as I have a soundcard installed in my game PC. The process, however, will the be the same. 

Select your "Default Recording Device" (the one with the green checkbox next to it) and select "Properties". Within the next menu screen, click on the "Listen" tab and you should see something similar to what's shown to the right here. 

Check the "Listen to this device" box and select your capture card (again, in my case it's the AVERMEDIA_HD), and click OK. What this basically does is clone the audio from your Microphone device and "play it back" through the capture card, which is what we need for your Stream PC to capture audio from your Mic (which would be you talking, of course). 

Back on the Sound settings, you should also see something similar to the "What U Hear", shown in the screenshot. This may say "Speakers" and an easy way to test is to play some music, and look for the device that has the bars on the right indicating noise is being generated. 

 Once you select it, go to Properties, and on the "Listen" tab as shown above, repeat the process. Check the "Listen to this device" box, and set it to play the audio back through your connected capture card. 

Once complete, click OK. You now have all of the configuration of your game PC completed. Both your video and your audio are ready to be cloned/captured across your HDMI cable. 

NOTE: IF YOU DO NOT SEE "What U Hear" as shown above, try the following:

  1. Go to Recording Tab
  2. Right Click and select the "Show Disabled Devices" and "Show Disconnected Devices"
  3. If you see what is shown to the right, you're in luck and you can still mirror the audio without any special cables or software. 
  4. Right click on "Stereo Mix" and click Properties
  5. Follow the same steps as outlined above: Set the "Listen" checkbox and make sure the device you are selecting as what you are pushing the audio to is your capture card (AVERMEDIA in my case)

Because most of the newer PCs shipping these days come with the Realtek audio chipset, this should be applicable to almost all new PC builds, as it was in the case of my new gaming PC. I decided NOT to install the old soundcard, and this was the fix I applied to get my stream setup back to normal.

On the Stream PC

This is the easy part-- download and configure OBS with your basic settings, graphics, overlays, etc. If you don't know how to do this, check our my other article HERE 

Just like you did when you added your Webcam, you'll add a Video Capture Device, and this time be sure to change the drop down menu to select your capture card, which, again, is the AverMedia in my configuration. You should see a screen similar (but likely a little different) than shown to the right here. NOTE: Leave "custom resolution" UNCHECKED. 

Once this is complete, hit Preview Stream and verify that you see a mirror image of what's displayed on your game PC, and then on the Game PC, generate some sound-- open a YouTube video, play a song, etc. Then on OBS on the Stream PC, verify you see all that's occurring, and that you see the audio bars at the bottom of the OBS window indicating audio is taking place. 

If you'd like to go back through the normal OBS settings to raise the quality, increase the FPS, etc., go ahead finish that up. And that's it-- you're all done. 

If you have any questions, comments, feedback, etc. please post them in the comments section. Happy streaming! 

UPDATE: IF YOU DO NOT HAVE AUDIO WORKING, TRY TO TYPE THE FOLLOWING IN A CMD.EXE PROMPT (AND BE SURE TO RUN THE CMD.EXE AS ADMINISTRATOR)

Net stop audiosrv <press enter>

Net start audiosrv <press enter>

BY REQUEST: If you found this guide helpful, consider making a donation (of any size)! Thanks for your support!

-Ryu

RyuHow To, Streaming5 Comments