If you're looking for a laptop for livestreaming, you need one that's not only powerful enough to handle games at high settings but also has a selection of ports and at least a mid-range display that could be used as a secondary display (for example, for reading Twitch chat) if you're using an external monitor as your primary front-and-center display.
I'll start by going over some of the basics – CPU, GPU, and RAM requirements for streaming, then we'll look at more advanced topics such as display panels. Finally, I'll recommend general-purpose gaming laptops that can double as a livestreaming machine without breaking the bank.
What's the best processor for Livestreaming?
When it comes to livestreaming, the CPU is the most important factor to consider. This is because we need a lot of performance to handle encoding and decoding video in real time. While it's not the only component responsible for real-time performance (motherboard, audio interface, and even video drivers could cause issues in this regard), it's still the most important one to get right.
When choosing a processor for livestreaming, I prioritize H-series processors. This is because these processors offer better performance at the cost of battery life. Meanwhile, U-series processors are best suited for those who prioritize long battery runtime over raw power. Finally, X-series chips are reserved for the most extreme performance, but they come at a steep price and are not that much faster than high-end H-series processors.
I use Cinebench R23 to compare different processors. This benchmark tests single-threaded and multi-threaded performance. Based on this benchmark, I've compiled a list of recommended processors organized by price bracket.
Minimum: Ryzen 5 6600H; i5-12450H
Recommended: i7-12700H; Ryzen 7 6800H; Apple M1 Pro (or Max)
High-end: i9-12900HX; Ryzen 9 6900HX
Choosing a graphics
With the recent release of Nvidia's RTX 30 series cards, there has never been a better time to upgrade your laptop's graphics card. If you're looking to livestream your gameplay or other content, you'll need a discrete GPU (dGPU) that can handle the encoding and decoding of video. In this guide, we'll recommend some of the best GPUs for livestreaming, based on performance and price.
When it comes to graphics cards, there are three main things to consider: generation, tier, and benchmarks. The generation refers to the architecture of the GPU, and is important to consider because it will determine the card's performance and power efficiency. The tier is a measure of the card's performance, and is determined by the number of cores and clock speed. Finally, benchmarks are a good way to compare the performance of different GPUs.
If you're looking for the best possible performance, you'll want to choose a card from the RTX 30 series. These cards offer the best performance per watt, and are based on the new Ampere architecture. The RTX 3070 Ti is the best option for most people, as it offers great performance at a reasonable price. If you're looking for the best possible value, the RX 6800M is a great option. It's based on the older Polaris architecture, but still offers good performance for its price.
Here are some recommended GPUs for livestreaming, grouped by price bracket:
- Budget (<$1000): RTX 3060 Ti
- Mid-range ($500-$1000): RTX 3070 Ti, RX 6800M
- High-end (>$1000): RTX 3080 Ti
Choosing a memory
When it comes to livestreaming, having enough RAM is crucial. While in theory, even 8GB could be enough, that's only if you're not doing anything else on your computer while you're streaming. If you're gaming or doing other resource-intensive tasks alongside your live stream, you're going to need a lot more RAM. I would recommend a minimum of 16GB, but 32GB will be better if you can afford it.
RAM speed doesn't matter much for laptops, so don't bother paying extra for it – get DDR5 if you can afford it, but DDR4 will do just fine. While I'd recommend getting as much memory as possible, some limitations might prevent that from happening – namely, the laptop's form factor and its price tag (RAM is one of the most expensive components).
- If you plan on upgrading your RAM in the future, make sure your laptop has enough slots for the additional memory.
- Some laptops have soldered-on RAM, which means you can't upgrade it later. This isn't a dealbreaker, but it's something to keep in mind, especially if you're not getting at least 32 GB from the start.
Here's a table of expected average laptop prices at each RAM configuration level:
|16 GB||$700 – $1,500|
|32 GB||$1,500 – $3,000|
The best storage for Livestreaming in 2022
If you're looking for a laptop for livestreaming, you'll need a lot of storage capacity for your broadcasts + collection of games, assuming you're streaming games. An NVMe SSD should be your primary OS drive, no questions about it. Does SSD performance matter here? Not really, at least in comparison to how it used to matter years back. Even a budget drive delivers more than necessary for recording video.
The capacity requirement can be so important for some that they might consider having multiple drives or purchasing a notebook with an unoccupied M.2 slot. Fortunately, that's not a significant issue nowadays as M.2 slots are easier to fit into a laptop than the older SATA bays, so OEMs are more likely to include them even in more petite laptops.
AS SSD and CrystalDiskMark are excellent if you're concerned about SSD performance. If you're knee-deep in streaming, consider having multiple external drives (which would require numerous USB ports) for your backups and archives. Also, a NAS, RAID, or RAID over NAS setup should be examined.
- Minimum: 1 TB + upgrade
- Recommended: 2 TB
- High-end: 4 TB + external drive
Choosing a display
When it comes to choosing a laptop for livestreaming, display doesn't get the attention it deserves. A large and high-quality display is essential for any content creator, but it's especially important for video editing and color grading. That's because the screen is your primary way to assess the quality of your footage and its colors.
There are a few different factors to keep in mind when choosing a laptop display for livestreaming. The most important are panel type, brightness, contrast, and color gamut.
TN panels are the cheapest and have the worst viewing angles. VA panels are a step up from TN, but still not as good as IPS panels. IPS panels are the best option for most content creators, as they have great viewing angles and color accuracy. OLED panels are the best of the best, but they're also the most expensive.
Brightness, contrast, and color gamut are important for getting accurate colors on your livestream. A higher brightness means your footage will be easier to see, even in well-lit rooms. A higher contrast ratio means colors will pop more, and a wider color gamut means more colors will be accurately represented.
Refresh rate is another factor to consider, but it's mostly relevant for gamers. Most content creators won't need a high refresh rate, as they won't be editing or streaming fast-paced action. However, if you are a gamer or you plan on doing some live streaming of fast-paced action, then a higher refresh rate will be important.
Here are some general recommendations for laptop displays, based on price range:
- Budget: IPS; 300 nits; 85% P3
- Mid-range: IPS; 350 nits; 90% P3
- High-end: OLED/mini LED; 450 nits; 98%+ P3
5 Best Laptops for Livestreaming
1.ASUS ZenBook 13 UX325EA-EH71High Quality Livestreaming - ASUS ZenBook 13 UX325EA-EH71 Has it All!
- Slim and lightweight design
- Color-accurate OLED display
- 2x Thunderbolt 4 for fast connections
- Processor offers great performance
- Lacks a headphone jack
- Hinges are weak
- Poor display brightness distribution
The ASUS ZenBook 13 UX325EA-EH71 is a great choice for livestreaming with its slim and lightweight design, color-accurate OLED display, and 2x Thunderbolt 4. The processor offers great performance and the laptop is often silent in everyday use. The laptop is missing a headphone jack, but this can be solved with an adapter.
HP Victus 15
- Powerful processor and RAM for streaming
- Affordable price
- Display and webcam not ideal
- Pre-installed software can be clunky
2.Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 9iFor Luxury Livestreaming Look No Further
- Bright touchscreen display
- Lightweight and portable
- Three Thunderbolt 4 ports
- Good speakers
- Lack of integrated SD reader
- Shallow key feedback
- Slow recharge rate
- Pricey for average user
The Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 9i is the perfect laptop for Livestreaming, with its bright touchscreen, lightweight design, and three Thunderbolt 4 ports. However, its lack of integrated SD reader, shallow key feedback, and slow recharge rate makes it a bit pricey for the average user.
ASUS TUF A15
- Reliable Nvidia GPU
- Fast and powerful AMD processor
- Mediocre build quality
- Sub-par connectivity
3.Lenovo Legion 5 ProA Powerful Performer for Livestreaming
The Lenovo Legion 5 Pro offers high performance for livestreaming with its 165 Hz 16:10 IPS display, integrated numpad, and very fast charging. On the downside, its low resolution webcam and moderate-heavy uneven backlight bleeding can be drawbacks. Pros: 1. Fast charging 2. High quality display 3. Integrated numpad. Cons: 1. Low resolution webcam 2. Uneven backlight bleeding.
Lenovo Legion 5 Pro
- High-quality 165 Hz 16:10 IPS display
- Relatively easy serviceability
- Low resolution webcam with no IR or privacy shutter
- Moderate-heavy backlight bleeding
4.GIGABYTE AORUS 15 XE4A Powerful Notebook Ideal for Livestreaming
- Highly responsive 165Hz panel
- Wide color gamut
- Individual key lighting
- Thunderbolt 4 and Power Delivery
The GIGABYTE AORUS 15 XE4 is a powerful, compact gaming notebook that offers great performance and is an ideal choice for livestreamers. It has a highly responsive 165Hz panel, a wide color gamut, and individual key lighting. The laptop is also equipped with Thunderbolt 4 and Power Delivery ports and an M.2 2280 PCIe 4.0 slot for extra storage. However, it does not have a card reader and only has one USB-A port.
ASUS ROG Strix G15
5.Dell XPS 17 9720High-Performance Laptop with Impressive 4K Display and Thunderbolt 4.
- Impressive 4K display with AdobeRGB
- High-quality case
- Thunderbolt 4 PCIe 4.0
- Fast card reader
- Not Wi-Fi 6E compatible
- Weak cooling
- Low resolution webcam
The Dell XPS 17 9720 is a high-performance laptop with excellent 4K display, plenty of connectivity options including Thunderbolt 4 and PCIe 4.0 and great speakers. However, the cooling is slightly weak and the webcam is not great.
ASUS ROG Zephyrus Duo
- Sleek design with plenty of power and dual-screen setup
- Responsive and reliable performance
- Costly price tag
- Awkward touchpad layout
Table of the Best Laptops for Livestreaming
|ASUS ZenBook 13 UX325EA-EH71|
|Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 9i|
|Lenovo Legion 5 Pro|
|GIGABYTE AORUS 15 XE4|
|Dell XPS 17 9720|