When you’re first starting out as a streamer on a platform like Twitch, you probably make do with whatever hardware you already have, and that’s fine. You probably don’t start out with the best laptop for streaming on Twitch or YouTube; you may be using a hand-me-down Intel Core i3 processor with an integrated webcam and whatever lighting is in the room. But as your audience grows, you may find that you want better quality video, which can mean a better laptop, dedicated camera, and separate microphone (to say nothing of two- or three-point lighting).
You might be surprised to learn that Twitch streaming requires a considerable about of processing power; you won’t be able to stream like a pro with an entry-level computer. But that doesn’t mean you need to buy the most expensive laptop you can afford, either. Whether you need a medium-powered laptop or a high-end machine depends on what you intend to stream.
If you are only broadcasting yourself from a camera and microphone, you can get by with a relatively modest system. If you are simultaneously streaming gameplay and providing commentary via a camera and mic, though, that’s a different story — you’ll need a beefier PC to deliver crisp, smooth high-resolution content to your followers.
Scroll to the end of the article for some buying advice, which includes the minimum system requirements you should consider for streaming (spoiler alert: it should run on an Intel Core i5 CPU at minimum). But no matter what you’re looking for, read on and browse the best laptops for Twitch streaming I could find online today. There’s something in your price range and power requirements here for you.
Processor el Core i5-1035G1 | RAM 8GB DDR4 | GPU Intel UHD Graphics | Hard drive 256GB SSD | USB 1 x USB-C 2 x USB 3.1, 1 x USB 2.0 | Wi-Fi Wi-Fi 6 AX201 802.11ax
This Acer Aspire 5 is ample evidence you don’t need to spend a fortune to get a solid streaming machine, especially if you are only streaming from a webcam and microphone. This machine is built around a 10th generation Intel Core i5 CPU with 8GB RAM and a 256GB SSD. Those ingredients are plenty for your Twitch or YouTube broadcast career. It includes an unremarkable HD webcam, but regardless of which laptop you choose, you’re almost certainly going to want to ignore the built-in mic and camera and get your own standalone webcam for streaming.
Despite the budget price — and to be clear, you will find few laptops that are up to the task at a lower price — the Aspire brings a handful of useful features to the party. It has a generous 15.6-inch display running at a full HD 1920×1080 pixels. The IPS panel is plenty bright enough for streaming, though it’s not going to stand up to the sun outdoors. For security and convenience, it has a fingerprint reader on the keyboard deck and — bucking the trend these days — has a lot of ports. You get four USB ports, including one USB-C, one USB 2.0 and two USB 3.1. Especially cool, one of those USB 3.1 ports allows for power-off charging, something you don’t see often.
Acer includes a backlit keyboard and a large trackpad that can help you be productive with this machine. And while the laptop is relatively lightweight (3.8 pounds) and not especially thick (0.7 inches), it offers an all-day 8-hour battery life. That makes this laptop versatile, able to handle a wealth of tasks when you’re not streaming.
Processor Intel Core i7-9750H | RAM 64GB DDR4 | GPU Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 You | Hard drive 1TB SSD, 2TB HDD | USB 2 x USB-C 3 x USB 3.1 | Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac
Some streaming scenarios demand quite a lot from your laptop. If you’re a gamer who is streaming a graphically demanding game, for example, you’ll need to have a lot of horsepower behind you. The Razer Blade 15 is up to the task, though it has a substantial price tag to match. But if you have the scratch, this machine is up to most tasks. It features an Intel Core i7-9750H CPU and a staggering 64GB of DDR4 RAM — that’s going to be enough memory no matter what you are streaming, and can keep your laptop running smoothly even if you multitask or do a lot of video and graphic production. For storage, you get desktop PC-level specs: a 1TB SSD paired with a traditional 2TB hard drive. Do you have a practical need for 2TB of data storage? Most people don’t but if you do a lot of video or graphic editing, it can come in handy.
Surprisingly, Razer didn’t pair all these specs up with a top-of-the-line RTX video card. The system is powered by an Nvidia GTX 1660 Ti which is admittedly a powerhouse GPU, but it lacks some of the secret sauce in the RTX line like support for ray tracing. Either way, the GTX chipset drives a 15.6-inch display running at full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels) that is color calibrated and supports 100% of the sRGB color gamut. With a 144Hz refresh rate, this is a formidable display.
You’re also covered when it comes to ports. You get Ethernet along with a pair of USB-C (one is a Thunderbolt port) and three USB 3.1 connectors., and even an SD card slot. This system is a bit on the heavy side at 4.6 pounds, but that’s to be expected. The webcam is unremarkable, but you’ll almost certainly be using a standalone webcam and streaming microphone anyway.
Processor Intel Core i5-10210U | RAM 16GB DDR4 | GPU Intel UHD | Hard drive 256GB SSD | USB 1 x USB-C 2 x USB 3.1, 1x USB 2 | Wi-Fi 802.11ac
Lenovo is a solidly dependable laptop maker for both business and performance applications, and the Lenovo ThinkPad E15 has what it takes to get you streaming as long as you don’t need to broadcast performance-intensive gaming content. The 10th generation Intel Core i5-10210U is a mid-range CPU that is quite capable of handling a wide range of streaming and video production tasks without stepping up to the more pricey Core i7 family. The 16GB RAM gives you a lot of room to multitask and do production work. And Lenovo includes a slightly larger-than-average SSD. The 256GB of storage is a good midrange that gives you breathing room at an affordable price. That said, there are a slew of configurations available for this model if you want more or mess memory and storage.
Though the laptop has a roomy 15.6-inch full HD display (that’s 1920 x 1080 pixels), Lenovo sticks with integrated Intel UHD graphics, so don’t expect to play a lot of high-end games on this system. If that’s your goal, there are better laptops in this list for that.
There’s no shortage of ports on this laptop. You get a USB-C connector along with a pair of USB 3.1 ports and a USB 2. For security, you get a fingerprint reader on deck for biometric sign-on, and Lenovo includes a physical shutter to close off the webcam lens. (You’ll probably want to slide it closed and leave it there, because you’ll probably be adding your own standalone webcam, and microphone.)
Otherwise, this exactly what you might expect from a Lenovo laptop with a business user focus; it’s got simple, unassuming styling and both a touchpad and an increasingly rare trackpoint button. If you’re into golf, you might also appreciate the Ghost Manta mousepad.
Processor Intel Core i7-10750H | RAM 16GB DDR4 | GPU Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q | Hard drive 512GB SSD | USB 1 x USB-C, 3 x USB 3.1 | Wi-Fi 6 AX 201
What kind of computer can you get if you have, at most, about $1500 to sink into a system for streaming to Twitch? And will it be up to the task of streaming games using a tool like OBS? The answer might look a lot like the HP Omen 15. This system has a speedy Intel Core i7-10750H with 16GB RAM and 512GB SSD for storage. Right out of the gate, this is a healthy configuration; more than beefy enough for streaming video and with sufficient horsepower for streaming games. The 16GB RAM is fine for modestly aggressive tasks — but might struggle if you do a lot of intensive video production.
The 15.6-inch display runs a full HD screen (1920 x 1080 pixels) and has a fast, game-friendly 144Hz refresh rate. And there’s an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q powering all that. The Max-Q is a slightly slower version — but more power-conscious — version of the 2070, and so it’s a superb video card for any streaming project.
The case itself is one of just a few in this roundup that’s in any way distinctive. The unique shape of the case makes the display looks like it’s standing on a pedestal and the all-metal design is rugged enough to be a practical portable laptop, especially when you factor in the six-hour battery life. Though, weighing in at 5.3 pounds, you probably wouldn’t want to carry it around very often. The keyboard is backlit with independent four-zone control.
HP includes a solid array of ports, including one USB-C and three USB 3.1. There’s even a media card reader. Bang & Olufsen speakers provide better-than-average sound for times when you’re not using headphones.
Processor Intel Core i5-1035G1 | RAM 8GB DDR4 | GPU Intel UHD | Hard drive 256GB SSD | USB 1 x USB-C 2 x USB 3.1 | Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n/ac
The HP 15 Micro-Edge Business Laptop is clearly aimed at students who are schooling from home, but the attributes that make the laptop good for remote education also position it as a great streaming machine. For starters, it’s very affordable, clocking in near the bottom of the scale when it comes to what you can pay for a practical streaming laptop. It’s powered by an Intel Core i5-1035G1 which delivers the horsepower you’ll need for video streaming, but not enough to dual-load video and gaming. The laptop also has 8GB RAM and a modest 256GB of SSD storage. Want a different configuration? You can choose from among a handful of memory and storage options.
You won’t find an Nvidia GPU under the hood of this laptop; the 15.6-inch display is powered by an Intel UHD chipset, which is fine for what you’ll need it to do. You don’t get a full HD display, though. The screen is packed with 1366 x 768 pixels, which you should keep in mind if a full HD display is important to you.
On the port front, HP includes a USB-C port — which is great — along with a pair of data-transfer-only USB 3.1 inputs — which is less great, especially if you have a bunch of accessories. Plan to get a USB-C hub for this machine. There’s also a very convenient SD card slot. It also includes an HD webcam, but like most laptops, it’s a good idea to simply ignore it and add your own standalone streaming gear.
Need to take this laptop on the road? The HP 15 can accommodate with an all-day battery. Moreover, it weighs just 3.75 pounds, which is light enough that you won’t notice throwing it in your backpack. Combine that with a portable-style microphone like the Rode NT-USB MIni and you can stream on location away from the home office or studio.
Processor Intel Core i7-10750H | RAM 16GB DDR4 | GPU Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 Super | Hard drive 1TB SSD | USB 1 x USB-C 2 x USB 3.1, 1 X USB 2 | Wi-Fi 802.11ax
Alienware laptops tend to be priced near the top of the range of retail gaming machines, and the Alienware m17 R3 is a good example of that, priced over $2000. To be sure, you can spend more — a lot more — on a gaming laptop, but this is about as much as any reasonable person should invest in a computer for streaming on Twitch or other video platforms.
And while you are paying a premium for the Alienware name, this machine is worth the price tag. It’s built with premium materials like magnesium alloy, copper and steel, with little or no structural plastic. The CPU is a 10th generation Intel Core i7-10750H, which should be fast enough for literally any streaming or video production project. The system as 16GB RAM and a full 1TB SSD for storage.
On the video front, this machine is desktop-replacement caliber. The 17.3-inch display is about as large as they come, and it pumps out 1920 x 1080 pixels — full HD. This is a gaming system, and the IPS panel is lightning fast, with an impressive 300Hz response time. All that’s driven by an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 Super GPU — you’ll have no trouble streaming games on Twitch with this setup.
Visually, the laptop is gorgeous. It doesn’t look like a sci-fi spaceship — many Alienware system,s go over the top on gamer aesthetic — but it’s tasteful and has a premium look about it. You also get a four-zone RGB backlit keyboard (and per-key lighting is an available upgrade). And unsurprisingly, the m17 R3 is chock full of ports. You get a trio of USB 3.1 ports, a USB-C Thunderbolt, SD Card slot, and the usual Alienware Graphics Amplifier Port.
Finally, all that horsepower still weighs just 4.65 pounds. Not a lightweight to be sure, but that’s not too much to carry on the road for streaming away from home or the studio.
Processor Intel Core i7-10750H | RAM 16GB DDR4 | GPU Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 | Hard drive 512GB SSD | USB 1 x USB-C 3 x USB 3.1 | Wi-Fi Wireless-AX 1650i 802. 11ax Wi-Fi 6
The Acer Predator Helios 300 is in something of a gaming and streaming performance sweet spot. Yes, it has some notable components and has great gaming-level performance, but at the same time, it takes a budget-minded approach to do it for a very affordable price. If you want Intel; Core i7 performance and the option to do more adventurous things with your streaming rig without breaking the bank, this could well be the right laptop to do it with.
For starters, the laptop has an Intel i7-10750H CPU and 16GB RAM. The 15.6-inch display is full HD — 1920 x 1080 pixels — and has a fast 144Hz refresh rate. Moreover, it’s driven by an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060. The specs are impressive, but not bleeding edge. So you still have access to ray-traced gaming graphics and advanced performance settings, but the overall system’s price tag comes around half of the Alienware on this list. Even so, you still get a 512GB SSD, which should be fine unless you’re editing significant video files, in which case you might need to upgrade the drive or add storage. There’s an empty internal; drive bay, so you don’t necessarily need to add an external drive.
Acer adds some nice flourishes to this machine. The case has some nice gamer aesthetics, including an aggressive rear grille. The keyboard is backlit with four zones of programmable RGB lighting and includes a dedicated PredatorSense button that launches an app to control overclocking, fan speed, lighting, and more. And the laptop includes a good assortment of ports, including three USB 3 and one USB-C. All that said, Acer doesn’t;t say a lot about the battery, and for good reason; it lasts for less than four hours between charges.
Processor Intel Core i5-10300H | RAM 64GB DDR4 | GPU Nvidia GeForce GTRX 1650 | Hard drive 1TB SSD, 2TB HDD | USB 1 x USB-C 3 x USB 3.1 | Wi-Fi Wi-Fi 6 Gig + AX201
Cardinal Pro Electronics is one of a number of boutique brands that take popular, mainstream laptops and modifies then with upgraded components. That’s exactly what has happened here with the MSI GF75, an impressive computer that’s been opened up and enhanced for gamers. What you end up with is a system, that’s excellent for streaming as well.
You get a 10th generation Intel Core i5-10300H with 64GB RAM. Before you discount this system because of the i5 CPU, keep in mind that it outperforms the 9th generation i7-8750H the system originally shipped with. It also boasts a dual-storage system — 1 1TB SSD for your system drive and a 2TB HDD for data.
The enormous 17.3-inch display is large enough to make this a desktop replacement system. It has full HD resolution — 1920 x 1080 pixels — and is backed up with Nvidia’s GeForce GTRX 1650, a powerful GPU that goes toe-to-toe with the latest RTX chaipsets with the exception of ray-tracing support.
Otherwise, this laptop is something of a mixed bag of features and components. The keyboard is backlit, but only as a single zone, which might be disappointing if you are also a gamer. There’s no fingerprint reader or SD Card slot, but it does come with upgraded Bang & Olufsen audio. And an for ports, you get one USB-C and three USB 3.1 ports. The whole thing is a somewhat hefty 4.85 pounds, though that’s not especially surprising when you consider the enormous 17-inch display.
When you’re sizing up the laptop you plan to use for streaming, it pays to go straight to the source for guidance. Twitch has its own recommendations for what you need: The site suggests having a minimum of a 3.4 GHz Intel Core i5-4670 CPU. If you’re buying an AMD-based system, the Ryzen 5 1600 is roughly comparable.
You should also have at least 8GB RAM and an NVidia GTX700M graphics card or better — and honestly, that graphics chipset is pretty old and represents a low bar to pass over.
Of course, these are minimum guidelines, and you need to take into consideration what you plan to stream. An audio-video stream strictly through your webcam and mic doesn’t tax a modern laptop unduly; you can get by with a modest Coire i3 system. But try streaming a software feed along with a picture-in-picture of you hosting a game or software demo, and you’ll need significantly more CPU and RAM. It’s a good idea to step up to an Intel Core i7 and 16GB RAM.
If your needs are modest — and by that, I mean you mainly intend to broadcast yourself on camera without blending in gameplay or simultaneous video from a program like Kerbal Space Program — then you can save your money and get a solid Core i5 laptop like the Lenovo ThinkPad E15. That said, if budget is tight, even a budget system like the HP 15 can get the job done.
Nonetheless, it’s a bad idea to dance in the margin, and if you have the budget, it’s a really good idea to buy more laptop than you need. Especially if you are streaming gaming content, go for an Intel Core i7 system. A model like the Acer Predator Helios 300 is a superb choice, since it’s got a lot of horsepower while staying quite affordable.
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