Credit: Syda Productions/Shutterstock
Livestreaming is easier than ever, but it can still be hard on a PC. Many streamers use dual-PC setups in which one system is used to actually play a game and the other to stream it. But this week Nvidia announced that a new version of OBS, the software underpinning many livestreaming setups, is optimized to let people who use Nvidia GPUs host quality streams from a single PC.
The optimization arrives via improved support for the NVENC hardware encoder used by Nvidia's GPUs. Most streamers use GPU-powered encoding rather than relying on their CPUs because that allows them to use their graphics cards to their full potential instead of being bottlenecked by their processor. That can be taxing on the GPU, though, leading to lower in-game frame rates.
According to Nvidia, OBS Studio version 23 "reduces the FPS impact of streaming by up to 66 percent compared to the previous version." That ostensibly means that streamers no longer have to choose between lowering the quality of their streams, dealing with low in-game frame rates, or investing in a dual-PC setup. These optimizations affect 600-series and newer GPUs with NVENC.
Of course, the company also used the opportunity to highlight the advantages its RTX graphics cards can offer streamers. (We wonder why.) Nvidia claimed using its latest-and-greatest offerings "will noticeably improve image quality at reduced bitrates," thanks to "architectural improvements to the dedicated hardware encoder." That should help streamers with less-than-stellar internet speeds.
Aside from the above comparison, Nvidia said the new optimizations improved framerates by up to 48 percent in Fortnite, PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 - Blackout and Apex Legends compared to x264 Fast encoding (the focus on battle royale titles likely resulting from the genre's massive popularity on every major streaming platform).
OBS Studio version 23 is available now for Windows, macOS, and Linux at this website. Nvidia said StreamLabs, a popular streaming platform that uses OBS as a base for its own app, "will implement these improvements in their client in the near future." Hopefully that will help save smaller streamers from the hassle of buying and using a dual-PC setup just to improve their stream's quality.