8 OBS tips to make your stream run smoothly

In an ideal world, we would all be using a brand new NVIDIA GeForce 1080 Ti graphics card with an Intel X-Series processor.

But reality is that technology gets old fast, and almost every streamer can make things easier on their PC.

We collected some tips from StreamElements Discord support aces, we hope you’ll find them useful.

Use your Graphics Card for Encoding

It’s important to find out if any components are causing issues for you. For example, if you have such high CPU usage that your PC is slow then there is a setting in OBS called Hardware (NVENC), Hardware (VCE) or Hardware (QSV) within Settings > Output > Streaming.

When NVENC/VCE/QSV is selected this will use your graphics card to do your encoding instead of your CPU, effectively relieving some workload from the CPU and therefore making it less strained.

Load your Overlay from a single Browser Source

StreamElements takes everything possible and puts it all into one single browser source. Loading your overlay from a single source means that your CPU only has to load one source instead of several, which will reduce CPU usage by a lot.

Reduce your overlay to one browser source

Need help with connecting StreamElements overlay with OBS? Watch our video guide.

Adjust Video Bitrate

You can set your Video Bitrate in Settings > Output > Streaming.

The bitrate you are able to upload depends on your Internet upload, I upload at 3500 Kilobits myself (equivalent of 3.5 Megabits).

If you lower the number in this field you should notice that it uses marginally less CPU usage, I do not recommend going any lower than 2000 Kilobites, this will cause pixelation in your stream quality.

Sign up / log into StreamElements

Advanced Encoder Settings

There are a couple of hidden settings within Settings > Output > Streaming

You will need to click Enable Advanced Encoder Settings to access them, then you will see the hidden options available to you.

You can enforce your upload bitrate with the limit you set, this means that you will not upload past a certain amount above your desired bitrate. This will prevent your PC from having to encode more than you feel it’s capable of handling.

The Encoder Preset option sets is simply a case of the higher the selected option means the less CPU usage.

Potentially countering drop in quality from using NVENC/VCE/QSV

If you use NVENC/VCE/QSV you can counter the drop in quality if you raise the Video Bitrate.

Be mindful of the fact that people still need to download this data. Twitch doesn’t suggest going over 6000 as an absolute maximum Video Bitrate, they can shut down your stream if you surpass this.

It’s worth remembering that 3500 is a good average for bit rate, this is what I choose to use myself as many people still don’t have very high download speed.

Downscaling your resolution

Downscaling your resolution in Settings > Video is a good way to ensure you’re downscaling so many pixels. If you downscale your resolution down from say 1080p to 720p it means that your CPU only has to encode your stream at 720p, which is only half the pixels.

Obviously not everybody has a 1080p monitor but the process is relatively the same regardless of your monitor resolution.

Selecting a Downscale Filter

The option called Downscale Filter will decide how you choose to downscale your resolution if you choose to do this.

The top option is Bilinear and it is the best option for streaming on a less powerful computer. Since it’s the fastest it doesn’t spend as much resources doing the downscale.

The information in the brackets tells you that you may experience some instances of blur if scaling with this filter, although as somebody who downscales from 1080p to 720p myself with this very same downscale filter I notice no blur, so this may require some testing.

Selecting an FPS to stream at

The FPS you stream at is also a factor in how much resources you’re using, streamers often wonder what to use between 60 or 30 FPS, 30 FPS would be a safer bet than 60 FPS with a less powerful computer.

Sign up / log into StreamElements

Selecting a lower FPS will use less CPU usage not having to capture 60 frames every second but instead half of that.

Of course if you capture half the frames then you will most likely notice that the stream is not as fluid, but at least it’s less work for your CPU and still considered reasonable for most viewers.

We hope you’ll find this list helpful! Our support staff are in StreamElements Discord 24/7 and can further help with more tips and tricks and would love to hear your suggestions as well.

More from StreamElements