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Using NVIDIA's RTX GPUs for easy, high-quality OBS streaming

Thanks to updates to OBS and NVENC, gamers can get the same quality from a single RTX-enabled PC as pro streamers get from 2-PC configurations.


Video game streaming has become just as important as playing the games as we open 2019. In the past, you had to play the games yourself if you wanted to consume their content. Thanks to the rise in streaming, there are many way to enjoy a game. Being able to stream a game to Twitch or Youtube with professional looking results typically requires complicated dual-PC setups for the best results, but thanks to new updates to OBS and the power of NVIDIA’s RTX GPUs, PC gamers can now get pro-quality streams from a single PC.

During CES 2019, the Shacknews street team got a chance to stop by the NVIDIA booth and get a first-hand look at how the new RTX GPUs make playing and streaming from the same PC a piece of cake. The team at NVIDIA walked us through the benefits of the new OBS update and showed off some of the new MaxQ laptops that make use of the technology.

While OBS has offered NVENC GPU encoding support for live streams prior to now, NVIDIA gave the OBS team access to the NVENC SDK. The OBS team was able to make huge gains in performance and image quality. Traditionally, when streaming at the bit rates allowed by Twitch, using software-based x264 encoding provided noticeably better picture quality than the less CPU-intensive NVENC encoding. The amount of CPU horsepower needed for x264 encoding would often cause performance issues with the games, so the ability to get great picture quality using NVENC with negligible performance impact will be great for streamers just starting out.

If you enjoyed that content and are curious about more, head over to the Shacknews and GamerhubTV YouTube channels. There's a lot of stuff to find in the archive, including exclusive interviews, walkthroughs, gameplay, and more, so hit the subscribe button and stay tuned to the official Shacknews website.

Contributing Tech Editor

Chris Jarrard likes playing games, crankin' tunes, and looking for fights on obscure online message boards. He understands that breakfast food is the only true food. Don't @ him.

From The Chatty
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    January 15, 2019 6:35 PM

    Chris Jarrard posted a new article, Using NVIDIA's RTX GPUs for easy, high-quality OBS streaming

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      January 15, 2019 6:50 PM

      Are these improvements also available for earlier GPU series'?

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        January 15, 2019 7:13 PM


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          January 15, 2019 8:01 PM


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            January 15, 2019 9:42 PM

            The OBS improvements will also work on non-RTX cards.

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              January 15, 2019 9:52 PM

              i guess you might have some super secret intel or something, but that is not the case as far as the world knows

              GeForce RTX GPUs are up to 15% more efficient (i.e. require 15% less bitrate at the same quality level) than previous-generation Pascal GPUs when streaming in H.264, thanks to architectural improvements to the dedicated hardware encoder, NVENC.


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                January 16, 2019 9:58 AM

                Right in that link that you posted it says
                "Current GeForce GTX GPUs, 700-Series and newer with NVENC, will also see speedups with these optimizations. StreamLabs will implement these improvements in their client after the OBS release. Users of the StreamElements plugin will be able to use the changes as soon as the new OBS version is released."

                So there will be improvements on the older cards, just not as much of a bump as the new cards.

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                January 16, 2019 12:35 PM

                Clearly they're going to market the newer cards but I can speak from experience that NVENC is super good on my 1070.

                It may be better on the RTX card (I don't know) but it works very well for me on the last generation.

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      January 15, 2019 11:07 PM

      Cool, testing the test8 release now... Worth a try....

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      January 16, 2019 12:34 PM

      This is what I've been using to stream with my 1070. It has absolutely allowed me to maintain a quality that I couldn't hope to achieve with h.264.

      It does take a much higher bitrate than traditional h264 setups. For example for 1080p x 60fps I have to use a 6k bitrate (the max Twitch will allow). This works wonderfully if your internet supports AND the viewers connection supports it. It can, however, cause issues if the viewer has slower internet and your stream doesn't have transcoding abilities (transcoding allows viewers to downscale streams to lower resolutions and is only available to partners and select affiliate accounts on twitch).

      Overall it's absolutely amazing and allows all kinds of people to have quality streams that otherwise wouldn't be able to.

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