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Best GPU for streaming in 2024 – The top picks

Stream worry-free with any of these graphics cards
Last Updated on May 17, 2024
Best GPUs for streaming
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We all know how important streaming has become to the gaming industry, in fact, live streaming platforms like Twitch are estimated to generate 355 billion minutes of content watched per day. As a cornerstone of the community, we felt it was important to discuss some of the behind-the-scenes mechanics of streaming and what you might need to join in on the fun. 

Well, as some of you will know, behind every great stream is a strong and fast graphics card. Luckily, we’ve compiled our top picks below to find the best GPU for streaming in 2024. Let’s dive in.

Products at a glance

How we picked the best GPUs for streaming

To select the best GPUs for streaming, we dive head-first into several important areas that require careful consideration. Firstly, we took into consideration our own reviews for each product in our line-up, meaning that each pick is authentic and reliable. Each review includes key specs, performance benchmarks, and price awareness. 

Secondly, we considered the wide range of needs and restrictions on streamers; these include stream quality and budget. Therefore, we picked a wide range of GPUs that encompass a variety of stream qualities and budgets – not just the four most powerful and high-end picks. 

Finally, we also looked at third-party reviews, public reception, and user reviews to determine which products are actually worth the money. It can be difficult to cut through all the noise when a new graphics card drops so picking the right one is essential. If you want to find our top overall graphics card pick for this year, be sure to look at our best graphics card buying guide.

The ASUS ROG Strix RTX 4090, one of our top picks for the best GPUs for streaming – Image © BGFG
The ASUS ROG Strix RTX 4090, one of our top picks for the best GPUs for streaming – Image © BGFG

Our top picks

BEST GPU FOR 4K STREAMING
01
  • RTX 4090
  • Close-up of an Nvidia RTX 4090 graphics card with a visible heatsink and brand logo, showcasing its worth it features.
  • Rear IO of RTX 4090
  • RTX 4090 backplate
Best in ClassExcellent
Specifications
  • GPU: AD102
  • CUDA cores: 16,384
  • VRAM: 24GB GDDR6X
  • Memory bus: 384-bit
  • Bandwidth: 1,008 GB/sec
  • Base clock: 2235 MHz
  • Boost clock: 2610 MHz
Reasons to Buy
  • Impressive features like DLSS3, Ada Lovelace architecture, and 4th gen tensor cores
  • Excellent for max quality 4K streaming
  • Top of the range specs and performance capabilities
Reasons to Avoid
  • High-end graphics cards come with high price points
  • Overkill for streaming in 1080p or lower
  • Large power consumption

Our top pick for the best GPU for streaming is the Nvidia RTX 4090. We will start by disclosing that this graphics card is on the high-end scale of GPUs and will deliver the best quality streaming performance on the market right now. The ASUS ROG Strix Nvidia RTX 4090 OC boasts cutting-edge features like DLSS3 for improved visuals, the efficient Ada Lovelace architecture, and full ray tracing for realistic lighting effects. The 4th generation Tensor cores deliver up to 4 times faster performance with DLSS3 compared to traditional rendering, while the 3rd generation RT cores double the speed of ray tracing. In terms of streaming, the Nvidia RTX 4090 can handle fast-paced gameplay and video output – making the entire process appear seamless and easy. For additional information on this model, be sure to check out our Nvidia RTX 4090 review.

If you’re in the market for a top-end graphics card for not only 4K gaming but also content creation and production then the Nvidia RTX 4090 is the gold standard in 2024.

PC Guide

While this product remains the best in terms of performance and quality, the price of this GPU will take it out of the range of budget-conscious users. Furthermore, while its 4K performance is unmatched, many streamers who are satisfied with 1080p resolutions, will find this GPU to be overkill.

BEST GPU FOR 1080P STREAMING
02
  • A Gigabyte GeForce RTX 4070 Eagle OC graphics card with triple fans illuminated by blue light.
  • The Gigabyte RTX 4070 is displayed on a white desk with a blue LED light background.
Highly Recommended
Reasons to Buy
  • Better value than the RTX 4090
  • Handles 1080p streaming with ease
  • Solid and reliable specs and performance, with extensive information available
Reasons to Avoid
  • Does not reach the max performance and capabilities of high-end GPUs
  • Older GPUs may require upgrades sooner than top of the range
  • Overkill for entry-level streamers and lower resolutions

Much like its successor, the RTX 4070 graphics card offers a full range of the latest Nvidia tech. DLSS3, Ada Lovelace architecture, and full ray tracing deliver stunning visuals. The 4th gen Tensor Cores boost performance by up to 4 times with DLSS3, while 3rd gen RT Cores double the speed of ray tracing. Meanwhile, with clock speeds reaching 2505 MHz, smooth gameplay is albeit ensured. However, what truly separates this product from the RTX 4090 is its value for money. While not reaching the absolute peak performance of high-end models, this mid-range GPU will easily handle 1080p streaming, a streaming resolution that is the norm amongst most streamers on Twitch. While professional streamers may opt for high-end and max performance, we understand that expectation is not realistic for most users. Interested in finding out more? We have a dedicated Nvidia RTX 4070 review available now.

Sat in the middle of the Ada generation, the RTX 4070 attempts to be the perfect balance of performance and power – offering a good deal of value for users.

PC Guide

However, those looking to push their streams to the visual peak may desire something a little more powerful and new to the market. In contrast, entry-level streamers may find that the RTX 4070 provides too big of a leap in terms of quality and price than may be necessary.

BEST GPU FOR ENTRY-LEVEL STREAMING
03
  • RTX 4060 and packaging
  • RTX 4060 vertical
  • ASUS ROG Strix RTX 4060
Specifications
  • GPU: AD107 die
  • CUDA cores: 3,072
  • VRAM: 8GB GDDR6 VRAM
  • Bandwidth: 272 GB/s
  • Memory bus width: 128-bit memory bus
  • Base clock speed: 1830 MHz
  • Boost clock speed: 2670 MHz
Reasons to Buy
  • Excellent value for money, providing impressive resolutions up to 1080p
  • Perfect starting point for entry-level streamers and those building first PC
  • Bang for your buck
Reasons to Avoid
  • Older GPUs will require upgrades sooner than newer, top of the range models
  • Unable to handle 4K streams or streaming with high power requirements
  • 1080p performance requires the max performance from the model, leaving not much room for error

The RTX 4060 strikes a perfect balance for entry-level gamers. While handling lower resolutions with ease it is also able to handle most modern games at 1080p resolution – giving entry-level users a taste of what’s to come when upgrading their streaming platform. With smooth frame rates and impressive visuals, entry-level streamers can showcase their gameplay live with no problem. This is especially attractive for those building their first gaming PC, as the RTX 4060 offers excellent performance without breaking the bank. In terms of this new video card, it’s a full $100 cheaper than the RTX 4060 Ti which starts at $399 for the 8GB variant and $499 for the 16GB version.

f you’re working with a strict budget for your next gaming PC build then Team Green has the answer. Enter the RTX 4060 which packs in just enough of the Ada architecture prowess to power today’s games in 1080p and even 1440p within reason.

PC Guide

Beyond just raw power, the RTX 4060 boasts features like DLSS, which uses AI to boost frame rates without sacrificing image quality, and NVENC, a hardware encoder that enables smooth 720p streaming. With all this packed into a reasonable price tag, the RTX 4060 is a compelling option for those entering the exciting world of PC gaming.

Best AMD GPU for streaming
04
  • An Asus TUF Gaming Radeon RX 7900 XTX next to its packaging on a desk with computer hardware in the background.
  • ASUS TUF Gaming Radeon RX 7900 XTX fans
  • ASUS TUF Gaming Radeon RX 7900 XTX and packaging
  • ASUS TUF Gaming Radeon RX 7900 XTX heatsink
  • ASUS TUF Gaming Radeon RX 7900 XTX
  • RX 7900 XTX
Specifications
  • GPU: Navi 31 die
  • Stream processors: 6,144
  • VRAM: 24GB GDDR6
  • Bandwidth
  • Base clock speed: 1,929 MHz
  • Boost clock speed (OC Mode): 2,615 MHz
Reasons to Buy
  • One of the strongest and most powerful graphics cards on the market today
  • Excellent features like FSR 3
  • Incredible 4K streaming capabilities
Reasons to Avoid
  • Top of the range product means top of the range price
  • Overkill for 1080p or lower resolution performances
  • Not ideal for entry-level streaming

Our final pick for the best GPU for streaming is the AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX. The RX 7900 XTX is another high-end pick and the best offer from AMD. This model offers exceptional specs and performance benchmarks, receiving critical praise from nearly all publications. To see our glowing take on this product, be sure to check out our AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX review. The AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX comes with a standard set of features regardless of the specific version you choose. This includes 24GB of GDDR6 memory and a high base clock speed for strong performance. Some versions offer overclocking capabilities that can push the boost clock even higher than the base of 2498 MHz.

If you’re in the market for a high-performance video card for 4K gaming then AMD’s RDNA 3 flagship delivers in spades

PC Guide

In a similar vein to the RTX 4090, the RX 7900 XTX is very much top of the range for streaming. If you are an entry-level streamer or a budget-conscious consumer then we would recommend a mid-range pick that should satisfy your needs sufficiently. Otherwise, you will find this product to be overkill and overpriced for what you need.

Things to consider for the best GPU for streaming

Streaming resolution and quality

When considering a GPU for streaming, it is first important to decide which level of streaming you wish to participate in. As far as we are concerned, there are three levels to streaming content; lower resolution, 1080p/high quality, and 4K. Your GPU choice will depend heavily on this decision. As part of our guide, we have made sure to separate our choices to cover these categories in order to cater to a range of needs.

Software encoding vs. hardware encoding

If it is your first time attempting a live stream, you may not be aware of what software and hardware encoding is. Encoders are pretty essential, because if you don’t have one then, unfortunately, you aren’t streaming correctly. In short, encoders take raw analog or digital video and compress it into formats that a broadcastable. Although some streaming sites like Facebook Live provide their encoders, if you want to stream directly from your device then an encoder is a must. 

Software encoders are programs you install and run on your computer or laptop that capture both video and audio. Additionally, they tend to rely on your CPU, so a powerful CPU is needed alongside a decent GPU.  Hardware encoders are pieces of equipment where encoding is their sole purpose. This uses the GPU’s dedicated encoder, freeing up CPU resources for the game. Look for NVENC for Nvidia and AMF for AMD. Some of the most popular encoder software are listed below.

OBS Studio – Free, Top-choice

XSplit – Professional streamers, high-end

vMix – Windows users

Streamlabs – Beginners, user-friendly

Price and budget

GPUs can range significantly in price. Consider how much you’re willing to spend and prioritize features based on your needs. We tend to look at GPUs in threefold categories; entry-level, mid-range, and high-end. These go hand-in-hand with the levels of streaming quality discussed earlier. For example, if you want to do 4K streaming then you require a high-end GPU, but if you are a beginner and lower resolution is what you are after, then an entry-level GPU will suffice.

To get the best price for your GPU, we recommend checking out the price tracker application Camelcamelcamel. This will allow you to enter the Amazon link of your desired GPU to see how much it costs and how much it fluctuates – allowing you to pick the right time to purchase. Be on the lookout for seasonal holidays like Black Friday and the Spring Sale. These are the best times to pick up a GPU.

What is the best GPU for gaming and streaming simultaneously?

While the answer here depends on your streaming level, we do have some great options. If you are an experienced streamer, dependent on the best visuals (4K) then we recommend the Nvidia RTX 4090 or the AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX. If a mid-range 1080p streaming GPU will suffice then be sure to look at the RTX 4070. Lastly, if you are just entering the streaming game and want to test the waters then be sure to take a look at older GPUs like the RTX 3060.

Do you need a good GPU for streaming?

The quality of a GPU can greatly determine the quality of your stream. In short, the better quality GPU, the better visual output on the stream. While most modern GPUs will be able to handle 1080p streaming with no problem, those searching for the peak 4K visual immersion may need to find a top-of-the-range graphics card with large amounts of memory and power.

Camilo is a contributor for PC Guide. He's been into tech since he was a teen, surfing through the web and local stores trying to find the cheapest way to play the latest Half-Life on his old Windows