I utilize a dual-system solution to stream and play simultaneously. The first system’s goal is to produce high setting gameplay at at least 60 FPS, the second system’s goal is to stream that at the best h264 settings possible.

Part list/rationale

All parts listed below use my referral link. It may be possible to find the parts at a better price if you look elsewhere. Ordering via my referral link helps me continue to do what I do and is appreciated, but it’s not required nor would I suggest doing it if you can find lower prices elsewhere.
NOTE: NZXT offered me a 3-month partnership in exchange for the H440 case and the Kraken X61 cooler. I no longer use the H440 due to its inability to keep my streaming system cool without dismantling the case. I want to include this tidbit here in the interest of full disclosure.
I also currently (as of  this post’s date)  have a partnership with both Blue Microphones and Sennheiser. I was using the 598’s far before the Baby Bottle, but I switched to the Baby Bottle as part of my agreement with Blue, though I did so only on the condition that I found it to be an adequate replacement for my Rode NT1-A.

Streaming System

CPU: Intel i7-5960X

I want as many cores as possible for streaming since the x264 encoder will utilize as many threads as you throw at it.  Streams are still limited due to bandwidth (you can’t push more than 3.5mbs-4.5mbs, really, from your PC to the Twitch ingest servers) so the more compression you can achieve, the better. This was the most powerful, consumer-level CPU on the market, now dwarfed by the newly released Broadwell-E chip, the 6950X. I want to upgrade, but the $1,500 price tag is a bit steep, I’m not sure if I’ll wait for Skylake-E or just pick up this chip in the near future.

Cooler: Kraken X61

I wanted to get something beefier this time than a Thermaltake 3.0 Extreme or an h100i. The Kraken X61 has always gotten great reviews on performance, but people have said it’s rather bulky. I still have a case, however, that allows me to fit the radiator with relative ease so I can take advantage of the cooling it has to offer. So far it’s done an exceptional job. I’ve had this cooler for over a year now and I’ve had no complaints.

Motherboard – ASUS X99-DELUXE

I love ASUS boards and this board is decked out with features for overclocking support and potential SLI stuff down the line, as well as a ton of SATA ports for all of my HDDs. It has an M.2 slot as well, which I’m starting to become more interested in, though it’d be kind of wasted on the streaming system since I Don’t need to load much.

Memory – G.Skill Ripjaws 4 series 16GB 2400

Just 16 GB of DDR4 RAM. Nothing special here.

SSD – Samsung 840 Pro Series 256GB

Amazing SSD with an amazing controller using amazing NAND.

GPU – MSI GeForce GTX 780

Considering this rig is now dedicated to streaming, this graphics card is completely adequate. I’m only using it now because it’s a carry-over from when I played games on this system as well.

Capture Card – Datapath Limited VisionDVI-DL

I needed a capture card that had a pixel clock high enough to do a full 1440p/60fps capture with accurate colors (RGB vs YUV). This is the best card I could find. It’s extremely pricey ($1,500), but it’s performing absolutely marvelously. I don’t regret this purchase whatsoever.

Sound Card – Syba SD-PEX63081

This is a simple sound card that allows me to receive digital audio (via TOSLINK) from my gaming PC.

Case – Fractal Design Define R5 (White)

I love this case. I’ve said it before, and I continue to say it. I purchased this because it matches the black one I have on my gaming rig.

PSU – SeaSonic 850W

What can I say? SeaSonic makes excellent power supplies and 850 watts is more than enough power for my system.

Gaming System

CPU: Intel i7-4790K

Since this rig is dedicated to gaming I’d normally opt for an i5, but the stock speeds of this i7 were too good to pass up. I’m happy I went this route as I was easily able to overclock the chip to a cool 4.9GHz with zero problems.

Cooler: Swiftech H220-X

Honestly, it took every fiber of my being to purchase this. I had horrible reliability problems with the H220. I had three, THREE separate H220’s die on me in the course of 5 months, and both H220’s that I sold to customers died within a year as well. I decided to ignore my gut and go for an H220-X as the reviews (at least for functioning units…) were so amazing for this cooler.

That being said, it’s been about a year since I’ve had this and I can hear the pump starting to go on some days. I’ll probably have to replace it in the coming 12 months. I would never, ever recommend any product from Swiftech.

Motherboard – ASRock Z97 EXTREME9

This ASRock board has made the top of a few lists for reliability/overclockability. So far so good, everything’s been working fine.

Memory – G.Skill Trident X 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600

Just 16 GB of DDR3 RAM. Nothing special here.

SSD – Samsung 850 Pro Series 256GB

This SSD is awesome. I think I restart my computer in like 15 seconds now, it’s insane. I’ve been happy with this since the day I got it.

GPU – 2 x EVGA GeForce GTX 980 4GB Superclocked ACX 2.0

I want to be able to slaughter games at max settings at 1440p. Two of these bad boys definitely get the job done. I haven’t overclocked them yet, but I haven’t really needed to. These have performed amazingly so far for me, and they’re quiet, too.

I’ll probably look to upgrade these to a single 1080 Ti or 1080 Ti SLI in the upcoming few months.

Case – Fractal Design Define R5 (Black)

I’ve built so many customer rigs using the R4 that I just had to give the R5 a shot. I absolutely love this case. It’s quiet, I was able to put a smaller fan on the side to keep my GPUs cool, and it seems to have no problem dealing with the heat generated inside the case. I absolutely love this thing.

PSU – SeaSonic 860W

Another SeaSonic PSU. Not much to say here, this provides more than enough power for my system.


Microphone – Blue Microphones Baby Bottle

I used to use a Rode NT1-A, but I recently picked up a sponsorship from Blue. I told them that I’d consider switching to one of their microphones if they could offer me an equivalent so I requested a Baby Bottle. After trying it, it was pretty easy to accept the switch. The microphone sounds great on stream.

Mixer – Behringer XENYX X1204USB

I needed a mixer that could take sound from both of my systems and output it to a single channel for streaming. I’m also using this mixer to output just my microphone to both systems as well so I’m able to chat with people on Skype on one system and in game on the gaming system.

Headphones – Sennheiser HD598’s

I finally retired my first pair of these, but I own a second pair, now. I like the sound and I love the comfort. I might be upgrading these to HD599’s in the future, though…

Keyboard – Topre Type Heaven

It’s hard to explain why, but I started to fall out of favor with mechanical switches. Maybe it’s because I mentally associate them with “gamer” or maybe I just feel like they feel cheap, I’m not sure how to describe it. I gave the topre switches a shot and I really enjoyed using them. I might upgrade to a more expensive topre board in the future, I’m not sure yet.

Mouse – Zowie FK1

If it has a 3310 in it, I’ll use it. Was previously using a Finalmouse, now I’m using this. No strong feelings one way or another, it seems to get the job done.

Gaming Monitor – ASUS ROG SWIFT PG279Q

After using a 1440p monitor for so long it seems impossible to go back to using a 1080p monitor. The 165hz improvement over a 60hz screen is absolutely noticeable. I don’t think I can step down to a 60hz monitor after using one of these. I love this monitor, it’s absolutely amazing, though it was a bit pricey.

Streaming Monitor – ASUS ROG SWIFT PG27AQ

I regret buying this monitor. It looks beautiful, but  3840 X 2160 @ 27″ is just impossible to read. I currently have to scale the text up just to be able to read it. I’d recommend at least 32″ for a resolution of this size.