It’s been a pretty miserable two short weeks for me. And this post is my vent but, there are some small nuggets of information that some may find useful.
Enjoy the article.
It Started With A Crackle
I have always been obsessed (anal) with safety around electricity and anything that uses it. Every item as an surge protection socket and my computer setup is no exception.
I purchased an APC surge protected extension multi socket with surge protection cover included. It was a fairly modest £40, but was worth it just in case of any issues.
However I did not anticipate what was coming.
I ran two computers one Windows and one Mac, with the view to the Mac taking over the streaming and thus making the windows pc obsolete. I have had a hate / hate relationship with this Windows PC since I got it, but that has they say is another story.
Anyway the plan was to slowly upgrade the Mac, I had already invested in 4x the memory so it had begun.
But two weeks ago I switched all on and started my usual routine, getting the PC ready to stream and the Mac ready to moderate and monitor.
All was well and I hit the ‘Go Live’ button…
Around two minutes into the stream there was sudden crackle noise and the electric was cut to my PC and Mac.
The power adapter had literally gone up in smoke. Well actually it was the power switch built into the adapter to be precise.
Almost Panic Stricken
I could feel the panic and anxiety rising but managed to keep it low while I checked out what was going on.
The power adapter was dead. So I first changed it for a spare Belkin surge protected model. Everything started up so I thought all was well and it was just the adapter that was shot.
But no, it was way more than I expected.
So after careful inspection my game capture card was fried (Razer Ripsaw HD) and both of my laptops graphics cards (Auros x7 pro sync).
These total losses meant two things I could no longer capture my game streams and I could not stream my music shows.
I was planning on moving all of my streaming tools over to my Mac but I needed several things to purchase and upgrade before this was fully possible.
Testing Testing 1, 2, 3, 4.
Before I started upgrading and fixing I started to test stuff out to see what I could do without the cards.
Firstly I reinstalled windows on the laptop to see if that made a difference with the graphics card. It made no difference so that is now put to one side to be stripped and sell anything that will works.
I tried to stream direct from my Mac using OBS and my music software. This started out okay but it was evident that OBS seems flawed on the Mac. It suffered major memory leaks. I had already upgraded my memory to 32gb but OBS would use up all the memory and eventually crash.
I then tried reducing all my files and scene sizes down to see if that made a difference. It made none at all but it did however lower the usage of system resources. I will write more about this in a separate article, there are some great ways to do this.
Next I uninstalled OBS and used the beta version of Twitch studio. This software is great for new streamers and is available on Mac and pc. You can read more here.
Twitch studio worked well but could only use low quality video and no indents and limited overlays. But it did mean I could get my music streams back up and running. To me this was the most important part of my streams.
After successfully streaming a lower quality broadcast with Twitch studio I decided to try using boot camp to install windows on my iMac.
It was something I just wanted to try to see how it worked. Fortunately I already had a Windows key from a while back that I never used. So was easy and cheap to install.
So the first thing I did after Windows was installed was to download all of the software I needed. OBS and my music player where the first to download and all of this went very smoothly indeed.
I decided to setup OBS to use 1080p and downscale to 720p. This meant I could use higher quality overlays and video to stream with. And I could of course start to stream at 1080p when gaming if I wished to.
The first trial began the following morning. Streaming chilled music with a scaled down HQ background vid with OBS set to use the iMacs built in graphics. And the results where….
It actually worked really well. No loss or drops of frames and no loss due to processing.
I tested this setup over several day’s and it worked consistently well.
Next up I started to plan my game streams and future streaming needs.
I purchased a new capture card that is capable of streaming at 4K. It is also compatible with the Mac. This will be tested out over the weekend to see how it works streaming my gameplay.
*update – the game streams worked really well with my new Avermedia 553 capture card. I could also broadcast up to 4K with little system impact.
Next I decided to add an eGPU to my Mac. This would had additional and upgradable extra graphics power. To begin with I will be using a Vega 64 card, which I have already purchased.
I am just waiting now to get hold of a breakout box to house the GPU and connect to the iMac via Thunderbolt 3.
This will give me much more processing power and allow my Mac to do much more with streaming and creative processes.
All is looking good so far. So make sure you keep up to date by following me on Twitch and Twitter, you can view ways to support me here.
Concluding Two Short Weeks And A Warning
So as you can see my last few weeks have been full of drama, work and anxiety. It brought forward my future plans and overall ended up creating a much better and expandable system.
Even though I recommend all to use a power adapter with surge protection, don’t be surprised if you cannot claim on their damage guarantee.
The damage guarantee only covers if there is a surge that gets through to your equipment from the power adapter. Sadly my fry up was caused by a faulty power switch and because it was over 18 months old it is no longer under warranty.
You can of course claim on your contents insurance if of course you have it and if it covers your electronics.
Anyways I hope you enjoyed this article. Have you had this kind of experience? Please share below I would love to hear about it.