Performance needs tweaking
No streaming-specific add-ons
About the NZXT Streaming PC Plus Prebuilt Desktop
Here are the specs of our review unit:
- Processor: AMD Ryzen 5 5600X
- CPU Cooler: NZXT Kraken M22 liquid cooler with 120mm radiator
- Graphics Card: EVGA XC3 GeForce RTX 3070 w/ 8GB VRAM
- Memory: 16GB (2 x 8GB) T-Force 3200MHz DDR4
- Storage: 1TB NVMe M.2 SSD
- Motherboard: Gigabyte AORUS Pro B450 ATX
- Ports: 1 x HDMI 2.0, 4x USB-A 3.0 (Rear), 2x coaxial, 1x DVI, 1x USB-C 3.1, 1x USB-A 3.1, 1x Ethernet, S/PDIF Out, 5x 2.5mm jack (rear, center/sub, mic, line out, line in), 1x 2.5mm jack (Front), 1x USB-A 3.0 (Front), 1x USB-C (Front)
- Wireless: Wi-Fi 5, Bluetooth
- Power Supply: Seasonic 650W Bronze
- Case: NZXT H510 ATX case
Weight: About 14.5 lbs
- Dimensions: 8.27 in x 18.11 in x 16.85 in
- Accessories: None
- Warranty: Limited 2-year for parts and labor
The NZXT Streaming PC comes in three configurations: base, plus, and pro. While specific specifications may vary depending on available stock, the base usually comes with an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 GPU. The plus usually comes with an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 or RTX 3060Ti GPU, and the pro may come with a Ryzen 5 5600X or Ryzen 7 5800X CPU with an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 or RTX 3090 GPU. Prices vary depending on available configurations. Our model costs $1,999, and the Streaming PC Plus with an RTX 3060 Ti costs $1,699.
What we like
Performance is A+
When we saw the specifications for the NZXT Streaming PC Plus, we were expecting a lot from it. We’re happy to say it met our expectations. The AMD Ryzen 5 5600X processor is a powerful six-core CPU that burns through just about any task. Meanwhile, the EVGA GeForce RTX 3070 XC3 graphics card makes the most of its 8GB of VRAM thanks to some excellent cooling.
However, we recommend enabling XMP (a setting that controls your RAM’s speed) in the BIOS settings (your computer’s software responsible for booting up your system) to get the promised RAM performance. Otherwise, the RAM will run at 2666 MHz, so we tested this PC with XMP enabled and no other changes were made to hardware.
Together with the 16GB of 3200MHz RAM, the NZXT Streaming PC Plus is a gaming beast. Even at Shadow of the Tomb Raider’s highest 1080p graphics preset, the Streaming PC Plus pumped out 164 frames per second. By comparison, the HP Omen 25L—another similarly priced prebuilt gaming PC—which has a Ryzen 5 3600 and a custom RTX 3070, could only manage 97 fps.
In Geekbench 5, one of our CPU benchmarks that measure raw processing performance, the Streaming PC Plus scored 7637 points in the multicore test and 1640 points in the single-core test. For both multi and single-core performance, these are some great scores, but higher-end processors score notably higher, of course, skyrocketing well over 1700 in single-core and 14000 in multi-core. CPUs with more cores are generally better for multicore tasks like rendering a 3D still image or running several programs at once, so the AMD processor in this PC wins over an Intel-chip in this area.
But put to the test in real applications, the Ryzen 5 5600X took just under four minutes to render a 3D image in Blender and a little over six and a half minutes to transcode a 4K video to 1080p in Handbrake. Intel Core i5-11600K equivalent is just a tad faster by 20 seconds in Blender and 27 seconds in Handbrake.
This isn’t to say the Ryzen 5 5600X is rubbish for multicore tasks—far from it, in fact. It’s fast enough for any video game, for medium 3D modeling tasks, even some multitasking in After Effects or OBS Studio. Only creative or science professionals working with heavy multithreaded calculations (like 3D modeling or feature-length film production) would need an upgrade.
For GPU-specific tasks, just about everyone will be impressed with the EVGA XC3 RTX 3070’s performance. 1080p-gaming is no challenge for the graphics card, as most of the games we tested stayed above 100 fps. With ray tracing enabled, even graphically demanding games like Cyberpunk 2077 run at a decent 49 frames per second at 1440p on its highest graphics preset. E-sports like Overwatch run at 121 frames per second at the Ultra 1440p graphics preset.
The RTX 3070 hits the sweet spot between value and performance for both Nvidia’s lineup of GPUs and for the NZXT Streaming PC series. If you want an upgrade, the NZXT Streaming PC Pro comes with an RTX 3080 for now (it used to come with an RTX 3090). As with the CPU, we’d only recommend a GPU upgrade for folk who plan to do professional creative or scientific work who can’t afford a dip in performance.
This review would not be complete if we didn’t actually stream a game with it. With a 471Mbps download and 11Mbps wired internet connection, we were able to flawlessly stream Cyberpunk 2077 at 1080p and the highest graphics settings from the east coast to a Twitch viewer on the west coast. That viewer was watching the stream on a 5.0GHz Wi-Fi connection and 209Mbps/11Mbps bandwidth speeds and encountered zero lag, glitches, or similar. Congratulations, Streaming PC Plus: you are, in fact, a great streaming PC.
NZXT’s pre-built PCs only use off-the-shelf parts or parts you can buy from third-party retailers like Amazon or Newegg. When it comes time to upgrade your PC, you will easily find third-party parts to swap out the old ones. Off-the-shelf parts have certain size and feature specifications that make it easy to install them in your PC. It takes a lot of guesswork out of picking the right size motherboard for your case, for instance.
Our unit came with a Gigabyte AORUS Pro B450 ATX motherboard, although you can also get the Streaming PC Plus with the B550 chipset. We wish that it had a better port selection (sadly, it has no Thunderbolt ports or PCIe 4.0 support), but it gets the job done with Wi-Fi 5, several M.2 slots, and up to 128GB of four-channel DDR4 3600MHz RAM.
The 650W Seasonic power supply is also beefy enough to power the hungry AMD Ryzen 5 5600X processor and Nvidia RTX 3070 graphics card.
While most of the Streaming PC Plus’ components come from a variety of manufacturers, NZXT does use some of its own parts. The H510 case and 120mm Kraken M22 liquid cooler are from NZXT—both the case and cooler are very popular in the custom PC community for their excellent airflow, cooling, and ease of use.
Not a single part sticks out as “bad.” This desktop PC resembles a build that someone would put together at home: well-balanced, sturdy parts that play nicely with virtually any PC component maker. If you’re willing to get your hands dirty, you can keep the Streaming Plus running for a decade or more if you keep up with maintenance and replace parts with newer, shinier models as they come out.
Neatly assembled, no bloatware
Half of the fun of gaming PCs is having a centerpiece to show off, and the NZXT Streaming PC is beautifully assembled for that reason. NZXT's iconic H510 case has a mess-hiding power supply shroud, clear glass side panel, and solid white metal. (Dozens of cases have tried to copy its charm, but the original remains king.) The cables are neatly managed and out of the way, and the RGB cooler, motherboard, and graphics card are eye-catching and elegant.
The setup experience is also dead-easy. When you pull the Streaming PC Plus out of the box, you’ll need to take off the glass side panel to remove the big marshmallow-ey, protective packaging foam. Then, the quick start guide tells you how to plug your PC into power, connect your monitor, and so forth. The ports on the PC have number stickers on them so you know exactly which port to touch during setup. It’s a great help for less experienced PC users who may have never set up their first PC before.
We also appreciate the lack of bloatware. Its copy of Windows 10 Home is totally clean. There’s no Candy Crush, no weird antivirus trials—nothing but the OS, some default Microsoft apps, and a couple of extras you’d probably need, anyway, like Nvidia GeForce Experience, NZXT Cam, and RGB Fusion 2.0.
GeForce Experience keeps your GPU drivers up to date, RGB Fusion controls your PC’s RGB without any logins or online connection, and NZXT Cam serves as a hub for monitoring your hardware’s performance, temperatures, and overclocking. You can always swap these apps out with your favorite third-party apps (like HWMonitor and OpenRGB), but they’re perfect for the basic controls.
What we don’t like
No extra streaming tech
While the NZXT Streaming PC is undeniably aimed at Twitch enthusiasts, it could have done more to cater to that crowd. The parts you get in this prebuilt are perfect for at-home streamers, but nothing except the case sets this build apart from other off-the-shelf pre-builts on the market. There is no option to add on a video capture card or bundled software like XSplit, leaving users to figure out how to get this streaming PC actually set up for streaming.
If NZXT had marketed this PC to general gamers, this would not have been a complaint since it’s a great prebuilt. However, streamers should expect streaming PCs to make streaming easier for them, and this PC has nothing to help with that.
Performance needs tweaking
NZXT ships the PCs with each part’s default settings out of the box, so you are responsible for knowing what settings to change to optimize your PC. This can be a bit daunting for less experienced PC users who are more likely to buy a prebuilt PC in the first place. The BIOS settings in particular need a lot of tweaking.
To get the most out of your RAM, you’ll need to enable XMP in the BIOS. This protocol tells the motherboard to run the RAM at its maximum speed instead of the BIOS’s slower default speed. This shouldn’t break your warranty, either, as you’re not overclocking anything.
Another setting that needs to be tweaked is the PC’s fan curve or the settings that tell your fans to speed up or slow down depending on the CPU temperature. By default, the fans run fast and loud at idle temperatures. You can turn down your fan speed to your comfort level in the BIOS, and change which temperatures the fan speed should ramp up or down (I like to keep my PC nearly silent below 50 degrees Celsius, and then ramp to max cooling above 70 degrees Celsius, but there are a million ways you can safely set it). The Streaming PC’s Kraken water cooler is more than capable of handling its cooling silently and effectively, so go forth and mess with it.
Upgrade options are limited
The NZXT Streaming PC comes in three configurations: base, plus, and pro. You cannot customize them, so you have to settle for whatever NZXT chose for them. Furthermore, the build configurations of the PCs are not consistent over time, so you’ll have to buy what you can get at the moment. (NZXT confirmed to us that due to the semiconductor shortage, stock fluctuates according to supplier availability. What you see on the website at your time of purchase is what you get—this way they’re not promising graphics cards they don’t have.)
When the Streaming PC lineup was refreshed in early to mid-August, all three builds came with an AMD Ryzen 5 5600X, and the pro model had an RTX 3090. Now the pro model comes with an AMD Ryzen 7 5800X and an RTX 3080, and the plus model comes with a 3060 Ti instead of the 3070 we’ve reviewed. These part changes are due to the ongoing semiconductor shortages, but this makes it harder for users to know if a certain build suits them. However, NZXT matches prices to the available parts, so you won’t be paying as much for a 3060 Ti as you would a 3070. Of course, you are free to swap parts out with third-party purchases, but the point of buying a prebuilt PC is to avoid messing with the hardware setup.
We do think the build tiers are properly marketed, though. Serious streamers will be fine with either of the Streaming Pro’s Ryzen 5/RTX 3090 or Ryzen 7/RTX 3080 combo, even if there is a bit of performance tradeoff. You’re not getting the fastest, most powerful system out there, but it won’t be far off. Meanwhile, the Streaming Plus is a well-balanced machine perfect for enthusiasts, and the base PC will meet casual streamers’ needs just fine.
Should you buy it?
Yes, it’s still a great PC for gaming and streaming
For most people looking to do some streaming, the NZXT Streaming PC Plus is NZXT’s best value system for playing just about anything. For $1,999, you will get a great mid-range desktop with standard off-the-shelf parts beloved by the custom PC community. The build configuration is perfect for even serious gamers, as it gives enough performance to play most games at 100 fps or more on 1080p, 60 fps or slightly below at 4K, and stream highly demanding games without a hitch. If you ever outgrow this PC, you can easily upgrade the parts with any standard part from a third-party seller.
However, for a streaming PC, it lacks streaming-specific features: it has no video capture card and no included streaming software like XSplit. The available configurations online are also subject to change, meaning you may not be able to find a Streaming PC Plus with a Ryzen 5 5600X and an RTX 3070 tomorrow. If you’re after a prebuilt PC that’s just as powerful but has a different personality, the Skytech Chronos Gaming Prebuilt PC and the Corsair Vengeance a7200 are good alternatives.
As far as pre-builts go, the NZXT Streaming PC Plus is an amazing desktop that will serve most gamers for many years to come. It’s a well-balanced build that can push out great performance in 1080p and 4K gaming, in basic streaming setups, and for more casual 3D work. Building a similar system will probably cost the same or more with the current semiconductor shortages, and the Streaming PC Plus is neatly assembled and packaged.
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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.
Meet the tester
Adrien is a staff writer for Reviewed, mainly focused on reviewing laptops and other consumer tech. During his free time, he's usually wandering around Hyrule.
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