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I stream live events, with the cameras inputted through USB adapters, and the stream encoded with WireCast.

How much of an effect does the graphics card have on the output quality when live streaming? That is, if I'm building a desktop, do I need to make sure I have a stellar graphics card, or does it not really matter much?

I assume that it does not matter much, and that the CPU is the one doing all the work.

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This depends mostly on the software you're using. Some of the nicer/more-expensive packages offload most of the video-processing to the GPU leaving the CPU more-or-less idle... whereas cheaper solutions just throw everything at the CPU. – TheCompWiz May 8 '12 at 20:52

Thanks to @TheCompWiz, I did research on Wirecast specifically, and based on this answer thread on Wirecast's support forums, WireCast can and does significantly use the GPU.

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