Can i run obs without graphics card

Last Updated: Feb 28, 2024 by

If you’re a content creator or a gamer, you’ve probably heard of OBS (Open Broadcaster Software). It’s a popular free and open-source software for video recording and live streaming. However, one question that often comes up is whether OBS can be run without a graphics card. In this article, we’ll explore the answer to this question and provide some tips for using OBS without a graphics card.

Understanding OBS System Requirements

Before we dive into whether OBS can run without a graphics card, let’s first understand the system requirements for OBS. According to the official OBS website, the minimum system requirements for OBS are:

  • Windows 8 or newer
  • macOS 10.13 or newer
  • Linux (64-bit only)
  • 4GB of RAM
  • 2GB of free disk space

As you can see, there is no mention of a graphics card in the minimum system requirements. This means that technically, you can run OBS without a graphics card. However, there are some important factors to consider.

OBS Recording vs. Live Streaming

One of the main uses of OBS is for recording videos. If you’re only using OBS for recording, then you can definitely run it without a graphics card. OBS uses your CPU for encoding, so as long as your CPU meets the minimum system requirements, you should be able to record without any issues.

However, if you’re planning on live streaming with OBS, then a graphics card becomes more important. Live streaming requires real-time encoding, which puts a lot of strain on your CPU. A graphics card can help alleviate some of this strain by handling some of the encoding tasks. Without a graphics card, you may experience lag or dropped frames while live streaming.

Tips for Using OBS Without a Graphics Card

If you’re determined to use OBS without a graphics card, here are some tips to help improve your experience:

  • Lower your video settings: In OBS, you can adjust the video settings to reduce the strain on your CPU. This includes lowering the resolution, frame rate, and bitrate.
  • Use a dedicated streaming PC: If you have a second computer available, you can use it as a dedicated streaming PC. This means that your main computer will only be used for gaming or recording, while the streaming PC handles the encoding and streaming tasks.
  • Upgrade your CPU: If you’re experiencing lag or dropped frames while live streaming, you may need to upgrade your CPU. A more powerful CPU can handle the encoding tasks better, reducing the strain on your system.


In conclusion, while it is technically possible to run OBS without a graphics card, it may not be the best option for live streaming. If you’re only using OBS for recording, then you should be able to run it without any issues. However, for live streaming, a graphics card can greatly improve your experience. If you’re determined to use OBS without a graphics card, be sure to follow the tips mentioned above to optimize your settings and improve your streaming quality.

Have you tried running OBS without a graphics card? Let us know in the comments.

Gulrukh Ch

About the Author: Gulrukh Ch

Gulrukh Chaudhary, an accomplished digital marketer and technology writer with a passion for exploring the frontiers of innovation. Armed with a Master's degree in Information Technology, Gulrukh seamlessly blends her technical prowess with her creative flair, resulting in captivating insights into the world of emerging technologies. Discover more about her on her LinkedIn profile.