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Need help upgrading HP xw4400 Workstation for Minecraft Server

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April 23, 2013 12:35:53 PM

Upgrading HP xw4400 Workstation for small Minecraft Server

CPU- Intel Core2 E6700 @ 2.66GHz
Motherboard- HP 0A68H
Chipset- Intel i975x
Power supply- 475 watts wide-ranging, active Power Factor Correction
Memory- 8GB (4 x 2GB) Crucial Ballistix, PC2 6400, DDR2-800MHz, 5-5-5-18
Video Card- AMD Radeon HD 7770 , 1gb memory, 128-bit
Hard Drive 1- 400gb Hitachi (HDT25040VLA360) 7200 RPM, 16MB Cache, SATA, 3.0 Gb/sec
Hard Drive 2- 500gb Seagate Barracuda (ST3500418AS) 7200 RPM, 16MB Cache, SATA, 3.0 Gb/sec
OS- Windows 7 Ultimate

We have $350 total invested in this PC and could possibly put in another $150 - $200. We are not looking to run a large Minecraft server but one that could take 20 players and a growing list of mods. Right now it gets laggy at about 5 players.

Where is my system currently bottlenecking? What can I do to increase the speed or ability to handle more players?

The Hitachi drive needs to be removed/replaced.

I am considering either replacing both hard drives with one 2TB 6Gb/s hard drive like:
1. Western Digital WD Black WD2002FAEX 2TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s or
2. Seagate Barracuda STBD2000101 2TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s

I have also considered replacing both hard drives with a small Solid State Drive and a 2TB 6Gb/s hard drive.

Do you think one of these options would show significant improvement?

Another option might be to install a new processor (like Intel Core 2 Duo E7600 Wolfdale 3.06GHz) or overclock the existing one (i have no experience overclocking).

What have I not considered that might also help?

Thank you! I appreciate your help.
a b à CPUs
April 23, 2013 12:41:07 PM

You'll want to replace the motherboard/CPU, as Core2Duo really isn't going to cut it for a Minecraft server. I'd recommend selling the 7770 and just running it off integrated graphics. That's almost certainly where the bottleneck is coming from.

It should be possible to get a low end i5 and a H61 motherboard for about $200. You'll need to sell the GPU for new RAM though.

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April 23, 2013 10:02:40 PM

So your saying get rid of my motherboard and graphics card and buy a new motherboard and set up my computer without a gpu?
Are you sure marshallbradley? I have read other threads elsewhere with people running minecraft servers with core2duo's. Getting a new motherboard seems like a whole new computer build to me. I don't think I am up for that. I don't even know how to start looking. Please point me in the right direction like a specific motherboard recommendation if you could. After that I still need to replace the Hitachi hard drive I have. I think it is going bad.
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a b à CPUs
April 24, 2013 5:32:54 AM

Well unlike Core 2 Duo systems, all modern motherboards support integrated graphics (which 95% of chips have), so as long as the computer is not for playing Minecraft on and just a dedicated server that will be fine.

Here's a motherboard and CPU combo that will work well I think, along with some RAM thrown in (I've gone for an i3):

PCPartPicker part list

CPU: Intel Core i3-3220 3.3GHz Dual-Core Processor ($113.99 @ NCIX US)
Motherboard: MSI B75MA-E33 Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($56.98 @ Outlet PC)
Memory: Crucial Ballistix Sport 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($47.20 @ Newegg)
Total: $218.17

Since you won't need a video card (you can just use the HD 2500 of the i3) you can just sell that. This is ONLY if this is a dedicated server though, you won't be able to game on the machine anymore, just run it as a server.

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April 24, 2013 9:20:12 AM

no this is not a dedicated server. it wouldn't be running 24/7. probably just weekends when my kids want to play minecraft. if i could afford it, i could theoretically keep the 7770 graphics card with the build you suggest? Thank you for keeping within my budget.
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a b à CPUs
April 24, 2013 9:57:03 AM

Yes if you keep your video-card it will be a very good gaming machine as well.

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