I've built a gaming desktop before, but I've never built a server so I really don't know what I'm getting myself into. Me and my wife are Minecraft addicts but have succumb to the constant world resets and raging pre-adolescents that dominant most public servers. That being said, we're interested in building our own server for our house that will be strictly dedicated to running a Minecraft server.
My initial thoughts are pretty sparing because as I said I'm more familiar with the desktop approach to things. Here are a few initial questions I have:
Is it possible to fit server architecture in a small package? Since this is only going to be for Minecraft, I was looking for a small physical footprint because I intend on sticking it in a corner and forgetting about it.
In terms of hard drive, is there a significant performance gain when it comes to hard disks vs SSD? I know that Minecraft frequently writes to the world files and undergoes loading chunks while exploring the world, so my instinct says read/write speeds would impact overall game performance, but I'm not entirely sure.
This last question is really specific, and I only expect people who have experienced Minecraft to know the answer: Does Minecraft take advantage of multi-core systems?
Also, here's my goals for the system:
Small physical footprint
Budget friendly (It'd be awesome to get <$500)
Optimized solely to run Minecraft
Again, I'm completely new to the server side of things so any help and/or tips would be greatly appreciated! Cheers.
Assuming this is just for your family in your house, your external internet speeds shouldn't make much of a difference (excepting the times you connect when you are out of your house).
Again, assuming this is just for your family (small numbers of players connected at a single time), you don't really need a powerhouse. I run a small server for my family which is based off an old Athlon X2, 4 Gigs of DDR2, and an IDE drive. This works fine for a small number of players. The cheapest solution would be to reuse a machine that you have. At that point, you could look into a more powerful machine if you decide you want to.
If your building your own mini-sized computer, a small SSD would make sense, as a single world (even when very large) does not use much space. Furthermore, if you go with a headless (no monitor, keyboard, or mouse) setup running something like Ubuntu Server, you hardly need any storage space anyway. Chunk loading should be better with an SSD vs a traditional HDD.
Minecraft can to a degree take advantage of multiple cores, but it is still more dependent on individual core speed (overall speed, not just clock rate). With a server, the requirements are lessened because the client's workload is not present.