I'm just curious what kind of servers is/are used when hosting BF2 with 64 players? Im not familiar with servers at all and it would be nice to get some knowledge about it. Soon Im building my own somewhat server for private LAN gaming amongst my peers. I have never experience or around with servers and related stuff.
All servers need is RAM, really, and enough hard drive space to hold the games. Since they're not actually running the game, they don't need anything but a decent video card. Some people don't even run them with a monitor, but I would find it easier.
I would suggest a micro-atx case and motherboard for a server, if you have any of those lying around. Dual gigabit ethernet would be nice, but I'm not sure off the top of my head how many uATX motherboards have dual - most have single.
If you're going for cheap, I would go with an X-Qpack or Ultra's MicroFly (both come with a PSU, but I prefer Ultra to Aspire, and the MicroFly is a better case). Find an inexpesive uATX motherboard (preferably 939 or AM2, since Core 2 is expensive) and a CPU, a GB of RAM, any video card that supports the monitor you're using, and an 80 GB hard drive. Then connect it to the LAN and host the games on that through a command-line.
Most use dual Opterons 248 with 2GB of ram.
This is only recommend for three servers running 64 players max in most cases. BF2 is very high on the server side. If you want lag free then running just 2 at max is safe. Companys found out very fast how high end of a server they needed to run BF2. Main when it first came out were very laggy because they would put up to 5 on a server with these specs. Also BF2 needs a min of 20000kb bandwidth per player. If you add voice to this it gets higher. So if plan to do this from home over the net even a t1 one is very limited to how many players you can have. But for a lan 100Mbit connect should be fine. Just as long as you are using switchs and not hubs.
No, you don't need as good of a computer to host the game versus running the game. Most multiplayer games let you host a game using a dedicated server through a command line interface, like UT and Halo. You don't need the amazing specs of a gaming rig, because you're not running the game, but a command line!
The only thing I would suggest is to make sure you have 2 GB of RAM. But a single core and any video card with a VGA or DVI monitor conection will host any multiplayer game out there, perhaps more than one at the same time.
Since you're going over the LAN, you don't need the specs of a high-powered server (like Blizzard's) to push all the information over an Internet connection. And you're not doing anything enterprise-class, are you? It's just for a local LAN, right?