My sons absolutely love Minecraft and they are wanting to help build a Minecraft server (since I guess it's very easy). I know some people have spent a few hundred and others a few thousand to build one, but I'd like to know your thoughts.
Firstly, I'm an AMD guy so don't bother suggesting any Intel parts.
Secondly, what's most important for such a server: quick access times, hard drive speed, lan speed, cpu cores, etc?
Third, any other thoughts are appreciated.
I've run the server (for 2 people) on my 11" MacBook Air using 1GB RAM and 1.4 GHz C2D.
Buying an Intel setup wouldn't be ideal simply because it's too expensive for what you really need; you don't need the horsepower of an i5 to run it.
I'd speculate that a good dual core could get the job done, but something like an Athlon II X4 with 4 GB RAM would probably be ideal, especially if there are tons of people playing on the server, and it won't be too expensive.
I don't think the server is really dependent on hard drive speed; it seems to be more affected by the CPU and RAM (with obvious dependencies on your network speed).
I'm not very experienced with the servers, so I don't know for sure. Minecraft isn't a lot of information to process, so I don't think a dual lan card would really be worth the money unless you have insane amounts of traffic. Worst case is that you buy one and add it in later.
I understand that a dedicated gpu is important since it frees up ram for the server. However, it doesn't really matter what type it is does it?
I guess that is true for a 32bit OS - a 64bit wouldn't be affected though. As long as it can display an image to the screen, you should be good, so any GPU you have lying around the house should do beautifully (really all you need to do is access the terminal to moderate the server).
Just as a clarification of how I run it - I have 4GB RAM in my MacBook, but I set up the server for two of us with 1GB. If you have 4GB+ in the server, it should be able to use all of it.
4GB of ram, run on low resource needs distro's of linux, run it from a RAMDISK. A dual core cpu will do just fine, just be sure it's at least 2.1 GHz or higher. Leave 1.5GB for the system, 512MB for RAMDisk, and 2GB dedicated for running the server. But with the prices of DDR3 right now, 8GB would open up a lot more performance if they have many players. http://pcpartpicker.com/p/zKXYRB
Everything under $180 US dollars, Bear in mind for just over 200 you could get another 4GB of RAM I mentioned.