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LAN-Gaming Cafe Owner, Need Help...

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  • CPUs
  • Gaming
  • LAN
Last response: in CPUs
January 6, 2005 2:01:37 PM

**Since I'm a new member, please forgive if I posted this in the wrong section**

hello everyone,

I'm going to open a LAN Gaming Cafe and i'm going to need your help and advice to get adequate PC specifications for my LAN Gaming Cafe.

First of All, here are some brief info;;

Most people here in my area play:

Offline/LAN games:
-Counter-Strike: Condition Zero
-Counter-Strike 1.6
-Unreal Tournament
-Need for speed Underground 2

Online Games:
-Gunbound ( www.gunbound.net )
-Ragnarok Online ( www.ragnarokonline.com )
-Tantra Online (a new rich featured 3D Online MMORPG Game)
-Warcraft III

Right now my LAN Gaming Cafe missions are:

-Provide a comfortable place (Air Conditioner, Leather Seat, etc)
-Cheap cost to play and surf
-Provide adequate entertainment in the PCs (Many Games, Music, Movies, scanned comics, etc)
-Provide adequate office applications (For people who come in to do their work)
-To defeat other Internet and Gaming Cafes in features and to take there loyal costumers to mine. (business is cruel, yes)

and..

-To bring Counter Strike: Source as full featured eye candy LAN-Gaming
(The game must run smooth in highest detail) Why? since all the people here is craze with cs.

There are some gaming cafes in my area that already installed CS:Source to
their system, however people don't play them since it
run bad (Slow & pixelated) on there pc systems (Most cafes only got low spec PCs such as athlon 2000+ combined with geforce 4mx/geforce fx5200) and they play the older condition zero and 1.6 instead.


Anyway, after All the confusion for weeks, i decided to get this PC specification for my LAN Gaming Cafe:

-Monitor: Samsung Syncmaster 793mb ($120) (Popular monitor in asia PC Market, if there's any better for value then let me know.)
( Pictures & Info: http://shopper.cnet.com/Samsung_SyncMaster_793MB_displa... )

-Motherboard: DFI NF II Ultra AL ($60) (1 year old Mobo, however its a good nforce2 ultra mobo, and cheap too, 1/2 price of the LANParty version)
( Pictures & Info: http://www.new-generation.nl/index.html?target=p_1645.h... )

-CPU: AMD Athlon XP 3000+ ($80) (Decided to get this because i think its's the best price/perfomance cost compared to its higher XP 3200+ model. and I say no to overclocking lower models.)

-RAM: Corsair/Kingston DDR PC3200 512MB Value ($70) (If there's anything better for value then let me know.)

-HDD: Western Digital 80GB SATA 8MB Cache 7200 RPM WD800JD ($60) (My best hard drive experiences were with the WDs)

-VGA: Geforce 6600 AGP ($120) (In my opinion, this is the best Value Card at the moment)

-Casing: Simbada 380W Black / Red ($20) (Cool looking case system, similiar to those much more expensive Xaser cases)
( Picture: http://www.rakitan.com/simbadda.jpg )

-K&M: Thermal Take Xaser Termaltake Xaser Desktop Optical Black / Red ($20) (Nice, smooth looking Keyboard and Mouse that will match perfectly with the simbadda case)
( Pictures & Info http://www.pccasegear.com/prod1032.htm )

-Headset: LABTEC Axis 002 (sleek, goodlooking headset)
( Pictures & Info http://www.gamingin3d.com/reviews/axis/main.shtml )

But after all of that, i still have confusions:

1.for the CPU & MOBO, Is it Worth to upgrade to Athlon 64 2800+ combined with DFI LANParty nforce3 250mb board? with $100 more. Will all the games and the application on the workstations will run faster compared to the Athlon XP 3000+? (If it's only gonna give small difference in system speed, and only like 4fps in cs source then i rather spend the extra money for a Geforce 6600GT.

2.I'm scared that Geforce 6600 AGP is not going to run CS: Source smoothly at highest graphic setting (with 4xAA and 16x FSAA), should i get Geforce 6600GT instead? ($80 more).

3.But come back to the point, do people like it to play CS: Source with AA and FSAA? or most people just gonna turn them off? if its true then theres no point in getting the Geforce 6600GT.

4.Should I get a single 512MB RAM or should i get 2x 256mb for the DDR Slots (extra $10).

5.Do you guys think the Thermaltake Xaser Keyboard & Mouse will do its job well? and about getting a high-end mouse model (above $30) i say no, because most people here bring there own mouse anyway to play CS. If the Thermaltake Xaser is good enough, then will it get any better if i get the wireless version ($20 more), such as in look, style and eye candy to customers. but I'm worried about problems with changing batteries and hardware response time, as many people say wireless K&M for gaming is a bad idea.
( Picture & Info: http://www.xoxide.com/a2209.html )

6.Is the Headset good enough? is there any better value ones?

7.If i get the DFI NF II Ultra AL, it won't have soundstorm.. then will the realtek soundcard will be adequate enough? or i should add a cheap SBlive 5.1 to go with?


And, as for network, since i've never had experience with making such big LAN network. then i need to ask few questions:

1.What do you think is best specification for building a server PC. the networked stations is going to be 30+ PCs.
2.Which one is better to install, Switch or a router. if it's router, can you beriefly explain how its going to be installed.


ok that's all... and my decision will greatly affected by your opinions..
thank you very much for helping with me out... if there's any error with my post please correct me. any questions just ask me.
Once again, Thank you very much.

More about : lan gaming cafe owner

January 6, 2005 2:20:12 PM

I would expect a gaming cafe to have high end computers and top of the line graphic cards and displays.
The ones in my area do, and it is a small town.

The Athlon 3000+ is sufficiant, especially if oc'd 10% or so, but 1-gig of RAM is a minimum for gaming, especially if you are selling this feature.

What about the X800pro's or the 6800GT's, which are an economy version of the top end cards?

And of course good quality 21" displays are a must...

That is my suggestions if you want to beat the competition and take away and keep the customers from straying...

<pre><font color=red>°¤o,¸¸¸,o¤°`°¤o \\// o¤°`°¤o,¸¸¸,o¤°
And the sign says "You got to have a membership card to get inside" Huh
So I got me a pen and paper And I made up my own little sign</pre><p></font color=red>
January 6, 2005 3:07:43 PM

Question, How many are you going to start with?
And are you going assemble and install them yourself?

It would pay off to install one, update it, get programs and drivers working right, then make a ghost image of drive to use on the other machines. Not sure how licensing would work with XP tho, anyone know how this would work?

<pre><font color=red>°¤o,¸¸¸,o¤°`°¤o \\// o¤°`°¤o,¸¸¸,o¤°
And the sign says "You got to have a membership card to get inside" Huh
So I got me a pen and paper And I made up my own little sign</pre><p></font color=red>
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January 6, 2005 3:17:11 PM

You'd have to get a corporate edition of WindowsXP, it works without activation, just with a normal key like in Win98. Then you have to buy as many licences as you need.
January 6, 2005 3:18:16 PM

I would go to AT LEAST the A64 2800+ and would also suggest getting at least 1G ram, 512 just doesn't cut it anymore. It would also be good to upgrade the vid card a bit. I would stay away from the cordless mouse, try to keep the mouse and keyboard cheaper, and buy more of them, you will need to replace these as they get worn out. Remember that people won't be as nice to your equipment as you are, and the mouse/keyboard combo will get abused.
January 6, 2005 6:18:03 PM

1.What do you think is best specification for building a server PC. the networked stations is going to be 30+ PCs.

If your going to have multiple instances of games running on one server, your going to need a pretty beefy machine. Dual or Quad CPU's, a lot of memory and SCSI or SATA drives. You might want to check Ebay for older servers, like Compaq ML530 or IBM eServers. A lot of businesses sell them for cheap after they do a hardware refresh.

2.Which one is better to install, Switch or a router. if it's router, can you beriefly explain how its going to be installed.

You definitely don't need a router - to support as many as 30+ gamers on the same LAN your going to need a decent 100 MB switch - and it probably won't be cheap. The best switch would actually be a gigabit switch running everyone at 1000 MB Full Duplex, but based on how you are looking to save a few bucks by not buying good hardware for the PC's, I doubt you'll want to spend the money on GB switch. You may want to check Ebay for some 24 or 48 port switches as well.
January 6, 2005 9:38:09 PM

Well my nephew is using my clocked-up Xp-2500+ to play CS Source while we sort out his machine. It's clocked to 3000+ speeds but it ain't no A64-3000+. That's what I would recommend along with your 6600GTs (good choice) and 1 gb of ram. The rest is icing on the cake.


Abit IS7 - 3.0C @ 3.6ghz - Mushkin PC4000 (2 X 512) - Sapphire 9800Pro - TT 420 watt Pure Power
Samsung 120gb ATA-100 - Maxtor 40gb ATA - 100
Sony DRU-510A - Yellowtail Merlot
January 7, 2005 3:05:39 AM

I have very strong feeling that you're from South East Asia. Jakarta - Indonesia, I presume? Me myself from Surabaya. ^^

Client:
1. In choosing processor you need to consider : price, performance, plus some small things like heat (more heat, more noise, less reliable) and upgradibility (2 years later you'll have hard time to find the substitute for a broken Athlon XP).
However adding $100 (x30 = $3000) isn't really worth, getting 6600 GT is a better choice IMHO.
Keep in mind that customers don't care about PC specs, they only think whether it's playable or not. 50 fps is pretty much tolerable.

2. I have an X600XT (which compared to 6600 is slightly weaker in DirectX9 and pretty worse in OpenGL - aka Doom3). It can run CS Source quite smoothly. I don't advice using FSAA though.

3. FSAA & AF are rarely used. Gameplay is much more important than graphic quality. Though it can be your strong poin, I doubt there will be a significant customer increase. Everyone goes online now, IMO invest the money on better connection or better server.

4. Single 512 MB should be sufficient. Once again, everyone is rooting for online game than offline one. Anyway it's good to watch your customer carefully in the first 2 months: if many play offline and your system isn't sufficient, add another same 512 MB (for dual channel).

5. Just like Starfishy said, customers don't care about your equipment. Find the cheap and reliable, I prefer A4Tech. If you go for style, it's completely up to your taste.

6. I have a Clarion headphone (dunno if it's genuine one or not) for about $8, no mic. It's very good for the price IMO. The sound's good and the cable is quite thick, unlike many earphone has.

7. Onboard sound is good enough. But if you want to save more CPU utilization, go for SB Live. The question is, "is it worth the money?"


Network & Setver:
1. Use 2 Servers. One for billing account and one for game server. Avoid mixing them.
The billing one doesn't need high specs, while the game server definitely needs good processor and large RAM. Good graphic card isn't necessary for both, perhaps onboard is enough.

2. Switch is very much enough. I have 3Com 10/100 (forget the model, it's the cheapest of 3Com though) and it runs flawlessly. It can automatically detect if it's straight or cross cabling. Quite cheap now.
Btw, using wireless is a good option too. Current device has already supported 108 Mbps. Cabling sometime can makes headache you know. Invest some more money though.
January 7, 2005 3:37:33 AM

I forgot the casing. Personally, I don't really like Simbadda cases. Though they're stylish, the quality isn't really good.

I prefer Aibo cases. It doesn't have fans here and there like Simbadda, but it has a lot of holes at the back and its PSU has one big fan (perhaps 14 cm) faces down, blowing out the CPU and PSU heat. The side case has a wind tunnel (I can't find better word) directly faces to the processor's HSF, allowing it always sucks fresh air. It's more quite and uses less power.

The style is somehow 'low profile', which I like, and the price is a bit higher too. Dunno you'll like it or not.
January 7, 2005 5:33:22 AM

If the choice is xp + gt, or A64 + 6600, go xp. If you go xp, get 2 sticks of ram/ unit. The dual channel is worth more than $10.
Maybe look at the Abit NF7-S as an alternative. It costs more, but the soundstorm saves having to buy an add-in card. It is also less cpu intensive, so more power for gaming.