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Parts for dedicated gaming server

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  • CPUs
  • Gaming
  • Servers
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July 6, 2005 3:10:14 PM

Hey, you guys/gals never fail to help me out on here so here goes. I am wanting to put together a (decent yet not un-godly expensive) server made for hosting dedicated games for Battlefield 2 as well as BFV, and some CS. I am currently using a old Aopen board KT400 chipset, and a xp2800 1g of ddr400 ram. I am wanting something more powerful as is, i can only run about a 16 player server on bf2. I would like something for 64 players. I have built several regular pc's. But Im a bit nieve when it comes to boards/procs that would make a nice server for what I need. Thanks in advance

More about : parts dedicated gaming server

July 6, 2005 3:56:27 PM

Probably wusy can give you good options, but I haven't seen him around. Try to PM him.

<font color=red>It's impossible to make anything foolproof because fools are so ingenious<font color=red>
July 6, 2005 4:58:46 PM

If you have the money get something like that :

Athlon X2 4200+ (or Pentium D)
2x1Gig DDR400
nForce4 based motherboard (no need for SLI/Ultra since it will be a server)

I don't know if RAID could provide any performance boost, I doubt it since most of the job for FPS servers are done in RAM. A dual-core CPU would surely boost your performance a lot on the server if you run more than 1 game at a time.

-
GA-K8NF-9 / <b><font color=green>Athlon 64 3200+</font color=green> @ 3800+</b>
Infineon DDR400 (CL2.5) 2x512Megs
<font color=green>GeForce 6600GT 128Megs</font color=green>
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July 6, 2005 8:08:49 PM

Hmm...64 players...you're looking for something 4x more powerful then the current config then...Do you have a T3 coming in to your place? Because you won't be able to support 64 Internet players on a cable modem, T1, or most DSL. Oh well, you didn't ask about that. I would recommend going with a dual amd opteron (251's) over an amd x2 chip...only because of the memory...hmm...If money isn't an issue, i'd get the latest opteron setup, tyan 4 way board with 8 gb on some flavor of linux. =D I mean wth right?! However...if money is an issue...but you have enough to upgrade a bit:

4800 X2 - $1000; 4600 X2 $800; 4400 x2 $700; 4200 x2 $550
2gb of ram - $250 edit: definately go with 2x1024mb like theRod said, over the 4x512 alternatives
windows xp - 32 - $250 (i would check in to what OS's other people are using though...linux...win serv...)
nforce 4 ultra chipset -$120

reuse: everything else unless you want to go with pure performance HD's...buy a couple of 2x72gb raptors in raid 0...or, 4 or 5 of the new SATA IO (called II on the nforce boards...)in raid 5 (but that will eat away at your available cpu...depending on how many programs you're serving this could eventually become a problem as the onboard LAN and Raid use a lot of cpu at heavy loads).

Alternately you could get a high end p4 ... the ah 840EE...it does pretty well when you have a lot of things going on at the same time, but typically doesn't do as well as the amd chips.

edit: In all seriousness though...i'd go out and check out what servers are out there right now on BF2. Ask the admin's, typically they rent from places, and you can get that info from them, or right off of BF2's website (or at least links to these places), and the renters' can tell you exactly what they use in their servers. Having a dual setup may not help you at all if EA hasn't set up their BF2 servers to work multithreaded...short of the overhead work (ethernet, raid, sound, etc...), or in the cases where you're serving more then one program.

F@H:
AMD: [64 3000+][2500+][2400+][2000+][1.3][366]
Intel: [X 3.0x3][P4 3.0x2][P4 2.4x5 down][P4 1.4]

"...and i'm not gay" RX8 -Greatest Quote of ALL Time<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by apesoccer on 07/06/05 04:21 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
July 6, 2005 8:25:39 PM

Thanks for all the help. Im gonna get the budget together in a couple days and hopefully have my first 'real' gaming server in a lil bit. btw thanks for the info on the net connection. Howmany people do you think a 4mbit connection would support?
July 6, 2005 9:11:47 PM

4mb ? (dsl-a 4mb up and 4mb down?)

Is that upload too? or just download? Most dsl and cable providers only support 128k-512k upload...On 256 upload (my old provider comcast...since upgraded to 512), in BF: DC, we could play with 4 people online, with occasional lag. At a small local LAN party we had a max of 15 people and 2 internet with no lag for anybody served on a 2100 with 512mb. When playing with bots, it ran better off of a 3 ghz w/ht then a 2500+ amd...for whatever that's worth (obviously that isn't an apples to apples comparison, but those were the two high end cpus we had at the time that we used for testing, in addition to the 2100 we actually used). That said, there wasn't ever any game lag on any of the systems, only the bots seemed affected by the p4 system, as they seemed more responsive (which was voiced and excepted by everyone there).

On bf2...i haven't tested it yet. I don't even have the full version yet. The last LAN i went to, only 3 people had it, so we didn't set it up. I'm sure the next one we'll have a few games on it.

The best information you can get, is going to be from the providers that are already out there. There is probably a FAQ already out that says about how many people you can host per type of line and server you have.

Edit: bleh i did it again...i think you can host 1 person per 64k. What ends up happening is for every 4 or so people you need another 64k for overhead. This is just for BF: DC.

I hosted 16 player games on my 2mb download 128k upload cable connection (Bungie: Myth II '98) back in the day.

F@H:
AMD: [64 3000+][2500+][2400+][2000+][1.3][366]
Intel: [X 3.0x3][P4 3.0x2][P4 2.4x5 down][P4 1.4]

"...and i'm not gay" RX8 -Greatest Quote of ALL Time<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by apesoccer on 07/06/05 05:17 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
July 7, 2005 8:10:04 AM

As others have hinted: figure out what is the bottleneck first. If you are bandwith constraint (my guess), no ammount of hardware upgrades is going to help you. Ditto for having a T3 connection on a single 10Mb NIC. If bandwith or I/O isn't the problem, check memory foorprint of the server. What good does a fast cpu do you, when its swapping constantly ?

FWIW, my IL2 squadron we have a CS server (32 players, but not used a lot), 2 IL2 servers (20 and 32 players), a BF2 demo server (16 players I think) and then some other stuff running on a single A64 3500+ with 4 GB Ram. I get ~22ms pings on the IL2 server, and that is over internet.

I wouldn't be surprised if your current machine is fast enough to support 64 players, In fact, i'd be surprised if it wheren't, but you will need sufficient bandwith, especially upstream.

= The views stated herein are my personal views, and not necessarily the views of my wife. =
July 7, 2005 2:26:18 PM

Heh...i was able to host a 4 people on a compaq presario laptop with a amd 366 mhz and 196mb on rh9 but any more then that and it would crap out. If that scaled upwards (assuming no optimizations to the system as a whole...)
366 - 4
733 - 8
1466 - 16
2933 - 32
6000 - 64....there you go...all you need is a 6000mhz computer...=/

Ok so much for that idea.

F@H:
AMD: [64 3000+][2500+][2400+][2000+][1.3][366]
Intel: [X 3.0x3][P4 3.0x2][P4 2.4x5 down][P4 1.4]

"...and i'm not gay" RX8 -Greatest Quote of ALL Time
July 8, 2005 1:00:31 AM

Umm not saying i want to go cheap, but im sure if anyone can save a buck they will. I have a budget probably of near 1k, I already have tower psu, optical drives and the os.
July 8, 2005 2:25:36 PM

If you want to save some, or have questions about sheep shagging you're talking to the right man. :smile:

<font color=red>It's impossible to make anything foolproof because fools are so ingenious<font color=red>
July 9, 2005 2:42:01 AM

Quote:
reuse: everything else unless you want to go with pure performance HD's...buy a couple of 2x72gb raptors in raid 0...or, 4 or 5 of the new SATA IO (called II on the nforce boards...)in raid 5 (but that will eat away at your available cpu...depending on how many programs you're serving this could eventually become a problem as the onboard LAN and Raid use a lot of cpu at heavy loads).

This is slightly misleading.

RAID 0 is the only one that will give you a significant performance increase (at the expense of doubling the chance of an unrecoverable error). RAID 4 and 5 are ONLY for three or more disks and are mainly to aggregate capacity while giving some boost in reliability. The only analogous technique that works with 2 drives is RAID 1, which is just mirroring.

(On the upside, though, the CPU load with software RAID isn't that great at the scale of today's CPUs.)

Your game server is probably either CPU, RAM, or network-bound; it is very unlikely that the disk is a big bottleneck, except maybe when starting a new game. Put your money into the other factors and don't go for any exotic disk configuration.
July 9, 2005 4:47:54 AM

Are you replying to me or to someone else? Cuz only i will get the reply if you reply to my post.

I've never heard of anyone using raid 4 before...Unless that's another term for what people call 1+0. Another raid with parity? Anyway, i'm not sure i was misleading, it offers a small performance increase using raid 5, assuming you have the cpu power to back it up (dual or better formation) or hardware raid (which we aren't considering since we're talking about software raid). But you're right, his bottleneck in most cases is going to firstly be network bandwidth, then cpu...he should be ok in the ram department, unless he goes with 512 or less. For serving he won't need nearly as much ram as actually playing the game. However for going from one map to another, he'll want a fast hd formation...there's nothing more annoying then having to wait for the server to catch up to the players...but as you said, take care of the primary concerns: bandwidth and cpu.

F@H:
AMD: [64 3000+][2500+][2400+][2000+][1.3][366]
Intel: [X 3.0x3][P4 3.0x2][P4 2.4x5 down][P4 1.4]

"...and i'm not gay" RX8 -Greatest Quote of ALL Time
July 11, 2005 3:58:32 PM

Why pci-x? Is that for the scsi card then? Just curious. I've never had a machine that had one on it. I suppose i've worked with the ones in the server room, but i hadn't really given it any thought...replacing a fan or swapping out a dead hd are about the extent to working on the servers (hardware wise anyway...). I suppose now that i'm thinking aloud...er on um computer...(we need a new phrase specific to typing, for that; instead of thinking aloud...)...back to what i was saying, scsi/ide/etc makes the most sense for that slot, do people use it for dual ethernet too? Just trying to think what else people actually use that slot for.

F@H:
AMD: [64 3000+][2500+][2400+][2000+][1.3][366]
Intel: [X 3.0x3][P4 3.0x2][P4 2.4x5 down][P4 1.4]

"...and i'm not gay" RX8 -Greatest Quote of ALL Time
July 11, 2005 4:04:26 PM

Quote:
I've never heard of anyone using raid 4 before...

Raid 3, 4 and 5 are quite similar in concept. 3 & 4 use a single drive for all parity, and one of them (3? not sure) stripes at the bit level, and I think both of them (3 does I'm sure) require the drives to be synchronized. 5 rotates the parity across the drives per block, and gives the best performance (not as high as 0 of course) of the 3 for smaller files. IIRC 4 is best for massive files (DVD videos?), and is used regularly in specialty situations. Many consumer-level controllers only support 0, 1 & 5 (and sometimes their extrapolations, 6, 10, 50, etc.).

Mike.

<font color=blue>Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside the dog its too dark to read.
-- Groucho Marx</font color=blue>
July 11, 2005 4:36:20 PM

Ok cool, thx. That's exactly the information i was looking for. You know, for some time i've wanted to know more about raid. I know the basics...but really i don't understand indepth enough to sate myself <goes in search of my old a+ books>. I don't really know what it means by parity, and what that affects. I mean, it is basically just a way to duplicate/verify what is happening in another area of memory. But if you were to lose the hd that tracks that information (in the case of 3,4) what would the consequences be (if any)? Would you just need to swap out the drive, since all it really is doing is checking the rest of the drives for consistancy. Or are there 2 drives used for parity, mirrored? What of very large drives....ok uh, yea it's early on Monday...gotta stop trying to think on Mondays =/. Answer what you will, but don't feel like you need to answer everything. I can google most/all of this info. =D

F@H:
AMD: [64 3000+][2500+][2400+][2000+][1.3][366]
Intel: [X 3.0x3][P4 3.0x2][P4 2.4x5 down][P4 1.4]

"...and i'm not gay" RX8 -Greatest Quote of ALL Time
July 11, 2005 5:37:53 PM

For each X parts (2 if 3 drives in the array, 9 if 10 drives, etc.) that your data is spread across, it calculates parity data. This parity data creates enough information so that if any 1 drive fails, the data is recoverable. If a second drive goes down all data is lost, so swapping the downed drive fast is vital.

Raid 3 & 4 put all the parity data on one drive and 5 rotates the parity across the drives, but the result is the same (different performance characteristics, but the same result) You can lose any 1 drive and still have all your data. (RAID 2 uses a more complex parity calculation, and requires more parity drives (about 75% IIRC), so it isn't used for technical/financial reasons).

After you lose a drive, when its replaced the driver/controller can then recreate the missing piece, and your security is restored - luckily I've never had an array lose a drive, so I've never gone through that.

In case of large drives, recovering can be time-consuming.

Yah, just google it and I bet you'll get enough to make your eyes glaze over.

Mike.

<font color=blue>Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside the dog its too dark to read.
-- Groucho Marx</font color=blue>
July 12, 2005 6:40:25 PM

Heh sorry for the slow response. Been in meetings all day yesterday and today. I don't need to go on google to have my eyes glaze over, let me tell you. I'm about to collapse, i hate meetings. Thx for the update, gotta run, just wanted to respond.

F@H:
AMD: [64 3000+][2500+][2400+][2000+][1.3][366]
Intel: [X 3.0x3][P4 3.0x2][P4 2.4x5 down][P4 1.4]

"...and i'm not gay" RX8 -Greatest Quote of ALL Time
July 14, 2005 2:53:29 PM

Did you actually buy a giga switch to go with the gigabit ethernet? Or are you in the same boat as me? I have 3 computers which will do giga, but no giga switch (but i do have 4 100mb switches on the other hand; "Ma'am i need to get a flight to chicago, do you have anything available?<says a man in a hurry> Hmmm, let me see here, I can get you on a flight <i>back</i> from chicago, does that help? <says blonde stewardess>).

F@H:
AMD: [64 3000+][2500+][2400+][2000+][1.3][366]
Intel: [X 3.0x3][P4 3.0x2][P4 2.4x5 down][P4 1.4]

"...and i'm not gay" RX8 -Greatest Quote of ALL Time
a b à CPUs
July 14, 2005 3:21:11 PM

I believe that quote is from...Meet the Parents.

__________________________________________________
<font color=red>You're a boil on the arse of progress - don't make me squeeze you!</font color=red>
July 15, 2005 4:33:59 PM

so thats a 24port 100mb with two uplink at 1000? Or you have 3 switches?

F@H:
AMD: [64 3000+][2500+][2400+][2000+][1.3][366]
Intel: [X 3.0x3][P4 3.0x2][P4 2.4x5 down][P4 1.4]

"...and i'm not gay" RX8 -Greatest Quote of ALL Time
July 17, 2005 9:44:00 PM

I've looked at making that kinda purchase...but i never saw anything for a price that i thought would be worth my while. =/ (but then again...i just spent another 300 on a second 6800gt to get sli...oh well...at least now i can run all the games i want at 1600x1200 with all the i-candy...vs 1600x1200 with most of the i-candy).

F@H:
AMD: [64 3000+][2500+][2400+][2000+][1.3][366]
Intel: [X 3.0x3][P4 3.0x2][P4 2.4x5 down][P4 1.4]

"...and i'm not gay" RX8 -Greatest Quote of ALL Time
July 18, 2005 2:52:30 PM

YES master icy! You are most wise in your observations!

F@H:
AMD: [64 3000+][2500+][2400+][2000+][1.3][366]
Intel: [X 3.0x3][P4 3.0x2][P4 2.4x5 down][P4 1.4]

"...and i'm not gay" RX8 -Greatest Quote of ALL Time
July 18, 2005 8:57:44 PM

Very good using the cheap bastard side of the force you are :smile:

<b><font color=blue>If you try to please everybody, nobody will like you<font color=blue></b>
July 18, 2005 8:58:57 PM

w00t!
new title!
but what does nimble means?

<b><font color=blue>If you try to please everybody, nobody will like you<font color=blue></b>
July 18, 2005 9:33:12 PM

Found the definition:

nimble
1.Quick, light, or agile in movement or action

<b><font color=blue>If you try to please everybody, nobody will like you<font color=blue></b>
July 19, 2005 12:42:21 AM

Good for you. Now if you could learn to type with your finger tips.....

Why would anyone want to type with there knuckles anyhow?
July 19, 2005 1:30:10 PM

:redface:
OK I'll try to learn
I had an old hand, now at least my knuckles are nimble.

<b><font color=blue>If you try to please everybody, nobody will like you<font color=blue></b>
!