Building a Game Server

By cslord15
Jan 28, 2004
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  1. A friend and I have decided to undertake a server-building project. We were thinking about building a game server. We weren't exactly sure what the budget would be as of yet, but we are most likely building the server for games such as Counter-Strike and Day of Defeat (not exactly the most graphically demanding games out there.) I need some advice on the following:

    Processor - I was thinking of going with an AMD processor (just the way I am, never had problems with them), but I'm not sure exactly which way to go - whether to get a Barton or just a regular Athlon XP. (A64 is a bit out of the budget range for now.)

    Mobo - Something supporting at least AGP 4x, with a FSB of 266 MHz or more.

    Video - I dont think I need that good a video card, considering that the games I'm hosting aren't too demanding, plus I'm not actually playing on the server (it will be dedicated.)

    Hard Drives - I'm definitely going to need fast drives for good transfer times (ie. when changing maps), but I'm debating whether to go with RAID or SATA.

    Fans/Case - The case I've been looking at lately is the Antec Sonata. It is quiet and has good airflow, and has one 120 MM fan. Any suggestions for different cases or additional fans are welcome.....

    Power Supply - I'd like a good power supply that can handle all of the hardware listed above (plus probably a CD-ROM and a floppy). I've been using Antec for a while and they seem pretty good, so I may go with that. Also, I need something that is efficient - this machine will be on 24/7 for the most part.

    OS - On my current rig I have Windows XP Pro running. Would XP Pro be fine for the job, or would something like Windows Server work better? Also, Counter-Strike is supported by Linux... should I consider that as well?

    As you can see I'm not very sure where to start.... any advice would be welcome.
  2. MrGaribaldi

    MrGaribaldi TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 2,802

    If you're going to run a dedicated server, I'd say to put the most money in cpu & ram...

    Find a good, stable, motherboard which has the features you want (ie. onboard SATA RAID controller or Gigabit LAN card, FAST memory controller) and pair it with a top-of-the-line cpu (I'd suggest a Barton, but not sure if you'll see much of a diff) and 1GB of the fastest ram the mobo supports (without leaving you broke;))...

    The mobo doesn't have to support AGP 8x (or any AGP for that matter, see bottom), but should be supporting 333Mhz FSB in my opinion... (You'll want the fastest memory and cpu to make sure that it can handle whatever games you throw at it)

    This should ensure that it's capable of the games you want without hickups..

    I think you should be able to "get by" with a small, but fast, SATA drive. With 1GB of ram, you won't have too much hdd access, and thus can save a bit here...

    No idea about case, just pick something you like :)

    Get a brand PSU... It doesn't have to have a very high Watt rating, as it shouldn't have to run a highend video card.

    Video card... GF4mx? Radeon 7000?
    Just get a cheap card which can run the OS you want with an ok setting... Since this is a dedicated game server, this'll be the point where you can save the most money compared to a regular rig.

    A setup like this should be able to be a dedicated server for most (if not all) games out there on the market...
    If you only want to play CS and DoD, then you can use cheaper cpu, ram and harddrive, but I'd suggest not saving too much, as you might want to use it for other games in the future...

    .02$
  3. Didou

    Didou Bowtie extraordinair! Posts: 5,899

    A very fast connection ( lots of upload ) & using Linux will prolly be the most noteworthy tips.
  4. somekid007

    somekid007 Newcomer, in training Posts: 369

    i'd say for the mobo definitely get the p4g8x-deluxe. the intel 7205 chipset is rock solid and dual channel ddr266 support matches exactly the fsb of the 2.66B. also gigabit lan is integrated onto the board to maximize transfer times and minimize lag. it also has sata support via pci bus, so the standard pata drives might be better. i'd say a p4 2.66B (around $215 CAD), Asus P4G8X-DLX ($83 CAD) and 2 wholesome sticks of 512MB ddr266 ram (~$250CAD). i;d recommend the radeon 9600XT only because it comes with HL2, otherwise a gf4 ti4200 will be plenty. u also need a fast upload speed, maybe sdsl or t1. maybe u can go nuts and get oc192?
  5. acidosmosis

    acidosmosis TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,574

    Remember, your goal is in building a server so the PC needs to be able to handle the stress associated with being a server, not with being a gaming PC. You would build the two totally different.

    As Garibaldi said, your going for CPU/RAM and a stable motherboard (needs to be stable as far as networking, running Windows 24/7, etc). The rest is secondary.

    Also, don't worry too much about having a great video card. You can get away with only a decent card. A dedicated server won't be pushing pixels around the screen.
  6. XtR-X

    XtR-X Newcomer, in training Posts: 1,040

    If you're really short on dough, go for linux as the OS. I too, was in your position before, but two factors stopped me, connection upload, and router issues. However, I did manage to get it running on linux, and played over LAN. It's complicated at first if you're totally new to linux (like I was) but you can get the hang of it with lots of time dedicated.

    Also, I must note, installing mods is extremly difficult on linux well at least longer than windows for everyone, but even longer for those new to linux.

    Why do I say linux for low budget? They don't 'suck too much juice' from the computer to run the server. I was forced to use Linux w/minimal because of the 400MHz PII.

    A good video card would be something like a GeForce 4 MX and they're running for like 50 bucks... or get an even lesser one like a GeForce 2 MX, that's all you'll need if it's dedicated.

    I, personally, would go with 1GB of RAM. Just because it's going to be doing lots of processes, especially if it's 16+ player.

    400W PSU or greater works nice. Stay away from no names or never-heard-of brands. I recently had an ill-experience with cheap PSUs. Brands that are good, and that I trust, are Antec and Enermax. I buy Enermax whenever possible because Antec is a little expensive. But when the Enermax aint there... I'm forced to Antec.

    CPU: For good running, I'd say a Athlon XP 2000+ you may overclock that a little, and make sure you get a good CPU cooler, like a Vantec AeroFlow for example.

    Good luck.
  7. hardeep

    hardeep Newcomer, in training

    does the pci 16 sound card work with counter strike and half life cause i have on one my other computer but i lost the drivers and installer :confused:
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