Building a Computer to run a Minecraft Server

cAlpha

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Just FYI, I'm completely new to the "tech world", if you will, so I'm in no way technologically oriented. I have a general idea of what computers are composed of, but I have no idea how to choose them and etc. without getting confused (which is why I'm here).

Approximate Purchase Date: Probably this Black Friday and/or Cyber Monday.

Budget Range: Generally around $1,500, though I may be able to go a bit higher (maybe to $1,700, but only if it's really necessary).

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Frequently running a Minecraft server, about 21 hours a day, six days a week, along with playing Minecraft itself (preferably smoothly). Other than that, average computer usage (surfing web, editing text, etc.).

Are you buying a monitor: Yes

Parts to Upgrade: There's nothing to upgrade as I want to build a computer from scratch.

Do you need to buy OS: Probably not (considering Linux)

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg.com (only because I don't know where else to go)

Parts Preferences: Seeing as it's going to have to run a server, it's probably going to have to be strong and durable, so I'm guessing I need a good CPU, RAM, and power supply, along with solid state drives.

Overclocking: No

SLI or Crossfire: I don't know what this is, but I presume this has to do with graphics, so probably not.

Your Monitor Resolution: Doesn't matter.

Additional Comments: I would like this computer to be extremely durable (last a very, very long time) and also be reliable (not crash). Not only this, but it would be nice if it didn't generate too much heat and didn't consume too much power. I'm going to use this computer mainly to run a Minecraft server that should be able to hold about 30ish players at a time, unless that sort of computer would be super-expensive in itself. I'm wondering what kind of computer would be required to hold 50-100 players, actually... Besides running a server often, I would also like to play Minecraft directly on the computer, though I won't be doing so often.

Pardon me if I'm an idiot, but I just have no idea how to choose parts for a server-purposed computer, so I just looked for what seemed like an intuitive option. Here are the parts I've "picked" so far. I do realise that these are parts made for "servers" and not "desktops", which leads me to a question: if I want to run a Minecraft server on a "personal" computer from my own home, do I pick parts for a desktop computer or a "server" computer? Mind you, I want the computer to be durable, reliable, etc.

And another note: I don't know if these parts actually go together, I only looked at some of their specifications. I looked up some computer-building guides online, but they don't help well with my specific situation.

CPU:
Intel Intel Xeon E3-1275V3 Haswell 3.5GHz 8MB L3 Cache LGA 1150 95W Quad-Core Server Processor BX80646E31275V3
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819116908

Motherboard:
ASUS P9D-C/4L ATX Server Motherboard LGA 1150 DDR3 1600/1333
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813132001

Case:
Cooler Master HAF 932 Advanced - High Air Flow Full Tower Computer Case with USB 3.0 and All-Black Interior
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=11-119-160&SortField=1&SummaryType=0&Pagesize=10&PurchaseMark=&SelectedRating=-1&VideoOnlyMark=False&VendorMark=&IsFeedbackTab=true&Keywords=%28keywords%29&Page=1#scrollFullInfo

Memory:
Kingston 16GB (2 x 8GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM ECC Unbuffered DDR3 1333 Server Memory Intel Model KVR13E9K2/16I
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820239117

GPU:
SAPPHIRE 100358L Radeon HD 7770 GHz Edition 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 CrossFireX Support Video Card
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814202011

SSD:
SAMSUNG 840 EVO MZ-7TE250BW 2.5" 250GB SATA III TLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=20-147-248

I've yet to pick out parts for stuff like my second hard drive (which will be bigger in size and not an SSD), CD drive, power supply, other power utilities (surge protectors, coolants, etc.), sound card (if I actually need it), and monitor/keyboard/mouse. There may be other things I haven't thought of that I need - if there are, I would appreciate it if someone told me about it.
 

DComander1x

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I would run a minecraft server on a separate PC, as a minecraft server chews up a lot of memory, especially when hosting a lot of players.
Heres two better builds for a minecraft PC and minecraft server PC.

Server PC -
PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: AMD FX-6100 3.3GHz 6-Core Processor ($114.97 @ OutletPC)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper TX3 54.8 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($17.99 @ Mwave)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-78LMT-USB3 Micro ATX AM3+ Motherboard ($47.99 @ NCIX US)
Memory: Crucial Ballistix Sport 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($109.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: OCZ Vertex 2 100GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($52.99 @ Microcenter)
Case: Rosewill RANGER-M MicroATX Mini Tower Case ($31.49 @ Amazon)
Power Supply: Rosewill 350W ATX Power Supply ($29.99 @ Amazon)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($14.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $420.40
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-11-20 22:25 EST-0500)]

Home PC -
PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: AMD FX-6300 3.5GHz 6-Core Processor ($109.99 @ Amazon)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper TX3 54.8 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($17.99 @ Mwave)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-78LMT-USB3 Micro ATX AM3+ Motherboard ($47.99 @ NCIX US)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($59.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: OCZ Vertex 2 100GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($52.99 @ Microcenter)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($59.98 @ OutletPC)
Video Card: PNY GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost 2GB Video Card ($152.27 @ TigerDirect)
Case: Rosewill FBM-01 MicroATX Mini Tower Case ($22.97 @ Amazon)
Power Supply: EVGA 500W 80+ Bronze Certified ATX Power Supply ($29.99 @ Microcenter)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($14.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $569.15
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-11-20 22:33 EST-0500)
 

DComander1x

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Feb 10, 2012
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I would run a minecraft server on a separate PC, as a minecraft server chews up a lot of memory, especially when hosting a lot of players.
Heres two better builds for a minecraft PC and minecraft server PC.

Server PC -
PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: AMD FX-6100 3.3GHz 6-Core Processor ($114.97 @ OutletPC)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper TX3 54.8 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($17.99 @ Mwave)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-78LMT-USB3 Micro ATX AM3+ Motherboard ($47.99 @ NCIX US)
Memory: Crucial Ballistix Sport 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($109.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: OCZ Vertex 2 100GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($52.99 @ Microcenter)
Case: Rosewill RANGER-M MicroATX Mini Tower Case ($31.49 @ Amazon)
Power Supply: Rosewill 350W ATX Power Supply ($29.99 @ Amazon)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($14.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $420.40
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-11-20 22:25 EST-0500)]

Home PC -
PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: AMD FX-6300 3.5GHz 6-Core Processor ($109.99 @ Amazon)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper TX3 54.8 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($17.99 @ Mwave)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-78LMT-USB3 Micro ATX AM3+ Motherboard ($47.99 @ NCIX US)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($59.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: OCZ Vertex 2 100GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($52.99 @ Microcenter)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($59.98 @ OutletPC)
Video Card: PNY GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost 2GB Video Card ($152.27 @ TigerDirect)
Case: Rosewill FBM-01 MicroATX Mini Tower Case ($22.97 @ Amazon)
Power Supply: EVGA 500W 80+ Bronze Certified ATX Power Supply ($29.99 @ Microcenter)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($14.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $569.15
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-11-20 22:33 EST-0500)
 

cAlpha

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Nov 20, 2013
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Hmm, so I guess you don't need "server components" to actually build a server-oriented computer. I'm still looking for a very high-quality server computer though, which leads me to ask one question (for now):

I've usually "heard" that Intel processors are better than AMD processors, and right now, I'd prefer quality of each core over the amount of cores I have. This is because from experience (or lack thereof), I've seen only one of my two CPUs max out on my current computer while the other isn't "used" nearly as much, leading me to believe that the server's strain is mostly on the main thread. I just presume this occurs because Minecraft is naturally inefficient, and my current CPUs are fairly weak.
So, back to the question itself, should I get an AMD or an Intel processor (if I'm focusing on quality over quantity)?

Also, my original question stands: what's the difference between server components and desktop components? Is it worth considering? Should I get it if I want higher-end server hardware?
 

DComander1x

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Minecraft servers don't need server hardware, as they aren't as heavy as most others, though it helps if you have a data center to put them in.

Intel v. AMD is just about who has the better bechmarks, in reality, both are good, it just comes down to price, as AMD is about 5% slower then intel per clock and per core in single core performance, but 5% faster in multi-core performance, but are catching up slowly in the single core performance aspect. The difference isn't noticeable in day-to-day usage, and with a good GPU, most games aren't going to drop more then a couple of frames.
Most newer programs, are multi-core optimised nowadays, so cores going idle are mostly a thing of the past. If you use a craftbukkit minecraft server, it should be multi-core optimised, and shouldn't have an issue, though you can shore it up using plugins.

I would highly recommend AMD, as its cheaper and allows you to spend more on higher quality motherboards and storage, though, its user preference in the end.

Server components are made specifically for ultra high end stability and reliability and for heavy programs, such as Photoshop and CAD programs, while home components are made cheaper and to be upgraded, and eventually replaced every 5 years. Servers, if you can afford it, are alright, but aren't made for overclocking for for gaming, but they are ultra reliable. For a regular home user, it isn't worth investing in, as upgrades will cost 5x what normal home PC upgrades would cost.
 

cAlpha

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So I went around on the internet, mostly Newegg, looking for parts (while still feeling as lost as ever), and I've decided to go with the "Server PC" build mentioned above because it looks pretty good with the type of computer I want to build. However, I'm wondering if I should replace the CPU with this one:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819113284

...and the storage with this one:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=9SIA2W00YW3571

I don't mind paying extra for computer parts, but only if it gets me better performance for running a server, as in the case with the CPU. I replaced the SSD with a Samsung one simply because I saw that it gave a better price per GB of storage, although I don't know what other differences there were between the two SSDs.

Other than that, if someone can tell me that the server build, with the two modifications, is good, then I'll proceed to buying.
 

DComander1x

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The FX 6100 would be fine for a server up to 300 players, up to 600 players would require the FX 6300, and 700+ would require the FX 8350, though with the 8350, you would need stronger, more expensive cooling. Also either SSD is fine for what you require, though the Samsung is better in long-term reliability and is faster.
 

cAlpha

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Alright, thanks so much for the rapid and helpful responses! I'm going with the server build you recommended, except with a Samsung SSD. Can't wait for this coming Cyber Monday/Black Friday.
 

DComander1x

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Lol, no problem, enjoy!
Also, be sure to send me the info - I can help a bit with a few plugins and the general admin of the server, and I am also connected to a growing multi-gaming and public ventrilo community, so I can help spread the word about it, if need be.
 

cAlpha

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Actually, wait, I have one quick question. The motherboard in that list says it supports "DDR3-1066/1333" for RAM, but the RAM on that list says it's "DDR3-1600". Wouldn't that mean they'd be incompatible? (If so, I would find it strange pcpartpicker didn't mention that, but it did mention the motherboard having USB 3.0 ports that the case doesn't support, so I might have to change that too.)

EDIT: By the way, since the current case doesn't have USB 3.0 ports, I'm thinking of going with this case:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811147107

It costs only 30USD more, but has USB 3.0 ports, five fans, and a bunch of other features.
 

DComander1x

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1. If the memory can't run at full speed, it will just automatically down-clock it, so you may need to "Overclock" the memory back to full speed through the BIOS.
2. That case looks like it will be better in terms of airflow, as it has two fans in the front.
3. As for 3.0, having a case support it is good, but not required, as most USB devices are still 2.0, though USB 3.0 is backwards compatible.
 

cAlpha

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So in the end, things worked out well (and I've ordered half my parts; I'm going to pick up the other half from MicroCenter).

Apparently, Newegg discontinued the FX 6100, and Micro Center had a way better deal anyway: the FX-6300 and it comes FREE with the motherboard you suggested, so it's really a win-win.

For the storage, I went with an enterprise hard drive (Seagate Constellation CS 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive) for $110, because I think those tend to be far more reliable (especially in the state of catastrophe) than desktop hard drives or SSDs.

For the power supply, I saw that it was pretty inefficient (pcpartpicker stated it was <60%). So, I replaced it with Rosewill Capstone, which is semi-modular, 450W, and is gold standard; since I'm going to be running this nearly 24/7 anyhow, I'd figure I might as well spend extra on the power supply (it's $70).

I kept the RAM, case, motherboard, and optical drive the same as suggested.

I have another question (sorry if I ask so many questions), but this doesn't concern picking and buying hardware. You mentioned before that an FX-6100 can hold up to 300 players, and that an FX-6300 can hold up to double that amount. I've looked around for "Bukkit" and "Multithreading" and found rather unsatisfying results - that while some aspects of Minecraft/Bukkit can utilise multiple cores, allowing MC to utilise every core to the fullest potential is highly unlikely anytime soon.

So here's my question: Can CraftBukkit utilise multiple cores, AND if so, then how does it utilise the extra cores? I'd imagine 300 players would put lots of stress on the main thread, meaning lots of work for one core. If that's so, how do you run 300 players with a 6-core CPU like mine? (I've heard of an answer involving the use of BungeeCord, but I'd rather not use that.)
 

DComander1x

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1. Sounds awesome!
2. The number of players is estimated, though the FX series are very good with minecraft, especially at higher speeds.
3. If you play around with the command to launch the server, there are ways to force it to use multiple threads -
http://gaming.stackexchange.com/questions/104527/how-can-i-run-a-minecraft-server-on-multiple-cpu-cores
 

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