Building server for running games

NMurray507

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Hello all, I was wondering what kind of build I would be looking at to be able to run various gaming servers, potentially two or more at the same time. I would be looking at running servers for games like Minecraft for at most 100 people, more likely less than 40 at a given time, and Conan at around 10 people. I know that server hosting is available, but that is not what I am looking for. I enjoy putting this stuff together, configuring it and running it on my end.

The two games that I listed are primarily what I will be running. I would like to be able to have the Minecraft server up at all times, and then a small Conan server or whatever other game I would like to run along side it. I do understand that different games have different requirements, any game run in place of Conan would obviously be one with similar or lesser requirements on the server, and would have a similar small capacity. The secondary server will always only be for a small group of people to play, whereas with whatever I do for minecraft will be intended for a larger community.

I would prefer the build to not be on the expensive end, preferably under 500 if at all possible, but higher costs are acceptable if building a server for these purposes will cost more than that price point. I'm not really sure where to start with this. I have only built PC's in the past, so this is my first time trying to put something like this together. I have kind of looked at some prebuilt servers, but I like the ability to control what is going into the system. A prebuilt, or one with some modifications, is an option, but if it is possible to get more bang for my buck by building one on my own, I would prefer to do that. Thank you ahead of time.

As a side note, if a graphics card is something that is necessary for a server, but not something where it has to have a lot of power, I do have an old gtx 960 and probably a few others that I could plug in, so that wouldn't be necessary to be bought if one was needed for this. As I said before though, I'm not really sure what kind of stuff is needed for these systems.
 
Do you have an extra computer around not being used? My suggestion is to use that to see how much system resources you use up, which will give you an informed decision on future hardware purchases. I host a few killing floor 2 servers and they barely take up any cpu resources, mostly ram. Each use case is different.
 

NMurray507

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The only parts I really have are a graphics card and I believe an old amd chip. I have a few old motherboards, but all of them are no longer working for various reasons. I might have some ram laying around, but it would be older and slower, assuming it still works. Most of my old components have went up, which is why they aren't being used.

Edit: I do have some old and unused mid tower cases still, so if that is the kind of case necessary, I don't need to buy a new one of those.
 

NMurray507

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I don't want to be using my primary computer for this stuff, I want a dedicated server for it.

Edit: Never mind, I think I see what you are saying. I don't have the player base at the moment to run a minecraft server to benchmark test. I could probably do it for the conan server, because that will just be for a limited group of people that I already have. I can't do it right now though, so I would just be looking at what they have up for the server recommendations.
 
I understand. My point is, run some instances of the servers on your computer to get an idea as of how much system resources are used up. This way you can make an informed decision on what kind of hardware you need to buy.
 

NMurray507

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Yeah, I figured that out. It's been a long week, I didn't think about your previous post when I read that one and responded initially, so I put an edit there.
 

NMurray507

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I don't believe the minecraft server will take up a whole lot of resources. I'm not planning on running mods or anything that would make it crazy to run, I am just intending on running a spigot server or something like that with plugins. The conan server is what I am most worried about I think, because from what I have seen from the requirements they can be pretty high. Linked is what they say for the requirements: https://conanexiles.gamepedia.com/Dedicated_server_system_requirements

So I'm not sure what a system would look like that could run that alongside another server that is potentially taking up a lot of resources itself.
 

NMurray507

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What kind of hardware would I be looking at though? Like for motherboard, ram, cpu etc.? Do I need a gpu? What kind of drive do I need, would I be able to run on an HDD, or would I need an SDD? I'm not really sure what kind of stuff I need to build a dedicated server, or what components are best, and I'm not really sure how much more I should aim for just looking at those system requirements since I am wanting to run the minecraft server alongside it at the same time.
 
That's why i'm telling you to set it up on your existing computer. Use it as a bench mark. Only you are going to know what you need for your own use case. I could tell you what hardware to get but it may be over kill or the complete opposite.
 

NMurray507

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Alright, well I won’t be able to benchmark until Sunday. Could you post the setup so I can see what kind of stuff I’ll be looking at before then?

 

st4rburst

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I used to be in a server access position for a large bukkit minecraft server...

With 80 players it liked to suck up 13gb DDR3 ram with a xeon cpu. It had some issues, main ones being it was an older xeon and could have benefited from better single thread in newer models. Although at lower pop (20-36), non peak times it handled smoothly.

Since 1.10 map generation was severely hampered by being on a HDD, Migrating to an SSD for performance was eventually mandatory. We had to limit map size with a world border because at the time ssd's were costly.

It would be wise to run a map backup of the server to a seperate drive on a daily basis, rollbacks are hell.

The biggest issue you will face is that average domestic internet connections struggle for bandwidth on upload for the 100 pop server.
 

NMurray507

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My connection shouldn’t be an issue, I’ve got 1gp up and down at home, and Speedtest gets pretty close to that. I was figuring that I would need around 32 gigs of ram for this, and even if I didn’t I was going to put it in there because I like having overkill amounts of ram.
 

NMurray507

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I did an initial test with Conan and Minecraft running, Conan hit like 5% cpu usage and around 3gb ram with 1 person connected. I didn't connect anyone to the minecraft server, so that was using hardly any resources, but they were running lag free.
This is the PC I ran them on:
PCPartPicker part list: https://pcpartpicker.com/list/dTHkRJ
Price breakdown by merchant: https://pcpartpicker.com/list/dTHkRJ/by_merchant/

CPU: AMD - FX-8350 4GHz 8-Core Processor
CPU Cooler: NZXT - Kraken X62 Rev 2 98.2 CFM Liquid CPU Cooler
Motherboard: MSI - 990FXA-GAMING ATX AM3+/AM3 Motherboard
Memory: Crucial - Ballistix Sport 32GB (4 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory
Storage: Toshiba - OCZ TR200 240GB 2.5" Solid State Drive
Storage: Seagate - Barracuda 2TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive
Case: NZXT - Noctis 450 ATX Mid Tower Case
Power Supply: EVGA - SuperNOVA NEX 750W 80+ Bronze Certified Semi-Modular ATX Power Supply
Operating System: Microsoft - Windows 10 Home OEM 64-bit
Wireless Network Adapter: TP-Link - Archer T9E PCI-Express x1 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi Adapter
Other: MSI GTX 1080
Generated by PCPartPicker 2018-11-04 11:29 EST-0500

I will be trying to run them both with more players connected later.
 
Since that system is extremely dated, your servers barely use cpu resources, and you have a TON of memory to run multiple instances of your servers, my suggestion would be to dedicate that system as your server and build a new one for your games. It really doesn't make sense to purchase a new "Server" (Server is in quotes to be sarcastic because you can use any hardware to serv), that is potentially going to be faster and more powerful than your daily driver.
 

NMurray507

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Building a completely new PC isn't really an option, as that would be fairly expensive to make something that will outpace my current machine. The most I would do there is gut the motherboard and cpu from this one and get new to replace. The goal is to keep the server machine fairly cheap, yet still powerful enough to do what I need them to. I am going to see if the cpu usage remains low this evening as more clients are connected to each server. As I said, that usage was with 1 client connected to Conan and none connected to minecraft, I'll most likely be able to get 3 connected to Conan and 4 connected to minecraft, unless I can find a way to get some kind of dummy connection to stress test on the minecraft server.
 
Any thing newer that you decide to buy, which is sandy bridge and up for intel, along with anything Ryzen related for AMD will out perform your existing hardware significantly. My suggestion is still sound, but yeah continue to benchmark.
 

NMurray507

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Are you just recommending to upgrade the chip and motherboard?
 

No because you're looking for a dedicated server and I suspect you can demote your existing computer from your daily driver and take the money you were going to spend on the "server" and build a new one. After all your OP stated you wanted an extra host for serving.

 

NMurray507

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PCPartPicker part list: https://pcpartpicker.com/list/8zpqV6
Price breakdown by merchant: https://pcpartpicker.com/list/8zpqV6/by_merchant/

CPU: AMD - FX-8350 4GHz 8-Core Processor ($79.89 @ OutletPC)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master - Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($29.89 @ OutletPC)
Motherboard: MSI - 990FXA-GAMING ATX AM3+/AM3 Motherboard
Memory: Crucial - Ballistix Sport 32GB (4 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($239.99 @ Amazon)
Video Card: EVGA - GeForce GTX 960 4GB SuperSC ACX 2.0+ Video Card
Case: Rosewill - CHALLENGER ATX Mid Tower Case ($39.99 @ Amazon)
Total: $389.76
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2018-11-04 12:52 EST-0500

From what I remember having, this is what I could probably put together if I take the motherboard, cpu and ram out and upgrade my own. The video card is from an old pc, and I'm pretty sure I have a power supply laying around somewhere. This is what I threw together quickly for what to replace the old parts with:

PCPartPicker part list: https://pcpartpicker.com/list/fRwTV6
Price breakdown by merchant: https://pcpartpicker.com/list/fRwTV6/by_merchant/

CPU: Intel - Core i5-9600K 3.7GHz 6-Core Processor ($279.99 @ B&H)
Motherboard: MSI - Z390-A PRO ATX LGA1151 Motherboard ($129.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: G.Skill - Aegis 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR4-2400 Memory ($109.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: G.Skill - Aegis 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR4-2400 Memory ($109.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $629.96
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2018-11-04 12:55 EST-0500
 

If you are going to upgrade your internal components (Which isn't necessarily a bad thing) you won't have a second unit for a server.
 

NMurray507

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I don't understand what you are meaning, I should have everything to have a second pc up and running shouldn't I? I'd just need a new ssd and hdd, and potentially a psu if I don't still have one.
 



Looks good, but that's an overclockable motherboard, so i'd go with 3200mhz ram. However you seem to prioritize capacity over bandwidth, which is fine I suppose.

 

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