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Server Performance Issues re: lag and cpu usage, Pent D 3.0ghz
Server OS: Windows Server 2012 x64
Processor: Pentium D 3.0GZ HT, single core, socket 775
Ram: 2GB DDR1
Game(s): Zombie Panic! Source
Start Up Command: srcds.exe -console -game zps -maxplayers 18 -ip -port 27015 (from memory)
Admin Mods: Metamod, sourcemod

Bandwidth: Down ~12, up ~2mbits. Comcast Performance Tier
Router: Cisco/Linksys E3000
Local IP of Server:
External IP: Varies

If you have a non-typical home network, please put a small diagram.
[Server] --> [old router used as switch] --> [5port gbit switch] -->[Router] --> [Modem] --> [Internet]

maxupdaterate 8000
minupdaterate 4000

maxcmdrate 60
mincmdrate 10 (not sure if those are the actual commands, I am doing this from memory, but I do remember the values). These are the recommended values from a "setup a ZPS server" thread on the ZPS boards.

So I've been searching for awhile and read quite a few things, but I haven't found many suggestions besides 'don't do that'. Yes, I am hosting this server at home, but my upload is pretty solid and aside from just natural latency, I don't believe this is the problem. I have a 2mbit upload, and on average, my outbound bandwidth is on the order of 400kbits/s to 900kbits/s.

So here's the issue - like everyone else I'm trying to get my pings down. I'm trying to narrow down how much of the issue is internet latency and how much of it is CPU performance.

When only a few (2-5) people are connected, US/Canada pings are in the 80-120 range, mostly right at 100. Other countries (europe) are around 175-200. My ping (from another computer on my home wired network) is around 5-10. CPU usage (without FPS booster) is around 2-5%, FPS always around 64-65. With FPSbooster, CPU usage goes to 8-10%, FPS around 240ish. Similar pings for both with and without FPSbooster.

When the server is near full, the pings start going up, but not a huge amount. With 14 people, pings to US/Canada based people are up to 110-150, europe varies much more at 200-350. FPSbooster on/off doesn't seem to affect the numbers, but CPU usage without FPSbooster is 10-15%, with FPS booster CPU usage hits 25-35%. With FPS booster, max fps as reported in console is around 220-230. Here's the kicker - pings to a local player on my network are around 50ish.

So, something is lagging the server as more people join, and its not only internet latency, as my local computer has pings of 50 when lots of stuff is going on.

The SRCDS CPU priority is set to high.

Here are my questions:

Is this hardware too old, realistically? Its easy to recommend I toss the box and go out and buy an IvyB quadcore, but at a peak of 35% cpu usage on this old pentium D my gut instinct says this is not the issue.

I doubt much latency is caused by my main router, as its relatively new and has been pretty darn stable, but I'm wondering if any of the problem is caused by using an old router as a switch. When I say old, I mean really old, as in before wireless routers old. I've disabled DHCP, its only being used as a switch. Its not managing any traffic. Obviously, I plan on connecting the server directly to the router to rule this out, but just haven't done it yet. Also, this will take considerable time to rewire, so I'd like to know if I'm barking up the wrong tree.

I don't think its a network bandwidth issue, as the lowest I can get USA pings down to, even during low load, is about 80ms. I can jump on any other ZPS server myself and get a ping of 40-50 on my own connection.

TL;DR- pings go up by about 50 across the board with lots of users. Not sure if network or CPU limited. Expect CPU due to similar lag on LAN connection, but CPU usage 35% at worst.
Ur upload speed is insufficient, consider a minimum of 20 mbps upload speed.
Experienced SRCDS server host and leader of The World of NOPE [TWoN].
20mbps upload speed for a game server? On average our nodes run between 3Mbps and 5Mbps... Some of the more popular ones peak around 10Mbps... Never seen a server going over unless its handling downloads.

You should be fine hosting that on 2Mbps connection... However depending on its quality it may not be sufficient enough to provide decent pings as your traffic has to go through twice as many shitty residential POPs as a server hosted in a datacenter.

Put the game server on some better hardware and then test your results. Last I remember using DDR1 and Pentium Ds / 4's they performed horribly with newer applications and populated game servers.
Looking for a game server? Visit and pick one up as low as $2.50 / mo!
sorry, I just host... quite a couple so I forgot about that detail but I currently on have 4 mbps, getting 20 soon =D
Experienced SRCDS server host and leader of The World of NOPE [TWoN].
Hey guys,

Thanks for the comments and suggestions. I called my ISP and asked them to up my connection to 4mbps upload. Didn't really help much. Average outbound data stream is around 700kbps with 10 people, closer to 1.3mbps with 18 people, and peaks around 1.6mbps. So 2 should be plenty, 4 is more than enough. I also did some rate settings tweaks that keep my ping between 5 (empty server) and 20 (full server)

Interestingly, I saw a guy on the server the other day with a ping of 25, where I had a ping of 5 (LAN), and everyone else was between 75-130. I asked the guy where he was from, and it turns out he was on the same ISP as me from 2 cities over, thus, we were in the same market. So, its beginning to look like a combination of CPU usage, bandwidth tweaks, and mostly the added latency of a residential ISP.

As far as upgrading the hardware, its on my to-do list, but any chance I have to migrate the server when I'm not at work is when the server is the busiest, so it keeps getting pushed to the back burner. In the meantime, I ordered a Pentium D 925 (Dual core 2 x 3.0ghz, 4mb cache) to replace the pentium D 630 (1x3.0ghz) for a whopping $7 shipped. That should allow me to test and give me some breathing room while I come up with a plan to setup a new server.
Oh wow, didn't notice you had the single core... Still I don't know if you will see much of an improvement. I use a Pentium D in one of my local file servers and it can't keep up with running Server 2008 + I/O of files.
interesting. And your file server is a dual-core pentium D? When you say it can't handle the OS and the I/O, do you mean the CPU pegs at 100%, or that the file transfers bottleneck for some other reason?

The reason I ask is because I (much to the annoyance of my players) kicked everyone off due to lag the other day when I copied off a 4GB ISO from the file server while people were playing. The file was transferring at around 3.5 MBytes/sec, which is much slower than I was expecting, while at the same time the pings on the server went through the roof and dropped everyone.

I wasn't sure if it was a priority issue (that I had not assigned network priority to the source engine, and that file copy was taking over) or if it was a CPU issue, or just a network bandwidth issue. Again, the CPU usage didn't go much over 50% while this was happening, but there are other ways to bottleneck a system. Much of this server stuff is new to me and I'm still learning it.

I have 4 computers sitting in my office right now, all of similar speed, some performing duties, others not. My initial plan was to put all of them on craigslist and buy some semi-modern hardware, but they're low on the priority list and I hate dealing with craigslist people so I might opt to do pick the fastest platform and give it a few upgrades.

I've got a socket 939 system with server 2008 and 4GB of ram that sees minimal use so maybe a cheap dual core opteron and a gigabit ethernet card might tide me over for awhile.
The source engine will only use one of the cores on your processor as its not multi-threaded. The Pentium D's cores aren't that powerful to begin with compared to newer processors.

Yes, Our file server transfers at higher speeds than that, but the CPU will peg at about 50% usage depending which core the process is on.

Be careful with the 939's as they aren't much better either... Just buy a $60 Phenom II X4 B97 or 955 and a $30 motherboard, and a $10 2GB stick of DDR3 then you will see much better performance with game servers compared to what your running now.
Looking for a game server? Visit and pick one up as low as $2.50 / mo!
Thanks. I knew that source wasn't multi-threaded, but with basic background apps using 15-35% of the CPU at times, its certainly got to help.

I went ahead and bought an Operton 180 (dual core 2.4ghz) on ebay for $20. The opteron is around 50% faster per core and its a drop-in replacement into an already running box. From there I will try to clear out my inventory of older machines on ebay and craigslist, and when done, use the proceeds towards modern hardware.

Thanks for the help. I will test and report back if it makes an improvement.

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