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Home Server - Spec Questions/Recommendations
Hello. My first post. Looking forward to joining the community. I used to rent a DoD server (early to late '04)
and did some modding (changing existing mods to my own taste) and am now getting back into HL:2 and the Source Mods.

I want to run a server at home for my friends and I to goof around/practice on, and just enjoy 'running a server' again.
I was hopping to get a big head start by seeing what the experienced admins here have to say about my possible setups!
Thanks for your time!

The goal:
* Run a DoD:S server and a CS:S server for my friends.
- one or the other at a time, not both at once.
* At least 6 ideally 8 people connected (including me locally.)
- CS:S may use 2 to 4 bots to fill in, DoD:S no bots.

My Internet:
* Standard TimeWarner (RoadRunner) cable connection.
* Consistent uplink of 900 and 970 kbps.
- surprised me
- but used 2 speed test sites & multiple test sites from each of those
* Home network behind WRT54G router, connections are hard-wired
- Just updated firmware to latest 2/19/07

Comp1: (Big PC)
* Intel P4 3.0GHz (Prescott)
* 2GB PC3200 (DDR400) RAM
- each 1GB Pair is matched (not all 2G)
* 80GB SATA (7200 RPM)
* NVIDA 7600GS w/256MB Ram (don't laugh please)
* XP Pro w/ SP2 and all latest updates.

Comp2: (Small PC)
* Intel Celeron(P) 325 2.53GHz
* 256MB PC2700 RAM
* 40GB HD (5400 RPM) - Boo!
* Onboard integrated Graphics - 64MB (more Boo!)
* XP Home (fresh install..nothing but SP2 and Steam Stuff).

I know Comp1 is more than enough to handle what I want to
do as a dedicated server...and I should have the bandwidth I need.
However, obviously I can't play (to my standards) from Comp2.

Wife is probably is not going to let me spend money on a RAM upgrade for Comp2 (*lol* - new golf clubs and Nintendo Wii).
I refuse to upgrade the graphics on such a PC.

Questions On My Options:
Which is the best option for me?

1 - Try running the server on Small PC, while playing from Big PC?
- Tweaking Small PC to hopefully handle it.
- I know, at best, I'm on the hairy edge with RAM.

2 - Try running the dedicated server AND playing from the Big PC?

3 - Do I have enough "ooomph" from Big PC to run a decent Listen Server?

Last Thought
Would getting the Small PC to 512MB RAM total be enough to solidly meet my goal and therefore be worth the $50? Or is the cost not worth the performance boost I may/may not get?

Thanks, again, for everyone's time and consideration.
-- It's not how good I am, but how good I can be! Or it's about pudding...I forget which....
Suggest 2 things:

1. linux the small pc. It will run srcds in linux alot nicer than in windows imho. especially with those specs!
2. Ram upgarde if possible... ram is cheap these days. HDD size and especially graphics will not be important when running a dedicated server, especially if its in linux.

Suggest running debian 3.1. netinstall is the best option as its only 300MB ISO to download and wont come with a bunch of stuff you dont need.
You cant run a hl2 server and client from the same pc, so you will have to go with the crap pc.
Stick some extra RAM in. Gaming Servers
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Stealth Wrote:You cant run a hl2 server and client from the same pc, so you will have to go with the crap pc. Stick some extra RAM in.

Well, there goes that theory then. :-)
I'll buy my wife some flowers.

I ran a test last night. Running CS:S on the SmallPC I was able to see my server online (Internet Tab) and join from the BigPC.
I use a KVM+2Keyboard setup. I could see that during a round with 9 bots + me the CPU load got to 50% or so.
I had ~80MB of RAM left out of the 256.

1 - What uses more CPU, Bots or players connected to the server?
* I am not changing Tickrate, so I believe it's 33
* sv_maxupdaterate 30.
* sv_maxrate 11000 ((900upload / 8) * 1000 / 10-players) = 11,250
* fps_max 75

2 - I pretty much understand Tickrate, maxupdate, maxrate, minrate. The one that I'm not sure I get is what does fps_max mean to th server?

(note: going to Linux would be a last resort. Because during the day the SmallPC is my daughter's...and I really don't want to get into dual booting and such. I'll up the RAM before I go linux....though in the past I have built RedHat boxes and long ago did the Slackware thing....yes, I'm old)

Thanks again for the help!
-- It's not how good I am, but how good I can be! Or it's about pudding...I forget which....
Stealth Wrote:You cant run a hl2 server and client from the same pc, so you will have to go with the crap pc.
Stick some extra RAM in.

Unless STEAM is a factor in limiting this somehow then I see no reason why you couldn't, other than it being slightly impractical. (loopback address) exists for a reason.

We used to run dedicated servers from the most powerful PC available at BYO LAN's, which inevitably meant that whoever had the best specs had to connect via loopback to play. However this was back in the HL and cs days, so things may have changed to prevent it now. Although WHY valve would do such a thing is entirely unknown.

Falcon -

From my experience running a dedicated server bots use alot more CPU time than a human player connected to the server (the server has to do all the AI calculations). And maps use up more RAM than anything else, infact if my map cycle gets to large my server will eventually crash as something is bolloxed on my debian server =/ (server runs out of ram, starts paging to disk and somehow bolloxs itself before restarting the css-server).

This is with 512MB.
Thanks for the reply Zef. I tried it last night, and had zero issues running BOTH the dedicated server AND Steam/CS:S. I found my server ONLY on the LAN port though. But then when I remembered to tell the router to forward the correct ports to the BigPC rather than SmallPC I saw and connected to the game through the internet tab. So all is good! (Now if I could just get the game to stop crashing when I switch maps using the BAT and CS:Bot Control plugins with SourceMM. But that's for another post. :-)

I appreciate everyone's input...
-- It's not how good I am, but how good I can be! Or it's about pudding...I forget which....
glad to be of assistance
BOTs use a lot more resources compared to players.

Running on the same machine WILL have decreased performance (dedicated server + game), running a listen server will take away these problems however, they also take away the plugin and mod capability.

Upgrading the small PC will be your best choice, try to get 512MB ram and you should be ok. (Not sure about the celeron, some people have excellent performance, some can't even get 10 players run decent)
Never mind the graphics card, servers don't use those. (in case you didn't know that)

Play on the big pc.

About fps_max:
FPS mean Frames Per Second, this is how many "ticks" the server make per second or how many "updates" per second. The higher it is the smoother the server will run, however don't overdo it, when you run a server with a FPS above ~800 it will get strange issues that don't seem to be there when you look at stats.
For a 33 tickrate the FPS MUST be above 33 at all times to keep the tickrate up, it's directly linked to the FPS of the server.
I recommend a FPS around 250, it gives best performance. to get this done set fps_max to 400 or so. If it doesnt get to 250 try using a FPSbooster (this can either be a simple console program or simply run windows media player!)

Hope it helps, if you ahve any further questions feel free to ask
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Yep I did know about Video Card. Not much help if you're not doing graphics processing. Wink

Thanks on the FPS lesson. mine was set WAYYY too low.

So far with 256MB Ram this Celeron2.53 is handling 9bots + me without sweating too much. (I am logging in via the BigPC and the Small PC is hitting around 55% CPU load max.). The only issue I ever have is with the SourceMM "CS:Bot Control Plugin". The BAT (Basic Admin Tool) plugin works fine. I thought it was ram but not sure. The only reason I want to run it at all is cause I'm lazy when switching maps. Plus my buddies can vote without us clogging up Vent.

Again, appreciate everyone's input.
-- It's not how good I am, but how good I can be! Or it's about pudding...I forget which....

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