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Tech Tips

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    PlanetQuake | Features | Tech Tips | 4-8-2000
   

Tech Tips
This is where your gaming and hardware needs are met. Be all that you can be or get out of the game! This won't be a forum for techno-geeks to find more ways to impress their non-technical friends, it's for plain folk who need help to better their gaming experience. But don't blame us if you blow your machine sky high; we're offering tips, not the Bible on computers. The mailbag is alive and well - send in those questions to TechTips.

by Love2Play


Building a dedicated server box


Tech Tips wanted to bring you the ability to build a computer for running a dedicated server. Not a monster on a T3 connection, but a decent little box that you can run for your clan or for fellow gamers in your neighborhood. We will also assume at this point that you have put together a PC at least once. This is not the newbie guide on computer assembly; don't worry, we're writing one. Newbies will have to wait for that one.

Most of us don't have the bandwidth or the money to supply the gaming community with a kick-ass server, but can build one decent enough to satisfy a few relentless Quakers. That is our focus, the average guy or gal with some spare bucks, spare parts and a decent connection like cable or DSL. So please, if you have 56k don't look. Or just bookmark this one for when cable or DSL comes to your area.


What goes in it?

Take a look through your house, see if you have any parts laying around from your last upgrade. There are a few parts that need not be of a concern for a server PC. For example a sound card is not required at all. So if you want sound and have an old PCI sound card laying around, grab it. Also, video is not a huge issue since you won't be playing on the server PC. So a simple 2D/3D card is suffucient. There is really no need to spend more than $50 on video.

How many hard drives are in your computer you use now? Can you give one up? This too would save money. You can use a smaller hard drive since the OS install is small, even on Windows. We will cover that later and wrap up with the total possible cost of building the box.

One thing I did was dug up my old Soyo motherboard. I had replaced it with an Abit because I had trouble with it running AGP video efficiently. Well, we aren't worried about video quality, this box is for power, not looks. So break out any motherboard you may have retired because it didn't deliver Multimedia, you might put it back to work.

You need to decide on what CPU you can afford and how much power you want it to have. And we wanted to show you some alternatives to spending $800 on a CPU. It may depend on what game you plan to play most, or if you plan to upgrade your gaming in the future. There is a big difference between running a server for Quake 2 and running one for Quake III Arena. The latter takes a lot of power. For Quake 2, some people have gotten away with a P233mmx, I personally recommend nothing less than a PII 400 for Quake III Arena. We all know the PIII by Intel is a jammin' CPU, but it's pretty pricey too. So what next? What else can give you the speed you need at a decent price? Let's look:

No CPU's are mentioned here that TechTips would not recommend.

 
Expensive and NO way! Lowest price found for this chip:
PIII Xeon 500 w/1MB cache $1299
PIII 866 $905
AMD Athlon 1GHz(out of control!) $1388
Medium priced
PIII 600 w/512k cache $248
AMD Athlon 700 $230
Good deals!
PIII 500 w/512 cache $168
PII 400 $138
Celeron 533 $105
Celeron 433 (slot 1) $75
Celeron 433 PPGA $65

**Please note: These are the lowest prices found through dealers on the internet. It does not reflect Retail Store prices.

When you decide on a CPU, please remember to match your CPU to your motherboard. You cannot use a PIII 500 chip on a motherboard that does not support PIII chips. And, you cannot use a Slot 1 CPU on a PPGA motherboard. Or a Slot A CPU on a Slot 1 motherboard. However, if you buy a PPGA CPU, they do make adapters for that CPU to go on a Slot 1 motherboard.

TIP: I bought a Celeron 433 PPGA for $79 and a Slot 1 converter for $19 then overclocked the Celeron. I am not as concerned with heat in overclocking because I am not running games etc... in OpenGL on this machine. Saved quite a few bucks there.

 

 


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