**Since I'm a new member, please forgive if I posted this in the wrong section** hello everyone, I'm going to open a LAN Gaming Cafe and i'm going to need your help and advice to get adequate PC specifications for my LAN Gaming Cafe. First of All, here are some brief info;; Most people here in my area play: Offline/LAN games: -Counter-Strike: Condition Zero -Counter-Strike 1.6 -Unreal Tournament -Need for speed Underground 2 Online Games: -Gunbound ( www.gunbound.net ) -Ragnarok Online ( www.ragnarokonline.com ) -Tantra Online (a new rich featured 3D Online MMORPG Game) -Warcraft III Right now my LAN Gaming Cafe missions are: -Provide a comfortable place (Air Conditioner, Leather Seat, etc) -Cheap cost to play and surf -Provide adequate entertainment in the PCs (Many Games, Music, Movies, scanned comics, etc) -Provide adequate office applications (For people who come in to do their work) -To defeat other Internet and Gaming Cafes in features and to take there loyal costumers to mine. (business is cruel, yes) and.. -To bring Counter Strike: Source as full featured eye candy LAN-Gaming (The game must run smooth in highest detail) Why? since all the people here is craze with cs. There are some gaming cafes in my area that already installed CS:Source to their system, however people don't play them since it run bad (Slow & pixelated) on there pc systems (Most cafes only got low spec PCs such as athlon 2000+ combined with geforce 4mx/geforce fx5200) and they play the older condition zero and 1.6 instead. Anyway, after All the confusion for weeks, i decided to get this PC specification for my LAN Gaming Cafe: -Monitor: Samsung Syncmaster 793mb ($120) (Popular monitor in asia PC Market, if there's any better for value then let me know.) ( Pictures & Info: http://shopper.cnet.com/Samsung_SyncMaster_793MB_display_CRT_17/4014-3175_9-31097065.html?q= ) -Motherboard: DFI NF II Ultra AL ($60) (1 year old Mobo, however its a good nforce2 ultra mobo, and cheap too, 1/2 price of the LANParty version) ( Pictures & Info: http://www.new-generation.nl/index.html?target=p_1645.html&lang=nl ) -CPU: AMD Athlon XP 3000+ ($80) (Decided to get this because i think its's the best price/perfomance cost compared to its higher XP 3200+ model. and I say no to overclocking lower models.) -RAM: Corsair/Kingston DDR PC3200 512MB Value ($70) (If there's anything better for value then let me know.) -HDD: Western Digital 80GB SATA 8MB Cache 7200 RPM WD800JD ($60) (My best hard drive experiences were with the WDs) -VGA: Geforce 6600 AGP ($120) (In my opinion, this is the best Value Card at the moment) -Casing: Simbada 380W Black / Red ($20) (Cool looking case system, similiar to those much more expensive Xaser cases) ( Picture: http://www.rakitan.com/simbadda.jpg ) -K&M: Thermal Take Xaser Termaltake Xaser Desktop Optical Black / Red ($20) (Nice, smooth looking Keyboard and Mouse that will match perfectly with the simbadda case) ( Pictures & Info http://www.pccasegear.com/prod1032.htm ) -Headset: LABTEC Axis 002 (sleek, goodlooking headset) ( Pictures & Info http://www.gamingin3d.com/reviews/axis/main.shtml ) But after all of that, i still have confusions: 1.for the CPU & MOBO, Is it Worth to upgrade to Athlon 64 2800+ combined with DFI LANParty nforce3 250mb board? with $100 more. Will all the games and the application on the workstations will run faster compared to the Athlon XP 3000+? (If it's only gonna give small difference in system speed, and only like 4fps in cs source then i rather spend the extra money for a Geforce 6600GT. 2.I'm scared that Geforce 6600 AGP is not going to run CS: Source smoothly at highest graphic setting (with 4xAA and 16x FSAA), should i get Geforce 6600GT instead? ($80 more). 3.But come back to the point, do people like it to play CS: Source with AA and FSAA? or most people just gonna turn them off? if its true then theres no point in getting the Geforce 6600GT. 4.Should I get a single 512MB RAM or should i get 2x 256mb for the DDR Slots (extra $10). 5.Do you guys think the Thermaltake Xaser Keyboard & Mouse will do its job well? and about getting a high-end mouse model (above $30) i say no, because most people here bring there own mouse anyway to play CS. If the Thermaltake Xaser is good enough, then will it get any better if i get the wireless version ($20 more), such as in look, style and eye candy to customers. but I'm worried about problems with changing batteries and hardware response time, as many people say wireless K&M for gaming is a bad idea. ( Picture & Info: http://www.xoxide.com/a2209.html ) 6.Is the Headset good enough? is there any better value ones? 7.If i get the DFI NF II Ultra AL, it won't have soundstorm.. then will the realtek soundcard will be adequate enough? or i should add a cheap SBlive 5.1 to go with? And, as for network, since i've never had experience with making such big LAN network. then i need to ask few questions: 1.What do you think is best specification for building a server PC. the networked stations is going to be 30+ PCs. 2.Which one is better to install, Switch or a router. if it's router, can you beriefly explain how its going to be installed. ok that's all... and my decision will greatly affected by your opinions.. thank you very much for helping with me out... if there's any error with my post please correct me. any questions just ask me. Once again, Thank you very much.
1. 1st NEVER get a Wireless mouse, the cost of batteries will eat you alive! When you've got more than 12 PCs...
2. The 6600 is more than enough, an ATI Radeon 9800pro would be able to play the game at full Res, with no noticable performance loss. Thats with FSAA and Anistroptic Filtering.
3. The AMD Athlon 64 is a SIGNIFICANT improvement over the AMD XP. The performance difference will more than justify the pricetag. Definately use it in the server, if you can't get a Intel Xeon 64bit system.
4. The Realtek Audio in new motherboards is failry good, its doubtfull you'll need anything more. A Cheap Sound Blaster probably won't make a big difference, I may be wrong though.
^ Its the speaker/headphones that matter.
5. Get the 512mb stick, it'll be easier to upgrade the system later.
6. I would recommend a Router, because I don't have a clue how to work a switch.
A router setup is complicated, even more so for Internet gaming. LAN gaming should be ok, and with most, is an extremely simple matter.
Just plug it up, and your done. Ofcourse thats when "Automatically obtain IP" is enabled, it usually is by default.
"do people like it to play CS: Source with AA and FSAA? or most people just gonna turn them off?"
^ Well, they are usually not used, as there are many Dell PCs barely capable of this game. Those who have used it, never turn it off. Your customers would pay more for a system with FSAA and AA (AF?), enabled. I would highly recommend this card, plus it gives you overhead for future games.
On the LAN side I would terminate all the machines into a 100BaseT switch. This way traffic only goes to where it's needed. Don't bother with a hub, they are cheaper, but they only operate a half duplex and every packet is forwarded to every machine, regardless of packet addressing.
My personal recommendation would be a Cisco C2950T-48-SI. This would give you 48 10/100 full duplex ports plus a couple of 1000BaseT trunk ports which you could attach a server to. They cost about 700GBP, but are good boxes. They work straight out the box, but ideally you will want to dig out the console cable and optimise things. (i.e. hard code the port speed and duplex settings. Turn off spanning tree on access ports, etc... find somebody local who understands this stuff).
Will you be wanting an internet feed? If so things start getting tricky and expensive here. You would need to find somebody with good IP skills to advise you. For example if you wanted to host publically accessible games servers, you would need decent bandwidth, static IP's and probably a proper firewall (i.e. not a £50 soho router) to handle the NATing.
Computer Answers: 1. Yes, it's worth upgrading to the A64. And go socket 939, not 754 (this gives you the benefit fo dual channel memory, plus access to AMD's performance lines of CPUs). Yes, games will run faster. 2. The 6600GT is superior in performance to the 9800XT, and much cheaper at that. Go with them, if you can find enough in AGP trim. 3. I play everything that I can with 6xAA/16xAF. It may be overkill, but I do it anyway. Nevermind that the 6600GT is in a lower price bracket than [most] 9800 Pros, and all 9800XTs that I've seen. 4. 2x256MB will give better performance than 1x512, but 1x512 may be easier to upgrade (you'll have to find an extact copy to get DC out of them). I recommend swallowing the cost and starting wtith 2x512MB in all machines. Kingston ValueRAM is my budget memory of choice, OCZ for performance. 5. I hate Thermaltake. I personally have an M$ wireless K/M combo (yeah yeah, it was CHEAP, so I bought it), and it games fantastically. I'm even running through a basic Linksys KVM and receive no perceptible lag unless batteries are dying. However, as someone pointed out... that alone makes wireless (mice, at least) a bad idea for a business like this. Nevermind how easy it would be to steal them. If you insist on using a wireless mouse of some sort, I'd go with one of the Logitech MX models (they're rechargable). 6. I use Logitech Z-5500s for gaming. Wouldn't know about headsets, though there's a pair of cans from Audio Technica that comes highly rated from people who own them (A900s, I think... appearantly they've got a soundstage that's supposed to give excellent positional audio). 7. Maybe. Try it and see; you can get SB Audigy2's for around $40 now, so it might be worth your while to just snag a new OEM units. Network Answers: 1. Four 3.6GHz Xeon MPs or Opteron 450s. But we can't always find what we want, much less afford it (both those solutions are going to run you more than US$2,000 for CPUs alone). Believe it or not, there isn't all that much demand placed on dedicated servers; Quake would host wonderfully on a 386DX. Chances are that any competent gaming rig would do "well enough." I'd use at least 2x1024MB sticks of memory, a P4 (running at 3GHz or more) or an A64 (3400+ or better) and a couple of Raptors in RAID 0 configuration. It's overkill, but it has that "ooh-awe" factor going for it. You might even want to look for a used set of PIII Xeons for this. 2. A router is a switch that also routes traffic between subnets. If you need a router, then you're trying to build a network that's much too large for this kind of application. For small LANs (say, fewer than a dozen boxen) intended to play games on, a hub or two is just fine. Think about it: if everyone is playing the same game, then everyone is going to need the same packets. As you get beyond that, you'll want to start adding switches to the mix. A simple setup for a LAN comprised by 35 boxen for players, where everyone is playing the same game: group the comptuers into five clusters of seven machines each. Each cluster of seven boxes is plugged into an 8-port hub. The eighth port on each hub then goes to a switch. The switch is connected to the server. If that gets overloaded, you can alwasy run two NICs on the server and have it talk to two switches. One switch can be connected to three of the hubs, and the other switch to the remaining two hubs. That's a simple example, but you should get the basic idea. A 100BaseT network will likely be sufficient, but if you have enough cash you might as well invest in GbE hardware. I'd also do some Googling on LAN design; I've come across several good guides on setting up networks for LAN parties before.
C38368 Network Answers: ......................................... 1. Four 3.6GHz Xeon MPs or Opteron 450s. But we can't always find what we want, much less afford it (both those solutions are going to run you more than US$2,000 for CPUs alone). Believe it or not, there isn't all that much demand placed on dedicated servers; Quake would host wonderfully on a 386DX. Chances are that any competent gaming rig would do "well enough." I'd use at least 2x1024MB sticks of memory, a P4 (running at 3GHz or more) or an A64 (3400+ or better) and a couple of Raptors in RAID 0 configuration. It's overkill, but it has that "ooh-awe" factor going for it. You might even want to look for a used set of PIII Xeons for this... .............................................
... A 100BaseT network will likely be sufficient, but if you have enough cash you might as well invest in GbE hardware.
#1. Well a PIII Xeon is good, I forgot all about them... You've got to have them in a multiple processor configuration though, thats faster for a server anyway. Forget the Xeon 64, go for a Dual or QUAD PIII Xeon. :nodding:
A single AMD 64 is better than even a dual 1.2GHZ PIII Xeon, and it is plenty less $$$ than a Xeon 64-bit. Can't beat the value of a Quad Xeon PIII 1.2 though... Those things are BAD!!!
A Single Game doesn't take up a lot of processor power. Half-Life 2 will run fine on a Dual PIII 800mhz (not a Xeon). Dedicated, but nothing else will. Getting a Quad board will allow you to upgrade later, quadrupling your perfomance, for less down the road.
You'll end up being able to Host multiple games at a time. Something to definately consider. When your Lan gaming is succesfull, this is what your gonna do anyway. Quad processor servers, with multiple NICs (8?)...
You know, if the user machines themselves are powerful enough then there's no reason why clients can't host their own games on one. Most smaller LAN places like this that I've been to work on this principle. This has the advantage of allowing small groups to have games amongst themselves (another good reason to organise the computers into clusters) without having to bug an employee to go change the server. Having one central server would be useful for tourneys and such, but could be something of an administrative nightmare if you have 30 people wanting to play six different games among them.
If you do decide to host everything on a dedicated server, you're going to need (or at least want) a DP server, or several UP servers in the interest of load balancing. A64s are cheaper than Nocona Xeons, but you never know (I've seen very killer deals on them before). Be careful with MP boards, however; I'm not sure that you'll be able to get away with running them in DP configurations. And I'm also not sure that there's such as thing as a Coppermine or Tualitin PIII that can be used in DP/MP systems.
You need one switch or more depending on how advanced you want your network infrastructure. It/they needs to be fairly advanced to provide the needed quality.
Weither or not you need routing in your network depends on the internet connection and the specifications from the internet service provider (ISP).
A fast download & upload connection is needed to provide the needed quality for your customers, some might want to upload files, send big mails, host a voice or videochat etc.
A server can be a regular desktop computer with specific software installed to make it do what you need. If you feel your hosting needs are best suited by a professional server you can either buy a custom machine from most custom computer builders or get (a more expensive) preconfigured server from one of the major companies.
Keep in mind you need valid licenses for the software installed on *every* machine, including your servers..
I don't think I know anything which have not been said yet, but I have to underline that you shouldn't have a wireless mouse, since the response time is noticeable, and it annoys, my dad has a wireless keyboard and mouse on his PC and I hate it, I tell you, it stops me from even wanting to chat on MSN. You could get a decent mouse that makes people say "oh, I love this, it goes so smoothly,"
If you want a good mouse, go with the Logitech Mx510 (at least that's what I recommend) and a funC mousemat. At least check it out, it may help.
Hi! Id like to ask you one thing : Where is that internet cafe of yours gonna be coz I think it will be quite a good one! :naughty: All your ideas sound really good and I think you will do pretty good. You have one visitor for sure! :D Peace
Since your looking for bang for th4e buck go with the 6600gt. I have a 9600pro 256mb and it runs CS:S at 40FPS maxed at 1024x768 with 2x AA and 4x AF. Good card for the money at only $120 and its redily avable. If you can't find 6600gts then go with the 9600's or a 9800se($150). Also make sure to load up the latest version of the omega drivers. It will improve performance by %10 to %20 percent:D