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There are currently 32 users playing Freelancer on 38 servers.
October. 20, 2019

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Best CPU and Hardware for Freelancer Server
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Intresting question.
Also will help new admins to choose CPU for Freelancer Server.

Posted on: 2009/7/22 5:47
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Re: Best CPU for Freelancer Server
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Most people are not very knowledgeable and usually opt for "biggest, most and newest".

Wrong.

FL Server needs a minimum configuration, and does not even need a good graphics card, just a basic one is fine. And of course it does not need a sound card.

Even a simple single-core 800MHz AMD chip with 256MB of RAM is capable of running several highly-used FL Servers (actually not possible to do in practice - maybe 2 if you have 2 LAN cards or 2 Internet connections).

The chip just ticks now and again, only short data bursts are sent to the clients (the PCs running Freelancer.exe), all graphics and action are generated on the Freelancer PCs.

AMD and IBM (Cyrix) made Intel-compatible processors which are usually faster than Intels main-line cpus (i.e. not Celeron which were cut-power versions). IBM pulled out a long time ago because there was not enough people buying their chip. A couple of years ago IBM sold out their PC manufacturing to Chinese Lenovo, again because not enough of you were buying, and again quality went down.

AMD have a very large market share and their cpus are still excellent, and I use them in preference to Intel. Why? Because YOU need them to be around, to give you an alternative, and thereby to keep Intel's prices reasonable. There is nothing wrong with AMD's processors, if you don't buy them then very soon they will stop producing and YOU will pay DOUBLE for your next PC. Believe me.

High power machines are only needed for heavy graphics high-resolution games like X3 (and not for poor measly Freelancer!) - and even then a high-power graphics card with more than 256MB of its own RAM is much more needed and gives much better performance than a high-power processor even if it has more than 1GB of RAM.

Even for modern games PCs, processor RAM Memory over 2GB is superfluous - and if your graphics card uses shared RAM (i.e. has none of its own but uses part of the processor's RAM) then even with 4GB of RAM you will still get very poor performance.

The reason for more RAM in a games machine is ridiculously high resolution settings - 1024 x 768 is good enough for every blooming game, so stop being silly. Higher resolution is only necessary for programs such as AutoCAD, Oil-Well, professional Modelling, Seismographic and similar analysis. You kids are just kids playing games and videos, you just don't need it.

To round things off - stay away from SATA (Serial ATA) disks as long as you can, they give MUCH lower performance than IDE / EIDE (Integrated Drive Electronics / Enhanced Integrated Drive Electronics, i.e. the disk controller was built into the drive instead of being a discrete card as they used to be, also now fashionably called PATA (Parallel ATA) ) disks. SATA disks transfer data one bit at a time (hence Serial). EIDE disks transfer data 32 bits at a time. So go for a faster (7200 rpm not 5400rpm) IDE / EIDE Disk in preference to any SATA disk, and you will see the difference in performance by simply copying a large video file from one disk to another and timing it. Use SATA disks as secondary disks, only for storing data you want to keep in the PC such as videos and original program disk files / images. SATA disks are only popular because a) people don't know what they are, b) they are the "latest", c) they come in high capacity and c) they are cheap. Professional Storage manufacturers are promoting them because everyone wants only the cheapest, not better quality.

Sadly PCs will not include EIDE interfaces much longer, for the last reason: everyone wants cheapest.

So don't go mad. If you have an older PC, of about 800 MHz and with even 512MB of RAM, you can use that very comfortably for FL Server.

Posted on: 2009/7/22 9:45
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Re: Best CPU for Freelancer Server
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I think intel with 2 cores and >2ghz frequency will be the best option. Don't know about cache sizes, but it's better to avoid hyper threading, i think.
On our old server we had xeon with hyper threading and performance was pretty poor. Although there was some other stuff running, maybe it contributed some lags.

Quote:
Even a simple single-core 800MHz AMD chip with 256MB of RAM is capable of running several highly-used FL Servers
You sure? Server can eat 100 and more MB running for 5 minutes and quite demanding for CPU time as well.
What i've seen on my server is memusage cap about 270MB and 10-11% of cpu usage (of 2 quadcore xeon (8 2ghz cores) so max usage for 1 thread = 1 core = 12.5%). CPU usage by flserver is usually 5-8%.

Quote:
SATA disks transfer data one bit at a time (hence Serial). EIDE disks transfer data 32 bits at a time.
That's not right (your conclusion that sata is slower, i mean). SATA II gives you 300MB/s and IDE gives 133MB/s (both theoretically ). I didn't look into disks speeds itself but they don't depend much on interface afaik.
Serial interfaces can be faster than parallel like PCI-E is faster than PCI or AGP.

And of course you dont need powerful videocard and audio for flserver. Integrated components will do it.

Posted on: 2009/7/22 10:26
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Re: Best CPU for Freelancer Server
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Well there you go, again. You are misinformed. MB (Bytes) against Mb(bits). Serial devices are measured in Mb (Megabits). Parallel devices are measured in MB (MegaBytes).

Do some more investigation on SATA and you will see.

And on processor - no dis meant but you are clearly a follower of the biggest, bettest, newest set.

Go try a 50000 MegaFlop Cray processor if you will.

Posted on: 2009/7/22 10:33
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Re: Best CPU for Freelancer Server
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I'm not a follower of anything but i posted the numbers there. I know that flserver doesn't require 8 cores (since it can't use them all) but we still have other stuff running with us.

And SATA II is 300MBytesps.

Posted on: 2009/7/22 10:46
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Re: Best CPU for Freelancer Server
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@Outcast: And you use one core for server and other for statistics? Or both for all?

@StarTrader: wait wait wait, Amd 800 Mhz is for concrete situation 2-5 players average for example, and for 50 players?

Posted on: 2009/7/22 10:54
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Re: Best CPU for Freelancer Server
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Quote:

@Outcast: And you use one core for server and other for statistics? Or both for all?
We don't set cpu affinity for anything, it's not good for flserver iirc. So OS is responsible for load distribution.
FLServer itself can't use more than one core since it has only one thread that really does computing and produses much load.

Posted on: 2009/7/22 11:13
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Re: Best CPU for Freelancer Server
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@Outcast: Not absolutely clearly. You do not hang up FLServer on a certain core? I use FLServer on one core, and on other - Ioncross, statistics and all the rest.

Posted on: 2009/7/22 11:40
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Re: Best CPU for Freelancer Server
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No, it runs on every core so to say It still has some other threads which require a bit.

Posted on: 2009/7/22 12:26
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Re: Best CPU for Freelancer Server
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AMD ftw ^^

Posted on: 2009/7/22 13:21
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Re: Best CPU for Freelancer Server
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I have a dual core Intel setup on my server and with my connection which is also important can handle quite large numbers of players.

A weaker machine could easily deal with an FL server, i've always found lots of ram and a decent connection to be the key

Posted on: 2009/7/22 14:20
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Re: Best CPU for Freelancer Server
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Quote:

Well there you go, again. You are misinformed. MB (Bytes) against Mb(bits). Serial devices are measured in Mb (Megabits). Parallel devices are measured in MB (MegaBytes).

Do some more investigation on SATA and you will see.
PATA has a max bandwidth of 133 MB/s. SATA I has a max bandwidth of 1.5 Gb/s. Divide 1500 Mb/s by 8 and you get 187.5 MB/s. Because of overhead, the max speed is typically quoted as being 150 MB/s. Either way, SATA is faster than PATA.

Posted on: 2009/7/22 17:42
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Re: Best CPU for Freelancer Server
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And SATA II is at 3Gbit/s, which is much faster than IDE. The interface does not have much impact anyways since the disks still barely keep up with the theoretical max speeds even for the ultra-high end X25-E SSD.

The more RAM the better, remember the days of using FLServer alone are long gone. You want FLHook, maybe CD or IFSO, etc. I know for a fact FLAC can sometimes take 200mb+ by itself. Sure, the server will run on 256 mb of RAM, but it just means it'll need to use quite a bit of virtual memory. Having large RAM means it'll just about never have to use it.

For the processor, I usually go for Intel. A dual-core CPU would work just fine; any more than this would mean you have extra money to spend for little gain or that you're running a LOT of apps in parallel. I've heard good things about the E8xxx.

If you want the real deal, get a SAS HDD (15k RPM, should reach 6Gbit/s max theoretical speed soon) with server-grade RAM ;D

Posted on: 2009/7/22 18:22
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Re: Best CPU for Freelancer Server
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Once of the key performance problems we face is extremely long FLServer start up times about 13-15 mins if the o/s disk cache is flushed. This time is related to the number of players database which has around around 15 K character file. We're experimenting with moving to a RAM disk or possibly a SSD to try and reduce this time. The RAM disk allows us to start up in about 60 seconds so it appears to be worth it.

I would recommend a minimum 2 of RAM and an SSD to run the server or maybe 4 GB and run from a RAM disk.

Posted on: 2009/7/22 20:16
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Re: Best CPU for Freelancer Server
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Quote:

And SATA II is at 3Gbit/s, which is much faster than IDE. The interface does not have much impact anyways since the disks still barely keep up with the theoretical max speeds even for the ultra-high end X25-E SSD.

The more RAM the better, remember the days of using FLServer alone are long gone. You want FLHook, maybe CD or IFSO, etc. I know for a fact FLAC can sometimes take 200mb+ by itself. Sure, the server will run on 256 mb of RAM, but it just means it'll need to use quite a bit of virtual memory. Having large RAM means it'll just about never have to use it.

For the processor, I usually go for Intel. A dual-core CPU would work just fine; any more than this would mean you have extra money to spend for little gain or that you're running a LOT of apps in parallel. I've heard good things about the E8xxx.

If you want the real deal, get a SAS HDD (15k RPM, should reach 6Gbit/s max theoretical speed soon) with server-grade RAM ;D


4xSSD in RAID 10 Mmmm... Nice
Hm... on 4 core may run two flservers in different terminal sessions.

Posted on: 2009/7/22 20:32
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