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Old 08-28-2012, 04:15 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Media Center/Minecraft Server

Hello all!

The time has come for me too to build a media center, which will double as a server for a few games that I like to play (IE minecraft, terraria and the like). This is what I've gathered so far:

Case: ANTEC ISK 300-150 - DESKTOP SLIMLINE - MINI ITX

Motherboard: INTEL DESKTOP BOARD DH67CFB3 H67 S-1155 MINI-ITX

CPU: INTEL CORE I3 2120 3.30GHZ 3MB S-1155

Memory: CORSAIR 4GB DDR3 XMS3 INTEL I3/I5/I7 1333MHZ (2X4GB)

HDD: INTEL 330 SERIES 2.5" 120GB SSD SATA/600 MLC 25NM RESELLER & WESTERN DIGITAL BLUE 2.5" 1TB 5400RPM SATA/300

The tasks that I will employ this pc to do is mainly play 1080p movies, run spotify or any other such music library of my choosing, as well as a heavily modded minecraft server 24/7. I'm going to run something linux related, as I know it's not very demanding of the system, free, and I would not mind learning something new.

What I am not so sure of is whether or not the PSU will be powerful enough to run this system. Nor am I certain that it will be silent enough for my tastes, and I am considering replacing the stock case fan, as well as the cpu cooler. I don't know which coolers would fit into such a small case though, and I imagine the selection to be rather limited.

If I've done some glaring mistakes in assembling this computer, or if there are ways to make it cheaper (or better for the same cost); then please, do tell

Fast responses will be much appreciated, as I'm anxious to get this ball rolling :P
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Old 08-29-2012, 07:25 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Media Center/Minecraft Server

Is there a graphics card in there? I hear running a Minecraft server can be quite heavy on your computer, depending on the size, so a graphics card would certainly be worth your money. Especially if you are playing 1080p movies
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Old 08-29-2012, 08:22 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Media Center/Minecraft Server

that is a very low power system, im sure that it is fine. typically a bundled psu is cheap though, so that could possibly be a problem. if i could make a recommendation, find an awesome case that you like the looks of that doesnt have a power supply, and then get this power supply.
Newegg.com - Antec Basiq BP350 350W ATX12V v2.01 Power Supply
$25.5 w/ promo code EMCNBHG22

for a smaller case, maybe this one:
Newegg.com - SeaSonic SS-300TFX Bronze 300W TFX12V v2.3 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC Power Supply - Power Supplies

you dont need a graphics card. that i3 is more than enough for 1080 playback. i dont know what minecraft and movie playback at the same time would do, but assuming you have good drivers, it will probably be fine.
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Old 08-29-2012, 06:02 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Media Center/Minecraft Server

The psu isn't great, but it's solid enough from what I've read. Seeing as how it is an Antec psu, I'm trusting that it will last.

I also do kinda want this case as it is small, well ventilated, of solid build, reasonably priced, silent, and rather easy to get a hold of. It even looks nice to boot! I've looked at quite a few others, but either they are too large to fit in my shelf, or they become far too expensive, or are dated models that I just can't get a hold of in Norway.

And indeed I did intend for the i3 to handle the 1080p playback. A gpu would demand too much of the psu, challenge the already cramped space, produce additional heat and not actually have a purpose in this computer, seeing as how I'm not actually going to play any games on it.

The only reason I might consider another case (besides the psu), would be so that I can install 3.5" hard drives, as the 2.5" ones are rather expensive. But I've yet to find one I like that is small enough (I need a breadbox shape, as width is an issue)

Thanks for the answers by the way, they are much appreciated
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Old 08-29-2012, 07:47 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Media Center/Minecraft Server

I suggest getting more RAM, 8GB will hardly be enough for both minecraft server and media center functions IMO.

The i3 also seems to be a bottle neck, you can get small low-power but 1080p capable graphics cards that are more suitable for media functions, would help with the load that would be on your CPU.

In the end, it sort of depends upon how big of a minecraft server you are going for, and the type of video you will be playing in the media center, sure it could be 1080p, but, you still have the CPU decoding a good chunk of data, and some codecs are very harsh on resources.

I have (I know it's dated compared to this build)

i3-530, 4*2GB DDR3 1333 and an 8400GS 512MB that handles 1080p video fine and can decode most anything perfectly fine, but it does cause the CPU to sit at 70-80%. If I was to run a minecraft server with that, well, something would have to give, one at a time for me. I am sure the 2120 is more powerful though.
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Old 08-30-2012, 08:39 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Media Center/Minecraft Server

Then I'll settle for running either the minecraft server, or watching movies at any given time.

The next question I have would then be: Is this actually powerful enough to run a minecraft server smoothly? It's going to be a private one, with I'm guessing 5-10 players on at a time. I can't imagine it ever going beyond 20, and I think I'm going to cap it at 15.

I absolutely love the mods for the game, namely the tech mods, and I will be including them. Therefore the server naturally have to be powerful enough to run minecraft with those installed.
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Old 08-30-2012, 09:58 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Media Center/Minecraft Server

Quote:
Originally Posted by c0rr0sive View Post
I suggest getting more RAM, 8GB will hardly be enough for both minecraft server and media center functions IMO.
Really? I would have said 4GB would be plenty. I mean, the guidelines MC server is usually a base of 1GB plus 100MB per player, and you really don't need much in the way of memory for a media center beyond the OS and minimal programs.
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Old 08-30-2012, 10:07 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Media Center/Minecraft Server

I guess I am rather harsh on my server then, I use PLEX Media Server and Client on the same machine, those take up quiet a lot of space, especially when serving media to others.

Also, from the MC Wiki

The more memory that your computer has, the better. It is recommended to have more than 4 GB. That way, plenty of RAM is left over for the operating system, and you have the possibility of allocating more to the Minecraft server.

Running inside windows (Non-Dedicated):
2.8Ghz Dual-Core, 3GB RAM (XP) / 4+GB (Vista/7), A High-Speed internet connection (10MBp/s)


Now, add in media center tasks using something that is actually going to create a decent front end, and most other software that would typically run on a server/media center, and you have a memory hog quickly. Minecraft also loves fast read/writes, so it should be using an SSD for everything to do with it, or at least Raid 0.

In the end, what will he do once he some how manages to max out his 8GB of RAM just because of a game, or a piece of software needing abnormally high amounts? His MC server will lag, and media center will be impossible to use.

The system should be perfectly fine to handle one or the other in the end, but both at the same time is doubtful, especially if he won't go with a dedicated GPU, 512MB-1GB of RAM will have to be dedicated to GPU purposes alone.

The CPU should be okish, but I can't promise anything as I don't have personal experience with most of the intel line, just a single little old i3-530. Also, the requirements listed for the server, is for standard server installs, no mods or anything, you would have to check the resource requirements for the mods to see if the server will function with them.
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Old 08-30-2012, 10:15 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Media Center/Minecraft Server

I just took a bit of a look around, and a lot of people have said the main part of running a Minecraft server is the internet connection - which sounds about right, especially if it hosts around 15 players.

This is also something I'm interested in doing, and i would like to point out that my old computer had an Intel quad core processor, at 2.4Ghz, and was fairly recent (after Pentiums but not as new as the i3), with 3GB of ram, and some integrated Nvidia graphics - and i could barely run Minecraft for myself, let alone for 2 people, when i tried that.

Here is what the Minecraft Wiki says:
Quote:
Running inside windows (Non-Dedicated):
2.8Ghz Dual-Core, 3GB RAM (XP) / 4+GB (Vista/7), A High-Speed internet connection (10MBp/s)
Running on a *nix Based Server OS (Dedicated):
2.2Ghz Single-Core, 2GB RAM, A High-Speed internet connection (10MBp/s)
The requirements for Windows can be dropped slightly if you are NOT going to be playing Minecraft on that machine!
Being a wiki, i wouldn't take that as an exact guideline, but it is good for a general idea
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Old 08-30-2012, 10:26 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Media Center/Minecraft Server

@c0rr0sive: The mediacenter will probably be quite light on the programs I'll be running, at least for now. It's more of a utility that I use every now and then, rather than a massive center that I use all the time, so I think 8gb will be sufficient. I will also be running on ubuntu (my guess for now), and not windows, which should free up quite a bit of resources.

@danhodge: My internet speed is 70/10 Mb/s, which should be sufficient for 10-15 people at the most. I also feel I should clarify that this computer will never, ever be gamed on. I have a massive tower right next to me hosting my gaming puter, and this is what I'll be playing minecraft with, logging on to the server which will be in the next room.

As for skype and such things, none of those will affect the server as it won't be installed on it. All it will do is run a .jar file
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