GameServer-1 Upgrades

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GameServer-1 Upgrades

Post by notipa »

Every one of BosaikNet's GameServers, except for GameServer-3 (which was split into two computers and repurposed), continues to be operable. Lately, I've put a good amount of effort into bringing BosaikNet's original GameServer up to peak performance.

There were a few components that weren't going to get upgraded. The existing Intel Pentium D 945 was on the rather high end of Presler chips, and for the sake of avoiding a ship of Theseus problem I was not going to change the motherboard from the current Intel Desktop Board D955XBK (which is quite a nice motherboard for the chipset). The only real upgrade is the Pentium D Extreme Edition 965, where the hyperthreading, virtualization technology, and thermal sensors would be tremendously useful. Unfortunately, these CPUs are exceedingly rare and in excess of $300 when they are available, and I don't have that for an 18 year old computer. I also didn't think it was economical to replace the case or CPU cooler despite known airflow issues, since the system under full load runs roughly 60-70C, and the existing Nvidia GeForce GT430 isn't a bottleneck. However, there were some parts in the computer that were relics of GameServer-1 being assembled entirely from found parts.

I started by removing nearly all of its hard drives, and installing Windows 10 onto a solid-state SATA drive; previously it booted Windows Server 2012R2 from a 80GB hard-disk drive, which is itself an upgrade over the original Windows 7 installation that ran BosaikNet through April of 2015. The original 4GB of DDR2-533 was quite crippling as simple tasks were sent to pagefile on a slow hard drive. After great hassle with an eBay seller, I managed to get four working modules of Kingston/Elpida low-density 2GB DDR2-800 (as well as three or four additional modules that work, and three or two that were DOA); this brought system RAM not only up to 8 GB, which is the maximum the Intel 955X chipset supports, but also to the highest RAM speed supported by the chipset. After these upgrades, the CPU heavily bottlenecks system performance, which is a good indicator that no further upgrades are possible.

After a clean install of Windows 10, boot-to-desktop time is reduced from about 6-8 minutes down to about a minute, of which a substantial portion is the BIOS POSTing the RAM. I'm pretty satisfied with it. If I do any further work on it, I'd replace the case for something modern and get some quiet fans to pump air through it. Since I enjoy operating GameServer-1 despite its atrocious (yet vastly improved) performance, I may end up doing this in the future.

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