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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 16th January, 2007, 08:07 PM
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Will upgrading to Gigabit help my games?

Right now I have a simple 100mps switch that links 2 computers. No internet. And sometimes I'll have up to 4 computers on it playing games like Doom 3 or FEAR... and I'll notice one computer will get some serious lag. All the computers are capable of playing these games with decent framerates, but when playing multi-player on the network it will slow down at least one computer, sometimes two.

So, I was thinking of upgrading to Gigabit speeds by adding some expansion cards to the older computers and adding a Gigabit switch.
Will this fix my problem or is the lag coming from somewhere else?

switch
expansion cards
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Old 16th January, 2007, 08:17 PM
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The biggest slow down will happen by not using a dedicated server. If you are playing on the computer you are serving from it will lag.
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Old 16th January, 2007, 09:19 PM
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Surely, 100mps is far more than 4 gaming rigs need? Never mind a gigabit.
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Old 16th January, 2007, 09:20 PM
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I think GB is over rated any way....
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Old 16th January, 2007, 09:27 PM
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What do I do then?
Should I build another computer for the dedicated server?
It will have to be a simple desktop, but it will only run dedicated servers for the games I play...
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Old 16th January, 2007, 09:31 PM
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100Mb/s is 12.5 megabytes per second.

Given that game machines only need to excange data like a few x,y,z co-ordinates, flag changes (which are only 1 bit in size), the bandwidth requirement is only small.

Low latency is good, because you have tiny amounts of data changing very frequently. Increasing bandwidth won't improve latency.
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Old 16th January, 2007, 09:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by booman
What do I do then?
Should I build another computer for the dedicated server?
It will have to be a simple desktop, but it will only run dedicated servers for the games I play...
Hard to say what your best course of action would be, without knowing the specifics of the PCs involved. Also, are you able to choose which PC acts as a host/server for the game in question?

I mean it may be possible to get them set-up, all lag free, without need for a server.

But, a dedicated server should take care of the problem. Check the minimum requirements for a LAN server, for which ever games you want to play.
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Old 16th January, 2007, 10:04 PM
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Thanks for the specifics Danrok.
machine specs:
1. pentium 4 3.0 (533 fsb) 1g RAM 9800pro 128mb RAM
2. pentium 4 2.8 (533 fsb) 1g RAM 9600pro 128mb RAM
3. AMD +3000 1g RAM 9600 256mb RAM
4. (not built yet) Pentium4 3.2 (800 fsb) 1g RAM (PC2 6400) GeForce 7900GS 256mb RAM
5. pentium 4 3.0 (800 fsb) 1g RAM 9600pro 256mb RAM

#5 is a work computer that I may buy, and #4 is a new computer I plan to build and definitely don't want as the dedicated server.
The other 4 are possibilities, but I don't know if I can just run a dedicated server on windows xp pro for most of the games.
I will base the requirements for the dedicated server on FEAR since its the game with highest graphics requirements of my games.
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Old 16th January, 2007, 10:11 PM
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from what I understand the game server does not have to be a beast. More mem will be a plus.

2.0 CPU and a decent card will be fine. 1GB mem would be best but with only 4 machines connecting 512 should be fine...
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Old 16th January, 2007, 11:05 PM
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I am holding a leech fest, I mean LAN session in about 3 weeks. Pretty much because I have 2x 100mb 16 port Dlink DES-1016 ranckmounts and a 16 port Netgear GB switch.

All layer 2. Not particularly high end. But better than im used to.
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Old 16th January, 2007, 11:31 PM
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At my work there is 2 extra 100mps 16 channel switches that we are not using. I'm thinking of asking if I could buy them and use em somewhere.
Now that I think of it...
my friends and I go to a gaming place that has 30 computers set up. They don't have any dedicated servers running with games so we have to make local servers to play together. We never have lag with battlefield 2 special forces or half-life 2 deathmatch.
All the computers have super gear of course, but how is 5 computers keeping up with no lag without a dedicated server?
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Old 17th January, 2007, 12:37 AM
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I've never used a dedicated server for LAN games in the last 15 years or so. That's for 2 to 5 PCs. Used to use BNC cards on a 10mbs network. So, not even a router.

Not played much on LANs recently, given that online gaming has grown immensely. But, I would doubt that the requirement has changed much in all that time.

What kind of lag are you seeing? Just generally slower or stops and starts?
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Old 17th January, 2007, 02:36 PM
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I've allways run with a dedicated server! if only to stop the host from having a latency advantage. That and it takes the load off the host cpu which is also trying to play the game.

Dedicated servers often allow for more b/w per player so smoother playing and more players in general.

I've never particularly used a high spec box to do it, usually just a laptop i have lieing around.

Most games are made to be played over the internet so bandwidth requirements tend to be upto 1mbit.
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Old 17th January, 2007, 03:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by keithwalton
Most games are made to be played over the internet so bandwidth requirements tend to be upto 1mbit.
Yes and no, you may get the odd peak when you have 100 players running round next to you.

But, most people report bandwidth used over an hour of gaming to range from 2MB to 20MB. So, most of the time little bandwidth is being used.
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Old 17th January, 2007, 03:24 PM
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The lag is most likely to be coming from somewhere else. 100Mbit is more than enough for 4 machines playing. Problems can come, amongst other places, from forced duplex/rate settings on a network card, poor quality NICs, and low quality switch gear.
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Old 17th January, 2007, 04:54 PM
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Quote:
The lag is most likely to be coming from somewhere else. 100Mbit is more than enough for 4 machines playing. Problems can come, amongst other places, from forced duplex/rate settings on a network card, poor quality NICs, and low quality switch gear.
It is probably the low quality switch. It could be the network cards also because I use the onboard ports for playing games.
I'm using regular cat5 cables.

Quote:
What kind of lag are you seeing? Just generally slower or stops and starts?
Mostly frame rate drops. Specially in Doom3 and FEAR. The computer with the lowest specs will drop to under 10 frames per second till it is unplayable.

I wonder if upgrading to gigabit might help because I can bypass the poor onboard network ports to speed up games and It will improve my communication between computers for copy/paste files?
I know it would be overkill for games, but if it improves in multiple areas then I won't complain. It would only cost me $100
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Old 17th January, 2007, 05:56 PM
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I GOOD switch and network cards will do better than cheap GB hardware.

I stepped up to a nice HP switch and matched 3 com cards and all my file transfer issues are a thing of the past. A quality switch will be your best bang for the buck as far as your network goes.
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Old 18th January, 2007, 11:36 AM
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Try a good quality switch, if that doesn't work try a dedicated server.
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Old 18th January, 2007, 01:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by booman
Mostly frame rate drops. Specially in Doom3 and FEAR. The computer with the lowest specs will drop to under 10 frames per second till it is unplayable.
If it is only ever the machine with the lowest specs then I would have to say that you should try lowering the graphics settings on that box and see if that makes a difference.
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Old 18th January, 2007, 03:41 PM
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I actually tried that with Doom3 and I still got very low frame rates. I lowered the graphics all the way down to 800x600 and still no luck.

By the way, my switch is called AIRLINK. It is an 8 port 10\100mps ethernet switch. It was actually the cheapest one at Frys Electronics.
I'm sure its the problem. Do you guys reccomend a better brand?
D-Link, Linksys, Netgear, Trendnet?

Thanks for all the tips....
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