Building a server box...what do I need?

I’m sure the topic has crossed my eyes before, probably embedded in another hardware post - but now that I have Team Family all hooked up and trying to take Altis and Stratis - it is time to investigate a dedicated LAN server box. Now, I’ll preface that by saying I ran Arma just fine the past few days by hosting and playing on the same machine - but lets say I wanted to run a whole island, persistent server that we could all jump in and out of and make progress over a period of a week - that would mean keeping the server running 24/7. So I probably want a more energy efficient box to do that than our high power computers right?

…and…if I do do that - do I have to have a dedicated Arma install with a separate account running on that server box? That would kind of be pricey…but I guess I could pick it up on sale at some point down the road. Same question for DCS World - would it have to be a separate account with all the DLC running the server?

And what kind of hardware do I need for a project like this? Thanks for any tidbits you could offer…

This is also useful for something like space engineers and farming simulator, etc…

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Yeah…I can’t wait to try that out. I bought a 4-pack for the family back in the Steam sale. We haven’t tried it out yet.

A good place to start. Cloud hosting is an option, keeps the investment low in case you move on to something else.

Otherwise I’d look for a used business PC. Plenty of leasing returns out there. Not a server, an old school desktop, for example by HP/Dell/Lenovo.

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DCS requires another account, but no DLC licenses. You used to need the maps but they removed that requirement for the dedicated server install.

If you install the game normally and run it with 3D rendering off (a “client-server”) then you need licenses.


-A strong CPU: DCS will appreciate the same single core performance, although it does not need the same level all the time it definitely helps for larger missions.

-Multiple Cores: The more game servers you want running simultaneously, the more cores you’ll want. If the simulations are busy still they will need the free space to work. You’ll have to gauge this one for each game & its typical mission/scenario.

-RAM: The more the merrier as always. I can get some DCS numbers later. HPN has 32GB available and it’s mostly free, so you can start lower. 16GB may still be fine depending on how the game servers run.

-GPU: as mentioned in another thread to you, you can omit the GPU to save power so long as the servers don’t need it (and I don’t see why they would).

-Motherboard: You can cheap out here, you don’t need RGB, WiFi (hopefully), and multiple PCIe slots. A couple NVMe ports for a drive for Windows and one for the game servers would be fine, or use SATA SSDs. Chipset doesn’t have to be say a Z390 as you won’t overclock. Doesn’t need to be full size ATX.

-Cooler: Buy as you normally would here is my opinion.

-Case: Small enough to suit the components & have airflow. If you are cool enough to have the free space, rack mount! (Kidding, that’s impractical).

-PSU: May be worth paying up a bit for a more efficient unit, definitely go full modular to save on wiring mess. Doesn’t have to be high capacity when lacking the GPU. HPN gas a Corsair RM650i - I got that for the power monitoring (curiosity) which works in iCue as I used a H150i Pro cooler (it’s a 9900k CPU). It draws <100W usually, small bursts still <150W, for a data sample.

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Awesome information…

:thinking: Yeah…that was going to be one of my next questions…could I run an Arma and DCS and like a Minecraft or something server all at the same time… (oooh…an EECH server!!)

I wonder…me being lazy…is there a prebuilt “out of the box” piece of hardware that fits the bill? Something I can just plug into the router and start installing software?

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Business PCs are built to target in terms of efficiency.

Take this as an example, not a recommendation:

Of course it all comes down to your budget.

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I assume whatever I build or buy should probably be running standard Windows 10?

Yes, unless you know how to operate Linux. I assumed you don’t.

I can barely navigate Windows.

bill murray yes GIF

How about this box?

(Item removed by CraigsList seller - unavailable)

That’s pretty serious hardware! Two 6core CPUs and a handle. Love it.

Weak points:

It is old so not optimal for single threading, but then again it has a (no, two) huge L2 cache even by todays standard.

It’s not exactly powersaving and might be a little loud.

I have a 7500watt solar array and a 10 year old. So I’m already covered on both of those points… :rofl:

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Lenovo advertising says it’s quiet… I say go for it! It’s also a perfect NAS for pictures and backups.

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4TB of storage seems like a plus too…I’ll see if it is available…

About half the score on single thread performance to a current gen processor - that I am concerned with. The core count means there should be plenty of idle cores for DCS to run freely but that performance cap I am not sure.

My previous HPN build ran off an I3 series 4th gen CPU that scored better then that and I hit the limit on single core performance in bigger missions.

Is it my understanding that more cores doesn’t necessarily help DCS so perhaps I want a more robust (modern) CPU that has more brute horsepower?

Ah…it is sold anyway…so that decision is made for me…

Less cores, each with more processing power.

Like an old v12 engine vs a modern turbocharged 4 cylinder engine.

The old one might even have more HP, but DCS can only make use of one core.

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Ideally, yes - more single core performance.
If you can also have more cores, then take them.

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I always take things like that as a sign it was not what I needed.


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