Win2003 Server for gaming

Discussion in 'Techie Discussion' started by barbelith, Dec 23, 2003.

  1. barbelith

    barbelith Fledgling Freddie


    Has anyone tried using Windows 2003 Server as a gaming workstation?

    I have been seriuosly thinking about giving it a go and was wondering if any one else had experience with the OS in a gaming situation.

  2. Xavier

    Xavier Can't get enough of FH

    I think this one falls cleanly into the 'not recommended' category. While the likes of NVIDIA and ATI do produce drivers compatible with Windows Server 2003 they're just not geared up for performance, remember the OS and it's drivers are focused on stability, not pushing big frame rates.

    You'd probably need to switch the OS optimisations from background tasks to applications to stop games from choking, which would mean a significant performance hit for any services running on the machine...

    Can I ask why you're considering Server 2003 at all? If you've got a legit copy then it's best run on a standalone box if you've the resource to dedicate.. If you're after something specific to server 2003 but only need it running when you're not playing games then maybe consider a dual-boot scenario?
  3. barbelith

    barbelith Fledgling Freddie


    Yeah it was the gfx driver issue i was most concerned about. I am quite happy with XP, but since I have a legit licence not being used I was considering giving it a go.

    The main reason was that I wanted to see if i could get the performance throughput on my server architecture to increase over the consumer orientated XP pro.

    But, yeah, if drivers are still an issue, probably not much point at all :-|
  4. Xavier

    Xavier Can't get enough of FH

    If you've got a legit license for server 2003 i'd sling a copy onto a dedicated machine and get tinkering with it :) g'wan
  5. barbelith

    barbelith Fledgling Freddie

    Yeah, i think I might just do that :D

    take it easy.
  6. Nabi

    Nabi Fledgling Freddie

    Hello, i also use windows server 2003 as gaming machine and server etc. and it works very good.

    You will have to tweak some settings though like enable sound , hardware rendering and you need of course to install directx.

    I would recommend windows server 2003 to anyone who knows how to maintain it.
  7. Xavier

    Xavier Can't get enough of FH

    Surely the two roles are diametrically opposed?

    What do you use the Win2k3 as a server for?
  8. Nabi

    Nabi Fledgling Freddie


    well not if you want to run a non dedicated game server hehe.

    you are right but in my inviroment the two go together fine because i can manage my services manually (ftp/mail) and my web site is only used for training purpose.

    If i want to play a game , then i can shut down any other services then the game i play.

    I like all the server stuff integrated and it runs very smooth on my machine.

    added: take for instance windows media services. it is great to be able to provide stream on demand integrated in your OS. and if you dont use it then you can disable it :clap:
  9. Concept04

    Concept04 Fledgling Freddie

    I remember being in the early beta testers for it. The day's when it wouldn't support OpenGL. That kinda made my mind up about it, although obviously it has been implemented now. Doesn't sound that different to XP. Just all the eye candy removed, and more services added (so I heard)?
  10. Gurnox

    Gurnox One of Freddy's beloved

    The problem that you are going to have is, to get anything like the performance you would get out of a plain vanilla XP box, you will have to turn off most of the server services.

    If this is the case, you have to ask yourself 'why bother'? You won't be getting any benefit out of it. Not only that, by installing things like Direct X e.t.c. you could be opening yourself up to some fairly horrible security issues that you may not have yet considered. Or, knowing Microsofts' track record, security issues that are, as yet, unknown.

    As for games opening up God only knows what network ports on a machine running network services.....

    If you want to run games, use XP Home or Pro. Leave MS Server to do what it's meant for.
  11. Nabi

    Nabi Fledgling Freddie

    Indeed performance would depend on what you will use your server for. If you want to make it a domain controller etc then you might not want to do it.

    But if you just want it to run a bunch of services then most of today's computers won't notice any significant drop in performance.

    I'd rather run a game on my server, then run a game on a client with all kinds of server software installed.

    Security is a important task of a server admin. If you don't know how to maintain and admin a server then you might want to stick to XP and your limited IIS or install a third party server software.

    added: "Doesn't sound that different to XP. Just all the eye candy removed, and more services added (so I heard)?"

    Not exactly xp but you are right the eye candy is removed.
    A gamer doesnt need eyecandy when it comes to a OS to play games on.

    /me wants performance
  12. Gurnox

    Gurnox One of Freddy's beloved

    Forgive me if I'm stating the obvious. But, surely the answer here is to have two machines?

    So does a gamer does need a load of extra services chewing up system resources and more hassle in setting up and administering?

  13. Nabi

    Nabi Fledgling Freddie

    if i would have two machines then i would still use windows server 2003 but without any services at all for a gaming machine. just a clean default workstation installation. then you have the best of two worlds. the compatibility of xp and the simplicity/stability of server.

    services that you don't use at all you can choose not to install. services that you use sometimes you can set them to run manually. and iis you can leave running on auto without any big performance issues

    it's not hard to open the services snap-in and stop /resume a few services...
  14. Xavier

    Xavier Can't get enough of FH

    I mentioned this one to a friend at Microsoft this morning, and to be honest they just laughed.

    The WHQL requirements for drivers between the two operating systems are very different, Video drivers under XP for instance are able to use certain techniques and shortcuts which have to be addressed differently under WS2k3. As a result gaming performance under Windows Server compared to XP can never draw level.

    If you wanted to compare the slimmest, leanest installs of both, XP is meant to be around 40% leaner in terms of memory footprint and background CPU utilisation. Combined these factors should mean you'll never find a scenario where WS2k3 outperforms XP in terms of DirectX and OpenGL gaming.

    In his words, "if they think it's possible to get Windows Server 2003 optimised to run games quicker than Windows XP, then it just shows how little they know about optimising XP" and to be honest I'm inclined to agree.

    To be honest it looks to me like you're trying to steer the discussion in a 180-degree turn on a collision course with Ludicrousville. The initial question was one of whether Windows Server 2003 would run games at all, or whether support/performance/compatibility would render it useless. The general consensus has been that while games will run, there's little or no point. If you've more than one PC then run the server independantly, if you only have a single system then dual boot with XP would be infinitely preferrable... And then you try and tell us that you've managed to get Microsofts latest Server OS to outperform their gaming/home operating system? Considering your obviously massive technical expertise in this situation what exactly would you attribute this to:confused:

    I think a dual-boot scenario between XP and Server 2003 is far more sensible, and I'm pretty sure the majority will agree. Why even enter into a situation where you're stopping services and shutting down applications when you can just restart your system and enter a partition configured solely to run games? :rolleyes:
  15. Gurnox

    Gurnox One of Freddy's beloved

    :flame: In which case, you are either: a)Trolling or b) Clueless. :flame:
  16. Gurnox

    Gurnox One of Freddy's beloved

    You'd need a sense of humour to work for Microsoft! :D
  17. RandomBastard

    RandomBastard Can't get enough of FH

    or c) all of the above
  18. Mellow

    Mellow Loyal Freddie

    Well there's your problem, you're not installing a "default workstation" you're installing a server, which is designed to provide services to a network. You're just using the wrong OS and tying up system resources for no reason. noob.
    • Like Like x 1
  19. barbelith

    barbelith Fledgling Freddie

    Hey thanks this is a really good point. I did get around to installing and attempting to use 2003 (in a dual boot situation too :p ) just to check it out. didn't last long as the performance was shite. The partition is now gone and the install is now running a test webserver instead. :cheers:

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