It is that time again where an upgrade is coming and this time it’s big. Before I get in to it lets just recap what our server has been like in the past.
From 2009 to 2012 we used a Core i7 920, then in 2010 that was coupled with 24GB of RAM. Then near the end of 2012 the CPU was upgraded to a Core i7 940. Also in 2012 we switched from using a traditional Hard Drive to a Value orientated Solid State Disk, this was later upgraded to a slightly faster midrange SSD.
Now these specifications put us quite high up in relation to other Minecraft servers. But still our CPU Architecture is from late 2008. It has reached a point where it is time to upgrade. The Minecraft modding API is coming out soon and we intend to take full advantage of it. To do that we are going to need the latest multi-core CPU, system architecture, memory and solid state drive money can buy.
So we are going to base our new server around the robust X79 chipset. Some of you may already know that our current server uses the X58 chipset, well X79 is the next generation of that chipset. It is in a word, extreme. Extreme bandwidth, Extreme Memory Channels, Extreme PCIe Channels. The performance is off the charts.
So that’s the system but what CPU are we going to stick in this thing? Well the best of course the Core i7 3930K. And boy are we going to overclock it. This is a six core Intel processor with 12MB’s of L2 Cache and a clock rate between 3.3GHz and 3.8GHz (With Turbo Boost) for comparison our current CPU has four cores, 8MB of L2 Cache and a clock rate of 2.93GHz to 3.1GHz.
But it’s not just about Cores, Cache and Clocks. The new processor is based on the Sandy Bridge-E architecture. (The E is for Enthusiast). This processor has no wimpy GPU under its heatspreader it is all processor die baby and it just screams. In-fact it’s faster than every 1155 CPU Intel make including the latest Core i7 3770K Ivy Bridge based processor.
So that’s the chip, what are we going to fill those memory slots with? 64GB of DDR3. This is an enormous amount of memory. Almost three times the amount we currently have installed. And that’s not all, it’s quad channel. Our current server has Tri-Channel memory, we are upgrading to Quad-Channel which increases our memory bandwidth even more. But as if all that wasn’t enough our system can support up-to 128GB of memory leaving us room to grow in the future.
One last item, the Solid State Disk. This is extremely important for minimizing lag. It is where all the blocks are stored and retrieving those blocks as fast as possible makes everything feel so much smoother. Traditionally we have used Value and Midrange SSD’s in our server and while those are good they aren’t the best and their performance isn’t as good as we’d like it to be.
So we’re kicking it up a notch and investing in a high end SSD. In-fact the one we have chosen costs 70% more than our previous midrange SSD. It is also a good 15x faster in every performance metric. Throughput, random access, access latency, IOPS. You name it this thing is a screamer, we are going to be using the Corsair Neutron GTX 120GB.
And so that is our upgrade we hope to have it completed by late next month. We may launch the server with just the CPU + Motherboard + SSD and continue to use the 24GB of RAM up until March it depends on which memory we decide to use (the Prices of DDR3 are steadily climbing so looking for a good deal is paramount to keeping this build within budget). Already the Processor has been purchased and is shipping its way to us. The motherboard and Solid State Drive have already been chosen and are merely awaiting stock at our supplier.
So thanks for reading I hope everyone is excited for the new specs, I know I am. I will be documenting the builds progress in our forums you can view the thread here.
Yesterdays updates went really smoothly but I was still thinking about what to do next.
Well I didn’t have to think hard because there has always been three issues with the Watchlist that got on my nerves. The first of which was as you opened the page or refreshed your Watchlist you would be blinded by a white screen. This was because the background image simply takes a while to load in. So what I’ve done is corrected this and you will now see a neutral purple/blue colour which matches the background image.
The second thing I wanted to correct was the Yesterday / 5-Day overview. Inside the chat room you could select whether you wanted to see which of your shows aired yesterday or aired within the past 5 days. But the web based Watchlist ignored this setting and always showed you the past 5-day overview. My reasoning for this was that the Website had a lot more space and I thought users would prefer to see the past 5 days on it. But I realise now that doing it this way affected how the setting for this option was perceived. The settings panel that used to be inside the chat room is now available exclusively on the website and so the web based Watchlist should respect this setting for consistency sake, which it now does.
The last change I made may just be the most important for those of you who actually watch your shows on TV when they air. The addition of network names to the Watchlist. This is off by default but if you click on your settings you’ll find a 4th checkbox under the Watchlist section to enable network names. When you re-visit your Watchlist either in-room or on the website you’ll then see a discrete gray line at the far right of each entry displaying the network which will (or did) air that episode.
That is all the changes for today. I don’t as of right now have any new changes planned but if I do expect a new post about it!
Screenshot of the current Watchlist
Over the past two days I’ve been working on the web based Watchlist. Fixing a number of bugs and adding more sophisticated caching mechanisms among general performance and UI improvements.
The first biggest change is that the Watchlist can now cache TV information for up to 7 days instead of the previous 24 hours. This change means your Watchlist will be generally more responsive the first time you open it each day as it no longer needs to refresh information for every show in your Watchlist. In testing this has reduce 600+ Daily lookups to about 20-100 lookups greatly improving performance for everybody.
The second major change is the way the cache stores data. Previously it created many different redundant caches which wasted space and caused fragmentation in the database this too affected performance. The new Cache is more unified storing all information for each show in only one place.
I have also corrected the bug which could cause certain shows to not appear on your Watchlist due to the site we get TV data serving bad requests under high load. For Mobile I’ve corrected the errors when viewed on Android & iOS devices and I’ve also enabled certain features for IE10 as that browser fully supports the advanced CSS I’m using on the Watchlist page. IE versions below that however will not be able to add shows from the Watchlist page itself and I highly recommend those users switch to Chrome, Safari or Firefox.
I hope everyone enjoys the latest iteration of the Watchlist. It has become an invaluable resource for hundreds of you and I’m still dedicated to keeping it up to date and reliable.
A revamp of the site has been discussed for the past few months between myself and Ricksterm and over the last few weeks I have been looking at all our different and new sites (RENBOX, Menubar etc) and decided that our main site didn’t quite fit those designs. So to bring it everything together after two years it was time to say goodbye to the old site and hello to the new one.
You may notice straight away that the main header background is a scene from our Minecraft server. This was chosen because I believe it is time our Minecraft servers had prime place on our website as it is where the gamers will come to seek us out. Our WinMX Community is already pretty well established and doesn’t need so much space dedicated to it on the home page.
So I hope you enjoy the new site and I also hope everyone had a great 2012. Our new year begins now.