Update to the Rackmounted Server

Using the EVGA on board USB Type C 3.1 connector may have become fruitless.  Why?  Well it turns out finding a long enough USB Type C cable is kind of hard.  Also, the standard doesn't go over 6 meters, unless you buy an expensive "Active" cable.  Then on top of that, you have some very poorly designed docks, that may or may not support HDMI 1.2 or higher, ideally I'd like to have DisplayPort++ but it's hard to find a good dock with the right amount of compromises.

All in all, I am dropping the idea of using USB Type C 3.1, there are too many unknowns and the only way to really figure it out in truth is to spend over $300 USD....  That is just a rough estimate, some of the better docks that I have seen can be $300ish on their own.  Some of the unknowns include:

  • Gsync Support?
  • Increased latency?
  • 60HZ at a minimum?
  • Resolutions of 3440x1440 above 60HZ?
  • Competitive FPS games playable?
  • Image quality?

It's hard to get answers to these questions because what some people claim may be "good enough" or "works fine on my box" but what is works fine? What is good enough?  Getting cold hard data like Frame rates, bitrates, resolution sizes, refresh rates, response times, etc. is pretty much impossible.  Nobody seems to give enough information or the information I do find conflicts with a products specifications.

Some of you might still be curious however to know what was the initial plan, what was yielded from my time and research.  Well many things but below you will find information.

Initial Plan

Again, initially I had planned to use USB Type C 3.1 connector on the back of the EVGA X99 Micro2.  These are the things I had planned to purchase to get me there.

  1. Any USB Type C cable that was longer than 3 feet (ideally 50 feet), good luck finding one.
  2. Plugable USB-C Triple Display Dock/Station (Best option to in my opinion)
  3. Or Wavlink Universal (Another really good looking alternative)
  4. Or Lenovo ThinkPad USB-C Dock

The only thing really holding me back was the lack of an easily to find USB Type C cable that was longer than 6 feet.  I found some that are longer than 6 feet but supposedly the USB C standard alludes to signal degradation beyond 6 feet.  Okay cool, then now what?

Potential New Plan

The new plan might be to connect the host server via Ethernet since it can carry signals much further along than USB Type C.  But we still run into the same unknowns I outlined earlier.  However, I'm pretty sure that this would work best because I would like the servers to be as far away as possible.  This is what the purchase would look like:

To me this is a bit more clean and some-what more simple.  If you can find a better KVM over IP, you might be able to get USB 3.0 support or other options.

Right, agian, that's cool and all but what about SteamLink?

Steam Link

Remember when I was just complaining about people not giving out hard data, well forgive me for just one moment.  Steam link is a hard no, even with a "good" or "quality" wired connection the latency is still very bad.  I could not play games like Rocket League or PUBG.  However, my gaming experience wasn't bad with other games, like Skyrim and Fallout 4.  It was actually pretty cool to be super far away on a wired connection to my gaming server.  But good god, no way you can play a fast paced title.

Now something I would like to try but haven't yet is to try Steam Streaming, the thing where two computer logged into steam can share the hosts resources.  For some reason I have a suspicion that, that might be better but have no hard data to back it up.  It is something I desperately want to test but haven't committed time to do.  My hopes are not high though.  The game plan for Steam Streaming would be to connect both the gaming server / host directly together via ethernet, instead of going through a switch.  I doubt the switch will introduce any problems but I feel like going directly between the server and client would reduce some latency.

Is that all? Well........

Potential new new plan

Go back to a traditional gaming rig set up on the desk, yes it is about loud and adds clutter, but it is very simple, it can look very clean, it can also look very cool, and it will have all the great benefits of fantastic response times and them high frame rates.  So yeah, I could end up going back to a desktop.

But what about the server chassis you ask?

Well, since everything is dying (as seen in a previous post), it would be a good opportunity to build a custom server and reuse the Rosewill 4U RSV-L4500 chassis.  So that means buying and LGA 2011 Motherboard, a PSU, and some CPU coolers.  Which if you are curious to see what I mean by this, then watch this video.

OR, if you at work then keep reading.  Essentially I am looking at buying the following things for my build.

One clear advantage of going custom is cost, since I already own most of the stuff I need, I think I get everything I would need for less than $600.  However, buying a used Dell R720 would be more ideal because I would get hot-swap drive bays, redundant power, 2u form factor, iDRAC 6, and an H710 RAID Controller.  I think all in I could skate by around $900 bucks for one.  It should be noted cheaper ones do exist but I am merely giving you an idea of my more ideal setup.

Still here? Well okay.


I'm pretty confident I will be going back to a dedicated desktop gaming rig and replacing the dead server with a custom one.  However!  That doesn't entirely mean that I won't try and game in a different room from time to time.  As in downstairs on my TV.

If there is another update to any of this it will be in video form on YouTube, most likely.