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Question about a home network


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8 replies to this topic

#1 of 9 OFFLINE   Jon_Are

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Posted November 12 2003 - 01:53 PM

I'm fixin' to hook up a (wired) home network involving two computers. The old one is a Pentium 3, 650 mhz, 640 MB RAM, two hard drives (36 GB & 80 GB), Windows XP. The new one is a Pentium 4, 2.8 ghz, 512 MB RAM, 160 GB hard drive, Windows XP. I've read that you should use your faster, more powerful, computer as your 'base' computer, then run the cable from it to the weaker link. This is not the configuration I had in mind when I first decided to network, due to various reasons (ease of wiring, placement of modem & router). Wiring this way is certainly do-able, just a bit more work than what I first envisioned. Would there really be a noticable performance difference? Is it worth doing the extra bit of work required to create this arrangement? Thanks, Jon

#2 of 9 OFFLINE   JohanD

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Posted November 12 2003 - 02:04 PM

If you have a hub or router you do not need to have a "main" computer.. just route cat-5 to each computer and plug them both into the switch/router..

#3 of 9 OFFLINE   Kevin P

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Posted November 13 2003 - 12:39 AM

Like Johan said, if you have a router, just plug both machines into the router. Then both machines have Internet access even if the other machine is turned off. If you're really a geek, wipe the drive on that older machine, toss a Linux distro on it and use that as a firewall. I'm doing that with an old 486 I built 7 years ago and it works great. KJP

#4 of 9 OFFLINE   Dan Mercier

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Posted November 13 2003 - 04:45 AM

Are you likely to be using both machines at the same time? What kind of performance do you need? If you aren't likely to be using both machines at the same time or your primary use is the new machine then what you have planned should be more than sufficient for performance purposes. I used to run a network similar to your before I got a router/firewall and only had problems when my computer went down as it was acting as the router. My roommate wasn't competent enough to know to reboot it.
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#5 of 9 OFFLINE   Matt`G

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Posted November 13 2003 - 11:11 AM

You can get a router/switch combo for so cheap these days, it'll make up its cost in power savings for not having to keep both computers on at the same time. Look for a 4 port linksys router / switch combo, they are pretty cheap... if you already have a router, then all you need is a switch. Watch http://www.slickdeals.net for < $10 8port switches, they come up close to once per week.

A couple things that haven't been mentioned yet. To do what you are suggesting without a switch/hub, you will have to meet a couple requirements.

(1) Your "main" computer will need two network cards. One connects to the modem (guessing you have high speed internet with DSL or cable modem? otherwise disregard this requirement), and the other connects to the 2nd PC.

(2) You'll need a crossover cable to connect between the two PC's.

You may as well just buy a switch (or router + switch combo if you do not have the router).. it'll allow for more expansion, it will be cleaner, and it doesn't require you to keep 1 computer on as a "jump" to the modem.
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#6 of 9 OFFLINE   Jon_Are

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Posted November 13 2003 - 01:22 PM

I think I have it now: Cable connection to cable modem, Cable modem to router, and a cable from the router to each PC. With this setup, each PC is 'equally' connected to the internet as well as to each other, and functions independent of the other PC. Yes? Now, another question: Once I get the network set up, does it make much difference if the applications I use are loaded on the 'fast' vs. the 'slow' computer? Since my stuff is already loaded on the old PC's drive (I'm talking MP3s, photos, Microsoft Office, etc.), would it be more efficient (and faster) if I moved all that stuff onto the new drive? Thanks to everyone. Jon

#7 of 9 OFFLINE   JamesHl

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Posted November 13 2003 - 05:46 PM

If you're doing a heavy amount of file copying it will make a difference, and access times will be slightly faster, though as far as performance goes you'll see the most performace boost from installing your o/s on a faster drive.

#8 of 9 OFFLINE   Jon_Are

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Posted November 13 2003 - 09:38 PM

Each computer will have Windows XP installed. My question is this: If I'm sitting at the 'fast' PC and accessing my file of digital photos, will I notice a difference in speed and performance between the photos being stored on the 'fast' PC's hard drive vs. the (relatively) slow PC's hard drive? In other words, should I move my files from the older to the newer PC's hard drive? Thanks, Jon

#9 of 9 OFFLINE   JamesHl

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Posted November 14 2003 - 08:21 AM

Well, if you have to go to the network to access them vs. not going to the network, definitely. Having them on the same computer that you're working from would generally be faster. If you're going to be using it from all computers equally I would still recommend moving it, I'm not sure how much of a speed difference it would make for accessing files; however, I would trust the new hard drive not to fail more.




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