We are a SMALL (3 person) 501c3, running 3 desktop PCs and occassionally a laptop wired through a 4-port Linksys Etherfast router. None of the PCs is a server but one could be considered a server based on how it is "host" to most key files which are accesses by the "clients" through the router.
When a file is opened or saved using the "host" computer the open/save is quite rapid. However, when opening or saving files from a "client" PC the open/save can take up to 5-10 seconds to complete. These are NOT huge files. The most heavily used is a 50MB Excel file. As we are doing this all day long, updating files we all use, this is a major problem.
Would upgrading to a gigabit router & gigabit NIC cards (most if not all the computers came with gigabit NIC cards) make a significant improvement? Are there any other things we could try to improve this performance?
I'm not much of a geek, though my boss calls me "our geek"! I probably know enough to be dangerous, LOL!
Think about what you said. You have a 50 MB file that takes 5-10 seconds to open and save over the network.
50MB = 400Mb
Your network is running at 100Mb/sec, but some of that is network overhead. So, the 5-10 seconds to read a 50MB file falls within what would be expected.
Certainly, going with gigabit will show some improvement; how much depends on how busy your server machine is with other stuff most of the time, etc. If you already have the gigabit NICs, then upgrading merely means buying a gigabit switch to go between your computers and your router (I'm assuming your router is then connected to the internet).
You might also consider a high performance NAS device; just beware - just because a NAS has a gigabit network interface does not mean it is particularly fast. Check the Tom's Networking site's comparison charts.