Need advice on building my own NAS

Hi all, I'm new (sort of) to the forums and want to get some advice on building my own NAS for home network, which currently is has 2 laptops connected (via wireless, but occasionally wired) to it. The purpose of the NAS will be a file/media server so both laptops can access the files.

My current setup is a D-link gigabit N wireless router with the 500GB WD mybookworld. Though initially served me well, the MBW's slow speed has started to be an issue. I did a speed test recently and got read/write speed (MBps) of 7MB/4.5MB (wired) and 4MB/4.2MB (wireless). From what I've read these speeds are typical of all can be achieved. Needless to say even listening to my MP3s and viewing videos get choppy. I tried playing a 500MB video clip wirelessly via Picasa and it constantly stops while downloading the file. Even viewing family photos are a problem. Hence I want to find a better solution.

Here's my questions. I know the easiest is to build a new box for a few hundred $. I have an old box (P3 with 1GB ram) , can I use that and just add drives to it and a gigabit lan card? Would that give me the transfer speed that will eliminate my issues? As 1TB (500GB with 500GB backup) is more than I need for the foreseeable future, I may budget some $ (besides the HDs) to a new box that will get me the speed I need if necessary. Generally, what speeds can be/need to have in order for wireless transfer of media/files to be not choppy/fast?

Thanks much in advance for your advice and comments.
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  1. Yes use the old box with some hard drives. You can use FreeNAS, Openfiler, OpenSolaris with ZFS. I know FreeNAS will run fine with older hardware. Here is a cheap box for later on.

    How-to: Mini DIY Project: 2TB NAS Box for $360 (Update 3)

    Product Description Unit Price Total Price
    1 Rosewill R223-P-BK 120mm Fan ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail
    $19.99 $19.99
    1 Foxconn G9657MA-8EKRS2H LGA 775 Intel G965 Express Micro ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
    $49.99 $49.99
    1 Antec Basiq BP-350B 350W ATX12V Version 2.01 Power Supply - OEM
    $9.99 $9.99
    1 Intel Celeron 430 Conroe-L 1.8GHz LGA 775 35W Single-Core Processor Model BX80557430 - Retail
    $37.99 $37.99
    1 Kingston 1GB 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Desktop Memory Model KVR800D2N6/1G - Retail
    $14.99 $14.99
    1 OS FreeNAS
    $0.0 $0.0
    1 OS OpenFiler $0.0 $0.0
    3 Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD6400AAKS 640GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM
    $74.99 $224.97
    3 Optional Part: iStarUSA T-5-SA 1x5.25" Bay Trayless Anti-vibration SATA Mobile Rack - Retail $14.99 $44.97
    Subtotal: $357.92
    Subtotal (with Mobile Racks) 402.89
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