I have seen a lot of talk about servers and I was wondering what exactly a server would do for me if I built one. I can easily do it as I've built my PC and consider myself pretty tech savvy but I haven't done any research on servers.
If I build one in my house and set it up, it won't increase my internet speed will it? (I don't think so but just thought I'd ask)
Can it help me in gaming? Whether by making game quality better or letting me run my own games or something...
What practical use would it be for me? Home use, not an office and pretty much for gaming, media, perhaps a home network, etc.
Internet speed will not be increased. You have to talk to your Internet Service Provider to increase your speed.
It may hamper your gaming, depending on your network setup, if all your internet traffic is going thru the server then it will add ping time.
Most home use for a server is to have a central place for all your movies, music, documents and what not, that way you can access it from any computer or media player system(ps3/wii/xbox) on that network.
As far as gaming is concerned, a home server wont do much unless you build your own hosting server on the home server to run small networked games like 2/3 players or whatever computers are connected to the server.
Multiple computer trying to access the same media. You don't want your computer resource hogged by others trying to access the files. Therefore, you build a home server solely for the purpose of providing media content for everyone on the network. This also provide central backup. Usually it is a combined HTPC/home server and tend to be a cheaper build and low on electricity and heat generation. Heat generation and power consumption is important. You leave it on 24/7 so content can be accessed any time.
Just add another harddrive to your current one? Could work, lets take an imaginary trip.
Your wife is in the living room watching one of your backed up DVDs streaming off the drive. Little billy is up in his room streaming some music off of it. Sally is doing homework and needs to save some videos/information off the net so she can load it into her powerpoint slide. All of this requires disk activity and some CPU power. What do you think will happen when you try to fire up your favorite game? How responsive do you think YOUR computer will be with all these other users on it?
Enter the HTPC. As mentioned it allows everyone to connect to it without slowing others down to much. If you put some thought into it it won't take much more then a 100W (big light bulb) to power it. And everyone should be able to use it without to many issues.