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Questions turning old pc into home server?

Last response: in Components
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May 7, 2012 3:30:57 AM

I have a few questions about turning my old pc into a server. I plan on installing ubuntu server onto it but i havent dabbled in servers at all so i have questions if you dont mind helping me out.

My first question is about transfer speeds. I have VERY slow internet 1536kbs Down/896kbs Up. Its the fastest my area offers (relatively rural). But since this will be connected to the same network will the transfers be faster then downloads? I dont want to have to spend a few hours downloading a GB from the server.

Its an old pc
-Cpu pentium 4 single core
-1.5gb ddr2 ram
-Im gonna use 2 IDE HDD's i have both 150GB

Another thing, im not going to be running a business off of this thats why im not putting money into it, if it wont even work im not going to fret over it either. I can just install Ubuntu Server 12.04 LTS on any old computer right?

Lastly can i run it off of wlan or should i hard wire it?
May 7, 2012 3:37:14 AM

idk much about ubuntu but if you want to have fast LAN transfers then hard wire your server & clients.
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May 7, 2012 3:38:59 AM

Your internet connection won't matter for LAN transfers. What is the speed of your LAN?
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May 7, 2012 7:46:17 AM

The speed of file transfer to and from your server will be dictated by the speed of the network connection...you need to have a look at the motherboard manual for the one you're using for your server and see if the network port is 1Gbps or 100Mbps rated. Also, even if it is 1Gbps, you need to have a router that supports that speed too and have Cat 5e ethernet cable running between the various PCs. Wireless has relatively slow transfer speeds compared to ethernet, so that will slow things down a bit.

Basically, think of your network as a chain with the links being the various network connections. Transfer speed between one PC and the server in that chain is limited by the slowest connection available. However, as said above, your internet connection speed is irrelevant when considering transfers on your LAN...you can have your internet connection shutdown and still happily transfer files around, assuming your router is working OK.

Wireless v wired is dependant upon your application. I use my own home server to stream movies to my HTPC, some of which are Blurays...for HD I need a wired connection otherwise I get lag. If it's just files such as photos or DVDs, then wireless is generally OK.

This website is a good resource, and I referred to it extensively when building my own LAN: http://www.smallnetbuilder.com/
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