My new network is unstoppable

My internal network — connecting together 6 machines, a JetDirect printer sharer, wireless, the phones, and my cable modem — used to all be wired together through two 10baseT hubs. Throughput was horrible; one or both of the hubs were broken. I’ve just replaced the two hubs with one 16-port 10/100/1000 switch, and my network is now between ten and one hundred times faster in my testing! It’s now fast enough, for example, that the computer plugged into the TV can show films and TV programmes that are stored on another computer on the network! You might be thinking: yeah, whatever dude, this is not exciting, of course it does that. Well, the hell with you, anyway. I think it’s exciting. Anyway, this means that something I’ve been thinking of doing for a while leaps up my priority list. One of the 6 computers is a server: an old tower case machine with 90GB of storage in it made up of scrounged hard drives I had lying around. I use it as the server for my home backup system, and it does a good job. However, since I can now play media across the network (exciting! it is!), I could use it as the storage place for all our films and TV and music and games and whatnot. However, it’s old and a bit noisy, so it’d be nice to get rid of it. I still need whatever I replace it with to be an actual server, though, not just a NAS-style stack o’ discs, so I don’t want a Buffalo Terastation or similar — it not only needs to run the rsync server but I also plan on having it be used for BitTorrenting stuff I’d like to watch and to be always on for downloading things. Can anyone think of a better alternative than buying a Linksys NSLU2, installing the Unslung firmware, and plugging a big USB hard drive into it? That looks like a powerful and cheap way to do it, as far as I can tell.

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