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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Dang, I miss the technical forum. :(

Okay.

The boss I'm with now wants to go to new systems when a client pays up. Not that he's overextending his existing system, but of what he got a few years back (all running 98SE), the laptop gave up the ghost (MB fried) and another desktop went kaput. All he has is the one computer in the office.

He's going to go with new laptop and at least two desktops. Since I know a bazillion more about computers than he does ;) , I'm brainstorming what he should get in his next setup.

Keep in mind, he really needs to keep it on the cheap to only what he will need. Certainly new MB, CPU, RAM, HD, etc. is involved, but he won't need blazing video or unreal sound. DVD read and write might be worth it since I know you can get a great DVD burner for under $150 if you shop around (he at least needs CD-ROM burning ability).

The big issue is networking. Undoubtedly, he will need at least one system running XP Pro because I think to make a network, you need that version on at least one computer (maybe all). I think new computers are comming with networking cards pre-installed as standard....even on laptops.

We aren't talking fancy servers or anything like that, but so the legal files are easier to keep together, have one computer wired to the other (mine) so that we all access a common document directory on one hard drive. I think with new computers and XP, you just wire them together through the network cards and set them to talk to each other and share the hard drive for accessing and saving data as you want to.

What are the specifics we should look for to do this as simply and effectively (and cheaply) as possible?

BTW, we also need systems capable of doing paperless filing for the court systems. We figure on Adobe Acrobat being what we need, but I'm sure some level of quality video acceleration will be required, and although you can print to Adobe straight from applications, I think we might also need to have the ability to scan in documents on occasion.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Ohh, a bit pricey, but I'm saving the page anyhow. My idea is to just link the two computers together. My system would always be on, his is only on when he needs to use it and I'm in. Otherwise, he's just as happy to work at my station when I'm gone.

I suppose my system would be the Host and his (desktop or laptop) would always be the Guest.
 

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You don't need to have XP Pro to share files.

If you get a new motherboard and such, the on board video should be good enough. So a new barebones desktop system should only be about $400 for something decent. At least if I were putting it together. :)

If you want to PM or AIM me I might be able to help you out with specific questions. My aim is hoaxci5 also.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Yeah. I was wondering about the XP thing because the Home version sounds like they strip out a lot of network application stuff, but I wasn't sure how much got stripped out.

I still tend to be opposed to incorporated on-board video because, well, it's never the best quality on anything, but I'd have to see who make good all-in-one MBs. I'm running an ABIT on my computer right now and they have a good rep. Don't know if he'll let me build our own or go with someone like Dell (as he did last time). At the prices some of them come out with, it's sometimes better to just buy from them.

I'm just wanting suggestions on what to consider and what to definitely avoid....especially with the networking of at least two PCs together and adding a laptop at times. Last thing my boss will want is down time screwing with comptuers to make them do what we wanted them to do.
 

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1. You do know that you'll need a basic hub/switch, right? You can plug 2 computers directly into each other...you can even incorporate a printer into that (if it's directly attached to one of the computers)...but if you want to go beyond just those 2 PCs you'll either have to add more network cards (which is physically easy, but setting up the routing can be a PITA) or get a hub/switch. So...just get a hub/switch to start with (no more than $50).

2. The on-board video controllers being sold these days will be more than enough for your needs, particularly if all you're doing is office-type work. Unless you're gaming or doing video editing, you don't need anything more.

3. Files can be shared (in one way or another) with every Microsoft OS that's 98SE or newer. The level of security is the main difference from one OS to another. And Linux is always an option.

4. Depending on what level of security you want, you may want to consider wireless rather than wired networking. It's much more forgiving of putting PCs across the room, down the hall, etc. Running cable can be a pain in the ass, and it's a drag to lose half of your desk space because you had to put the laptop there in order to reach the switch with a 10' CAT5 cable.

5. I would caution against going with less than 512MB of RAM, and less than a 2Ghz processor. If you're going to run XP...well, let's just say it can be a bit of a hog.
 
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