troubleshooting Question

Optimizing small office network

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venice-arts asked on
Apple Networking
7 Comments1 Solution297 ViewsLast Modified:
We are a small nonprofit organization, not super computer-savvy (although not illiterate either).  We currently have 4 macs networked, and have been having problems with slowing and freezing.  We are considering spending a little bit of money ($1000 or less) to improve our network, and would appreciate any advice on what to buy as well as improvements that don't cost money.

Our server is a PowerMacG3 266 mhz (beige tower), 192mb RAM, OS 8.6, 6gb hard drive.
Our other computers:
-iMac 600 mhz, 384mb RAM, OS 9.2, 38gb hard drive.
-PowerMacG3 266mhz (beige tower), 224mb RAM, OS 8.6, 4gb hard drive.
-titanium powerbookG3 600mhz, 512mb RAM, OS X, 20gb hard drive.

We are using AppleShare, and the server holds our Outlook Express account, our FileMaker Pro database, and some files such as word documents, photoshop files, etc.

Would it be to our benefit to dedicate a computer as our server, and take off all applications other than those being shared over the network?  Or should we make one of our faster computers the main server and still use all the computers to run applications (we are an arts organization, so we often use graphics software like Photoshop and Quark Express)?

In regards to spending money, should we dedicate our budget to a new machine, or can we upgrade our current machines with more RAM or a bigger hard drive (I read somewhere that the speed of your hard disk makes a big difference in terms of network speed)?

We would appreciate any advice you can offer, especially ideas about restructuring our computer setup (i.e. not spending much money).  
 
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