Need suggestions on server hardware / OS for a 10 member art department who use Adobe CS6 on Yosemite iMacs

Our existing art department has about 4GB of art files on a very old and slow xServe. I need to replace the server and upgrade the Gigabit network connecting the team and the server room which is about 60 ft away. Looking at Ubuntu with Netatalk running on a refurbished PowerEdge for the server. Main gigabit switch and server are in a server room about 60 ft away. Should I run 10 cat 5e cables to the workstations or place switch in the work area and run a line from it to the switch in the server room . Any ideas would be great.

Thank you
Michael GrayAsked:
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Gigabit is a must for Art Dept. nowadays.  Art files are normally large, especially raster and raw image files.  It's best to run a direct connection from each MAC workstation to the main switch that the PowerEdge server is on.  Unless if you're going to put the PowerEdge server in the Art department on the same switch.

I have had issues with other O.S as file servers for MAC users in the past.  Deploying a MAC server as a file server for the Art Dept. MAC users solved almost every "slowness" issues that we had.
Michael GrayAuthor Commented:
Any suggestions on an OS for the server? The proprietary packages like ExtremeZ-IP - Acronis Connect are pricey. The opensource Linux apps like Netatalk can be quirky. Or do I just go with Microsoft, SMB and deal with the issues that present?

Thank you
We've used Windows server for Art Dept. file serving in the past and there were issues with the Art Dept. users complaining about file transfer lag as well as file opening right off the file server.

The problem was even more hair pulling after we replaced the whole infrastructure of the Art Dept. with a high end (at the time) HP managed gigabit switch as well as CAT 5e to each MAC station.  We put all the MAC workstations and the server on this gigabit switch.

We couldn't replace the server at the time because we already invested a good chunk of $ into some software licensing on the server.  However, once the license agreement expired we opted for a MAC server and all file opening/saving lag went away when we replaced the Windows file server with a MAC server.  

After all that hair pulling, I am just not sold on mixing and matching another server for serving files with MAC clients.  I will stick with MAC server.   We're using 10.9.5 for server and workstations.
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Justin BradshawOwnerCommented:
I'd go with a Mac server with Apple's Server app. I get better results these days using AFP only and skipping SMB for now. That may change in the future as Apple's server software gets better, but I don't think SMB on Apple Server is ready for prime time. AFP, however is solid and fast enough. And setup is easy and licensing is cheap.
Michael GrayAuthor Commented:
What are you using for the Mac server hardware?

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Here is the server hardware spec we use: Mac Pro (Early 2009)
Eoin OSullivanConsultantCommented:
I've setup a couple of clients which were graphic studios with a MacMini running OSX 10.9 or 10.10 with the Server add-on for OSX and using external USB3 or Thunderbolt drive for storage as the internal HD on MacMini is not worth extending.  
In terms of the storage on the MacMini I've used a Drobo on one and a Synology NAS on the other.
Michael GrayAuthor Commented:
There is no ultimate solution, but the suggestions helped me narrow my focus on my eventual decision.
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