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I am using a G4 dual 1.25 Powermac with 2 gig ram running Tiger server as a server for my school. We have had a variety of techies, mostly Windows guys, servicing the school so I have had to learn how to administer, image, backup etc. Our server is connected to the the network LAN and WAN via the ethernet output. Should there be any hardware modification to help the server operate most efficiently? We have 80 client computers and close to 600 users linked to the network. I find imaging multiple computers very slow and at peak time the server is sluggish, We are not using netboot but all client info and files are stored on the server ad some programs connect users on the LAN. Our first server, a G4 500 was an Apple server model and I am sure it had multiple ethernet outputs of some sort through an additional card. What to do, what to do?
 

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The Disclaimer: I do not have a technical education and do not make my living administering computers or networks. What I know, I taught myself.

It has been my experience that despite Gigabit Ethernet (are you on a Gigabit LAN?) and 800 Mbs Firewire ports, the bottleneck to getting data in and out of a computer is the internal hard drive. An ATA133 bus can only move data so fast. When a hard drive has to supply both OS system data and data being requested / received over the network, delays start happening.

I suggest a second hard drive and separating your OS and your shares between the two. (One drive would be dedicated to OS X and applications.) You could hang the second drive as a slave on the primary IDE bus for some improvement, but since the bus can only read or write - not both at once - there will still be delays. You could try slaving the second drive to the secondary IDE bus that your CD drive is connected to. That bus is likely a slower ATA100 or even ATA66. Despite the slower bus, you will hopefully see some improvements by separating your OS and shares between two buses.

If this does improve things, consider taking it "to the next level" by adding a new ATA133 PCI card. I don't know if the PCI bus of your G4 would bottleneck a SATA card or not.

I have read stories of people getting performance gains from separating their OS and data by using an external Firewire drive. (Certainly not USB.) I don't know if such a setup would work for a server situation?
 
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