Flirting with buying a MacPro... what to do with PC

Chrispy

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Dec 27, 2004
2,126
1
Indiana
Hey all. Ok... I am flirting with the idea of buying a macpro. I am looking at the $1999 model on macconnection but I may spring for the $2349 model (after rebate) that has the faster processors and bigger HDD. My question is what I should do with my PC.

The PC is very new and is in a very nice Antec tower. It has a Core 2 Duo CPU and 2GB ram as well as a very fast 250GB HDD (which I would probably swap with whatever is included in the macpro). Should I make the PC a file server? Also, can I make it a web server and have it host a webpage as well as files that I can access from anywhere (such as work). Also, I listen to iTunes at work so would it be possible for me to access my music collection from the PC at home and play them at work.

I am very new to all of this so any help would be appreciated. What apps would I need to make this happen? Should I use Windows of Linux as the main OS to host files/webpages/etc? Thanks in advance for your opinions/help.

Oh, and I have a decent speed cable internet connection at home.
 

wchong

macrumors 6502
Sep 18, 2006
364
0
Miami, Fl
Chrispy said:
Hey all. Ok... I am flirting with the idea of buying a macpro. I am looking at the $1999 model on macconnection but I may spring for the $2349 model (after rebate) that has the faster processors and bigger HDD. My question is what I should do with my PC.

The PC is very new and is in a very nice Antec tower. It has a Core 2 Duo CPU and 2GB ram as well as a very fast 250GB HDD (which I would probably swap with whatever is included in the macpro). Should I make the PC a file server? Also, can I make it a web server and have it host a webpage as well as files that I can access from anywhere (such as work). Also, I listen to iTunes at work so would it be possible for me to access my music collection from the PC at home and play them at work.

I am very new to all of this so any help would be appreciated. What apps would I need to make this happen? Should I use Windows of Linux as the main OS to host files/webpages/etc? Thanks in advance for your opinions/help.

Oh, and I have a decent speed cable internet connection at home.

or u could give it to me :D

j/k
just keep it as a backup server
 
Comment

Umbongo

macrumors 601
Sep 14, 2006
4,934
54
England
Seems like a big waste for a file server, as a webserver if you aren't going to be serving much beyond personal files you may as well just use your mac pro. Do you play games? Keep it as a dedicated gaming rig if so, or sell it and put the money towards getting the best mac pro you can.
 
Comment

Veritas&Equitas

macrumors 68000
Oct 31, 2005
1,528
1
Twin Cities, MN
No kidding Umbongo. That'd be the biggest waste of a file server I've ever seen...that thing has POWER. Use it strictly as a gaming rig, or sell it for some dough. If it has a decent graphics card, (and by decent I mean a minimum of 7800 GT) you could get at least $750 for it via CL I'm sure...
 
Comment

dmw007

macrumors G4
May 26, 2005
10,635
0
Working for MI-6
I would either:

1) Sell it and put the money towards the purchase of the Mac Pro.

2) Keep it and use it as a gaming PeeCee.

3) Take the largest sledgehammer you can find and smash it into a million tiny pieces. :D ;)
 
Comment

wchong

macrumors 6502
Sep 18, 2006
364
0
Miami, Fl
dmw007 said:
I would either:

1) Sell it and put the money towards the purchase of the Mac Pro.

2) Keep it and use it as a gaming PeeCee.

3) Take the largest sledgehammer you can find and smash it into a million tiny pieces. :D ;)


I choose....... 3!!!
 
Comment

ddekker

macrumors regular
Sep 23, 2006
222
0
Michigan
pc use

to share your music you would need to open up a port in your router (I assume you are using a router, if not... get one for safety) then you would need to set up a VPN (google it) and you with some tweaking get your shared iTunes music from home...

DD
 
Comment

tuartboy

macrumors 6502a
May 10, 2005
746
13
ddekker said:
to share your music you would need to open up a port in your router (I assume you are using a router, if not... get one for safety) then you would need to set up a VPN (google it) and you with some tweaking get your shared iTunes music from home...

DD
Just port forward using ssh and set up a network beacon on the client. Having ssh as the only non-stealthed, open port and fully updated ssh is the safest way to handle that from a security by obscurity perspective. Then you can use ssh to forward smb and RDP too for anything else you need.

If you don't want to do the ssh and want to avoid setting up a full VPN solution, I suggest looking into Hamachi. It's a very easy way to set up a VPN with NAT traversal, saving you from the port forwarding holes. It's fantastic on windows, but a little rough on OS X. It has a fairly nice GUI wrapper called HamachiX though.

Hamachi
HamachiX
 
Comment

FFTT

macrumors 68030
Apr 17, 2004
2,952
0
A Stoned Throw From Ground Zero
If you're going to keep your P/C you can reformat the drive for dedicated offline
use eliminating the need to bog it down with A/V or anti spyware applications.

That would be ideal for an offline gaming rig or for running any Windows only
applications.

If you want to run it as a server, that's fine too.

Of course you could just sell it and put the money towards adding RAM to your Mac Pro and an additional HD for extra storage or a Windows partition providing you have a full retail or enterprise copy of XP with SP2.
 
Comment

weiss

macrumors member
Oct 4, 2006
32
0
I'll be having the same "problem" and I've decided I'll use my PC (which is a Centrino laptop) as media center (connected to an external sound card+5.1 speakers and an external television) and download center (which I'll control through a remote desktop connection from my macbook when I'm out).
 
Comment

Dunepilot

macrumors 6502a
Feb 25, 2002
880
0
UK
tuartboy said:
Just port forward using ssh and set up a network beacon on the client. Having ssh as the only non-stealthed, open port and fully updated ssh is the safest way to handle that from a security by obscurity perspective. Then you can use ssh to forward smb and RDP too for anything else you need.

If you don't want to do the ssh and want to avoid setting up a full VPN solution, I suggest looking into Hamachi. It's a very easy way to set up a VPN with NAT traversal, saving you from the port forwarding holes. It's fantastic on windows, but a little rough on OS X. It has a fairly nice GUI wrapper called HamachiX though.

Hamachi
HamachiX
A bit OT - I don't really understand a lot of the terminology here. Is there a good website that you could direct me too, as I often feel my knowledge is a bit lacking on these internet technologies.

Cheers
 
Comment

Foggy

macrumors 6502a
Jul 4, 2006
513
5
London, UK
When I get a Mac Pro sometime after Leopards release I will convert my current desktop into a new server to replace my 512mb 800mhz mini itx development web server. Importing 2gb database dumps into mysql on the mini itx is frikkin painful. The itx will be relegated to a pure music server.
 
Comment

tuartboy

macrumors 6502a
May 10, 2005
746
13
Dunepilot said:
A bit OT - I don't really understand a lot of the terminology here. Is there a good website that you could direct me too, as I often feel my knowledge is a bit lacking on these internet technologies.

Cheers
Sure, some of this stuff can be a little confusing.


SSH - Secure Shell
Secure shell is a protocol that allows you to securely connect to another machine remotely. In it's simplest form it will take you to a prompt, much like that in terminal.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secure_Shell

Tunnel
A tunnel is basically a way to wrap one protocol in another. For example: using ssh to forward all remote desktop requests to another machine.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tunneling_protocol

SMB - Samba
Samba is the open source network protocol for connecting windows shares over a network. OS X uses this to connect to windows shares.

VPN - Virtual Private Network
A VPN allows you to create a virtual network that spans physical locations (like from your home to your office) and allows the machines to act as if they were on the same local network. It is generally not something simple to do securely and is often overkill.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vpn

NAT Traversal
A NAT (Network Address Translation) device (like a router) protects the identities of the systems behind it by assigning them unique local addresses and translating all their requests to it's external IP address and out on the net. This is why your local machine may be 192.168.1.40 but your external address may be 70.40.120.30. The external systems (web/mail servers, other P2P clients, etc...) only know that 70.40.120.30 made a request and sends it a reply, but since your router knows that 192.168.1.40 really made that request, it then forwards that information back to you. This allows any outbound connections to go out and any inbound connections to return, but only if they are requested. If they are not requested, they are then dropped and the router becomes a very nice firewall.

The problem with many applications is that they need a hole opened in this router so they can make that inbound connection without having a preexisting outbound connection. This is called port forwarding and drills a hole right through the security NAT routers provide. It is never a good idea to port forward anything unless you absolutely have to.

Another way to get around this is by having both parties establish an outbound connection to a 3rd party server and have that server "handshake" the 2 parties and then pass them off to eachother. This is called NAT traversal because it is traversing the NAT features of the routers. There is also another technique that Napster developed where the 2 parties actually send outbound connections to eachother at the same time and therefore avoid using the handshaking server. Pretty interesting stuff.

This is what Hamachi does.

Stealth ports
A port is more a concept than something physical. It really is just a virtual data connection that carries data over a certain protocol. For example: 80 = http (webpages), 21 = ftp, 25 = smtp (email)

Remember that a NAT router blocks incoming requests if they are unsolicited. If it is unsolicited there are 2 ways it can proceed. The first is to simply close the port, but this allows a response back to the sender that it exists and it doesn't want it. This would allow a cracker to know that there is actually a machine on the other end and they could start attacking. However, the router could "stealth" the port by not actually replying and just dropping the packets. The cracker would then think that there was no machine at that address (for that port at least). It, like military stealth technology, cannot make you invisible, but it can at least significantly decrease the size of the target.




If you are interesting in doing itunes over ssh, I can help you further.
 
Comment

Dunepilot

macrumors 6502a
Feb 25, 2002
880
0
UK
tuartboy said:
Sure, some of this stuff can be a little confusing.


SSH - Secure Shell
Secure shell is a protocol that allows you to securely connect to another machine remotely. In it's simplest form it will take you to a prompt, much like that in terminal.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secure_Shell

Tunnel
A tunnel is basically a way to wrap one protocol in another. For example: using ssh to forward all remote desktop requests to another machine.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tunneling_protocol

SMB - Samba
Samba is the open source network protocol for connecting windows shares over a network. OS X uses this to connect to windows shares.

VPN - Virtual Private Network
A VPN allows you to create a virtual network that spans physical locations (like from your home to your office) and allows the machines to act as if they were on the same local network. It is generally not something simple to do securely and is often overkill.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vpn

NAT Traversal
A NAT (Network Address Translation) device (like a router) protects the identities of the systems behind it by assigning them unique local addresses and translating all their requests to it's external IP address and out on the net. This is why your local machine may be 192.168.1.40 but your external address may be 70.40.120.30. The external systems (web/mail servers, other P2P clients, etc...) only know that 70.40.120.30 made a request and sends it a reply, but since your router knows that 192.168.1.40 really made that request, it then forwards that information back to you. This allows any outbound connections to go out and any inbound connections to return, but only if they are requested. If they are not requested, they are then dropped and the router becomes a very nice firewall.

The problem with many applications is that they need a hole opened in this router so they can make that inbound connection without having a preexisting outbound connection. This is called port forwarding and drills a hole right through the security NAT routers provide. It is never a good idea to port forward anything unless you absolutely have to.

Another way to get around this is by having both parties establish an outbound connection to a 3rd party server and have that server "handshake" the 2 parties and then pass them off to eachother. This is called NAT traversal because it is traversing the NAT features of the routers. There is also another technique that Napster developed where the 2 parties actually send outbound connections to eachother at the same time and therefore avoid using the handshaking server. Pretty interesting stuff.

This is what Hamachi does.

Stealth ports
A port is more a concept than something physical. It really is just a virtual data connection that carries data over a certain protocol. For example: 80 = http (webpages), 21 = ftp, 25 = smtp (email)

Remember that a NAT router blocks incoming requests if they are unsolicited. If it is unsolicited there are 2 ways it can proceed. The first is to simply close the port, but this allows a response back to the sender that it exists and it doesn't want it. This would allow a cracker to know that there is actually a machine on the other end and they could start attacking. However, the router could "stealth" the port by not actually replying and just dropping the packets. The cracker would then think that there was no machine at that address (for that port at least). It, like military stealth technology, cannot make you invisible, but it can at least significantly decrease the size of the target.




If you are interesting in doing itunes over ssh, I can help you further.
Thanks very much. I'll have a read of these sites when I get back from work, and will get in touch if I have any further questions, if that's okay?

Cheers
Dune
 
Comment

wPod

macrumors 68000
Aug 19, 2003
1,654
0
Denver, CO
sell it then use the money to upgrade the mac pro. the mac pro has ample power to do all the file serving, music sharing, TV recording etc. the only reason to keep a PC would be for games. Although people have found ways to get most of the popular games working on macs (through boot camp).

or you could try the ever popular 10 level PC acceleration to get some real use and entertainment out of your PC (finally, its good for something!)
First find a tall building (with 10 floors)
Second, take PC to the highest point you have access to.
Third hold PC out of the building
4th release your grip on the PC and you will see an instant 32 feet per second (9.8 m/s) acceleration!
a fast and easy upgrade!
 
Comment

clevin

macrumors G3
Aug 6, 2006
9,095
1
1. sell it, I don't know your PC's graphic card, so I don't assume you can use it as a super gaming machine.
2. give it to me, I will write a appreciation letter to you and establish a website for your honor. I just need a good stuff to play HoMM V :D
 
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