We need to get a server..XServe or just plain desktop?


We are looking to get a server here at our studio (it's a mixed network of macs/pcs). right now we are looking at 5-6 connections to the server...but we're thinking that's probably going to grow steadily in the future.

We are thinking we definitely want a mac, but we aren't sure if we should go with the XServe/Tiger Server or just a regular desktop with OS X.

The thing is, we tried setting up a server in here a year or two ago, and we used an old 400 mhz imac becasue people had said that would be more than enough for our needs. We found that it ran slow, and there was a lot of fiddling with this and that to get it to work correctly (as a server).

So, any recommedations on both the hardware or software we should go with is appreciated.
You can't go wrong with the fastest XServe available loaded to the gills with all the options and upgrades. That should last you quite a few years.

We need to know more about what you intend the server to do to make a good recommendation. Roaming accounts? Email? File services? Print services? Internet? Web hosting? Network booting? DNS?
5-6 connections simultaneously? Which kind of services will be running? We need more details.

If 5-6 simultaneous connections of any type and increasing the demand, I would probably opt for hte XServe. As there are a lot of different options within XServes too, more details will make it easier to suggest best options for the needs. But maybe plain XServe as to start with ... then seeing what you use it with could give more ideas what could be even better.
I would be interested in knowing what you decide on too. I just purchased a Powermac G5 2 ghz for the server running Panther. It's more of a file and database server only. We've about the same number of PCs and Macs connected to it as well. It feels a little slow with the filemaker database.
I suppose network booting and file services are what this server will be used for, and if such is the case, you would be fine with a second-hand single processor G5 desktop. Spend the extra cash on proper network equipment (gigabit at least between the server and a switch) and eventually an external RAID controller. Disk and network speed is what you need.