That said, I am curious if there would be any major performance enhancements by going to the xserve for a file server or if it is a mute point if I am not hosting anything on the server.
If they are working on files locally and then copying them to the server when done the xserve will be a waste for sure. A new regular mini with a FW 800 disk as a boot disk would be fast enough, to get away from the 5400 RPM laptop drives they put in them.
Is your network gigabit? If not then none of it really matters as that would be the bottleneck in situations where they are all reading/writing to the server at once.
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