Wireless Router Vs. New Hard Drive Decision

I’m pricing components for my yearly upgrade, & have about $60 left in my budget. I could afford one of the following:

Neither are priorities; I have no storage problems with the 320GB drive, & despite the router’s age, it works well save one annoyance. In the last year, on a wireless connection I sometimes got disconnected from MMOs when visiting auction houses. Switching to a wired port solved this, although my computer is upstairs, which means I’ll eventually need to run cable through the walls.

If switching to a new router would provide reliable wireless for gaming on the upstairs machine, I’d go with the router. However, I’ve read that MMOs really need wired connections, so maybe I’d still have to run cabling even if I got a new router.

Any suggestions between the two? Alternatively, should I allocate more money on a different component (I’m upgrading my CPU & graphics card as well), or just save the $60 for next year’s upgrade? Thanks for any input.

If you don’t need space, it seems silly to upgrade your hard drive. Similarly, if your router mostly works, it seems silly to replace it with something that’ll probably have its own oddities (especially considering that 802.11n hardware is getting cheaper all the time, and you may want to do a real upgrade to that soon).

I say if you’ve got money left over, put it into something that’s more lasting, a good keyboard or mouse, maybe.

I’ve had zero luck with Linksys’s N-class equipment. The last two that clients purchased routers prior to me coming on site to set up were Linksys N models, and they were beyond flaky. One of them required power cycling the router every time the computer re-acquired a wireless connection; IE, every time the computer was rebooted, you had to reboot the router afterward to get it to give an IP. The other one couldn’t maintain a signal with any reasonable strength and dropped constantly.

One was a WRT54G2, the other was a WRT160.

I had both clients return the junk and hooked them up with DIR-628’s. They’re rock solid, I think the configuration page is better designed and has more features, and the 628 now has Shareport, so if you have a USB printer or USB hard drive and a XP/Vista system you can share the device on the network.

I have no idea how anyone could ever get by with 320 gigs of hard drive space, so I’d opt for the hard drive.

But if you honestly aren’t feeling cramped there, then I wouldn’t bother with either.

Also, if you get a hard drive, there’s no sense in actually replacing your current one. You do plan to run them both, simultaneously, right?

For your connection problems, you might find Powerline networking more useful than a new router: I use Actiontec 85Mbps adapters to connect my basement computers to my Verizon FIOS router upstairs and it works pretty well. Dunno if you can find a pair of them for $60, though.

I have 120gb.

You know some of us uninstall our games after playing them, right?

Depends on what your storage needs are. 320 GB would be woefully inadequate for me. I’d add the 500 GB as a second drive as long as the wireless is working reasonably well.

Linksys WRT 300N here. It’s been working fine now for over a year, from the basement to the living room, about 50 feet through several walls.

I have way more than 120GB of games in progress, as it is. Game installs are getting to be in the 15-20 gig range (Age of Conan is over 25.) I uninstall when I’m done with stuff, sure. And if it sits idle long enough, I’ll ditch it. But why cramp yourself when HD space is about a dollar per 10GB these days?

(And that doesn’t take into account anything else I use my drives for, like media to stream to my PS3 or 360.)

Oh, and it occurs to me that the size of the new hard drive being looked at was specified - definitely don’t bother buying that if you’re going to replace the 320 - you’re looking at maybe another 150 gigs for that $60 when for $100 you could get a 1TB drive and go up 600+, or for $130 or so you could get 1.5TB and…you get the idea.

It’d be worth it if you’re prepared to run the 500GB as a second drive, though.

Well then I guess you’re one of those crazy people that can keep track of 20+ games at once. I’m just not one of those people.

Other than Age of Conan, I haven’t seen or heard of any 15-20gb games…

I burn downloaded TV shows to DVD, but even 250gb isn’t enough to hold more than several whole series of shows, especially if they’re in HD, so I don’t see the point of keeping media other than music on a hard disk.

Thanks for the input so far; it looks as though I may be able to save $60 this year.

Any opinions regarding my issue with MMOs & disconnects? The disconnects almost always occurred during zoning, or when opening a merchant window, which seem to be times when large amounts of data get transferred quickly. It wasn’t constant – just enough to be annoying & finally get me to connect a cable. It seemed more common in WoW relative to other MMOs, although I spend the most time with WoW.

I’m bad at estimating distance with intervening walls & levels, but our house is only 1250 square feet, so my machine can’t be too far away from the existing router.

Would a new wireless router eliminate the disconnects & the need for the cable? Or are disconnects a pain to be endured whenever you play MMOs wirelessly, regardless of the quality of the router?

But where do you keep all your pr0 - errr, cooking shows?

MMOs and disconnects: I recently was reading up on a bunch of wireless router info (I haven’t had much need for one yet) and was astounded by how many crappy routers are out there - reviews for many mentioned issues with disconnects in MMOs or with torrent-like apps, and just general annoyance with distance issues/etc. If I didn’t know better, I’d think WiFi was a budding technology that might hit its stride in a few years.

Keep track of? Heh. No. But it doesn’t stop me from trying.

Other 10+ gigabyte games in recent times: Sacred 2, GTA IV, World of Warcraft, Oblivion (at least with expansions/mods installed), Warhammer Online (I don’t have that installed anymore, but it was in that range.) Medieval II (with expansion). Stranglehold. Looks like FEAR 2 is. Everquest II. Etc.

I guess only GTA IV of that list is actually over 15 gigs, but they add up fast.

And sure, you could only hold several series of TV on a 250 GB drive, but fortunately they make 1.5TB drives. Cheap, too.

Again, I recommend trying Powerline networking: my Actiontecs have been working like champs for a while now.

Has anybody tried Powerline networking in a high-rise apartment type situation? I’m not sure what sockets are on the same circuit as what other sockets, how much my lines extend into my neighbor’s lines, etc.

Could you explain what this is? Assume I have never heard of Powerline networking before a helpful poster’s response two days ago. There’s a bunch of different parts listed on NewEgg when I search for the term, but I can’t figure out how one uses it.

Short answer: as the name implies, powerline networking transmits data over the powerlines in your home. The adapters themselves are network bridges, linking Ethernet networks together, with transmission speeds of up to 200Mbps. Currently I have two 85Mbps PL adapters: one for my FIOS router, the other for the Ethernet switch in my basement. They’re quite handy for situations where your network devices are too far apart or there’s too much interference to link them wirelessly, but you don’t want to run a 100-ft Ethernet cable through your walls.

A bit more info here.