The cost factor is incidental, I've already purchased an 8port hub ($23) and 3 PCI NICs ($8 each) and the network is working great.
But I'm faced with expanding it a bit and from a wiring standpoint, which is the biggest challenge, running the machines in a daisy chain fashion would be the easiest solution.
One computer already had 2 NICs in operation, one for the LAN and one for a cable modem connection. I was hoping at least one of the other machines could be fited with another NIC so I could avoid a second hub or some wiring work.
With 10BT or twisted pair, you can only run up to 2 computers directly connected. Anything past that and you have to have a hub. One alternative is to go 10Base2 for run that is long. Farralon does make an Ethernet product that you can daisy chain, although it's kind of a hack.
I'm not positive, however, with NT on the machine with more than one NIC card, wouldn't that be possible? Or would the clients not be able to see each other. The reason I'm not sure is because I set up a network similar to that before, however, I was sheilded from some parts of it. It was using WinProxy, from what I was told, they were only connected to the server that had 4 NIC cards running NT. A hub might have been present, but I never actually saw one.
Matter of fact I'm sure now. However, I'm not sure whether or not it is NT, or NT Server. The reason I'm sure is because NT can be set up to function as a router, thus not fowarding packets to other network sections, given certain criteria. If you needed a hub for this setup, what would be the purpose of having multiple NIC cards? I can understand 2,(one into the network, one out), but more than 2 NIC cards in a machine would be useless, if you needed a hub. Am I making sense, or are you all reading my post like, "what the hell is he talking about?"
But it's possible, however, since you can get a hub for $33 and NT/NT Server for probably what 10 times that, I think the hub is the wiser decision also.