I use the overfoldix CD yes. But I modified it so that it would save to a network drive that I have. I have 8 machines folding without disks and saving results to one NFS network drive (NFS protocol is not supported by many Microsoft OS's)
The (unmodified) overfoldix CD method has one drawback and that is that all results are stored in memory. If you switch off the PC before a WU is finished - all the work is lost!!
There should be no effect on folding speed/power by using this method.
If you want to share one drive to be used by other folding machines then you need to consider your client machines needs.
Currently Windows home versions have no support for NFS (network file system) which is commonly used by unix/linux. However, many Linux versions have 'Samba' which allows you to use the Microsoft sharing method (known as CIFS or SMB.) This is the method I used on my 'Windows folding farm' project - http://www.hiblue.com/folding
Two other methods to consider are
- 'net-booting' which requires no disk or cd - just an ethernet card capable of booting a net image from a server.
- USB pen drive. There should be no problem using a 32 or 64Mb USB pen drive to boot and fold without using disk or CD drive. I have not done this as when I looked at the options last year, usb pen drives were expensive. Now you can get a 32Mb drive for about $15. You will have to ensure that your motherboard can boot from USB drives tho. If this works it could be a very easy way to achieve cheap folding clients without hard drives or CDROms.