Right now i have 3 comps all hooked into a router, which seems to work fine (all the ports i need now are available). But from what I've seen theres usually a switch between the router and the rest of the LAN. So my question is...Is there some advantage to having a switch there or is plugging into the router much of the same.
Actually it is most likelly that you have all of your computers plugged on a switch right now, only that the switch is intergrated with your router.
The fact it is called a router doesn't mean necessarily that every port is a seperate network interface for the router, only that it has at least two network interfaces (i.e. in the case of adsl routers i.e. a "public" interface and a "private" in the subnet of your home LAN).
In most affordable home dsl routers around here all the extra ports are just switched ports for the private interface of the router, so propably in your case too, there is no difference between the two topologies you describe.
If you have not cleared the difference between a router and a switch I recommend you check the corresponding articles at firewall.cx,
If you find them a bit complicated at some points, please don't let this discourage you, they are really simple, just check the articles that describe the points that confused you too, because they are all really necessary pieces of the same picture
OK, so I'm reading the switches section and I come across where it shows how much Buffer memory a switch should have based on the number of ports. So I go to newegg.com and look at switches and almost every switch is under even the minimum recomendation...so im wondering when they specify the buffer memory are they talking about per port or is that total.