There shouldn't be any problem networking the two computers and the most basic way of doing this is to connect them directly using a *CROSSOVER* ethernet cable. The new PC will almost certainly already have a network adapter installed, but it may be necessary to plug a network card into a spare PCI slot on the older PC's motherboard.
<<< i also have a dvd and cdrw drive in the ancient pc that i would like to be able to use thru the new one. is this possible? >>>
That might be a case of "try it and see". I've never tried network sharing a CD/DVD drive and although it might work OK for reading disks, I suspect you would have problems trying to burn disks over the network. As PCs have a CD/DVD drive built in, I cannot see the merit in accessing an optical drive in a remote PC over the network.