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1st Gen FTW - It's AutoMedic!
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Help with home network

I recently moved, and am working on rebuilding my in-home network.

The network consists of a DLS Modem/4 port wired/wireless G router, with a Dell Dimension 4600i (re-cased in a generic mid-tower) plugged into one of the 4 ports. A Samsung CPL-310 is plugged into the Dell, allowing me to print from any one of three laptops that are wireless. A second desktop is slated to go online in the near future if I can get the right cable.

Before I moved, I used this set-up very easily. The ‘server’ Dell desktop was always powered on, and would handle music storage and video storage for us, as well as play “print server” for us. It was in a closet with a monitor facing out so we could monitor it and take care of issues when needed (Windows updates, etc). Life was good.

Well, I had to move. When I moved, I left my old monitor behind hoping I would be able to get one in North Dakota. Well, I did, but it came with a computer that I have set up for my kids. The new network closet is very close to my TV, and I’ve got s-video capabilities on the TV – in the past I’ve had a video card with an s-video output, and wonder a few things…

Since I don’t have a monitor hooked to the print-server any more, is there an easy (CHEAP!) way to set up a remote desktop so that I can poke around on the print-server from my own desktop? Or, is there a suggestion on what video card I can add to the Dell (on a budget) that has s-video out so that I can use my TV as a simple monitor for answering error messages, that sorta thing?

I don’t recall the motherboard model, but here are some pictures of it.
 

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Woober Goobers!
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How about buying a cheap monitor for the "server"?
 

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1st Gen FTW - It's AutoMedic!
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I've thought about that - but two issues present... one, the 'server' has some video stored on it that would be nice to watch on the TV... and the other issue is that the computer closet isn't easily accessable and has a closed door.

Heh, and it is something that has already been done. HEhehehhe
 

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1st Gen FTW - It's AutoMedic!
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And yes, there are 5 cooling fans in there... two on in the power supply, one on the processor, one on the back of the case, and then one on two of the three hard drives... and yes, those are wire nuts holding some of the hard drive power connectors together - it was all I had, and the power supply was short one connector because it wasn't originally used for powering an SATA drive.
 

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I suggest allowing remote desktop on the server. Enable Remote Desktop. Set the server to have a login password. Give the server a static IP. Setup your router for port forwarding and then you can access the server from any PC in the house as long as you know the servers IP. Simple. Free
For port forwarding help refer to: http://portforward.com/
 

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And if you still want to connect to TV to watch video...and s video is the best input you have on your TV......Add a cheap graphics card to the dell...Something like the nvidia 6200,... it is a pci card so it should fit the dell, has s video output with decent TV encoder,enough on board memory to handle s video and should not be over $40...the s video will not be the quality of the VGA monitor but should be satisfactory for basic videos..Adjust the graphics card settings to output the maximum resolution of your TV, so the server and video card will do any signal processing instead of the TV....Add an audio cable and a cheap wireless mouse with a usb extension cable to place the mouse's usb adapter closer to the tv , and use the mouse for your remote control....
 

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1st Gen FTW - It's AutoMedic!
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Discussion Starter #9
I suggest allowing remote desktop on the server. Enable Remote Desktop. Set the server to have a login password. Give the server a static IP. Setup your router for port forwarding and then you can access the server from any PC in the house as long as you know the servers IP. Simple. Free
For port forwarding help refer to: http://portforward.com/
I like that idea, I follow 90% of what you are saying, I'll have to explore the link to fill in the gaps... I think that's the route I may go with, in conjunction with the quote below...

And if you still want to connect to TV to watch video...and s video is the best input you have on your TV......Add a cheap graphics card to the dell...Something like the nvidia 6200,... it is a pci card so it should fit the dell, has s video output with decent TV encoder,enough on board memory to handle s video and should not be over $40...the s video will not be the quality of the VGA monitor but should be satisfactory for basic videos..Adjust the graphics card settings to output the maximum resolution of your TV, so the server and video card will do any signal processing instead of the TV....Add an audio cable and a cheap wireless mouse with a usb extension cable to place the mouse's usb adapter closer to the tv , and use the mouse for your remote control....
I think I'll do that... I found a few on eBay that I think I'll go with... can anyone tell me, the green expansion slot on the mother board - what flavor of slot is that? Is that an AGP?
 

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If you have any more questions on how to setup any of the remote desktop you can PM me on here and I will reply as soon as possible. IT is what I do. And according to your mobo specs the green slot is an AGP. Your best bet is a PCI video card
 

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Woober Goobers!
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AGP trumps PCI due to higher bandwidth. You could probably find a decent AGP card with TV-Out cheap. A number of ATI All-In-Wonder cards come to mind for video In/Out.
 

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Woober Goobers!
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You're kidding right? AGP video cards were the successor to PCI and quite popular until the release of PCI-E. That would be about 1-2 years ago. There are a ton of AGP cards out there.
 

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Woober Goobers!
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I'm not trying to get in a pissing contest with you but there were a lot of PCs equipped with AGP video cards in the last 2-3 years. Yes the PCI bus/Slots are common on the same mobos but for video it was one AGP slot. The OP shows a picture of his mobo and it does in fact have an AGP video slot.
Keep your money. If your clientele relies on PCI video then they're in the "Dark Ages"! Don't confuse the PCI bus with the newer PCI-E bus. We may be talking about different buses due to the PCI name in both. In the OP the lower slots pictured on the mobo are PCI...not PCI-E. Sorry about the confusion if you didn't see the "E".

Maybe this Wiki page will clear up the confusion between us:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PCI_Express
 

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AGP trumps PCI due to higher bandwidth. You could probably find a decent AGP card with TV-Out cheap. A number of ATI All-In-Wonder cards come to mind for video In/Out.
While this is true...You really do not need the higher speed of the AGP just to transfer S video....And should be able to pick up a PCI card with a little more on board memory cheaper than a AGP card...And it seems as though the PCI cards are a little better on power usage which may help since Dell has never been real great on extra capacity in their power supplies...(check specs on whatever card you get to make sure you can power it along with all your other devices at the same time, since it is being used as a server)....But either should work so you have the flexibility to look for the cheapest deal ...

If a TV upgrade is in your future...spend a little more and get a AGP card with VGA or even better HDMI out....
 

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1st Gen FTW - It's AutoMedic!
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Well, a TV upgrade IS in the future, but I don't know how far OUT in the future it is... I have seen lots of cards that are HDMI, I might go with one of those that is both HDMI and S-video, so I only have to change cards once... I'll be buying something off eBay I'm sure - used and cheap...

The only fear I have is how it will handshake with the existing onboard video... the last time I tried to upgrade a video card with an onboard video, I had lots of trouble and it was impossible to use... but then again, that was on a 486DX2-66 from Packard Bell - don't laugh, you've all owned something stupid in your past... This Dell mobo has onboard video, but I read a LOT about people adding cards with no trouble on other computers... just wonder what my odds are that it will work right.

As for the PS issues, this is a non-Dell case, with a non-Dell PS... so I don't have to worry about that, but I do have to worry about the fact that I am kinda taxing the PS as it is - hopefully I can get a card that has no PS requirements.

P.S. I really appreciate the help so far!
 

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Woober Goobers!
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Check the BIOS for a section that allows you to turn off the on board video and use the video card. If it's in there that should take care of any conflicts between the two. I've built several PCs with MOBOs that had integrated video and put video cards in with no problems.
 
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I use RealVNC to access other computers on my network from my main PC (at least the ones that don't have Windows 7 yet). You can download the free software at http://www.realvnc.com/products/free/4.1/winvncviewer.html

It sounds like you're doing something similar to what I do and just need a quick way to run the computer for updates, etc. VNC should do the trick. I set the computer to automatically login, and VNC starts automatically, so I don't even need a screen when it reboots.

Let me know if you want more instructions on running RealVNC.
 
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