One Reason Computers Are So Inexpensive…

One of our St. John’s faculty computers was having a hard time accessing Web pages.  It was intermittent.  I fired up a command prompt and pinged the server, and the result was a loss of one of the four packets.   I set up 1,000 pings,  and had 31% packet loss.  Just to be sure, I moved the network cable to an open port on the switch and repeated the kiloping; this time it was 43% packet loss. My final test was to connect my laptop to the cable, no packet loss.  It was pretty clear I had the NIC in the machine going bad.  This machine is a less – than – a – year – old HP.

I decided to open the machine up and see if it had a PCI or PCI Express slot that I could put a replacement NIC in. I had a minor surprise: the computer had no slots at all for cards.  The case has knockouts, but nothing on the (very small) mobo.

So this machine has numerous USB ports open, and I have my choice of USB Wifi or USB-to-RJ45 connections,  so I will be able to fix the problem. 

It lead me to wonder about another machine I have here, an inexpensive Dell.  I pulled the cover off, and sure enough, no card slots.  I’m sure it’s a trend.

For a NIC, it’s not an issue,  but the 2nd highest failure item I have is video cards.  Those are not really available and reliable in USB, so I may not have a good replacement option there.

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