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Install Two Nvidia GeForce 210 in Dell SC440 to Setup 3 or 4 Displays

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Currently running 3 monitors, including one touchscreen.

These two particular Nvidia GeForce 210 PCI-e x16 video cards are each made by different companies — Zotac and EVGA.  The Zotac card is a couple years old, but the EVGA card was purchased this weekend to run the touchscreen third monitor.  Both PCI-e cards were recognized on boot-up and the multiple displays are configurable under the Nvidia Control Panel software.

You might say, “Hey dude, the Dell PowerEdge SC440 Server does not have any PCI-e x16 slots to hold two PCI-e video cards.”  Well, there is actually one x16 slot that has been limited by design to only hold an x8 card (like a Raid controller) because there is a plastic divider manufactured into the middle of the x16 slot.  My guess is that Dell wanted to prevent this slot from being used for add-on PCI-e video cards because this SC440 Server is not meant for gaming or workstation use.  However, the original BIOS does not limit recognition of the video cards.   I didn’t look for any flash updates.

So, how do you install these video cards without any usable slots?  You can either (a) modify the crippled x16 slot by carefully cutting the plastic divider with a heated knife (not getting any of the melted plastic on the copper connectors), or (b) buy a riser/adapter that fits in the x8 portion of the slot but provides an x16 riser slot to hold the card.

Orbit Micro sells a PCI Express x8 to x16 Adapter here:  http://www.orbitmicro.com/global/pexp16-sx-16-8-p-755.html and the current price is $42.   I have an extra brand new adapter that I will sell to you for $22 plus shipping.  However, using the riser/adapter means that you will also need to re-engineer the bracket that holds the video card in the back of the case.  It’s not difficult, but I have done this both ways, and I prefer solution (a). Then, again, I didn’t wreck the contacts in the slot of the motherboard when I cut the plastic divider with a heated blade.

For the second GeForce 210 PCI-e card, you can use a metal file to “file-open” the back end of the other x8 PCI-e slot so that the front half of the x16 video card will fit in the front end of the x8 slot, and the back half of the card will hang over the end of the x8 slot.  Note, the x16 video card will function with half the lanes connected.  No problem.

Add Common Icons to Windows 8 Desktop

There are a couple ways that you can add desktop icon shortcuts for “Computer,” “Network,” “Control Panel” and “User’s Files” to your traditional-looking Windows 8 desktop, along side the icon for “Recycle Bin” which is normally already on the desktop. 1.  Go to the Control Panel of Windows 8 and select Personalization.  How do I get there?  Right click the so-called Start button of Windows 8.  It is located at the bottom left corner of the traditional-looking desktop.  Then, left click to select “Control Panel.”  At the top right corner of the Control Panel, select “View By” and select “Small Icons” from the drop down list.  In the small icon menu that is displayed for the Control Panel, click to select “Personalization.”  In the left pane of the Personalization page click “Change desktop icons.”  Under Desktop Icons select the checkbox next to each icon that you want to add to the desktop, or clear the check box for each icon that you want to remove from the desktop. For example,  check or clear the appropriate check boxes next to “Computer,” “User’s Files,” Network” and “Control Panel.” Click Apply, then click OK. OR 2.  A quicker way to achieve this same result is to right click a blank spot on the traditional-looking desktop of Windows 8.  You should then see the list shown below.  Left click to select “Personalize.” right-click-desktop In the left pane shown below, click to select “Change desktop icons.” personalization See should then see the Desktop Icon Settings screen as below.  Check or clear the appropriate check boxes next to “Computer,” “User’s Files,” Network” and “Control Panel.”  Click Apply, then Click OK. change-desktop-icons