Easy Bake VideoCard



Hey guys, kind of an odd question looking for advice on the best avenue to take.

I have an old Alienware m7950 laptop that is collecting dust I'd like to turn into a small home server. The problem is the graphics card(s) are dead/dying and the keyboard only partially works.

Keyboard isn't really an issue. I plugged in an external keyboard and I can type commands, the problem is the screen is covered in artifacts due to the graphics card problem, and Windows XP will only use safe-mode resolution. I uninstalled Windows XP and installed CentOS via command-line which was successful (the display seems to work sometimes one out of every 100 or so boot-ups) but when restarting I get the same red artifacts and unfortunately not even a command-line prompt to login or do anything. Here is what it looks like:


The cards are nVidia (too lazy to look up the model but they're old. The PC is probably 8-9 yrs old) I tried re-seating both cards but no luck, I tried removing the slave card and booting with just the master but no luck. I have a couple questions:

1.) Is there a way to boot with just the slave in the master card slot? I haven't had time to try it but I'm assuming not due to the firmware, still I'd like to see if maybe its just the master...

2.) Buying another graphics card is probably not an option as a legacy card that will work will be hard to find and probably expensive. At that point I might as well build a cheap linux box. Is it worth just rebooting this thing 100 times to try and get the screen stable once to just install sshd then just ssh from another PC? Or....

3.) I found a few articles like this about cooking cards to potentially bring them back to life:
Has anyone tried this with success/failure? I don't have much to loose at this point but it seems like a long shot.

Thanks for any input.

Trying to, the problem is since my native keyboard doesn't work the "switch monitor" button combo Fn+F3 doesn't do anything lol
My ext keyboard doesn't have the function button (just windows button) so that hasn't worked.
Trying to think of other ways to switch monitors I've plugged in an ext monitor but it doesn't start up just sits in standby
Hmm good point I'll check that out in an hr when I get home.
I would take the hard drive out and boot it in another computer. Once booted I would enable ssh and then either use X over ssh tunnel, or install a VNC server.

That should be all you need to configure your server, and administer it later. Once you have the drive back in the laptop you should also look for power settings and change the action for closing the lid so it doesn't send the laptop to sleep. Then you can close it up, pack it away somewhere and admin it remotely.

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