Using Laptop PCI-E Cards in Desktops

Soldato
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Just a quick question if anybody could help.

Do laptop PCI-E cards have the same connector as the standard PCI-E connectors that are found on Desktop motherboards.

The reason why is because we are looking to buy some PCI-E Wifi Cards for some desktops at the school where I work, but the ones which have external protruding antennas are broken by the kids, hence us looking into internal only ones.

Thanks,

James
 
Associate
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Unfortunately they use a different connector (mini PCIe rather than PCIe). You can buy adapters but that may negate the cost savings as they aren't particularly cheap.

How about grabbing one of these card readers (with USB port) and a USB WiFi dongle? It should work out cheaper, since these are less costly than the adapter and USB dongles are cheaper than mPCIe WiFi cards... and you can simply mount it in an internal 3.5 inch bay. performance won't be ideal, but no worse than a mini-pcie card inside the case and should be decent unless you're at extreme WiFi range.
http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=FL-000-XG

The other option would be to get a USB panel and do the same as above, but it will be trickier to mount and slightly more expensive.
 
Soldato
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Audigex's idea seems to be the most ideal since the USB dongle will be inside, so the kids can't touch it.

Alternatively, and more costly, is using something similiar this for internal USB: http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=CC-003-AK&groupid=701&catid=49&subcat=423

This will also help if the PCs don't have any spare USB headers on the motherboard.

On the other hand, what PCs are they? I remember the PCs I used during school/college had back covers and a lock shielding the back of the PC so no students can break anything.
 
Soldato
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Because of our new building, 30 HP desktops are going to be moved to a normal classroom ( no network points) temporarily. They are just going to be on the desks, not secured down or anything. The only security while they are in this room will be padlocks in the cases, so they can't open them.

The internal USB header is a great idea, totally forgot about doing that. Thanks!
 
Man of Honour
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but will a USB dongle work inside a case which is designed to provide EMI shielding?

while the laptop cards don't appear to have an antenna they generally connect to one built into the lid
 
Associate
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It will work - it's not ideal and you lose signal strength, but if the range is reasonably short to the base station it will do the job. Particularly if, as with the OP, it is only needed as a cheap, temporary solution.
 
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