Networking, Internet, & Bluetooth

2 Bronze

Integrated NIC dead? Replace with PCI, USB?

After a lightning storm two days ago, neither of my Dell computers, both of which are connected to the same wired router fed by a Comcast cable modem, would connect to the Internet. With the help of Dell support, I reset my Dimension 4550’s IP address, which allowed me to connect again. However, my Dimension 4600 is showing no IP address at all and there is no light where the Ethernet cable plugs into the NIC on the back of the computer, even when I use the same cable which is working for the 4550. Comcast support says this means my NIC was fried by the lighting. I have a few questions I hope someone can help me with: 

1) Is Comcast correct in saying my NIC is dead or might there be a setting on the computer that needs to be reset?

2) My NIC is the original equipment 'integrated Intel Pro 10/100', which I think means it is connected to the system board and cannot be replaced without replacing the system board. Do I have to replace the entire system board or can I install a PCI NIC in my 4600 (I have an empty PCI slot)? Who makes a good PCI NIC (my 4550 has an Intel, but I don't think they make them anymore)?

3) If the answer to 2 is yes, how will my computer know to use the PCI card instead of the dead integrated one?

4) A Dell telephone salesman mentioned I could use a USB connected NIC. He said it is made by SMC, though I cannot find it on Dell’s site. If a USB NIC would work, how would its performance compare to my original integrated one or to a new PCI NIC? Can you recommend a good USB NIC?

5) I have a surge protector for the computers’ electrical inputs but not for the Ethernet cable. Is there such a thing as an Ethernet surge suppressor? 

Any thoughts would be much appreciated. Thanks a lot.

Replies (3)
7 Thorium

You may be correct with the dead nic but check in Device Manage and make sure it shows up there with no ! or X next to it. If it shows ok then chances are that it might be gone although one would think that the whole mess would have gone router, and other computer too.

As to what to get either would be a good choice. the drawback with the usb option is it would take away one of your usb ports where a the internal card would just occupy a slot that you are apparently not using anyways.

What you need for a card would be a 10/100 card as this would be more than enough to handle your cable connection.

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Forum member since 2003

2 Bronze


Per  your suggestion, I checked the Device Manager and under 'Network adapters' the 'Intel Pro/100 VE Network Connection' does not have a '!' or 'X' next to it. i agree that it is odd that the lightning didn't ruin the modem, router, the network card on my other computer (it's PCI rather than integrated--perhaps they are more robust?), or the entire system board on my 4600, but I guess it must have destroyed the integrated NIC on my 4600--there's no other possibility if the computer shows the NIC as properly functioning, right?

I am glad that I can buy a $20 part instead of a $200 system board!

So the USB NIC wouldn't be any slower than a PCI one? If they're the same speed, I'll go with a PCI one to save my USB jacks and avoid another piece of external equipment.

My local Staples has a 10/100/1000 Netgear adapter for $23, which I think I'll get even if the 1000 speed won't be needed.

Thanks for all your help.

4 Ruthenium


I would use the PCI  NIC.  This is a link to your computer manual . <ADMIN NOTE: Broken link has been removed from this post by Dell>

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