Get Remote Hardware: Seamless Remote Control with Intel Q57 Chipsets and vPro

I deal with computer hardware as much as I deal with AutoCAD and Revit. Imagine having AutoCAD “in the cloud” and having it accessible anywhere. Remote Desktop is already a viable approach for doing that stuff but what if the machine is off? What if it keeps giving you the BSOD?

A solution to this answer would be to have somebody to look at the machine back at the office or to grab a Lantronix SecureLinx Spider or IOGEAR’s GCN1000. These solutions, could get costly or even become a hassle. There is another solution.

In the first quarter of 2010, Intel revealed a new set of chipsets which complement their latest line of processors with integrated graphics. Among these chipsets, I’ve stumbled over the Q57 which has a neat piece of technology which was not heavily trumpeted as I would have envisioned it. It includes a feature called KVM Remote Control which is part of Intel’s new AMT version 6.0 (Active Management Technology). It allows you to take control of your computer at a very low level from anyplace where you have internet; you can power your machine on, turn it off, get into the BIOS, reformat your machine, or even remotely mount a CD. It’s quite different from a virtual machine since you’re dealing with the whole PC.

Here’s what it does:

  1. Your PC’s network card stays awake listening for any requests. The network stays on even when your machine is turned off. You can configure the NIC to use a static IP or obtain an address from DHCP.
  2. The client uses a specialized VNC program and communicates via port 16992 to your PC. At the time of this writing, RealVNC’s VNC Viewer Plus is the only packaged solution available which supports AMT.
  3. The user experience is similar to what you would find when you use VNC.

Necessities:

  1. Q57 Chipset based motherboard (Intel DQ57TM or ASUS P7Q57-M)
  2. Intel processor with integrated graphics and vPro (Desktops: Intel i5 650, 660, 670).
  3. No separate discreet graphics card, you must use the integrated graphics which comes with the CPU.
  4. Port 16992 open.

Wish List:

  1. Discreet graphics support. This would make the PC more viable as a CAD workstation.
  2. Network auto-negotiation during POST to find the highest possible speed regardless of KVM connection. At the moment, if the machine was off or sleeping at 10 Mbps (half-duplex) and KVM connects in that state, it stays at 10 Mbps. In order to get the machine to renegotiate at 100 Mbps (full-duplex) or 1 Gbps, you need to disconnect the KVM during POST.

Screenshots:

VNC View Plus Login Screen

Power Controls

Boot Options

BIOS from Windows!

POST Screen

Booting into Windows

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