Question PC based survelliance system?

I am not sure if/where there is a proper place to ask this, so if it needs moved or have a better idea as to where to ask such please do.
I am a low voltage security tech. I have quite a bit of experience with high end camera systems and "DVR" style PC builds. Unfortunately I haven't been out in the field in a few years now. What I am knowledgeable of is high priced and high end equipment that will not fit this use case scenario. I have a couple of ideas but need some tips as to what/where to look for.

We have a shop that stores all our supplies and tools. It's a set of two conex containers surrounded by a fence. We have power on site and next week are getting dedicated internet and phone pulled. We had been using a set of four Arlo cameras to watch the gate, doors, and inside one of the containers. There is a nearby house that we (had) been using WiFi for connection to the cameras. It's right on the edge of range so they are very undependable. The person with which we have the internet agreement is moving, so the need to pull our own service and with it the ability to get something better. Aside from the battery and/or plug issue "engineering" that you can do with Arlo the cameras themselves fail within a year or so when actually in the weather. At the best of times they offer poor quality video for anything more than a few feet away.
Over the last several months someone has tested and figured out that the cameras are down and some expensive tooling has been disappearing from the shop.

I would like to have a system that would be as easy to access for viewing as the Arlo system is. Integration with mobile platforms and multiple users is going to be hard to move away from. Thinking both local and cloud storage options.

I have access to a variety of Dell OptiPlex machines both in MT and SFF forms. The SFF would be ideal for the placement however am concerned about the use of a capture card or the like if we went that way.

Ideally I will install the head end inside the computer, run the cameras POE, and have the modem/router, computer, etc. inside a security cage/case and physically screwed to the wall or ceiling in a small office space inside one of the conex. I would like to utilize five cameras both to cover the existing views as well as to have a view from inside the office where the head end will be.
Three of the four outdoor cameras can be the standard 8mm or so. I will probably utilize one with a longer view for the gate/drive, and the inside camera just something basic in a dome. More than likely will use four of the cameras as vandal resistant domes and one bullet mounted high.

Can someone suggest to me some CHEAP equipment to use for said, that is readily available or "standard form" such that replacements can be purchased down the road? I do not want to get one of these super cheap one off knock off DVR sets with cameras already wired in and hard if not impossible to replace. At the same time this application isn't going to support $150 starting points per camera using HikVision or Sony......

Any help with direction would be appreciated.

Edit- forgot to mention that one of the reasons I would like this to be PC based is that the computer will also be used for internet access and printing paperwork for techs at the shop.
Last edited:
I guess I will just keep on talking to myself on this one...;)

To further muddy the water my site survey indicates that I am going to have a single outlet and one 15 amp breaker to run the whole system on. The space is powered over "T Pole" and the other circuit available is being utilized by equipment that cannot share the 15 amp load without throwing a breaker. Thus, all the lighting (3 fluorescent strips), modem, head end and or computer/printer (if equipped) will be on this same breaker. Not ideal at all.

I found a WD DVR based pre built system with scan code cloud integration to mobile and cloud storage options that is priced well, four cameras and come highly regarded by a colleague.
My current thoughts are to take a small UPS I have down and plug in. If that doesn't throw the breaker outright it will at least give me an idea of what I might be able to work with as far as draw.