Kvm switches? are there good and bad ones?

vbimport

#1

I want to run 2 cpus to one monitor/keyboard/mouse. I see several online, and a lot on ebay. Is there anything i should look for or stay away from. I just need to share keyboard mouse and monitor and sound if possible…


#2

Yeah, stay away from eBAY! I don’t understand why anyone would buy something from eBAY like this, it’s an inexpensive item that can be bought at many reputable online retailers. I can understand buying certain hard to find/collectible items from eBAY, but I would never buy anything from eBAY that I could get elsewhere, even if I had to pay a little more. You are just asking for problems when you buy from eBAY, I would buy one from Newegg if you are in the USA. :iagree:


#3

It is a pretty simple device so I would think that it would be hard to screw up unless you get something really cheap. I did notice that some of the ones on ebay are switch only (no hot keys) which would really annoy me. the first one that I have used is this one


It worked just fine for a couple of years that I used it (it didn’t fail, I got a 4 port one so it got retired). Be carfull about prices on these (like many belkin products). Compusa wants 50$ for one but I got mine on sale for 20$ at micro center (normally about 30$ if I am not mistaken). A friend of mine has one just like it that is identical but also has audio support (I think he paid 28$ on sale at micro center too). His has worked fine for him too. My only complaint is that it was hot key only (you hit a couple of key strokes on the keyboard to switch computers). Switching with hot keys is the best and most convienient but if one of the computers is doing something seriously processor intensive (the kind of thing that really bogs down your system), you might have minor difficulty switching from it to the other computer.
The one I got to replace it is 4 port and uses various programable hot keys with diffrent ways of switching, plus it has mechanical switches too (buttons) so if one computer is stuborn, you can just reach over and hit the button. its this one
http://cgi.ebay.com/Airlink-4-Port-Slim-Desktop-KVM-Switch-New-in-Box_W0QQitemZ9725404368QQcategoryZ73310QQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem
Fyi I wouldn’t recomend ebay either, they just hapened to have the same one I did. I got it at fry’s. Its normally 60$ but they run it on sale for 30$ somewhat often. I’l warn you, I have a frient that works at frys and he says airlink is there cheapo high profit brand (at 30$ it is at or below cost though). I have been using for quite a while with no problems and while I usally only run two computers, having extra ports is still great. For a little while I ran a old system for win 98 games that would not run on xp. Ileave an extra cable conected so if I ever want to conect another computer I can just plug it up and power it up and it’s ready to go, be it working on someones, or testing one or building a rig for someone.
Again, not sure if they are the best or worst, but they have worked good for me. It’s a simple enough device that I would think anything name brand would work fine. I would sugest looking for one with hot key and button operation, and they make ones with usb and or audio if you want that. the 4 port ones with usb and audio are kind of pricey though.
Fyi, the reason I showed the ebay link is that when I put the same fry’s part number in on their web site, I get this
http://shop2.outpost.com/product/3891837?site=sr:SEARCH:MAIN_RSLT_PG
I don’t know if this is the new model that you will get when they run them on sale for 30$ or not. I have seen the ones like mine in store recently though (in the irving tx store anyway).

If you plan on having multiple computers at the same desk so you can be doing one thing on one and something else on the other (like burning or encoding on one and web surfing or gaming on the other while you wait), I think you will love having one. They are great!!!


#4

The really cheap ones may be mechanical switches. Most however are digital switches.

Digital switches respond to requests by the PC for PS2/USB/Monitor even if it’s not switched to the keyboard/mouse/monitor, whereas a mechanical switch must be switched to the PC to talk directly to the keyboard/mouse/monitor.

In rare occasions, switching with mechanical switches can hang PC’s. I’m not really sure why, although I can hazard a few guesses.

In all occasions, restarting a PC without the mechanical switch turned to the restarting PC will cause the PC to not initiliase the PS2 circuitry, or recognise the vid port as the primary monitor.
Some video cards will therefore not initliase the video port at all. Mostly older vid cards (gerforce 4’s or earlier) I’ve experience this with. The PC will fail to recognise any PS2 devices plugged into the PS2 ports (or switched to the ports) if it has not initiliased the PS2 circuits.


#5

Very good point debro. You are not suposed to hot swap video cables (I have done it before but there is supoese to be a small risk). If it is one that can change computers with a hot key then I would assume that it has to be digital. while I though that all digital would simulate mouse, keyboard and video, it might not be a bad idea to look and see that it say that it does (especially if you are looking at chepo ones instead of brand name ones or even brand ones that look mega cheap).