TR’s four-port KVM switch comparo

ACCORDING TO a recent poll of TR readers, the vast majority of you use more than one computer on a regular basis while at home. Some of you might have a server sitting in the corner, a game box sitting on your desk, or even a machine dedicated solely to email and web browsing. If you do any testing at home, like I do, you could even have a couple of test platforms lying around cranking through stability tests and benchmarks.

While running enough machines to heat your home is great—and really it is—there are practical problems with controlling several machines. In a perfect world, you’d have enough cash and desk space to fit a separate monitor, keyboard, and mouse for each machine. Even then, though, you still have to move around to the respective terminals to actually control your bevy of hardware.

If you do have the money, you might be able to splurge on all the extra hardware at home. In a business environment, a server room filled with machines, you’re not going to be wanting any extra monitors putting out heat, either.

A remote control and administration tool like VNC, which is free, will give you a certain level of control over a PC remotely. While adequate in some situations, VNC isn’t really useful if you want total and responsive control over a system. There’s a lot of lag with VNC, impeding games or any kind of detail work. Don’t get me wrong, I love VNC; it’s just limited in what it can do. This is where a KVM switch comes in, offering up full console control over multiple machines with no limitations.

Given so many of you use multiple machines, and likely in situations where VNC or other remote admin tools aren’t appropriate, we’ve rounded up a handful of four-port KVM switches for you. Each has been run through the gauntlet, scrutinized, compared, and otherwise abused to determine what’s good, what’s not, and what’s best for your needs.


Four-port, four-way showdown

KVM?
KVM stands for keyboard, video, and mouse—essentially what you control your PC with. The basic premise behind a KVM switch is to allow you to control multiple PCs with the same keyboard, monitor, and mouse combo. Plug all the keyboard, video, and mouse ports on your PCs into the switch, hook up a keyboard, mouse, and monitor, and you’re ready to go. A switch lets you choose which machine you want to control, and switching between PCs is quickly executed with the touch of a button.

That’s basic KVM functionality, but often KVM switches have additional features and functionality to differentiate themselves from the rest of the pack. Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s meet the competitors.

 
Linksys ProConnect 4-Port Compact

Manufacturer Linksys
Model ProConnect Compact
Price
$85 (unit) $25/cable
Availability Now

The Linksys ProConnect Compact is the smallest, lightest and simplest switch of the four we’re examining. It’s also the most oddly laid out. The cheapest of the bunch, the ProConnect Compact seems to have had portability in mind. How important portability is for a KVM switch, however, I’m not sure.

The ProConnect’s most striking feature is its unconventional layout. Rather than placing the keyboard, video, and mouse ports on one or two opposing edges of the unit, the console and PC ports are spread around three of the unit’s edges. The fourth edge holds the switch button, with status lights coming in on top of the unit.


Ports are spread over several edges


The ProConnect might be Compact, but its cabling isn’t

While the unique layout certainly makes the ProConnect Compact easy to differentiate from its competitors, it doesn’t actually work any better. There’s a reason why the other three switches we’re looking at stick to having the ports and buttons on only two opposing edges: it’s just better that way.


Standard KVM layouts keep cabling nice and tight

With the ProConnect, you need adequate clearance for cabling for three sides of the unit rather than just two. With five sets of cables running out of 3 edges, things can get crowded, and a little messy. This odd cable arrangement makes putting the model on a desk top much more complicated, and you’re going to need extra space for all the cabling.

The button and light placement for the ProConnect are also rather problematic. It’s simple enough, with a single button and a solitary indicator light for each PC, but the bizarre layout makes even this setup more difficult to use than it needs to be. Because the switching button is on one edge of the unit and the lights indicating which PC is being controlled are on the top, you need a view of the top of the unit and access to the side with the button. Linksys would have done far better here to have either the button on top or the lights on the edge; separating the two makes operation more cumbersome than it should be.


Lights on top and button on the edge: not a good combo

Construction-wise, despite its light weight and all-plastic outer shell, the ProConnect is solid. While it won’t survive a car running over it, it should take the requisite abuse of a server room or home office without a problem. Being the lightest and smallest, it’s also the most portable, as its Compact suffix hints. The unit does lack rubber feet on the bottom, but sliding was surprisingly not an issue. Because of the model’s odd layout, the opposing sets of cables actually do a fairly good job of anchoring things in place. Fully loaded, slippage isn’t a problem.

The ProConnect is the quietest unit of the bunch because it doesn’t beep when switching between machines. Honestly, I didn’t mind the lack of noise, since there’s always a visual confirmation of a switch when the monitor changes over to the next computer.

The ProConnect supports the standard set of hot-key functions (select, last/next, and autoscan). These hot-keys allow you to switch between machines with simple key combinations that alleviate the need to reach for the switch to switch machines. These hot-keys make up somewhat for the ProConnect’s troubled button placement, as machines can even be selected individually. A hot-key combination can also be used to invoke the ProConnect’s three second autoscan. However, the ProConnect doesn’t have an on-screen display.

The ProConnect will take monitor resolutions up to 1920×1440 at 85Hz. There was no noticable loss of visual quality visible using the ProConnect with either of the monitors we tested.

In the end, the ProConnect Compact has good functionality, but an awkward design ultimately holds it back from being more practical.

 
D-Link DKVM-4

Manufacturer D-Link
Model DKVM-4
Price
$99 (unit) $13/cable
Availability Now

D-Link’s entry into the KVM field is its DKVM-4. The DKVM-4 follows a more traditional KVM switch layout than the Linksys model, and it also comes with a power adapter to keep things running smoothly. Its all-metal case is supported by rubber feet to prevent the unit from being dragged around by sets of weighty cables, and everything seems solid enough. The cables needed to connect the DKVM-4 to your PCs, however, presented a bit of a problem. While both the Linksys and IOGear KVM switches use female monitor ports, the DKVM-4 is all male when it comes to monitors. This nonstandard approach is a bit disconcerting, since it limits the cables you can use. However, the required cables from D-Link are half the price of those required for the Linksys and IOGear. Price-wise, it’s not so much of a bad thing after all.


The 70s are back!

Setup of the DKVM-4 is just as simple as with the Linksys ProConnect, though much cleaner because of its traditional KVM switch layout. With all but the controlling keyboard and mouse cables coming out of the back of the unit, the DKVM-4 fits unobtrusively on a desk, with its status LEDs and switch button easily accessible on its front edge.

All the usual bells and whistles are here: hotkeys, an audible cue when switching between PCs, and autoscan functionality. The DKVM-4 is on the lower end in terms of screen resolution, as it only supports 1600×1200. Unless you’re running a massive monitor and are really greedy when it comes to desktop space, this limitation probably won’t be an issue. However, it is worth mentioning as both the Linksys and IOGear units support up to 1920×1440.


Unlike others, the DKVM-4 prefers its monitor ports male.

All in all, the DKVM-4 is standard fare when it comes to KVM switches: it works, doesn’t have any glaring problems or missing features, and isn’t overly expensive. With no quirks or frills, the DKVM-4 is a solid entry.

 
IOGear MiniView SE 4-port

Manufacturer IOGear
Model MiniView SE
Price
$149 (includes 4 cables)
Availability Now

The first thing I noticed about the MiniView was the weight of the box—it’s pretty heavy. Upon opening the box, I quickly discovered why: while the other switches in this roudup require you to buy your cables separately, the MiniView comes with four sets of cables right out of the box. Big bonus points to IOGear here, as it really just makes sense to bundle the essential cables with the KVM switch itself.

Of course, the weight isn’t from the cables alone—the MiniView itself is a pretty beefy unit. Mounted on large rubber corners, the all-metal unit feels like a brick when compared to the lighter Linksys ProConnect. While I didn’t try, for obvious reasons, I’m sure you could drop this off your desk several times and not have anything to worry about. With the large rubber corners, it might even bounce back up.

Following traditional KVM switch layout, the MiniView has its control keyboard and mouse ports in the front of the unit, with all other ports coming in at the rear. As we saw with D-Link’s entry, this arrangement is much cleaner on a desk or work area, and allows control of the unit’s buttons and view of its lights from one side. Taking a look at the front of the MiniView, you’ll notice a few things lacking on the other switches.


Dare I call it… sexy?


Four cables included: a smart bundle

First, the MiniView has two lights for each PC terminal instead of just one. An orange light is lit if there’s a PC plugged into the corresponding port, with a second green light illuminating whenever that PC is selected. Alone, this is a pretty nice feature, but IOGear takes things one step further and turns each set of lights into a button controlling that PC. Instead of there being a single button that you use to cycle through the connected PCs, there are four buttons that you can use to select any PC instantly. Initially, I figured this more of a novelty feature, but I found myself using it more and more.


Eight lights + four buttons = switching Nirvana

The MiniView also has the standard KVM tricks up its sleeve: hotkeys, a five-second autoscan feature, and trivial installation. IOGear mentions the MiniView’s “Video Signal Enhancement” for supported resolutions up to 1920×1440, but side by side, I couldn’t tell the video quality apart from the other units reviewed here. The other units lack explicit video signal enhancement features, but their quality was the same on both a 17″ Trinitron and a 19″ NEC AccuSync 95F.

Like D-Link’s DKVM-4, the MiniView gives an audible cue each time you switch between connected computers. I’m not really sure if this is a necessary feature. It would be nice if the beeps could be disabled via a switch or hot-key combination, because the beeping gets a little annoying.

Not having heard much about IOGear before this review, I’m thoroughly impressed with their MiniView. With all the little extra features and included cables, they’ve clearly done their homework here.

 

Belkin Omniview USB

Manufacturer Belkin
Model Omniview USB
Price
$249 (unit) $40/cable
Availability Now

Belkin’s Omniview is quite a different breed of KVM switch, but I’ve lumped it in with the rest of the bunch anyway. The Omniview is really about more than just KVM. In fact, it should probably be called a KVMU switch: keyboard, video, mouse, and USB. That’s right, USB. Including USB functionality in the day of USB mice and keyboards was a smart move on Belkin’s part.

Other than its USB functionality, the Omniview is a fairly standard KVM switch. The Omiview follows the traditional KVM switch layout, with lights and control ports (in addition to USB ports) mounted in the front of the unit. It’s all-metal construction is solid and anchored nicely with rubber feet. The Omniview does require some extra juice from the included power adapter, which I didn’t expect. I thought it would be able to draw sufficient power from the USB ports it’s plugged into.


KVMU: keyboard, video, mouse, and USB
Sadly, WinNT doesn’t like those USB ports

Unlike traditional KVM switches, the Omniview requires special cables. These cables replace the keyboard and mouse plugs with a single USB plug and nicely simplify connection and wiring. Installation is a little more involved, as plugging things in requires a brief installation routine for the USB device. The driver installations took care of themselves, though.


Standard cables on the left, Belkin’s USB stealth cables on the right

The Omniview has all the usual suspects when it comes to features, with audible beeps for switching, four LEDs up front to tell you which PC you’re controlling, and a nice on-screen display. There’s autoscan as well, and it’s actually adjustable. While not essential, it’s nice not to be tied down to an arbitrary switching timeframe. Unfortunately, the Omniview’s display resolution only goes up to 1600×1200 at 75Hz. This isn’t really a problematic limitation for most, but I would have liked to see higher resolutions on principle.

Hot keys also make an appearance with the Omniview, but they will only work with keyboards plugged into the unit’s PS/2 port. Because the switch monitors the PS/2 port for hot key triggers, any keyboard that bypasses this port will bypass the hot key functionality. This is a bit of a sore point for those who want to use their MS Natural keyboards as USB hubs. But since the Omniview is essentially a USB hub itself, with four ports rather than just two, Belkin can be forgiven.

This USB funcationality might seem like a gimmick, but it’s pretty useful. USB ports are great for things like digital cameras, scanners, printers, media readers, and so on. However, the Omniview’s reliance on USB for connectivity with machines does create a huge problem for users lacking USB support in their OS, namely those running Windows NT 4. If you’re running all NT 4 machines, you’re up the creek when it comes to USB, and the Omniview can easily be crossed off your list. However, if you want to control both NT machines and those running other operating systems with native USB support, you’ll be cursing Microsoft a little more than usual.

Speaking of OS-level support for USB, the issue of DOS support comes to mind. While DOS is all but gone with the release of Windows XP, it’s still useful for utilities like Partition Magic and Ghost. Fortunately, many BIOSes will let you use USB keyboards, even under DOS. However, if you don’t have USB keyboard support turned on in the BIOS, you may have to plug in a PS/2 keyboard in order to use the BIOS menu to turn it on.

The Omniview doesn’t come cheap. It’s by far the most expensive unit in the review, and that doesn’t include the high price of the required proprietary cables. However, the USB functionality is tantalizing, and might be worth the price for some.

 

How they stack up
Before we draw our conclusions, it’s worth mentioning that there are other four-port KVM switches offered by Linksys, IOGear, and Belkin. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to include them all in this round-up. Linksys has its normal ProConnect switch, which adheres to the traditional KVM layout. IOGear has a four-port switch that supports USB. Belkin has non-USB models, as well as models that support audio switching.

As for the switches we’ve tested, the IOGear MiniView SE is undoubtedly the best straight-up KVM switch of the bunch. Though it weighs in at $50 or more than its competition (not counting the Belkin Omniview USB), this price inclues a set of four cables not included with the other units. Personally, I don’t see why all the units don’t include at least a couple of cables out of the box—a KVM switch is pretty useless without at least two computers to control.

Not only does the Miniview have the best value with bundled cables, but all the functionality is there as well. Missing only an adjustable autoscan timeframe and USB support, the MiniView packs in everything the other KVM switches have to offer, and even offers a few extras of its own. The fact that it looks pretty cool doesn’t hurt either.


All stacked up

While the D-Link DKVM-4 has decent specs and a reasonable price, it just can’t compete with the value and extra features offered by the MiniView. Even with the cheaper, nonstandard cables, the MiniView still squeaks under the DKVM-4’s price, and it does pack those few extra features. Still, the DKVM-4 is a solid, capable KVM switch.

Moving onto Linksys, I can’t deny that the layout of the ProConnect Compact really irked me. While it didn’t slide around my desk, I had cables running all over the place that just got in the way. The smaller size and lighter weight might make the ProConnect Compact more portable, but I’m not seeing a lot of portable applications for a KVM switch. In terms of its actual functionality, the ProConnnect Compact hangs close to the others. Unfortunately, the competition is just better designed for real-world use.

The odd man out in this comparison, but for good reasons rather than bad, is Belkin’s Omniview. With its USB support, the Omniview easily differentiates itself from the competition. As cool as USB functionality is, though, it’s not without its problems. The problem with OS support is a little annoying; my Windows NT 4 server sat unused while I was testing the Omniview. I don’t know whether to blame that on Belkin or Microsoft. The USB functionality also comes with a hefty price tag, for both the unit and needed cables, so that’s something else to consider.

So which of these KVM switches is best for you? If you want USB support and are prepared to pay for it, the Belkin Omniview is great. For four machines, though, it will end up costing you well over double what the IOGear MiniView SE will set you back. Those who don’t need USB can’t go wrong with IOGear’s MiniView SE. The MiniView’s combination of functionality, value, and useful little extra features easily set it apart from the crowd. 

Comments closed
    • Anonymous
    • 17 years ago

    *[

    • Anonymous
    • 18 years ago

    I have had two Linksys ProConnect 4-port KVM units
    that lost mouse control progressively on one CPU then
    eventually on all four CPUs. Both did this about 6 months
    after the “limited one-year warranty” expired. I use
    Black Box $cables and cycled through multiple mice
    each time. The only low-quality item in my setup was the Linksys KVM switch. No more Linksys anything for me.
    1/8/2002

    • Anonymous
    • 18 years ago

    *[

    • Anonymous
    • 18 years ago

    *[

    • Anonymous
    • 18 years ago

    I have the Link Sys Unit in the review. For my setup, I dont mind. The great thing about its wieght and ability to switch from the keyboard is the fact that I used Velcro tape to adhere to the back of my desk. Just use the Linksys Cable Kits ($20-25) and that is it. Hangs in just fine, at that point who cares about the layout, I sure don’t.

    • Anonymous
    • 18 years ago

    I have the IOGear MiniView USB 2 port KVM switch at work. I reserached a lot of KVMs, and this one fit my needs the best. I run an HP Pc and a Mac 867MHz G4. It came with all the cables I needed and cost only $80 after rebate. (Outpost.com). I had to get a USB unit because that’s the only strightforward way to mix a PC and a Mac on the same unit. Just have to get used to hitting the option key for ALT in Windows 2000 with the Mac Pro Keyboard.

    It’s great!

    • Aphasia
    • 18 years ago

    Well, those Black Boxes are really nice, although nothing for the home in regards to the price though.

    • Anonymous
    • 18 years ago

    *[

    • Anonymous
    • 18 years ago

    *[

    • Anonymous
    • 18 years ago

    The Belkin PS/2 KVMs don’t need wall power, it’s just the USB series need it to power thair USB hub.
    A couple of problems I have had with the Belkin are with the mouse. First of all you have to wait a couple of seconds after switching to a machine for the OS to detect that the USB devices have been re-connected, and secondly it seems to cause all kinds of trouble with mice. I have a Logitech optical (the funky shaped one) and when you switch to a machine and the mouse is detected, the Logitech drivers install it as a new mouse, and here’s the kicker, without the thumb button working and with the scroller all goofed up. I’m not sure if this is a shortcoming in the drivers or the USB hub, but it’s a pain.

    • Anonymous
    • 18 years ago

    I have a Hawking Technologies 4 port KVM. It supports both PS2 and AT style keyboards and mice. The hotkeys are a little odd: ctrl-alt-enter-<number 1 – 4> but it works well. I’ve used it with Solaris, Win98, 2000, and several Linux flavors. It was only about $119 around a year ago. I think it would have finished high if it had been included in this comparison. I had never heard of the company until I bought this switch.

    ยง[<http://www.hawkingtech.com/<]ยง d@

    • Anonymous
    • 18 years ago

    *[

    • Anonymous
    • 18 years ago

    The article fails to address several important areas:

    1. I have been using a mechanical KVM for a long time and switched to an electronic one (like those reviewed). The key reason for it: to be able to boot up Windows on a PC running in the background (ie. not currently using the monitor/keyboard/mouse). Typically, if you switch away from a PC while it is booting, Windows will report that it can not find a (PS/2) mouse and you will not be able to use the mouse. Most KVMs will provide the emulation and elminiate this problem. But, depending on when you switch away, it is still possible for this emulation to fail. I would like to see this capabilty being tested on the reviewed units.

    2. Most KVMs will include a hot-key function. The question is, how good and responsive is the hot-key. Mine uses the Scroll Lock key. To switch, you have to press and hold it for a second or two, hear a beep, and press a number (1 to 4, not on the numeric pad). This is too long a wait for me and I find myself reaching for the button instead. And it’s easy to accidentally activate scroll lock instead.

    3. Display quality. Some KVMs will cause a degration of display quality. You may see a bit of “shadow” displayed, especially on characters. Sometimes it may be caused by the cable used. I would like to see a comparison of the display quality using the same cables.

    4. Mouse wheel. I found that with my KVM, I cannot use the horizontal-scroll mouse wheel. I am using a mouse with 2 wheels and the vertical one still works. This is a major useability issue to me. It would be good if this was tested on the reviewed units.

    (Sorry, can’t name the KVM I have, as I cannot remember the brand and don’t have it here.)

    Pierce Lee

    • Anonymous
    • 18 years ago

    23: I had similar mice issues with the belkin 2 port omnicube i have. After some double checking i realized that i had different version of the mouse driver installed on each machine. After fixing that up everything worked fine

    • Anonymous
    • 18 years ago

    #23:

    Regarding mice issues:

    I have used a Microsoft Intellimouse Explorer with my Cybex 4-port Switchview in the past with no problems. I didn’t actually use the extra two buttons, but they seemed to work because I’d occasionly hit one by accident in Internet Explorer and it would jump pages (they are mapped to the forward and backward actions by default). I’ve also used the MS Intellimouse Optical (the newer one that’s smaller than the Explorer) with no problems (side buttons also seem to work when I hit them accidentally). I am currently using a Logitech optical (whatever they call it) 3-button wheel mouse with no problems. I can’t comment on other KVMs.

    • Anonymous
    • 18 years ago

    i have a question about the mouse!
    I have a 2-port KVM Switch. I used a 3 mouse button when i bought it and everything work fine! But i bougth a Microsoft Intellimouse Explorer! dawn the mouse cursor became completly dump. I must boot the computer with the switch is active on this computer! and the mouse work ok! But when i switch bang the hell begin hehehe! I remark that the driver don’t detect the mouse as a Explorer with 5 buttons but only a cheap 3 button mouse! The 2 buttons added and the whell roller don’t work.

    I return it back and pick a Logiciel Optical with 3 button and a whell! then again i have a problems with button, but the cursor seem to operate whell. And i see that the KVM Switch emulated a 3 buttons mouse without whell so that’s why my whell don’t work. So the problems was from the drivers that try to detect what kind of mouse i use and if the mouse is not active the only thing the driver detect is a old 3 button mouse emulated by the switch! Under Windows 2000 there’s a nice feature for the mouse! Assume whell mouse is present! so with this features all work fine! But the 5 buttons of the intellimouse can be a problems!

    I would like to know if these Switch have some problems with the mouse used with mouse detection (for newer mouse), whell and multi-button!

    • cobra libre
    • 18 years ago

    I run two of my Linux boxes headless, and connect to them using ssh or vnc. the problem with that is that sometimes you need to be directly connected to the box; sometimes you need to watch the boot process for errors (I know, there’s dmesg, but whatever), sometimes you need to see the LILO prompt so you can fall back to an old kernel, sometimes you need to see the console because you’ve been playing with iptables and you’ve killed the network connection, etc.

    so yeah, a kvm would be nice…

    at work, we use avocent kvm’s. they’re okay. they don’t require an AC adapter, which is cool, but the hotkeys suck! CTRL-CTRL-A, CTRL-CTRL-B, etc. that’s no fun if you’re trying to play a game… ๐Ÿ™‚

    • BiffStroganoffsky
    • 18 years ago

    You can get inexpensive gender-benders for the DB-15 and DB-9 cables. I don’t know about the PS-2 connector type.

    • Anonymous
    • 18 years ago

    *[

    • Anonymous
    • 18 years ago

    I picked up one of the D-Link KVMs about 6 months ago. I noticed a few things that bugged me: First, with four sets of cables plugged in it became back heavy. The front of the KVM just kind of sat there and levitated – very annonying. Second, I had alot of problems with the mouse. Sometimes it would work fine, sometimes it wouldn’t. Usually, one or two of the machines connected to the KVM would have mouse support. Plugging a mouse directly into the back of the computer solved the problem, but that defeats the purpose of the KVM.

    So, I ditched the D-Link and bought a used Raritan MasterConsole for $50. Its a nice heavy unit without a brick. In fact, its sturdy enough to place a monitor on top. It doesn’t support mouse-wheels and the like(their newer models do), but it works.

    • Anonymous
    • 18 years ago

    Me, I just have a two-port KVM; it’s a MiniView Plus by IOGear.

    And basically, it kicks ass. It’s actually KVM + audio – nominally microphone and speaker, though works just as well as front/rear channels.

    The key sequence to switch between machines is suitably obscure – CTRL+ALT+SHIFT, then press 1 or 2, then press ENTER. Slightly fiddly, maybe, but I don’t really notice it now; and it’s fairly impossible to do that accidentally.

    The two machines are, indeed, one 98SE gaming box (Athlon-1200, 256MB DDR, GF2 GTS), and one Win2K “work” box (dual-Celeron 513, 384MB, G400MAX).

    Running at 1440×1080 at 80Hz, (Mitsubishi Diamond Pro 920 – a 19″ Diamondtron screen) I can’t spot any signal degradation from the G400MAX.

    Cost was around $100, and that’s including the cables. Kick ass.

    • Anonymous
    • 18 years ago

    *[

    • Khopesh
    • 18 years ago

    I just like to clarify something about the review. It’s been my experience that these KVM boxes often screw with the video signal, mostly seen in a reduction of focus/clarity. I’ve been interested in buying one but have been hesitant because of this. I’d like to have a retro style 98se game playin box, and a beefy w2k workstation at my desk, but I have to do a lot of graphics manipulation on the workstation so I cannot bear to have a degraded signal. Am I to understand from this interview that these boxes offer what I’m looking for? Can I bump the resolution up and NOT look like I’m suddenly running on an Nvidia chipset ๐Ÿ˜‰ ?

    • elmopuddy
    • 18 years ago

    I have a Belkin OmniCube, but I have my four servers hooked up to it, and an old 15″ screen… The video signal was terrible for my primary station… I hit scroll-lock twice then hit number key to switch computers, pretty good…

    I have enough desk space, so 2 kb, 2 mice and 2 monitors for 5 computers fits nice… plus my wife can use one of the servers to surf the net while I frag away .. bonus!

    EP

    • Anonymous
    • 18 years ago

    *[

    • Anonymous
    • 18 years ago

    one thing you forgot to mention about the omniview series that In my mind if a big plus. They are expandable. You can daisy chain the oniview series to control even more PC’s. All in all I love these for running my rack but unfortunantly I tried useing one with my 21 sony monitor and the video performance was gahstly. Dont forget its not just resolution support but video bandwidth and signal clarity that determines these things. Maybe I am jsut spoiled on my workstation as I am used to useing an a RGB cble (Not VGA) thus I really noticed the loss in video quality.

    • BiffStroganoffsky
    • 18 years ago

    Hey Damage, has Belkin fixed their power problem with their KVMs yet. I have an OmniView without USB and it terminates all mice output when I have four machines hooked up to the unit. I’ve tried three different units all with the same results. I can only infer that the KVM is incapable of handling four machines with PS2 mices and that it might be power consumption related because Belkin can’t seem to find one that works properly for me. Wanna trade me the IOGear unit for this POS. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Anonymous
    • 18 years ago

    *[http://www.uk.research.att.com/vnc/<]ยง Best of all its FREE!!!!!

    • Anonymous
    • 18 years ago

    I just wanted to second what LocalYokel said. About a year ago I bought a Cybex Switchview (4-port) based on recommendations from a /. thread (search the Ask Slashdot archives for it). General concensus in the thread seemed to indicate that the Cybex were solid units for the price, while the Belkins sometimes had problems. YMMV.

    Overall, I like it a lot. The only problem, as mentioned, is that the switching sequence (Ctrl+Ctrl+x) can be a problem with FPS games that use Ctrl for the fire key. I just use the mouse for that instead. Also, as mentioned, they are good if you need to connect older (AT-style) systems without PS/2 ports (work fine with my old PPro system).

    The Cybex units used to be more expensive, but they are getting cheaper. IIRC, mine was about $240 (from PCMall, I think) including two PS/2 cables (included in the base price) and one extra AT cable set. Now Data Comm Warehouse (i.e. PCMall) sells the 4-port for $180, with two cables included. Other places might be a little cheaper. It’s not the cheapest unit, but it’s a quality unit. The cable sets cost a bit more also (~$30 each), but they’re good solid cables. You get what you pay for.

    • Anonymous
    • 18 years ago

    If you are looking for large server room KVMs (8+ ports) I’ve had good success with StarTech:

    ยง[<http://www.startech.com/kvmswitches/kvmswitches.htm<]ยง I've not used their ecomnomy models.

    • Anonymous
    • 18 years ago

    Local – one more notable feature on the 2 and 4-port model … it will emulate a serial mouse on computers without a PS/2 mouse port.

    • Anonymous
    • 18 years ago

    I might have to get one of these but 249 is a little steep for a USB hub and a KVM. I probably would stick to the ones under 100.

    • Anonymous
    • 18 years ago

    *[

    • Kevin
    • 18 years ago

    Thanks Dissonance. I was just thinking earlier today (as I was reaching behind my computers to manually switch the keyboard and monitor) on how nice it would be to have a monitor switch. And these KVM things are even better!

    I think I’ll head off to buy.com and see what I can find…

    • Anonymous
    • 18 years ago

    I bought 3 compucable…all three lasted about a year then the video went to hell…very fuzzy and blurry…bad on the eyes.
    I’m going for a belkin (not the usb one) for like $130 on cdw.com
    in short…avoid compucable like a plague.

    • Anonymous
    • 18 years ago

    ยง[<http://cyberguys.com/cgi-bin/sgin0101.exe?UID=!+USID!&GEN6=00&GEN9=5CG01&FNM=00&T1=1212550&UREQA=1&UREQB=2&UREQC=3&UREQD=4<]ยง Drevil there's your answer for the wall warts... I picked some of those up about a year ago... and omg EVERY single company that includes one of those power bricks with their products should inlclude one of those also. I went from 4 power strips all the way back down to two.. Later Tarkin

    • Anonymous
    • 18 years ago

    *[

    • Anonymous
    • 18 years ago

    If I understand your prices, the belkin unit charges 40 b[

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