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Tom's Hardware KVM Roundup

michael posted more than 12 years ago | from the too-many-computers-not-enough-time dept.

Hardware 213

nexex writes: "Tom's Hardware has a new article with a review of several KVM switches. I have considering buying a KVM switch as I seem to collect/use more & more computers, I feel left with little choice :) While I have several friends who have taken the plunge, they have all spent wildly different amounts on them. Granted price plays a great factor on the features you get, but how do you know which one is not going to end up letting you down? If you end up with el cheapo, you will most certainly end up regretting it, as this device will be carrying the signals of your primary input and output to your systems."

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Get VNC (3, Insightful)

jackb_guppy (204733) | more than 12 years ago | (#2455921)

If have nine machines - I have 1 spare monitor and keyboard for base boot and load. Once loaded VNC all the way - even with linux.

Nice to be able to use any machine any where in the house with touching it.

Re:Get VNC (3, Insightful)

MikeFM (12491) | more than 12 years ago | (#2455928)

My experience with those switches has all been bad. We had them in an apartment I usda have and they were a pain. And I've had more expensive versions at several jobs and all were also pains. I'd honestly rather just just network to the other machines and run apps remotely. I do keep an extra monitor etc around in case I need to install some hardware on another computer.

Re:Get VNC (2, Insightful)

RogrWilco (522139) | more than 12 years ago | (#2455975)

I agree with the VNC, however I still keep a KVM in the server room. If you have a lot of servers, and are doing mission critical work, a KVM is better than nothing, and you don't lose so much rackspace if you only have a couple of monitors
The big, mission critical servers are all fit with VNC, as well as have their own monitors, everything else (voicemail,modem and fax sharing, IDS, DNS, etc) are fitted with a kvm. If the OS won't work, neither will vnc, and I'd much rather spend my time fixing the problem than pulling junk out of the storeroom.

Re:Get VNC (1)

Octorian (14086) | more than 12 years ago | (#2456202)

KVMs don't belong in the server room, unless you're trying to use NT where it doesn't belong.

The proper way to control your servers is with a serial console server. One cable per box, you can log, and you can get to it from anywhere. In fact, "real servers" (not PCs) shouldn't even need to have video cards installed at all!

Re:Get VNC (0, Redundant)

jmd! (111669) | more than 12 years ago | (#2455977)

VNC isn't quite the same. You can't play Quake over a VNC connection. Also, some Windows programs have problems with remote display, unlike X11 where remote display is built in. I've seen many problems where parts of the screen won't refresh. MS Word 2000 is especially bad. VNC has its uses, but it's not a KVM replacement.

Re:Get VNC (0, Redundant)

Doctor Digits (324395) | more than 12 years ago | (#2456007)

what about computers that wont boot without a keyboard? If you have more than one case within a 3 meter radius then KVM is great. I am of the opinion that a hardware solution is better than a software solution 95% of the time. The only time a s/w solution could beat h/w is when digital transmision lines are cleaner than analog ones, or if the scrilla for the h/w setup is major. I have a really cheap 4 port switch I got a super deal on at a computer swap meet. I only use it to switch monitors because it is AT and all new machines are PS/2 but I just don't trust VNC enough to replace all console control with a program. What if you need to get in the bios?

Anyway, has anyone seen a cheap switch 2-4 ports, monitor, ps/2 key+mouse, that can handle a decent monitor bandwidth? Something I can pick up or get shipped cheap on the East Coast of USA. I have all the necessary cables. Some machines just don't need to be hooked up with high-end cables.

Killing children (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2456044)

Killing children.

Mullah Omar's 10-year old son was killed in the first night of bombing.

Oh the bravery of being out of range!

Re:Killing children (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2456053)

yeah, and a 7mo old child got anthrax. The taliban would cut off your hand for shoplifting, even if your family was starving. War is war, and innocent people die, but the taliban's time is up. I don't view one religion as better than another, but there were fockers runing around with bin laden posters even before we bombed afganistan. If one eyed omar's son died that is sad but he brought it on himself, if I got my hands on him I would cut of his head an bury it inside a pig's stomach.

Re:Killing children (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2456056)

> Killing children.

Please stop doing that, dear AC colleague.

> Mullah Omar's 10-year old son was killed in the
> first night of bombing.

Mr. Omar probably got nervous by the detonations, so he forgot to be gentle when he rammed the kid's tight little bunghole.

> Oh the bravery of being out of range!

I wouldn't want to go near Mr. Omar when he swings his throbbing sword of love.

Invalid whatkey? post-comwhatchamacallit filter? (-1)

Anonymous Pancake (458864) | more than 12 years ago | (#2455923)

In the spirit of open-source I would like slashdot to officially tell us what a formkey is, how one would violate it, and what their purpose is. Also, what is the post compression filter, what does it do, and how do we violate it.

Re:Invalid whatkey? post-comwhatchamacallit filter (-1)

DivineOb (256115) | more than 12 years ago | (#2455938)

You changed your sig just now? Afraid of my anti canuck wrath?

Re:Invalid whatkey? post-comwhatchamacallit filter (-1)

Anonymous Pancake (458864) | more than 12 years ago | (#2455942)

no, but personally I was sick of people commenting on my sig and not on my trolls. People are always jelous of Canada since our girls are less fat, we are smarter, and terrorists don't try and destroy our buildings as often.

Americans are dumb to the point where they will bash anyone who doesn't think that usa is #1

Re:Invalid whatkey? post-comwhatchamacallit filter (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2455989)

first of all, usa is hardly number one, oh except at all the compiled lists of things that we come out number one on.

second, the fattest chicks i have ever seen where canadians, also, wisconsin, same shit.

smarter? heh okay. enjoy they fiction.

and the reason you enjoy the wrath of no terrorists is because your cuntry dosent do anything, ever... useless toadying policies are something to be proud of? fuck-tard america exports so much economic aid and assistance that the planet would collapse the second we decided to be isolationalist. your fucking useless switzerland-esque cuntry is not important enough to have enemies.

so again, fuck you, fuck your women, (nah, we will, they love american men no matter what they tell you) and thanks for being smarter then us and yet still so amazingly useless.

thank you very much and have a wonderful day.

Re:Invalid whatkey? post-comwhatchamacallit filter (-1)

Anonymous Pancake (458864) | more than 12 years ago | (#2455994)

I can't believe you wasted all that time responding to my post, pathetic. How typically american of you.

Re:Invalid whatkey? post-comwhatchamacallit filter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2456038)

i know, and even forgot to add this:

the reason people ignore your trolls is because you suck at it. though i am sure you enjoyed hunting down thy gay erotica. ripping off CM does not make you witty or interesting.

cunt.

thank you very much and have a wonderful day.

Re:Invalid whatkey? post-comwhatchamacallit filter (-1)

Anonymous Pancake (458864) | more than 12 years ago | (#2456042)

Sorry I do not have your high-school locker room 'cherade' videos... I believe you should search for them on kazaa

Re:Invalid whatkey? post-comwhatchamacallit filter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2456097)

is that french? what the fuck are you talking about, kazaa is only good for spyware you windows useing cunt. fucking french canadians. man you are bad at this. cunt. thank you very much and have a nice day.

useless bandwith wasting test (1)

Blaede (266638) | more than 12 years ago | (#2456025)

lessee

Not a very exciting review (-1)

DivineOb (256115) | more than 12 years ago | (#2455924)

I mean... everything passed except for one part on one test? What about video image quality? There had to be some ghosting at 1600x1200... so talk about that stuff then...

Re:Not a very exciting review (2, Informative)

Osty (16825) | more than 12 years ago | (#2455954)

There had to be some ghosting at 1600x1200... so talk about that stuff then.

Why would there have to be ghosting at 1600x1200? Is it not possible that all those units were capable of supporting 1600x1200 and higher without any problems? I currently use one of the switches in the article, and use Cybex and Belkin switches at work all the time, and I run in 1600x1200 on nearly every machine I use. I've never had any ghosting problems from quality switches. Perhaps it could've been mentioned that there were no visual problems, but how interesting is that when that's the expected case?

Re:Not a very exciting review (-1)

DivineOb (256115) | more than 12 years ago | (#2455996)

I got a belkin omnicube I think about 18 months ago because it was touted as one of the best kvm to get... it had visible ghosting even at like 800x600... not the same model as in the article but still I had my doubts that everything is fixed now... of course you say you don't have those problems so maybe they have been fixed...

Re:Not a very exciting review (1)

Osty (16825) | more than 12 years ago | (#2456054)

Quality of cabling has as much to do with it as the switch itself. If your cabling is too thin, or too long, or both, you'll obviously get ghosting. Modern KVM switches are rated for 1920x1440 or even higher. Most can handle 1600x1200@85Hz, or even 100Hz (I run 85Hz at work, 75Hz at home) without any visual artifacts, given good-quality cabling. With my IOGear, cables were provided, and of high quality imho. With the Cybexs and Belkins I've used, I needed separate cabling, but in each case used the bundled cables suggested for use by each company. I could certainly see one having a problem if s/he went out and bought just some cheap vga extension cabling rather than spending the $30 or so on decent cables.

Re:Not a very exciting review (1)

Graspee_Leemoor (302316) | more than 12 years ago | (#2456064)

I use a Dakota Scout kvm and used to have visible ghosting (bad) at 1600x1200, now with the same leads it's fine. The reason? I changed monitors- the video lead that comes out of the back of the monitor very often can't be changed so it's a good idea to try a friend's switch if you can.

BTW- avoid the old analogue type switches with rotary dials- they suck for quality and don't provide fake signals to the computers when not the currently selected one.

graspee

Another Linksys KVM switch (2, Informative)

kidblast (413235) | more than 12 years ago | (#2455929)

I bought a different Linksys KVM switch than the one on Tom's Hardware. I think its called the PS2KVMSK or something. It is much cheaper at about $50 dollars, including all the necessary cables. Ive found it to be a great value and is extremely convenient because it has keyboard-activated switching. The switch is signaled by two quick CTRL key presses. One thing to note though is that if you are playing games that use CTRL frequently, there seems to be a lag between the CTRL keypress and the action in the game. Other than that it performed flawlessly and was definitely worth the money.

Re:Another Linksys KVM switch (1)

arget (447057) | more than 12 years ago | (#2456155)

I had the same experience. Then I upgraded to the 4-plex switch in the same line (PS2KVM4 [linksys.com] ) for about 120 bucks. The keyboard switching is a little more complex (ctrl-shift-alt then a 1,2,3, or 4) but doesn't interfere with gaming.

Totally agree with the review about cable layout tho. It's a mess. Thank goodness for twist ties.

I have noticed I can lose the mouse if I use it while switching. It'll come back after another switch and it's hard to do, but it's a nit to pick.

The only thing I'd add is a virtual clipboard, but I can live without it.

Treating computers like people in The Matrix (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2455932)

All your computers are sense deprived...
Once in a while, an agent hijacks someone with a KVM to hack stuff inside the matrix...

This has got to stop, it is immoral!!

Too much $$. (3, Insightful)

TheSHAD0W (258774) | more than 12 years ago | (#2455936)

Here's a less expensive solution [att.com] .

It can't do everything (it irks me that I can't log onto my 2K box through it), but it also doesn't limit you to a few feet away.

Re:Too much $$. (1)

eht (8912) | more than 12 years ago | (#2455962)

What problems do you have with vnc and logging into a 2k box, just make sure vnc runs as a service and you should be able to send a ctrl-alt-del with at least the windows and java clients.

Re:Too much $$. (2)

spongman (182339) | more than 12 years ago | (#2455995)

Yeah, VNC is OK. but it's too sloooow. I haven't had much of a problem using it with Win2K (ie all of our boxes). I use an 8-port switch (can't rember the brand, but it's not belkin or linksys) on my desktopp and it's great. I also use Timbuktu Pro which is really quick, but often it has problems authenticating domain users on client machines which is a royal pain-in-the-arse (tm) (ugh, i have to actually get up and walk the 10 feet to authenticate myself on the machine...)

Re:Too much $$. (3, Informative)

snake_dad (311844) | more than 12 years ago | (#2456101)

Have you tried tight VNC? [tightvnc.com] ?

Video is the most challenging (1)

kingdon (220100) | more than 12 years ago | (#2455937)

My personal experience is from a while ago with extremely cheap switches, but I do remember I got things like ghosted video (not always, it seemed to depend on which computer was hooked to the switch and so on). As the article says: In our testing, we found that it was more important to use good quality cables and follow the instructions in the manual to the letter. . My solution? I got rid of all the computers except one. But I doubt that would be of interest to the average slashdot reader ;-).

Re:Video is the most challenging (-1)

DivineOb (256115) | more than 12 years ago | (#2455946)

Tom probably also buys monster cables to connect his headphones to his walkman... the common man can't follow in his footsteps...

Re:Video is the most challenging (1)

Hast (24833) | more than 12 years ago | (#2456094)

Or you make it a server. No use of monitor/keyboard then. (Preferably run a sshd on it as well.)

You won't be playing Quake on it like this though. OTOH I have a tough time understanding why you'd want multiple game/workstations and only one screen.

As long as you don't run intense programs X works well as well.

Re:Video is the most challenging (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2456189)

That looks like a case of cross talk. It is a sign that they save money on their video switch and probably internal wiring.

My personal fav... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2455939)

I personally like this one. [yahoo.com]

Re:My personal fav... (-1)

Anonymous Pancake (458864) | more than 12 years ago | (#2455988)

I found this site very informative

IOGear and USB support (5, Informative)

Osty (16825) | more than 12 years ago | (#2455943)

I've been using the IOGear 2-port KVM switch reviewed in the article for several months now, and I have to say I love it. I use it to share between XP and Linux, and neither machine has ever had a problem with the USB devices. I did run into a slight problem with the video causing snow and jitters in X11 (no problems at all in XP), but adjusting the modeline (dumped via xvidtune, changed the polarity of the hsync) made the problems disappear. For anybody who wants to get away from PS/2 systems, or uses Macs, I really do recommend IOGear.


The only thing I could wish for is the OSD/hotkey support of IOGear's 4-port model, but I can live without that. Also, Tom's price was a bit high. I bought mine for roughly $100 at a local computer store.

I used one of these (3, Informative)

vsync64 (155958) | more than 12 years ago | (#2455947)

At my previous employer [wego.net] I had one of these to switch between my laptop (Sony Vaio Z505, mmm) and my tower (HP Kayak, bleh). I'm almost positive it was the GCS124U [tomshardware.com] , but it didn't have the OSD stuff they mentioned in the review. I remember that the one thing which annoyed me about the KVM was that there was no way to jump past the 2 empty slots, and there wasn't any way to switch via a keystroke or anything but the Big Button. Then again, I was running Slackware, so maybe it required some sort of special software. Other than that, it was a really solid unit, and I highly recommend it.

You can see my setup [quadium.net] right before they laid us all off. And of course they kept the KVM and the shiny laptop... :(

Interesting but... (1, Informative)

kawaichan (527006) | more than 12 years ago | (#2455949)

I have five boxes at home but Terminal Service is much better than KVM, it's cheap, requires no hadware and no physical installation (I hate wires).

Good item to get at auction (2)

Bonker (243350) | more than 12 years ago | (#2455952)

My experience with workstation switches from several different
manufacturers is that they are very expensive (around $1200 for a quality 8 pt switch) and that they have siginificant maintenance issues.

Where I work, we use a couple dozen switches on many, many server machines, and are RMA'ing them all the time because they simply break down quickly. Mice are the first to go. Then monitors. Maybe we're just unlucky. Personally, I feel that if a piece of hardware is dipsosable, it should be given a disposable price.

We have to have these for space reasons, however, so we keep plugging away at trying to keep them working. Recently, we've been reducing the costs associated by picking up several nice switches from dot.bomb auctions. We're getting them from anywhere between 10 and 20%. For high-maintanence hardware, this is *much* better than paying full price.

Inova (5, Informative)

NoInfo (247461) | more than 12 years ago | (#2455953)

The guys at Inova [inova-inc.com] have a KVM switch not reviewed in this article. In addition, they claim that it doesn't just switch the KeyboardVideoMouse, but all your silly devices. There's a small, pleased review of it here [internetwk.com] .

Apex (5, Informative)

Scrag (137843) | more than 12 years ago | (#2455958)

I use 8-port Apex KVM switches at work, and they have some nice features; they also have a few flaws. These KVM switches arent the cheap ones found in this review, but if your looking for higher end equipment I might be able to give some useful nformation.

The switches are only KVM, no sound, no USB. To change screens, you press the print screen key. It brings up a menu, and you can choose between any of your machines. The machines can all be named, so you know exactly what machine you are going to. Another nice feature is that you can chain them together for more than just 8 machines on the switch. My only real complaint is that sometimes the menu doesnt get erased when you switch machines, so you have to bring it up again and get rid of it. I havent had any problems with screen resolutions, keyboards or mice. Definitely worth looking into for a setup with more machines than two.

Audio switching (4, Insightful)

Chris Pimlott (16212) | more than 12 years ago | (#2455961)

I'm surprised Tom is so exciting about audio switching. Most decent speaker setups will take more than 1 input signal, so you can have both (or more) boxes hooked up to the same speaker at once all the time. It's nice to be able to play a CD or something from my other box while I'm using the first's drive.

From the CmdrTaco school of proofreading (4, Funny)

Scooby Snacks (516469) | more than 12 years ago | (#2455964)

From the data box on the Jargy:

Cost: $??? MSRP
Then a bit later:

...Jargy is an OEM (original equipment manufacturer) operating only in the Asian market. Jargy does not sell this unit directly to the public...
Then at the end:

For the price, it is a good product.
Hmm... that's interesting. :)




PS: What's a formkey? I finally got one of those weird formkey errors that I've been hearing people talk about.

Re:From the CmdrTaco school of proofreading (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2456002)

Jargy has been available in the US for some time now as Dr. Bott. http://www.drbott.com

Re:From the CmdrTaco school of proofreading (1)

limbostar (116177) | more than 12 years ago | (#2456018)

I think slashcode has decided to implement session-based comments. In order to post a comment, you first have to load comments.pl with op=Reply. The form contains a hidden element called 'formkey' along with the other standard elements.

I assume these are entered into a database and given some sort of expiration time. If you don't post the comment within the allotted amount of time your form key expires.

Haven't tried enough things, or bothered to read the slashcode, to find out what it's doing exactly, but it seems like a pretty reasonable way to cut down on autoposters.

Until they figure out this regexp:

/NAME="formkey"\s+VALUE="(\w)"/

$1 contains your formkey, now you can go crazy. Slashdot will then start populating the form with hidden, invalid formkeys, commented out with HTML.

The trolls will then start using honest-to-goodness HTML parsers to autopost, and then slashdot will be screwed again.

Re:From the CmdrTaco school of proofreading (1)

limbostar (116177) | more than 12 years ago | (#2456022)

I mean:

/NAME="formkey"\s+VALUE="(\w+)"/

And I'm testing.

Re:From the CmdrTaco school of proofreading (-1)

Anonymous Pancake (458864) | more than 12 years ago | (#2456045)

Nice info

is there any way I could use it to make really sneaky goatse.cx links?

Re: formkey (1)

jmd! (111669) | more than 12 years ago | (#2456019)

PS: What's a formkey? I finally got one of those weird formkey errors that I've been hearing people talk about.
Dunno, but I got it twice posting a reply today. Quit Mozilla, restarted, and the comment went through fine. Stupid error caused my whole comment to get thrown away.

Re: formkey (1)

Hast (24833) | more than 12 years ago | (#2456100)

I've experienced that too. (I didn't try restarting Moz though.) I run Moz 0.95, I just switched from 0.9 and before that I never had any problems.

I was even doing the "right thing" and filling in a bugreport at SourceForge. Naturally it required that I had a SF login to post the bug. And it told me that AFTER I had filled the bug out. An-noy-ing!

x2x (2, Interesting)

Deflatamouse! (132424) | more than 12 years ago | (#2455965)

If you are interested in sharing a single set of keyboard and mouse (but not the display) between 2 computers, check out x2x.

Some karma whore can post the link to it :)

Re:x2x - or x2vnc (1)

eMago (267564) | more than 12 years ago | (#2456090)

Or x2vnc.
Then you can use a Windows/Mac box and an X11 box with the same Keyboard&Mouse at the same time.
I'm using this one when the battery of my wireless mouse on one machine has to be recharged.

apt-get install x2vnc

Re:x2x (1)

Octorian (14086) | more than 12 years ago | (#2456207)

I agree! x2x has been a godsend for my computing setup. Not only does it let me move my mouse/keyboard across multiple displays like I had a multi-headed machine, but it does cut 'n paste too! I used to have an unmanagable keyboard mess on my desk. Now I just boot the boxes, then stow their keyboards aside. (then again, I've got 3 monitors in front of me on 3 different boxes running 3 different 'nix OSs... Isn't X wonderful?)

Twice bitten: Not a fan of 2-port KVMs (1)

SnakeStu (60546) | more than 12 years ago | (#2455966)

I'm going to have to take a look at some newer 2-port KVMs. Those I've tried in the past have never lasted long -- not that they've worn out, but they've worn me out with the hassles of setup, troubleshooting, etc. I use 8-port KVMs in the server room at work and have no gripe about them, but the 2-port switches have been a different story entirely.

Belkins are good (2, Insightful)

Da_Big_G (3880) | more than 12 years ago | (#2455968)

I've been using a Belkin OmniCube 4-port kvm at my desk for almost a year now and it's been great. I think I paid about $130 for it, but I've recently seen it for nearly half that on sale at the various superstores. I have also chained an older Belkin OmniView 2-port kvm off it and it works fine.

KVMs are no longer just the domain of the NOC... for those who prefer Linux, but need a Win2k or 98 (ugh) box on demand (or anything else for that matter) a kvm can be a huge plus. It's also allowed me to save space (got rid of 2 extra monitors on my other desk).

The OmniCube has a nice shortcut... double-tap scroll-lock, then hit the number of the box I want and it comes up. This has allowed me to leave the kvm on the floor behind my desk, with all the cables.

One thing to consider... I use a high resolution and a high refresh rate on my monitor... if you want 1024x786 @75Hz or higher, you'll probably have to shell out around $25 for a high-end vga extension cable. PS/2 extensions can be had for under $5 ea, and lower-grade vga extensions are easy to find under $10. Just something to keep in mind if you are on a budget.

Only negative I've found is that I need to have the Win2k box selected while it boots, otherwise the wheel mouse isn't detected... the rest of the mouse works, just not the wheel.

Re:Belkins are good (4, Informative)

iCEBaLM (34905) | more than 12 years ago | (#2456239)

Only negative I've found is that I need to have the Win2k box selected while it boots, otherwise the wheel mouse isn't detected... the rest of the mouse works, just not the wheel.

Control Panel -> Mouse -> Hardware -> Properties -> Advanced Settings

Change "Wheel Detection" to "Assume wheel is present".

-- iCEBaLM

using 1 keyboard/mouse with 1 ps2 and 1 usb system (2, Interesting)

jmd! (111669) | more than 12 years ago | (#2455969)

Anyone know if it's possible to get my Sun Type 6 USB keyboard to work on my old intel PS2 system, through a switch? Is there a USB->PS2 converter that works with the Type 6, that I could connect on the switch output to that PC? Any ideas if I would run into problems switching between them, and losing keyboard? Same question regarding Sun's Crossbow USB mouse. I really wouldn't mind all that extra desk space.

Re:using 1 keyboard/mouse with 1 ps2 and 1 usb sys (1)

Osty (16825) | more than 12 years ago | (#2456058)

Toss a USB expansion card into the intel box, pick up one of the IOGear USB switches in the review, and be done with it. PS/2 is outdated. USB is the way to go for these low-bandwidth input peripherals.

Success Varies (3, Interesting)

ZxCv (6138) | more than 12 years ago | (#2455972)

I had a Belkin 2-port for a long time that worked nearly flawlessly. The only problem I ever had with it was switching away from an X session and then going back would cause the mouse to go haywire to the point of needing to restart X. Not sure if this was the fault of X or the KVM switch, but either way it was annoying. :-)

A few months back I was looking through uBid.com and found a 4-port KVM that had plenty of features (more than the Belkin, at least) and even included 2 free cable sets. I had never heard of the brand (Genie), but I figured at only $100, it was worth a shot to get all my machines hooked up to the KVM and thus ditch an extra monitor. And luckily enough, it has performed flawlessly. It still irks me to remember how much I paid for the original 2 port Belkin (almost $300 a couple years ago) now that this "cheapo" one is working so well, but its also good to see the good features and stability of the higher end KVMs coming to the lower end of the price range.

more advanced box (1)

suffe (72090) | more than 12 years ago | (#2455979)

Better then this would be a unit that lets you plug the system(s) in to a "collector box". This would then run a single cable to a second box that would split up the signals to the original cable layout again, thus enabeling you to keep your servers where they you can't hear them, as well as letting you operate several box's from one set of keyboard, mouse and monitor.

Exploit the monitor's A/B switch? (4, Informative)

crucini (98210) | more than 12 years ago | (#2455980)

Background: Good KVM's are expensive. Cheap KVM's are awful. Many monitors now have a built-in high quality A/B switch. Many KVM users spend 95% of time on a workstation, and occasionally have to flip to a "headless" box to make a BIOS change or something.

Why not buy a cheap KVM, attach a cheap keyboard to it, and plug it into input B on the monitor? Then most of the time you have high quality video from the workstation to input A. When using the KVM, you probably don't care about quality. Of course, there is the danger of typing on the wrong keyboard.

Personally, I just use the monitor A/B both at home and at work. The B cable goes on whatever box I'm fixing/setting up at the moment. Once the box has networking, there is no need for KVM.

video signal quality (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2455982)

the only problem with KVM switches is video quality. Tomshardware testers used nice monitor, but freakin bad videocard - nVidia-based cards are famous for their low quality DAC's. They should have used Matrox (any matrox card) or ATI Radeon card - both of them have excellent DAC's.

here is my point: review is worthels in terms of video quality, you can't see anything on nVidia card.

Anyone had the monitor go blank when switching? (2)

antdude (79039) | more than 12 years ago | (#2455990)

I have an OmniCube (2-port; no USB) and I love it. Once in a while I get a blank monitor after hitting the scroll lock key twice and the up/down arrow key to switch to the other computer. I noticed my monitor (IBM P72 17") says it lost the video signal. I have to turn the monitor off and then on to make it come back.

My Red Hat Linux 7.1 box is a Pentium II 300 Mhz with a Matrox G400. My gaming/Windows 98 box is a Pentium III 600 Mhz with a Leadtek GeForce2 Pro (64 MB).

Is anyone else experiencing this problem or know if this a known issue? Thanks in advance for a reply. :)

USB keyboards/mice? (2)

mj6798 (514047) | more than 12 years ago | (#2455991)

The review doesn't say whether the Belkin KVM (which otherwise seems really nice) takes USB mice and keyboards for input (it does generate USB mice and keyboard outputs). Does anybody know?

Re:USB keyboards/mice? (1)

Osty (16825) | more than 12 years ago | (#2456059)

The review doesn't say whether the Belkin KVM (which otherwise seems really nice) takes USB mice and keyboards for input (it does generate USB mice and keyboard outputs). Does anybody know?

I did some research into this a couple months back, and at the time (last spring-ish), Belkin did not have a solution for USB-only KVM switching (I actually called them up and asked). Oh, you could certainly plug a USB mouse and keyboard into the switch and use that, but you won't get any hotkey switching, and might even have other problems if you don't have at least a PS2 keyboard also plugged in. I'd suggest the IOGear boxes listed in the review (the 2-port version is very basic, with no OSD or hotkeys, but the 4-port version makes up for that).

If you have the space (1)

asv108 (141455) | more than 12 years ago | (#2455992)

Why bother with expensive KVM switches? I looked in to getting on these while back when I added a 5th box. First of all, the cabling is usually not included and can cost just as much if not more than the switch itself. Anyone who has a lot of boxen lying around also tends to have a plethora of old keyboards and monitors. Even if you don't why bother with a switch when you can just SSH in or for windows use winxp remote desktop? I guess KVM switches are great in situations where space comes at a premium or you have a lot of cash burning a hole in your pocket.

Formkeys!!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2456041)

Fucking formkeys!

I just wrote a long reply to you but now I lost the whole message because of the "formkeys" problem.

I think it has something to do with having to connect to the net via my ISPs proxy, but still. I haven't been able to post here for a several days because of the formkeys problem!!!

Great KVM (1, Informative)

justletmeinnow (315504) | more than 12 years ago | (#2455997)

4 port IOGEAR MiniView [buy.com] (Not the same MiniView in Tom's review) $106.95 with cables.

I've had this for over a year and I've never had a single problem with it. We struggle with the OmniView and others at work all the time, my Linux boxen always lose mice, or experience pointer wig-outs on the others, but never on the Iogear. It also has the best monitor quality I've seen so far.

Just my 2 cents...

VNC is better solution (1)

hyrdra (260687) | more than 12 years ago | (#2455999)

Use VNC [att.com] (free; open source; multi-platform). If you have the multiple machines networked on a resonable network (10 Mbps is fine, 100 Mbps is completly lag free -- even works OK through cable modems). Then all you need to know is the IP address of the machine, and you get an instant view of the desktop and you are able to move the mouse around, use the keyboard, etc. It's kind of like PC Anywhere, without the bloat and it's cross-platform and performs very well. If you have a DNS server, you can even assign computers a name.

No switches or cable to deal with, and best of all you can use multiple machines at the same time (e.g. at a resolution of 1600x1200 with 800x600 VNC windows), and also use your main computer. With KVM switches, you physically switch everything over, which when done many times risks damage. Not to mention all those cables going to all the different machines to do the switching.

KVM is a thing of the past, right next to the 300 baud modem rack hosting the ASCII art BBS, when you needed to view the screens of several 386's. It also doesn't make sense, to say, use a KVM switch for 10 computers. However, with VNC you have the limits (on a private network anyway) of the entire IP dotted-decimal.

Why review 2 port KVM's? (1)

canadian_right (410687) | more than 12 years ago | (#2456001)

It seems silly to limit a KVM review to 2 ports - its hardly even worth the expense of a good KVM until you get at least 4 ports.

We have had very good results with Cybex KVM's. We had some trouble with the Master View KVM's - the mouse would deactivate sometimes, and was slow to 'switch' sometimes.

When purchasing a KVM watch out for the price of the cables - they can be very expensive!

Belkin and Fostex solution, and cables (2, Informative)

lostguy (35444) | more than 12 years ago | (#2456008)

Some time ago, I was looking [google.com] for a solution to a cross-platform KVM integration issue, tying some SGI gear and my PC to a single console.

My problem arose because the SGIs use a sync-on-green signal through 13w3 plugs, while PCs typically don't. I was lucky in that most SGI kit made in the mid-90s and after uses PS/2 mice and keyboards. I further complicated my situation by wanting to tie the sound from the different boxes together.

Eventually [google.com] , I bought a Belkin OmniView SE 4-port PS2 KVM switch, and some adapters. To handle the sound, I bought a cheap Fostex digital mixer from musiciansfriend.com[1], wired it all up, and today, I am the proud owner of a monstrous rat's nest of cables and boxes that pipe sound from multiple machines into one set of speakers.

It would have been a hell of a lot easier and cheaper just to buy three sets of speakers. I'd be careful when evaluating a KVM+Sound switch, verifying that sound is mixed from all channels, as it is almost a necessity to be able to hear output from a non-focused computer.

As it is, I'm ecstatic about the Belkin gear. I have the OmniView SE here at home, and the OmniCube at work, and with decent cables, I can drive the monitors at 1900x1200 without any difficulty. I found this to be just about the most important piece of the kit -- with cheap cables (the kind you can buy for $10), the video starts bleeding and exhibiting static above VGA resolution. Don't waste your time with the cheap cables, spend the extra $10 or so and get the decent ones.

[1]: I am intentionally not making that a link because the bastards are almost as bad as x10 for daily emails once they have your address.

Why no networked KVM? (3, Interesting)

JoeShmoe (90109) | more than 12 years ago | (#2456010)

Before you yell out VNC, follow me...

Wouldn't it be nice if you had a box you could tack onto your existing system to pump the basic IO over your existing CAT-5 wiring? My ideal unit would have the following

Input jumper for power switch control
Input jumper for reset button control
Light sensor for power light
Light sensor for HDD light
Light sensor for Link light
Light sensor for Act light
Serial PS/2 port for keyboard
Serial PS/2 port for mouse
15-pin RGB port for monitor

Here's how it would work. You mount the box on the back of your server unit and connect your power and reset buttons to the unit and connect the unit to the reset/power jumpers on the motherboard. You stick the light sensors near the respective LEDs. You wire up the KVM to the unit and optionally plug the local devices into the unit.

Now, the unit is a little linux box that takes the input and sends it over the network (now we're using VNC) to my remote session. The bonus is that I can still see the unit if it's crashed (the VNC service or the whole dang box). I can boot into the BIOS and make changes. I can run utilites and so on from DOS sessions. Plus, I can click a button and reset the box, or power it down. If I connect to the session and see no image, I can see if the power light is on or if there is any hard drive/network activity.

I can think of about a billion times in my techie lifespan that I've wished for such a device. Yes, I know there devices you can use to remotely power off a computer. Yes, I know I could setup a webcam to monitor some lights. Yes, I know VNC gets me most of the way there.

But it's not cost effective to buy one of these for each server. I would rather have one box that could control 4/8/16 boxes. It's just a standard KVM with some extra inputs attached to its own dedicated Linux box!

So please, Linksys, Belkin...whoever...can't someone please build this, or show me a link to something like this?

- JoeShmoe

Re:Why no networked KVM? (3, Interesting)

JoeShmoe (90109) | more than 12 years ago | (#2456016)

Oh, and for bonus points...how about another connect to allow this network KVM to function as a floppy boot device? IE, I would transfer a floppy image (say a BIOS update or a Ghost boot disk) to the KVM from my workstation, reboot and have the remote system boot to the "Floppy" on the KVM. Then I "eject" the floppy and reboot into the normal mode.

I forgot that floppy swapping is another big reason I've had to make wasteful trips to the server room, which I would like to eliminate.

- JoeShmoe

Re:Why no networked KVM? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2456023)

Compaq does this now with their "Lights Out Remote Insight Board."

Re:Why no networked KVM? (1)

buzzbomb (46085) | more than 12 years ago | (#2456113)

There is already such a product. Compaq Remote Insight Lights-Out Edition [compaq.com] . Now all you need to do is a get a stack of these, a stack of Compaq servers and you're set.

Of course, you may need to win the lottery first...

Re:Why no networked KVM? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2456020)

While no one (yet) puts the light extension/reset button/KVM integration in one unit, there are several KVM solutions that use CAT5 cabling. Apex/Cybex (now Avocent) each do that, as does CCC NetSystems. Some use two cables, others one. Micicom also uses cat5 (never used it though).
As for remote server resets, the large x86 server makers (HP, Compaq, Dell) all have that capability via their RIB or DRAC or whatever card. Or you could buy an APC Master Power switch to control 8 power receptacles via TCP/IP.

keyboard and mouse "dummy loads" (2)

unitron (5733) | more than 12 years ago | (#2456011)

There are two types of KVMs, active and passive. The active ones have various and assorted circuitry inside and possibly associated software. The passive ones just have a multipole switch inside. This type would be fine for what I need *if* I knew what to add in (as in solder, etc) to keep the computer being switched away from from noticing that it no longer has a keyboard and mouse attached (and of course there's that need to detect a PS/2 style mouse--IRQ 12-- on startup). If anybody knows just what's needed, please feel free to speak right up.

Oh, by the way, how about this quote from the article--"I could go into a long winded explanation of how KVM switches work, but, to be honest, I found this to be boring, and I am sure that most of you would, too, so I will spare you the explanation." If he really could do that, why can't he go into a concise but complete explanation?

Cheap Linksys KVMs (2)

stevarooski (121971) | more than 12 years ago | (#2456012)

I've been using a KVM for years, starting with a small cheap box that just switched the monitor signal to finally graduating to the linksys ProConnect 2-port switch.

I don't profess to be an expert on KVM switches, but the Linksys has worked decently for me. It has this feature where it listens in on your keystrokes and switches computers at a double tap of the cntrl key. Annoyed the hell out of me in quake until I figured out what was going on (like most computer students I chucked the manual the instant it came. . .oops).

However, despite this, its VERY small, cheap (check it out here [buy.com] , comes with cables), and I'd buy another one in a minute.

-S

Important Announcement! (-1)

crossbow_of_speed (527135) | more than 12 years ago | (#2456035)

Please open a window, lean out (if you are outdoors, just stand up), and shout the following words at the top of your lungs:

Aitch! Tee! Tee! Pee! Colon! Slash-slash! Gee! Oh! Ayy! Tee! Ess! Ee! Dot! See! Ecks!

Thank You.

Forgot a REAL test! (1)

UnAmericanPunk (310528) | more than 12 years ago | (#2456049)

One test that Tom didn't do is the Quake 3 test. I had purchased a KVM switch earlier this year and it worked ok. I decided to throw everything I could at it to try it out before I decided to keep it.
So I tried playing quake 3 on it, and the thing crawled. My usual 30-50fps from my geforce2 mx turned to about 3fps! So I packed the switch up and sent it back. Ever since that expierence I haven't been too willing to throw away more money on shipping costs to try out another KVM.
For the cost of a KVM switch, I think I'd rather just buy a $150 17" monitor, $10 keyboard, and $10 mouse. After all, that's all I'm using anyway.... no compatibility issues with that either.

Re:Forgot a REAL test! (1)

Brad Wilson (462844) | more than 12 years ago | (#2456281)

So I tried playing quake 3 on it, and the thing crawled. My usual 30-50fps from my geforce2 mx turned to about 3fps!
I use a Linksys ProConnect 4 to switch between my gaming machine and my work machine (and soon a third box). I've had zero problems with gaming performance. I play games on it very regularly (including Quake 3). My score in 3DMark2001 was completely unchanged through the switch (I use a GeForce family card as well).

One thing people in this situation might want to try (specifically, if you have a GeForce family card) is to get into the GeForce Additional Properties dialog, go to the OpenGL tab, and make sure the Vertical Sync option is set to "Always Off".

Of course, I also had to spend a small fortune on cabling to get acceptable video quality, but the reclamation of desk space was well worth it!

What about picture quality? (4, Insightful)

Hank the Lion (47086) | more than 12 years ago | (#2456055)

In the article, Tom has concentrated on go/no-go tests.
In a product that can influence picture quality tremendously, I would have liked to see something more than "It ... produced a good picture " (with no mention of the resolution tested) in case of the CS-USB21H , or no mention of picture quality at all in case of the GCS124U KVM .
It would have been really helpful to see characteristics like 'amount of reflections' or 'actual measured bandwidth'
This would have helped me more on deciding which unit is right for my purposes than describing the computer systems that were used in detail. What is the use of specifying the brand of CD-writer or the amount and brand of RAM that were used? I cannot imagine that these have any influence on the performance of the KVM switch.

Re:What about picture quality? (2)

Metrol (147060) | more than 12 years ago | (#2456168)

In a product that can influence picture quality tremendously...

Yeah, I was seriously wondering about this as well. Simply switching between boxes with different resolutions is more a test for the monitor than the KVM. How about running a cable straight to the monitor, then comparing that to what it looks like when the KVM is inserted? Even with high quality cables there is still a healthy bit of attenuation to the signal on most KVM's.

What is the use of specifying the brand of CD-writer

I liked how we got to hear about what case they used for the PC's. How about something useful, like how many buttons were on the mouse? I've got a Logitech trak ball here with 4 buttons, and I know many KVM's simply won't support that.

From my own testing, Cybex has been the friendliest to my 4-button mouse, but with poor video quality. The Linksys I once owned had great video quality, but no support for button #4.

2 way Bah, We use 16-way at work (1)

spiro_killglance (121572) | more than 12 years ago | (#2456061)


OK these 2-way system our fine and useful
for home usage. But for a real server operation
you good do with many more connections.



Our rack of 10 linux boxes is connected to
the head, by two 8-way OmniView boxes ganged
together, this system work fine, except that the
time between press the scan button of the box,
before you can press it again is a few seconds,
slightly annoying when you need to get from box-2
to box-10. A hold down repeat or numerical keypad
to select box would be nice.


What do you KVM does anyone else recommend for
heading a rack of boxes.

Re:2 way Bah, We use 16-way at work (1)

Octorian (14086) | more than 12 years ago | (#2456224)

What is it with all these people using KVMs on their servers? There's a MUCH better, more managable, and more "proper" way do to this... Ever hear of a SERIAL CONSOLE SERVER? Yes, that's right, UNIX can do the system console over the SERIAL PORT! Much cheaper, lets you do console logging, etc. In fact, real servers don't even need to have video cards installed at all! (not talking about PeeCee hardware here)

For heading a rack of boxes, I'd either recommend an old machine with a big multi-port serial board and a program called "conserver", or one of those embedded serial console server solutions (i.e. PortMaster)

KVM's I have used. (2)

Liquid-Gecka (319494) | more than 12 years ago | (#2456062)

At home I used a Iogear $60 USB KVM that works really well for video but causes all sorts of problems with the USB keyboard setup under Linux on my Tiger 133a (There is a problem with linux on the via chipsets that cause it to not be able to use USB devices with SMP enabled)

At work we use Aten Masterview switches wich cause all sorts of problems. They meerly move the monitor, keyboard and mouse connectors through solid state switches. This is anoying because when a system reboots you get keyboard errors and things like that. (Yes, I know most BIOS's can disable these warnings.. but nto all of them =) We are slowly switching over to the Cybex A400 series KVM's. These switch boxes allow us to connect up to 48 computers into a single monitor/keyboard. (several 4 ports into a 16 port) They include on screen display and lots of other features. One really nice thing is that they only use a cat five cable between the switches and not normal keyboard/mouse/vga cables.

The major draw back to these switches is that they cost a LOT. (up to $20k for 48 systems) They do however display really well and flow the keyboard and mouse across all systems. They also can be setup to give users access to some systems but not all. So you could give your user the ability to access the workstation/test system next to the server but not the server itsself. Its really nifty =)

(And of course, this review comes our TWO days AFTER I purchase a new Belkin 4 port E-Series switch box =) The thing hasn't even gotten here yet!

Dakota Scout (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2456063)

I've been using a 4-port Dakota Scout for about a year now and it's been great.

I got integrated cables for it (so only 1 cable for each computer plus one for the controlling monitor + keyboard + mouse combo - five cables in all. The cables I got are specced to support 1600x1200 resolution and I've no complaints about image quality at that resolution (not on my cheapo Belinea 19" monitor anyway).

The Scout has performed flawlessly and it only cost about £100. There is an 8-port model available as well. I think there might even be a 16-port one.

Toms Hardware tests (1)

spiro_killglance (121572) | more than 12 years ago | (#2456071)


Test 11: We unscrewed each box and removed a
vital component, reconnected the PCs and filmed [streamgate.de] the results.


[Banner Advert for Belkin]


As you can see every for box expect the
Belkin, this resulted in the monitor exploding.

How irresponsible of the other manufacturers not
protect there products against sabotage. This
could have your childs monitor exploding. Think of
the damage the shards of glass would do to his
innocent little eyes.


[Banner Advert for Belkin]

monitor exploding? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2456133)

Monitors can burn out and up, but with the hard vacuum, they would IMPLODE...not explode. Smoke less dope dude.

belkin omnicube 4 linut/win2k - ok w/ 1 flaw (1)

remolacha (473415) | more than 12 years ago | (#2456110)

what kind of ./ reader would buy a 2 port kvm, limiting oneself to 2 boxes? was my thinking. folks have said almost everything about the belkin, which works great for me too. only little annoyance is that the keyboard shortcut (quick taps on scrlk + number 1-4 of computer you want to jump to) results in the number bring typed into whatever window is open on the linux box. so now an then an extra '1' throws a wrench into some code (once, an invoice, but it didn't get me any extra cash). there's probably a way to fix this but...laziness

Belkin, Raritan, Audio, and Game Consoles (2, Interesting)

Josuah (26407) | more than 12 years ago | (#2456111)

I have a 2-port Belkin OmniCube and a 4-port Raritan SwitchMan.

The Belkin OmniCube is crappy, doesn't support high resolutions and decent refresh rates, and then it broke so that I could only get signal to one of the computers. Yay! A signal degrader instead of a KVM. The place I work at also has larger Belkin KVMs and they're not working like they're supposed to. Cheap and a waste of money.

The Raritan SwitchMan is exceptional, and works wonderfully. However, you need to use special cables as it wants Male to Male instead of the usual Male to Female. The cables aren't cheap. But I can run high resolutions at 85Hz, and there are some programmable features. You can also chain them together. The more expensive Raritan models support some even more interesting features. The only drawbacks are the somewhat more expensive price, and lack of support for Macs and USB.

I've also found that in addition to switching the keyboard, monitor, and mouse, I want to switch the audio. So, I purchased a Nady MM4 mixer from Musician's Friend (about $80 after shipping) and now I can also mix four audio sources to my Desktop Theater 5.1 sound system.

Something else I think should be mentioned is that you don't have to use KVMs (or the audio mixer) only for computers. I have my Dreamcast plugged into the Raritan KVM and Nady MM4 mixer for use with the VGA output. I plan on getting a PS2 and sending it to the same port of the KVM via a breakout box and video switcher (and my N64 at that point as well), or to a TV tuner card and then to the monitor, plus it's audio signal to the mixer.

The only thing I really want but haven't seen anywhere is the ability to use Macs and PCs alongside the gaming consoles. You can't really interchange Mac and Windows keyboards, but I'd love a KVM that I could do that with. If it could just interpret the Command/Apple key on the keyboard as the Windows key, and vice-versa, then I could put them all on one keyboard, monitor, and mouse.

ATEN switches (1)

Zilch (138261) | more than 12 years ago | (#2456120)

I have been happily using a 4 way ATEN [aten.com.tw] KVM switch for years. When I was looking it was the only 4 way at a great prices that included all the cables.

I have the CS-14 [aten.com.tw]

I am almost 100% happy with it. The only problem is that it seems to have some problems passing the mouse to IBM Thinkpads, and no OSD. Also the keyboard hotkeys (Shift-Alt-Control then number 1-4) is a little clumsy, and the tiny unit doesn't sit very well because it has cables coming out ever side.

Other than that I am very happy with it and would buy it again.

Michael.

KVM mouse problems with IBM Thinkpads? (1)

Zilch (138261) | more than 12 years ago | (#2456123)

Can anyone tell me if they have solved the problem with some IBM gear (in particular IBM Thinkpads). The problem is that they don't get the mouse signals from most of the KVM switches I have tried, and I can't work out why. This means that you have to have a 2nd mouse, or use the trackpoint on the Thinkpad keyboard, which is a real pain.

The makers of my switch (ATEN) have this as one of their FAQ's [aten-usa.com] on their site, but I have followed both of the recommendations and neither work.

I would really love some help here if anyone knows.

Thanks, Zilch.

They left out Avocent (2)

0xA (71424) | more than 12 years ago | (#2456129)

I can't belive they left out Avocent [www.avocent.comtarget] . The company is a recent merger between Cybex and Apex and their products are great.

I've been using Cybex stuff for a couple years now, I have one at home, one at work and 2 in my sever room. They work flawlessly and the 2 port Switchview with cables is $169.

About the Blekins, the reviewers didn't have any trouble with them and I see positive comments as here as well but IMO, they suck really bad. I had one at home that was junk. The last company I worked for had one for every developer and ended up replacing all of them, they were just terrible.

Cybex cables (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2456134)

Cybex cables are proprietary and expensive, go to
www.cabletogo.com for decent replacements at nicer prices.

2 port systems? What's the point? (2)

jjohn (2991) | more than 12 years ago | (#2456141)

Needing to multiplex a console between two machines is somewhat silly. I got into KVM tech when 8-16 machines were involved. My company use Sybex 8 port units and they worked well. You could even slave the units to handle more servers. At home, I have a bunch of PCs (4-8) so I took the plunge with a 4 port OmniView unit (1998). That broke within 18 months. I then replaced it with a 4 port Linksys unit and that seems to be working very well. WinME can see my wheel mouse and linux can see that I have some kind of two button thing. No complains.

The warning about cable management should be taken to heart. I'm nearly drowning in the buggers. I suggest getting a metal rack for storing your PCs, printers, scanners, KVM unit. Use zip-ties or velcro strips to secure the cabling. It's worth the investment. When the cables were loose, my cat starting *eating* through them. That's a different rant...

As for mulitplexing sound, get an audio mixer. I have a Mackie 1402 and love it. My speakers (Labtec Edge 418 [labtec.com] ) are plugged into the mixer, as are the PCs. I can even have my tape deck hanging off the mixer. This mixer/PC system has replaced my stereo.

One last point: I don't have a TV either, just a tv tuner card. Single appliance convergence? Already there!

One KVM switch that never let me down.. (1)

haggar (72771) | more than 12 years ago | (#2456151)

Here at work we all have BlackBox 2 and 4 way KVM switches. They're very sturdy, and what's most important, incredibly reliable and perfectly compatible with both Windows NT/95 and Linux. I use a Logitech scroll mouse which works fine with NT, and works as a 3 button mouse under Linux, perfectly.

The only problem is, I hear that these Balckbox switches are expensive. I don't know, company paid..

x2vnc (2)

smartin (942) | more than 12 years ago | (#2456194)

Get x2vnc it lets you move the mouse and keyboard between monitors by moving it off the side of the screen. Works great except that the mouse wheel scrolls in the wrong direction under windoze.

Booting the wrong machine (1)

digitalsushi (137809) | more than 12 years ago | (#2456220)

Anyone else here ever booted the wrong machine cause of these things?

I was messing around on my own machine once, and it was run into a KVM, but the setup was skewed... Nothing on my screen was moving, so I figured it was stuck. So I did a keyboard reboot. Our largest client's colocation server next to me goes "...beep." Whoops.

Belkin Omnicube 4 port (1)

waspleg (316038) | more than 12 years ago | (#2456235)

i've had it for years, it's fine for windows, if you have any *nix at all it sucks shit, having to unplug and replug in the keyboard every time you switch between consoles sucks, it doesn't work with my logitech trackballs (the only mouse i will ever use) at all, requiring me to have seperate ones for each of hte 3 computers using the switch.. essentially teh only thing it does well is switching video.. i can't speak for the latest model that he reviewed (and reccomended as the best one) but mine (f1d094) is a piece of shit.
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