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I recently tried out a cheaper KVM solution, a dual monitor one with a USB hub and audio/mic support.

It seemed the perfect KVM. However, these are my experiences.

  • When using my keyboard via the PS/2 connection, none of my multimedia keys work (useful, because it has a volume control and my speakers do not, only on a wireless remote control.)
  • I plugged the keyboard in via the USB port - and it seemed to work. However, I believe to switch the hub from PC to Mac, you need to use a keyboard combo, which is only supported when the keyboard is plugged in via PS/2
  • Sometimes the middle mouse button doesn't work when connected via PS/2.
  • The multi monitor is VGA - I just found out by the looks of things my Mac Mini outputs DVI Digital only (though this is my fault!)
  • Mac works with 2 screens, but switching and switching back can cause it not to display on the 2nd screen unless I go detect displays again.

My question is - is there a KVM out there that supports these features?

  • USB keyboard and mouse inputs will full multimedia keys support
  • Dual monitor DVI connections
  • Hotkey to change PCs and physical button
  • USB hub
  • Emulate screens attached when switching to a different computer
  • Works with PC and Mac
  • Audio / Microphone support

Does one exist, that won't cost the world? So far the only one that seems to support all this (that I can tell) is this one.

UPDATE

I ended up buying the Aten CS1642. It's expensive, but it seems to work great!

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closed as not constructive by Oliver Salzburg Apr 19 '13 at 15:35

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Is When using my keyboard via the PS/2 connection, none of my multimedia keys work actually caused by the KVM? Do these keys really work when the keyboard is plugged in directly? I can hardly imagine that a KVM would have an effect on this, unless the keyboard and its accompanying drivers are really abusing the PS/2 standards. –  Arjan Sep 10 '09 at 22:25
    
Yes, when the keyboard is plugged in via the PS/2 directly into the PC, all multimedia keys work perfectly. There's a bit going on with the PS/2 port I imagine (detecting hot keys, plugged in emulation, usb switching - it plugs from the KVM into the PC as USB). –  alex Sep 10 '09 at 22:34
    
Ok, so you're using a PS/2-USB adapter when using the KVM then? Well, not too important to solve your actual question of course! –  Arjan Sep 10 '09 at 23:22
    
Well it's internal of the KVM - the console in has 2 PS/2 ports (keyboard and mouse), except when you connect it to a computer, it is handled via 1 USB connection. And yes I'm using the little USB -> PS/2 converter that came with the keyboard, except it had always worked like that when going directly onto the motherboard's PS/2 port. –  alex Sep 10 '09 at 23:31
    
Regarding the Aten you ended up with - did you ever have problems with it like a monitor not being activated for one machine on boot-up? I currently have such issues with a cheaper Aten and might buy this one - but don't want to repeat the mistake. –  gfr Feb 22 '10 at 0:27
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5 Answers

up vote 2 down vote accepted

I would suggest checking ATENs range of KVMs. I have had good success with them. I am currently using a four port CS1784 and have had no trouble using it with a Mac Mini. But for your requirements the CS1642 looks a likely bet although it doesn't include PS2 ports. But I would strongly recommend using USB for keyboards and mice anyway.

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Your requirements list is extensive. You're going to have to shell out some cash to get everything you want. If you're willing to do so, I would recommend IOGEAR. I've used three at home and work, so far, and have been happy with them all. The GCS1784 looks like it will do everything you want and supports four computers instead of just two.

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You might want to check out the IOGear range they do have one Dual DVI unit that might meet your needs (a little pricy though). I use one of the lower end versions and its pretty good. It even allows you to reprogram what it uses as keyboard hot keys. I cant speak for the multimedia keyboard support as I don't use one. But it supports my multibutton Logitech mouse without any problems.

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I suggest ConnectPRO UR-Plus or UD-Plus serial (UR-12-Plus for 2 ports and UR-14-Plus for 4 ports). Basically, the Plus serial KVM meets all the requirements you listed, except that it uses different way to support multi-header (multi-monitor) systems.

Just google "USB DDM KVM switch" you will find all the spec. meet you needs.

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You might want to skip the physical KVM and take a look at remote control. I use tightVNC and though I can't say for sure that it does all you ask for, but it is free and I am real happy with how it works for me, and it cuts down on the rat's next of wires.

http://www.tightvnc.com

I use it with M/Soft's Virtual Desktop Manager (one machine on each virtual desktop) and have an easy time switching between up to four machine with hot-keys. There are plenty of Virtual Desktop Managers out there that will support more than four desktops.

I find it helpful to set up wallpaper on each machine so I don't forget which machine I am looking at.

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The majority of people who know about KVM's know about Remote Desktop protocols - this doesn't answer the question and in just an advert for TightVNC. Screen refresh rates via remote protocol are dependant on network speed and latency, most people do not want this inteferring with the user experience. –  leinad13 Jan 19 at 12:39
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