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Ask Slashdot: Advanced KVM Switch? 128

jez9999 writes: I have a rather advanced use-case for my home work area that I need a KVM-type device for, and I was wondering whether such a thing even existed. I want a 3-PC setup; 2 desktops (PC1 and PC2) and 1 laptop going through a dock (DOCK1). I want to connect 2 monitors (SCREEN1 and SCREEN2), 1 mouse, and 1 keyboard (INPUTS). So far it's relatively straightforward, as I could just switch everything between the 3 devices.

But here's the kicker; I'd like at least 4 modes of operation: one mode to output PC1 video to both screens (dual-screen) and redirect INPUTS to it, one mode to output PC2 video to both screens (dual-screen) and redirect INPUTS to it, one mode to output PC1 video to SCREEN1, extend DOCK1 video to SCREEN2, and redirect INPUTS to DOCK1, and one mode to output PC1 video to SCREEN1, extend DOCK1 video to SCREEN2, and redirect INPUTS to PC1.

Basically with the latter two modes I'd like to be able to switch between inputting to PC1 & DOCK1, whilst continuing to be able to monitor each by outputting each one's video to one of the 2 monitors. However, I also want to be able to go dual-screen with and control PC1 & PC2.

In terms of ports I'd like to use HDMI (or possibly DVI-D) and USB for peripherals; not VGA or PS/2.

Is there any KVM switch out there able to do this kind of thing? I guess I'm probably looking for some kind of programmable KVM which allows me to specify, for each 'mode of operation', which inputs are routed to which outputs. Failing that, is there some other way I can get the setup I want (or something close)?
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Ask Slashdot: Advanced KVM Switch?

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  • Matirx KVM Switch (Score:5, Informative)

    by BenFranske ( 646563 ) on Tuesday September 29, 2015 @12:54PM (#50621059) Homepage

    What you want is called a matrix KVM switch. They exist, but they're quite expensive, do some Googling on matrix KVM switch and you'll see the options.

    • Re:Matirx KVM Switch (Score:5, Informative)

      by BenFranske ( 646563 ) on Tuesday September 29, 2015 @12:58PM (#50621097) Homepage

      See the ATEN CM0264 for a specific example of what I think you're looking for.

      • That is super expensive, doing a quick search I found that ConnectPRO UDD-14A+ can do what he wants for about $500
      • by jez9999 ( 618189 )

        That switch doesn't seem to have a dual-screen option; just single screen for 4 devices.

        • The CM0264 is dual monitor output, see the description (2x4) though now that I read your description again I see you have 2 dual monitor PCs and not just one so you actually need a 2x5 matrix KVM switch. They're also available (may be 2x6 or something higher) but will probably be quite a bit more expensive. Now that you know what you want exists and what it's called though (matrix KVM) I imagine you can Google it yourself.

      • by jez9999 ( 618189 )

        OK just FYI everyone, I went ahead and bought a CM0264 and... it doesn't disconnect the inputs of the video channels that aren't currently selected. So basically it's the same thing as plugging the video cables directly into monitors with multiple inputs. Not such a great recommendation there.

        • Disconnecting the inputs would be unexpected behavior... Most good KVM switches do not do that because it causes the system to reinitialize the video output each time which can present it's own set of issues, hence the popularity of EDID devices like the "DVI Detective". I think you'll have a hard time finding a KVM device (particularly a good one) which does not do EDID management. What's unclear is why this is a problem in your situation.

          • by jez9999 ( 618189 )

            OK well I've gotten it working quite well now. It's slightly annoying because if it continues presenting the video channel, my dual-screen PC or extended laptop won't drop out of 2 screen mode even when I'm not displaying one of those screens anymore. However I can quite quickly just tell windows to switch to one screen with a couple of "Win+P" keyboard presses.

            I've also gotten USB to switch nicely between the different PCs, by *not* using the designated "keyboard" and "mouse" ports on the switch, but jus

        • This is why I suggested to you the UDD-14A+ It does everything you want it to.... Check out this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com] It shows the two port version....
    • Re:Matirx KVM Switch (Score:5, Informative)

      by Qzukk ( 229616 ) on Tuesday September 29, 2015 @01:02PM (#50621129) Journal

      You can also try searching for a "Multi-Console" KVM switch too. No, they're not cheap either.

    • Re:Matirx KVM Switch (Score:5, Informative)

      by cdrudge ( 68377 ) on Tuesday September 29, 2015 @01:07PM (#50621179) Homepage

      A separate 3x2 or 4x2 HDMI matrix switch and USB switch would be significantly cheaper than a all-in-one solution. It would be a few extra button presses, but for the money saved it wouldn't be that bad.

      • by amxcoder ( 1466081 ) on Tuesday September 29, 2015 @01:12PM (#50621211)
        This. Run video through a matrix HDMI switch, (4x2 or 4x4) will allow you to route the video any way you want, any input to any output. Then use a normal USB KVM for keyboard and mouse control.
        • Completely agree with you, since that'll save a load of money and complexity headache. If he is, however, absolutely dead-set on a KVM and wants to avoid a matrix KVM, he should recognize that he really has three modes (i.e. one per computer), with PC1 having two modes (i.e. toggling between what's displayed on the second display). Doing so greatly simplifies things, since it lets you use a normal dual-screen KVM switch to control your inputs, then use a simple HDMI switch to toggle what's shown on your sec

        • by jez9999 ( 618189 )

          Sorry to seem lazy, but could you provide a couple of examples of KVM switches that will allow me to route the video any way I want? All the ones I can see always route the video from one device to the console at one time, or don't provide the option for dual-screen functionality.

          • My suggestion was to NOT use the KVM for the video portion, just the USB Keyboard/Mouse portion of control. My suggestion would be to use a small HDMI video matrix router for routing the video where you want it (seperately from the KVM control).

            Others have suggested using a martrix KVM, but I haven't ever seen/used one of those beasts before and didn't know they existed. And apparently are expensive.
            • by jez9999 ( 618189 )

              OK so you're drawing a distinction between KVM and "HDMI matrix switch". Could you suggest one or two good HDMI matrix switches then?

              • Upon looking at your requirements again, you would need a larger matrix than I originally mentioned. Since you have 3 PC's total, each with 2 monitor outputs, you would need at least 6 inputs. This puts your matrix size in the 8x4 range (don't think you'll find a 8x2). This would bump the cost up depending on price.

                I deal with Pro-grade gear for work, so I would suggest something along the lines of an Extron DXP 84 HDMI [extron.com]; or maybe a Kramer [kramerelectronics.com] brand, or Atlona [atlona.com]. I'm sure there are other options that may b
      • by Lumpy ( 12016 )

        Wont work unless the HDMI matrix has EDID management so the computers do not see the displays appearing and disappearing.

        You need a good quality one, not the junk from monoprice. About $1100 for a good 4X4 with full edid management.

        • Wont work unless the HDMI matrix has EDID management so the computers do not see the displays appearing and disappearing.

          You need a good quality one, not the junk from monoprice. About $1100 for a good 4X4 with full edid management.

          THIS, x1000... with caveats...

          The caveats are:

          (1) Many monitors won't negotiate an EDID on an inactive channel (i.e. one not selected as the primary channel at the time the computer attempts to negotiate). This is mostly because the firmware in these monitors is not running a finite state automaton and/or is not multithreaded, and so ignores channels which are not currently selected when negotiating. A *lot* of monitors and television sets being used as monitors, particularly Samsung models, have this pro

    • BenFranske is correct. You're looking for a matrix switch for the video. They are sized by the number of video inputs and outputs. You're probably looking for a 6x2 ( inputs( pc1 screen 1, pc1 screen2, pc2 screen1, pc2 screen1, laptop screen1, laptop screen2) x outputs (screen 1, screen2). Remember these devices will not use a keyboard shortcut to direct sources to outputs. You'll either need to use the remote or rig something up with an arduino as most of these devices accept RS-232 commands that are
      • by jez9999 ( 618189 )

        Why on earth do all these matrix devices use IR remote controls that are liable to break easily? Is it so hard for them to just put buttons on the switch itself? Literally all of them seem to use stupid remote controls. :-(

    • by jez9999 ( 618189 )

      What you want is called a matrix KVM switch. They exist, but they're quite expensive, do some Googling on matrix KVM switch and you'll see the options.

      Well there's certainly a bunch of them out there, but I still can't see one that does exactly what I want, even if I just stick to video and ignore the USB aspect of it. Could you provide an example of one that takes in a bunch of dual-monitor HDMI inputs, and allows either dual monitor output to 2 monitors, or single monitor output for any one of the inputs

      • Remember that you don't need to find dual monitor inputs! Because you can route any input to any display you can use two different inputs for connections to a single PC. If you want to use that PC is dual monitor configuration you just route input 1 to output 1 and input 2 to output 2, just ignore the keyboard/mouse inputs on the second input and just use the video switching portion for the second screen. Note that you'll need to find one with at least 2x5 capability though for your two dual output PCs and

        • by jez9999 ( 618189 )

          The problem with something like the CM0264 is that is lumps SCREEN1 and INPUTS into one category that it calls "KVM1" in the manual. So let's say I have CPU1 and CPU4 displaying as KVM1 and V2 on monitors 1 and 2. I'm OK if I want to control CPU1, but what if I want to keep those monitors the same and switch over control to the other computer? I can't see a way to do it. When you switch KVM1 over, it switches the video for SCREEN1 over at the same time.

          • Since I don't own one or work for Aten I can't really check that for you but I think that you can do what you want which is to move keyboard and mouse control over to CPU4 but it may require multiple steps of switching things around. They are pretty clear in the manual that either screen can have KVM focus so you can flip KVM focus to the other screen and the two systems flip screens and then you can reassign the CPUs back to the original screens as you want them. Sure it's a pain but you're asking for som

  • You could use VNC, teamviewer, or anything along those lines to accomplish what you want without throwing additional hardware into the mix.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by BenFranske ( 646563 )

      Yes, except if you care about latency, etc. I'm assuming this user knows what they're talking about and has specifically requested a KVM for a reason. For example trying to do graphic design work, video editing, CAD, or a lot of other things over VNC or any screengrabber is not really feasible. Even just typing a word processing document is a bit of a pain with the lag...

      • by unrtst ( 777550 ) on Tuesday September 29, 2015 @01:08PM (#50621187)

        IMO, I'd forego the expensive matrix KVM's as well as the loggy VNC-like solutions.

        Many monitors support multiple inputs. If yours doesn't, get some that do.
        Use the monitors input switching for video input changes. That takes care of video (I'm pretty sure 3 inputs each is more than feasible).

        For the keyboard and mouse, use any of the existing hardware solutions for those (there are old manual switches that work with PS-2 and AT stuff that are dirt cheap, and would do the job, for example). Alternatively, use something like synergy (http://synergy-project.org/)

        • Except they're wanting the computer multi-monitor support to drop those monitors as unconnected when they aren't visible (or so I assume). Otherwise you could just use a separate KVM switch for screen 2 and have all the inputs on KVM 1.

          • by jez9999 ( 618189 )

            Exactly. When the monitor changes inputs, the other PCs still think they're connected to the monitor and so if they're in dual-screen mode, they won't automatically drop back to single screen mode. Unless there's a monitor that tells the PCs whose inputs aren't selected that the monitor has been disconnected, this will be an annoyance.

            • I'm sure you could get a KVM that doesn't have a dummy load on the non-active display. But that's only a small part of the battle.

              • by jez9999 ( 618189 )

                Why's it a small part of the battle? I'd say the video setup is the hardest part.

                • Because they still want monitor 2 to possibly point to monitor one of another machine. So monitor 1 of any machine has to be routable to either display. If I understand right.

                  • by jez9999 ( 618189 )

                    The original point being made in this thread was that the monitors would be connected directly to the PCs, and the monitor inputs would be changed to achieve single or dual screen capability. That would solve the video issue without the use of a KVM (but as mentioned before, the problem would be that the monitor would still tell the PC that it was connected even if the input was not set to that PC).

                    • by unrtst ( 777550 )

                      ... but as mentioned before, the problem would be that the monitor would still tell the PC that it was connected even if the input was not set to that PC..

                      I was not aware of that behavior (I haven't tested it myself).

                      That said, there are simple software solutions for that:
                      * man xrandr
                      * man nvidia-settins ... etc for GUI tools. Should be fairly simple to disable the display via software.

                      Maybe not ideal, but how often are they really going to be swapping around the displays? If it's more than a couple times a day, then I'd imagine that the desktop layout reconfiguration (from 1 to 2 screens and back) would affect workflow more than it would be worth... just co

      • I've never had latency issues with Guacamole.

        http://guac-dev.org/ [guac-dev.org]

      • by rwa2 ( 4391 ) *

        It is worth doing in hardware, if the hardware is simply adding another monitor, and perhaps even a VESA mount. KVM switches aren't cheap. Or if they are cheap, they're not very usable. That said, I've had good experiences with the Aten DVI KVM switches... much better than the driver issues I've run into with Belkins and stuff. The separate USB routing is very useful too.

        TigerVNC / UltraVNC is actually very usable with full-screen screengrabbing, especially on a LAN. It can maintain maybe 5 fps, which

    • It sounds like he's trying to manage a lot of PCs at once, in which case those applications are limited in the sense that alt-tabbing through them is a nightmare. I'd instead suggest running a guacamole server, and use VNC and/or RDP (depending on the OS) to manage them inside of browser tabs. Guacamole works REALLY nice, especially with RDP as the desktop resolution automatically fits your browser size perfectly.

      http://guac-dev.org/ [guac-dev.org]

    • by DarkOx ( 621550 )

      If the systems are headless though that might be problematic if one won't boot or he needs to do something outside a software environment that can support those things.

      He might also look at Integrated Lights Out Modules. That way his controls are not dependent on the host OS.

    • I have three computers connected to two monitors and one set of keyboard/mouse.

      I use a tool called Synergy to share my keyboard/mouse across all machines.

      The upside is that it's super simple, low latency, and free (though I did pay the $10 the dev asked for because it's such a great tool)

      The downside is that I need the computer hosting the synergy server to be on. But this has not been a downside for me.

      http://synergy-project.org/ [synergy-project.org]

      • by vivian ( 156520 )

        I use Synergy too - and the multiple inputs of my monitors to allow reconfiguring of which PC has two screens.
        eg. Linux 1 running linux on the left, workstation in the middle with two monitors connected with DVI cables, laptop on the right with Windows.
        Each screen has an HDMI, DVI and VGA port - switchable by pressing the input button on the screen.
        Each laptop is also connected to the closest monitor, using HDMI cables.
        Synergy server runs on the workstation, with the mouse and keyboard connected to it.
        Each

        • +1 for Synergy.
          My setup is one laptop on a dock and one PC all hooked up to three monitors. (One dedicated to the PC and the other two connected to the dock.) My PC is running Windows and my laptop is running Linux and they get along quite well.

          Since I use it at work, I payed the $29 for the encrypted version. No one is going to sniff my keyboard data. ^_^
  • by Anonymous Coward

    just put everything in VM's

    and in the darkness bind them

  • Basically with the latter two modes I'd like to be able to switch between inputting to PC1 & DOCK1, whilst continuing to be able to monitor each by outputting each one's video to one of the 2 monitors. However, I also want to be able to go dual-screen with and control PC1 & PC2.

    I guess a better question is 'what do you want to do?' It sounds like all 3 will need to be immediately accessible. switching quickly between the 3 would be cheapest if you purchased multiple keyboards, and mice. Identify the gaming machine, and if required give it 2 monitors. the rest can KVM traditionally through a single or have a dedicated number of monitors.

    workload in general...you might want to address some consolidation issues if you find yourself requiring 3 graphical terminals. For example

    • by jez9999 ( 618189 )

      Multiple keyboards and mice are an option as a fallback but I'd really like to avoid that as it's going to use up way more desk space.

  • While you may actually need this consider cheaper alternatives:

    1) Use software remote-desktop/remote-screen to take care of use cases 3 and 4. This may or may not work for your use cases.

    2) Have additional monitors and monitor-mirroring hardware to mirror PC1 and DOCK1 "all the time" to take care of use cases 3 and 4. This may or may not work if you have limited desk-space to work with.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Whats the purpose of this exercise??

    if I had a better understanding of why, then I could better provide the correct solution..

    I hope it's a real business use case versus "ya know it would be cool if....."

  • by fsh ( 751959 ) on Tuesday September 29, 2015 @01:16PM (#50621239)
    I do something similar to what your looking for with a combination of Synergy (http://synergy-project.org/), which uses your network to send the keyboard/mouse inputs to the correct computer based on your mouse position), and multiple inputs on my monitors. In other words: PC1 would be your base computer, and would have the keyboard/mouse you want to use with everything attached. PC1 would be attached to the primary port of both monitors (HDMI, for instance) PC2 would also have a keyboard/mouse, but they wouldn't be used. It would be hooked up to the secondary port of both monitors (maybe displayport) DOCK1 will obviously have the laptops built-in keyboard/mouse, but that wouldn't be used. It would be hooked up to the third port of both monitors (maybe DVI or RGB) In this setup, you'll need to manually change the monitor inputs, and synergy will direct the keyboard/mouse to the correct places. As far as I know, your only other option would be the matrix KVM (as mentioned above a few times)
    • by funwithBSD ( 245349 ) on Tuesday September 29, 2015 @01:53PM (#50621471)

      Synergy automatically handles these edge cases. When I plug my external monitor in, synergy does not care if the laptop screen keeps working as screen 2, or everything goes to the external.

      If I unplug one of the two monitors attached to the PC, Synergy still does not care.

      I have even had 3 set up, and attach mouse to the one that won't move, and place the others on either side. That way, if they are missing, it does not cause any problems.

      What does not change is the boundary. If I used both monitors and it is "taller" than the other screen you have to move the mouse to the lower screen before sliding to a side to change computers.

    • Synergy and a matrix hdmi switch gets him everything he is looking for.

  • by Junta ( 36770 ) on Tuesday September 29, 2015 @01:22PM (#50621261)

    It may be best to figure out a way to wire up your monitor multiple inputs up to the various desktops, and using the monitor input switch buttons. For the input, synergy (http://synergy-project.org/) which I haven't had use for in a long time. Otherwise, just have some close at hand usb hubs close and move the cables around. There exist 'cleaner' KVM devices to do this, but they are way expensive. If your monitor inputs are lacking, new monitors are likely cheaper than the KVM device you would need to not get new monitors. Monitors with three digital inputs would probably be the easiest thing to meet the requirements verbatim.

    For another, I'm really wondering why you feel this need so strongly. What tasks are you spreading amongst all these systems? How many of these tasks *really* indicate need for directly using the attached 'head' versus remote access (RDP, VNC, ssh, whatever). Is there a good reason that the things that really need direct connectivity can't be grouped into a single system? If not a single system, narrow down to 2 PCs and comfortably fit on your monitor inputs.

    • The one thing missing in this description is requirements for and/or support of networking.

      I've wrestled with stuff like this. I agree with all folk suggesting VNC, RDP and the like. If these can meet the need, then I bet the end experience will be better. Cheap KVM switches suck.

      But, there's one simple thing that can render this unsuitable: VPN requirements. Several VPN clients are designed to shut off all other networking while initiating the VPN session. This will kill all these solutions that depen

      • by Junta ( 36770 )

        Given modern monitors and the reality of USB, the worst case for non-KVM is hit input select on two monitors and move a single usb cable between three ports. A fancy KVM is pretty expensive to save the trouble of moving a cable and one extra button press.

        • Until you factor in the time it takes, the nuisance it introduces, and the chance that over time your USB port suffers additional wear and tear.

          I mean, you've added nothing of value here ... you might as well have said "why, gee, why not just have a whole second desk and walk over to it?"

          Clearly the poster has some specific use cases in mind. And I wouldn't waste my time moving USB ports for the two computers I have on KVM, let around mucking around with it for several computers and monitors -- the more pi

  • by kyubre ( 1186117 ) on Tuesday September 29, 2015 @01:22PM (#50621267)

    I spent about 6 months working on this product last year:

    http://www8.hp.com/us/en/campa... [hp.com]

    HP's RGS is really excellent remote graphics solution, suitable for the likes of film production studios and CAD/CAM design firms - at 4K resolutions and 30FPS video. It all sports support for a plethora of input devices from Wacom tablets to speciality LogiTech mice. To top it off, its bidirectionally compatible with Windows and Linux and Mac can be coaxed into working as well.

  • The complexity seems to be wanting to swap inputs between split screens. If you give up that requirement, and simply say that input is tied to screen1, then there is an easy solution: a regular KVM for screen 1 with the first video output of each computer, and a simple HDMI switch on screen2 with the second video output of each computer.

    Whatever computer you put on screen1 controls it, and you can then set screen2 to whichever computer you like.

  • Me too (Score:2, Redundant)

    by Tailhook ( 98486 )

    I've looked at some expensive KVMs, software control of display inputs and other stuff. Bottom line is no, there isn't a good solution of this. There are a bunch of limited, glitch-prone things you can do, but what you're thinking of doesn't exist yet.

    My expectations for such a system are as follows; connect an number or computers (3-4 minimum) in arbitrary ways to a number of displays (4, minimum) and a set of input devices, without a.) lag b.) glitches c.) limitations on resolution, refresh, etc. Lag

  • I used to have a similar setup at my old place (though without a dock for the laptop, and adding a TV as an occasional tertiary display). While I agree that some sort of smart KVM would be ideal, this is a case where it's best to keep it simple. There's no need to spend $$$ when all you need to do is be smart about what you connect, and press a few extra buttons to switch displays.

    My approach was something as follows:
    - 4 Port KVM Switch (USB-capable, $20 from newegg)
    - 2x Monitors, 1x TV, 2x Desktops, 1x L

  • But here's the kicker; I'd like at least 4 modes of operation: one mode to output PC1 video to both screens (dual-screen) and redirect INPUTS to it, one mode to output PC2 video to both screens (dual-screen) and redirect INPUTS to it, one mode to output PC1 video to SCREEN1, extend DOCK1 video to SCREEN2, and redirect INPUTS to DOCK1, and one mode to output PC1 video to SCREEN1, extend DOCK1 video to SCREEN2, and redirect INPUTS to PC1.

    You don't need an advanced KVM switch, you need medication.

  • Just do what I do, get one of these [amazon.com], and use monitors with at least three inputs. There's actually quite a few that do DVI, HDMI, and either Mini DisplayPort or VGA.

    But oh noes, you'll have to change the monitor inputs individually. No KVM is going to let you swap them independently of the keyboard/mouse, at least not one that costs less than a whole computer, which poses the question - why are you fetishizing your laptop? What can you possibly run on it that won't run on the desktop PCs? And if it is so im

    • But oh noes, you'll have to change the monitor inputs individually.

      Hmmm ... but how often do you do it every day?

      I've got two monitors, two computers (laptop and desktop), and a cheap Belkin Flip KVM -- not nearly as complicated as the poster. My laptop is work, my desktop is my own stuff.

      My laptop is on the left, and when I use the KVM the middle screen mirrors the main screen of the laptop (bigger, and right in front of me), or is the left screen of the desktop -- the right screen is always my desktop's

  • It sounds to me like you need TWO kvm switches.

    One with a keyboard and mouse attached to it, and one monitor. The other would be just video -- or you could even use a cheap HDMI switch for this one.

    This would allow you to have the keyboard and mouse tethered to one monitor, while the other monitor was independent.

    For extra-fancy operation, you could even use an HDMI splitter to have the same video input going to both switches, if you needed to.

    The only down side is two separate boxes to control, but you co

  • I suggest 1 cheap kvm, 2 hdmi switches, and a few hdmi port mirrors.

    kvm1 manages your keyboard to input...

    1 - dock input
    2 - pc1 input
    3 - pc2 input

    hdmi switch 1:

    dock video1 to screen1 left splitt
    pc1 video 1 to screen1 (left split)
    pc2 video 1 to screen 1 (left split)

    hdmi switch 2:

    dock video 1 to screen2 (right split)
    dock video 2 to screen2
    pc1 video 1 to screen2 (right split)
    pc1 video 2 to screen2
    pc2 video 1 to screen2 (right split)
    pc2 video 2 to screen2

    This setup lets you put any video 1 on the first screen,

  • You can use a Dual DVI, 4 port switch like SV431DD2DUA (which is cheaper then ATEN ). Hook up the MON1 and MON 2 to the outputs of the KVM. Use a 3 way splitter for the DVI of PC 1: INPUT1 PORT1, INPUT1 PORT3 and INPUT1 PORT4, The PC 2 is a straight connection to each of the DUAL DIV INPUT1/2 PORT2, Connect the DOC output using a splitter to INPUT2 PORT3 and INPUT2 PORT4. Connect the USB out from PORT1 and PORT3 to PC1 Connect the USB out from PORT2 to PC2 Connect the USB out from PORT4 to DOC. Now ports
  • Cheapest solution possible (short of just going with VNC), and arguably the most flexible as well:

    1) Get a normal 4-way KVM switch for your mouse and keyboard.
    2) Get two monitors that support three inputs each (most do anyway these days).
    3) Make sure all your PCs/laptops support dual monitors (again, almost ubiquitous).

    Then just use the monitors' source selection to pick what you have on any given screen, and the dirt-cheap normal KVM to pick which box gets to have a keyboard.

    Quite likely, your exis
  • Are the point you want to separate displays between two machines, you deviate from what KVMs are designed for. It comes down to what you want to spend. I'd suggest you get an HDMI matrix with at least 5 inputs (PC1 1&2, PC2 1&2 and Laptop) and 2 outputs (screen 1 & 2), and then get a separate USB switch. Finally you need control to link them together (unless you really want to switch them manually). If you get IR controllable HDMI matrix and USB switch, something like a Logitech Harmony should e
  • One has the KVM, the other just switches monitors, done. You'd have the inputs tied to only one monitor at all times, but would that really matter? Instead of extending the dock to display two and redirecting input, you'd extend it to display 1 and redirect input. Cheap and easy.

    This seems to cover the "basically I want to . . . " part of the original post just fine.

  • All three of your computers have dual monitor output. You have 2 monitors.

    Put a 3+ computer KVM on each monitor, connect each computer to both KVMs.

    The only drawback is you would have to press buttons on KVMs to change you modes, you wouldn't be able to use the keyboard shortcuts keys that some KVMs support.

  • Sound's to me like you're ready for virtualisation at a professional scale.

    Why don't you just swap all your PC trinkets for one single extremely powerfull box and a single big fat screen and virtualize all the rest?

    And with powerfull I'm talking 3+GHz Quad-Core i7, 32GB of RAM and a 1 TB SSD or something.
    And by big screen I'm talking extra wide [lg.com], as in, seriously *extra* *wide*.

    I'm using a pimped out Cirrus 7 Nimbus [cirrus7.com], which has those sort of performance specs and runs completely fanless. ... And it's pretty s

  • I've got a similar setup: 2 HDMI monitors, (TVs, actually,) 2 desktop computers, and a portable in a doc.

    The two desktops are each display out to the two monitors.
    The dock outputs to the main monitor.
    I also have a 4-port USB SWITCH, (a cheap, Chinese model, ~$5,) with push-button selection, connection a USB-hub (keyboard, mouse, etc) to each computer (& the dock.)

    With no further expense, switching controls and monitors is very simple, albeit with two commands on two controls.
    I imagine I could
  • Unless you want to drop hundreds of Dollars for a matrix switch take a look at the 3 PC Monoprice KVM 131DA. I use it with great success. It can switch most inputs separately, but supports only one DVI channel. I looked into dual screen KVMs and while they exist they are prohibitively expensive. I connected the second monitor on one PC directly via DVI and from the second computer directly via VGA. The VGA from the third computer goes to the first monitor, but I very rarely use it because both signals go to

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