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Thread: Can anyone recommend a decent 4 port KVM

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    mush-mushroom b0redom's Avatar
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    Can anyone recommend a decent 4 port KVM

    Don't care about PS2 - everything connected to it will be USB. I don't want really cheap and nasty, but I don't want to be paying £100s either. Anyone got one they can recommend?

    In case it makes any difference, it'll have:

    LeNovo ThinkPad (running XP)
    Macbook Pro
    iMac
    Fujitsu Siemens (running Linux / Windows 7)

    as clients and:

    USB Keyboard
    USB Mouse
    24" DVI/VGA monitor

    Cheers...

    b0redom

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    Senior Member oolon's Avatar
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    Re: Can anyone recommend a decent 4 port KVM

    Avocent. Be careful when you select a KVM some USB ones disconnect all the devices from one computer and connect them to the other. Other kvms Like the avocent, produce "fake" devices on every connected computer and route data. Never disconnecting anything. As to graphics you need to choice of you are going DVI-D or VGA, KVMs generally don't do both. If your going to DVI do you want Single or Dual link?
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    mush-mushroom b0redom's Avatar
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    Re: Can anyone recommend a decent 4 port KVM

    You mean something like:

    http://www.crescentelectronics.co.uk...h-4-ports.html

    Seems a bit steep. I guess I'd go with DVI over VGA as it's only the Thinkpad which uses VGA, and I can get a converter.

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    Re: Can anyone recommend a decent 4 port KVM

    Yes.... VGA is much cheaper... though, you could do what I do.... I use the KVM to switch the Keyboard and mouse and VGA for all my computers except my main one which i have a direct DVI on it, and use the monitor switch between VGA and DVI.

    VGA + PS/2 any old junk works!
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    Re: Can anyone recommend a decent 4 port KVM

    I use an Avocent 4 port DVI KVM - can recommend but it is expensive.

    I have used a Belkin 2 port VGA based switch before and found it reliable.

    Try this one

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B001C0GUC...SIN=B001C0GUCO

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    Re: Can anyone recommend a decent 4 port KVM

    I've got that avocent switch - bought 2nd hand on fleabay for about £30. It's ****mostly**** reliable but it's very choosey about wireless keyboards and wireless mice - sometimes they work and sometimes they don't. I gave up trying to find a wireless keyboard that worked with it reliably and eventually got a wireless logitech laser mouse that works all the time.
    Hibernation and sleep on windows 7 machines can cause problems where the graphics doesn't come back on but Vista and XP don't have any trouble.
    I used to use a belkin 4 port ps2/vga switch but the vga was the killer as the display was never very clear whereas the DVI display is crystal clear on all ports.

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    Senior Member watercooled's Avatar
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    Re: Can anyone recommend a decent 4 port KVM

    My Aten 2 port has been solid since I bought it a few years back and I'm pretty sure they do a 4 port version of the same thing too. You get a switch as usual but you can also type 'scroll,scroll,enter' to switch systems, or 'scroll,scroll,k,enter' to leave sound where it is and switch everything else, or 'scroll,scroll,s,enter' to switch only sound. I think there are a few more shortcuts but they're the ones I use most.

    @killi99: I wouldn't use a wireless keyboard anyway, I don't see the point since they don't have to move (usually) and they give you the added hassle of changing batteries. Also, I don't know of any that use more than some form of useless, simple XOR 'encryption'. Yeah, it's being paranoid, but there are enough people snooping WiFi, why not tap into your freely available keylogger?
    DVI is a digital interface so it will always be crystal clear, unless you fall off the 'digital cliff edge' and get nothing.

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    Senior Member oolon's Avatar
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    Re: Can anyone recommend a decent 4 port KVM

    The problem with USB KVM, is there are lots of kinds of keyboard, composite devices (Keyboard+mouse) etc. Either they are directly connected to the host computer, meaning an insertion event every thing the computer is changed or they support a limited number of devices.
    (\__/) All I wanted in the end was world domination and a whole lot of money to spend. - NMA
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    Re: Can anyone recommend a decent 4 port KVM

    I hope this Post is still Open.

    I have had TWO, 4 Way KVM switches to help organise my Mac/Wintel Home Network.

    Both worked well for several months, then the first one disabled all the USB ports on my Wintel Computers while leaving the Mac ports OK. The second, again after a few months, disabled the USB ports on the Macs, but left the Wintel ports OK.
    Both exhibited other contributors experiences of disliking certain Wireless Keyboards, but for security reasons, that wasn't a great problem, I just wired everything.

    Sadly I cannot remember the Brand Name of the first, and reading through 'Manufacturer Lists' has not recalled it. The second, surprisingly, is a D-Link, their products normally work well for me.

    I would be interested to hear if anyone has found a way around this problem, and can recommend a reasonably priced KVM Switch that NEVER disables any ports on its associated computers, because at the minute I have a cobbled-together work-around that would not disgrace a Heath-Robinson compendium.

    (In case it matters:- My Wintels are Core 2 duo, on ASUS Motherboards with 512 Mb ATI graphics, and the Macs are Core 2 Duo MacBook Pro, and Dual Quad Core on the Mac-Pro, both {I think} have ATI Graphics.
    All four machines have 8 Gig RAM.)

    Thanks to anyone who can help,

    Petra.


    {Newcastle United play their home matches at St James' Park, no matter what 'the label on the tin' says.}

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    Senior Member watercooled's Avatar
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    Re: Can anyone recommend a decent 4 port KVM

    Could you describe in more detail where the ports are being disabled exactly? Is it causing the ports on the PC itself to not work or is it a problem through the KVM?

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    Re: Can anyone recommend a decent 4 port KVM

    Quote Originally Posted by watercooled View Post
    Could you describe in more detail where the ports are being disabled exactly? Is it causing the ports on the PC itself to not work or is it a problem through the KVM?
    Dear watercooled,

    The USB ports on the Computers stop working, not peripherals connected to the KVM switch, the keyboard and mouse combo still worked.

    The first to go down was Wireless Headphones. Initially I blamed the Headphones, it was some time before I realised the USB ports had gone down. It was only when they came back UP after disconnecting the KVM switch, that I realised FULLY, they had been down, and the Headphones merely an innocent 'Collateral Damage' item.

    The second {DLink} switch initially killed a powered USB HUB, connected to the MacPro. Once again I blamed the hub at first, but then a few days/weeks later ALL the MacPro's USB ports began going down, and only came up again when I disconnected the MacPro from the KVM switch.

    Ironically the DLink, does not seem to affect the USB Ports on the Wintel machines, both of which are still attached to it, several months after disconnecting the MacPro.

    I hope this information helps.

    Petra.

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    Senior Member watercooled's Avatar
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    Re: Can anyone recommend a decent 4 port KVM

    It could be drawing too much power from the root hub, especially if it's host powered and you have a couple of USB devices attached through it. When the USB ports go down, does it definitely take all of them, including the front panel ports, for example?

    For a recommendation, I've been using an Aten KVM for years now and it hasn't skipped a beat. I have a VGA model but now have DisplayPort/HDMI outputs so it's only switching kb/mouse/audio but I haven't had any problems with it. The one 'issue' I noticed, back when I was using VGA, if you booted a PC while it wasn't selected, it would default to a very low resolution because the KVM doesn't properly emulate the connected monitor (I'm not sure if any do).

    I'll probably get around to getting a digital display KVM at some point but last time I checked they were still massively overpriced.

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    Re: Can anyone recommend a decent 4 port KVM

    Dear watercooled,

    Thanks for the prompt reply. {Sorry I was late with my previous one, several reasons, but mostly down to me.}

    It could be a power issue, my MacPro often has all its ports filled, but rarely ALL in simultaneous use. The USB hub that went down however, alerting me to the fact that a problem existed was powered. Then I found that the FRONT ports were down. With the previous experience of the original KVM switch behind me, I didn't bother checking any others, but just disconnected the DLink KVM switch straight away, and the MacPro's front USB ports came straight back up.

    Your comment about the VDU being physically connected is a pertinent one. I find that my Wintel machines insist on opening a default scale window if they are not currently selected when powered up, and even worse, do not list my monitors native resolution {1680 x 1050} as an option in the dialogue box when I try to change it. A 'Near Miss' {1600 x 1200 for instance} can cause BIG problems. If I do not notice in time, and change the size of a Window, the next time I log on, the resize tool in the bottom right hand corner may be off my screen, and it can be a real pain in the nether regions getting it back in view.

    I noticed that you were satisfied with the performance of your Aten Switch. May I ask, is it instantaneous? My First switch, the one that disabled the Wintel machine's ports after a few months, was sequential. You had to press the same button, and it moved the 'Active' switch port sequentially round the outlets.
    BUT
    EACH time you pressed the button, you were then 'Locked Out' for 15 seconds!
    Switch from one, realise you needed to perform one last thing BEFORE you switched and must go back to do it, and you had committed yourself to a minimum of a whole minute of waiting around contemplating the infinite/yournavel/priceoffish while the KVM switch plodded through its 'wait' routine!
    The DLink may not be any use for my MacPro, but at least it is instantaneous switching between my Wintel machines.

    I'll have a look at Aten 4 way switches, that might be the way forward if they switch instantaneously.

    BTW, is the Aten Windows Vista/7 compatible, My guess is yes, but the KVM Switch Direct Website does not list them.
    {OS Compatibiltiy:WIN98;WIN ME;WIN 2K;WIN 2003;WIN XP;LINUX;Mac OS 8.6/9/10 and SUN Solaris 8/9.}
    KVM Choice says they are discontinued ...... It just gets worse.

    {Paint on a smile, and remind myself it is Spring. :-)) }

    Regards,

    Petra.

    {Newcastle United play their home matches at St James' Park, no matter what 'the label on the tin' says.}

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    Senior Member watercooled's Avatar
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    Re: Can anyone recommend a decent 4 port KVM

    The root hub may not be capable of providing the full spec current to all ports simultaneously, or possibly the KVM combined with what's connected to it, is drawing more than 500mA from the port. What happens during overload depends on the motherboard, but I've seen systems resetting and as you describe, ports on the same root hub locking up.

    To troubleshoot the problem, try disconnecting anything but essential devices from both the computers and the KVM itself and see if it still happens.

    I obviously can't be certain about other models, but my Aten KVM does switch instantaneously, controllable with the switch or by pressing scroll-scroll-return on the keyboard. You could compare models on their website: http://www.aten.com/

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    Re: Can anyone recommend a decent 4 port KVM

    Dear watercooled,

    Thank you for all your help and advice.

    Later in the Summer I'm planning some revisions, and seriously considering an ATEN 4 Way switch will be on that agenda.

    Regards,

    Petra.

    {Newcastle United play their home matches at St James' Park, no matter what 'the label on the tin' says.}

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    Re: Can anyone recommend a decent 4 port KVM

    Dear watercooled, {again},

    I have now been on the Aten website through the link you kindly provided, and found a selection of switches that might suit, including the CS84U,

    'which eliminates boot-up display problems and optimizes resolution'.

    This does seem a distinct possibility to include in revisions.

    Again, thank you,

    Petra.


    {Newcastle United play their home matches at St James' Park, no matter what 'the label on the tin' says.}

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