Latest Toy

When I had my last PC hard drive failure, I also had my KVM switch die at the same time. A KVM is this little switching box that allows you to connect two or more PCs to a single keyboard, mouse and monitor. In my small environment, while I like to play with multiple PCs at the same time, I don’t want the expense or clutter caused by multiple keyboards, mice and monitors.

I had used a Belkin device for years and went on the Internet with the expectation of getting another. However when I did my investigation, I see that technology has improved a lot and there were other options. I wound up getting the iogear 4-port USB KVM. There were several things I liked about it.

The first thing that caught my eye was its nice appearance. You can see that it has been designed to resemble the Apple Mac Mini. One of the things I have been thinking about is getting a Mac Mini, but I don’t want to get rid of my other PCs.

The second thing I noticed was the iogear did not need external power since it was powered by the USB connection. That makes connecting it a breeze. You can see from this photo that this box is capable of connecting up to four PCs. It comes with the cables for two already attached and includes two other cable sets.

The third thing was that it also allowed me to switch my speakers to the PC I was using. It only supports stereo speakers and not five channel, but that is good enough for what I need. My old Belkin device did not switch the speakers.

I considered a more expensive iogear that I could have connected some other USB devices to and in turn have them available to all PCs. Since I was going to have to order this from the US and pay shipping and duty to get it here, I decided not to do the upgrade. Besides, since this switching unit is USB oriented, I was going to have to get a new USB keyboard and mouse so I already had more expense.

I spent some time looking for a USB English keyboard and mouse. I went to three stores that sold keyboards, but most were not USB and all were Spanish. I finally went to INFOX expecting to have Alex order me what I needed from Panama and found out that he had a Logitech wireless English keyboard with integrated wireless mouse. That means I have less wires and more freedom of movement with both mouse and keyboard.

That is what I bought. It works like a charm. You enter a couple of keyboard commands to switch from one PC to another. I love it. I now have Linux and Windows running again. And I am set up to add a Mac Mini sometime in the future.

4 thoughts on “Latest Toy

  1. Don Ray,

    Your KVM switch puts mine to shame ;)! Do you have any problems with keyboard control of you Linux system during boot up? I use a PS/2 to USB converter between my Linux laptop and the PS/2 KVM switch, and I don’t have keyboard control until well after GRUB (Grand Unified Bootloader) loads.

  2. I just went over to the Linux system, did a boot, and entered the BIOS setup with no problem. I assume that is as about as much before GRUB as I can get.

    After using the Belkin for several years, this new KVM switch blows the Belkin away. I like the keyboard switching. You have a lot of switching options too, such as being able to switch the sound to a different PC than the keyboard and mouse.

    It cost me to get it to Panama, but I am happy with the purchase.

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