USB/Monitor switch box thoughts

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  • edited December 1969
    Soooo I'll be the owner of a shiny new BellyButton G4 (wink Spam wink) real soon now, and I'll be buying a new computer desk as well. I'll have two monitors; a dual monitor setup in the G4 (GeForce2 MX and a V3) and a single monitor setup on the PowerCenter Pro (Xclaim VR).

    I got to thinking, what a pain in the arse it is to have two keyboards on the desktop at once. I'm already planning on buying a monitor switch... why not get a USB switch too?

    So I go trolling around and find 2- and 4-port USB K/V/M switch boxes, but their prices start around $85 US. Yech.

    Seperately, I can buy a 2-port monitor switch for about $10 US. I can also purchase a 3-to-1 USB switch for about $25 US along with a 4-port USB hub for about $29 US, or just have two USB switches (I want to have keyboard and mouse after all).

    Why are these combo USB and monitor switches more expensive? They say they're a hub and a switch in one... and that's fine... but why the extra price? Because it's contained in one box so there's less messing around?

    Some of them claim to have "USB sniffer technology"... what's that? Can there be problems switching between USB devices without this?

    Any ideas/feedback?

    --MuffinHead

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  • edited December 1969
    Re: USB/Monitor switch box thoughts

    Do you already have the monitors? I'm betting you do... but if not, look into something like what I have in front of me now: Mitsubishi Diamond Pro 900u (et al.). They have the USB hub built in and dual monitor connectors on the back. You then link each upstream USB port to a monitor connector via the onscreen setup. Then by hitting the key on the front of the montior to switch video inputs, you also get a swtich in your USB stream. Pretty nice...


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  • edited December 1969
    Re: USB/Monitor switch box thoughts

    Do you already have the monitors? I'm betting you do... but if
    not, look into something like what I have in front of me now:
    Mitsubishi Diamond Pro 900u (et al.). They have the USB hub
    built in and dual monitor connectors on the back. You then link
    each upstream USB port to a monitor connector via the onscreen
    setup. Then by hitting the key on the front of the montior to
    switch video inputs, you also get a swtich in your USB stream.
    Pretty nice...

    No I don't have the second monitor yet... so basically you're saying that the monitor acts like a switch itself? If so, that's pretty nifty. The model of monitor you have makes me think it's a 19", so can I get that on a 17" at a reasonable price?

    --MuffinHead

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  • edited December 1969
    Re: USB/Monitor switch box thoughts

    No I don't have the second monitor yet... so basically you're
    saying that the monitor acts like a switch itself? If so, that's
    pretty nifty. The model of monitor you have makes me think it's
    a 19", so can I get that on a 17" at a reasonable
    price?

    This line tended to be on the expensive side when I got it 2-3 years ago... but it wasn't my money :) I don't think they make a 17" but maybe some other vendor does...



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  • edited December 1969
    Choices, choices

    I don't know if I want to spend that much money on a monitor that does everything. Just too much.

    So I guess my choices are...

    - Buy a cheap monitor and a KVM switch (or a monitor switch and seperate switches for USB). Easiest way to go.
    - Buy a monitor with dual inputs and buy USB switches. Tough to find a dual-input monitor not in the 21"+ range. Would probably need to find one used.
    - Throw my hands up in the air, sell all my computer stuff, and go live in the forest. Also an easy way to go.

    I guess I'm leaning towards the first choice, and with that I may just opt for a fancy-schmancy KVM switch...

    I'm also not fond of a diet of roots and grubs.

    --MuffinHead

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  • edited December 1969
    good choice...

    If the choice is between the cheap box and the more expensive box, the more expensive box is the way to go. I don't have the time to go all into it, but essentially those KVM switches do a much better job of making sure the pins are switching at the exact same time. The cheapo boxes don't and they can mess up your machine/monitor. The USB sniffing means you won't confuse the machine(s) if you happen to plug/unplug a usb device in. It'll notify even not-on-at-the-moment machines that the usb device has been plugged in. Again, a good thing.

    Stay away from the cheapo mechanical boxes.

    - F

    Bungie Sightings
  • edited December 1969
    I'm confused...

    What are you trying to do?

    If you have two monitors, why do you need to switch between them? Why not just have one monitor hooked up to each box, then you can use them both at the same time? That's assuming you have plenty of space on your new desk.

    I don't have much space, so I'm using one of the $85 KVM switches to switch between my two Windows machines. Except I'm only using the K and the V because the KVM box doesn't support my Optical Multi-function mouse, so I have two mice.

    If you don't have much space, why not just get one big monitor and switch between the two machines?

    Are you talking about having a machine that has a monitor out but that you can't control when the KVM is switched to the other machine?


  • edited December 1969
    My Guess

    He's going to have one dual-headed machine and one single-headed machine, using only two monitors. That is, the larger monitor will be switched back and forth between the machines, along with the keyboard and mouse.

    This happens to be the same setup that I'm going to have once a cable I ordered gets here.

    Well, he's using the same keyboard and mouse for the two machines, while I'm using an independant set so that I can use them at the same time. This makes my solution much easier, as my monitor has dual inputs with a switch to go between them, so once I get a VGA->5BNC cable I'll be rocking.

    The question that I had, is why he's bothering to put money into being able to access his Powercenter Pro, which should be seriously outclassed by the G4. I'm doing the dual-computer setup so that I can easily go back and forth between the PC (gaming) and the Mac (everything else), and I'm not sure what the use breakdown would be between his two machines.

    Muffin, I'm sure you have a plan, but I'd be curious what it is if you don't mind sharing :)

    - Kodiak
  • edited December 1969
    You got it

    He's going to have one dual-headed machine and one single-headed
    machine, using only two monitors. That is, the larger monitor
    will be switched back and forth between the machines, along with
    the keyboard and mouse.

    Nail on da head.

    The question that I had, is why he's bothering to put money into
    being able to access his Powercenter Pro, which should be
    seriously outclassed by the G4. I'm doing the dual-computer
    setup so that I can easily go back and forth between the PC
    (gaming) and the Mac (everything else), and I'm not sure what
    the use breakdown would be between his two machines.

    Muffin, I'm sure you have a plan, but I'd be curious what it is
    if you don't mind sharing :)

    A ha, well, glad you asked, then.

    I use two machines currently. A PowerCenter Pro (as you alluded to before) and a PowerBase. The PowerBase is IDE-based, and it has a big 30 GB drive in it (bought from Freewilly) that houses my MP3 collection. It also runs an Xclaim VR card with a TV tuner (bought from Spammy) so I can watch TV in my room if I want to, while I'm working. I know, that sounds like a contradiction... 8)

    Anyway, since I'm getting a G4 soon, I told my nephew he could have my PowerBase, along with the 15" monitor I have attached to it (and some other goodies). So, my PCP will become my "second machine" and will house my MP3s (with the addition of a PCI IDE card), as well as that TV tuner, the CD burner that's in it, etc etc.

    Yes, a G4 outclasses a PCP... but I need a second machine so I can play music and play games at the same time. I've also invested a lot of money into that PCP so why give it up now? 8) If I want, I can keep it around in the future to run a server or something... a G3-based machine with 256 MB of memory is still a decent box, even if it can't run OS X. And, by buying a switchbox and a second monitor (already bought the monitor), if I ever upgrade machines again in the future, I can keep my switchbox and second monitor and just replace the CPU.

    --MuffinHead


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