Good KVMs

A couple of years ago, I went through multiple KVMs trying to find one I could live with.

I wanted a 4-system KVM with support for DVI and USB. This was really hard to find, and the unit I settled on (Aten CS-1764) was pretty expensive (over $200). There weren’t many units that fit the description (4 system/DVI/USB), and at least one that I bought (maybe two) were so flakey that I couldn’t tolerate them. The Aten has been ok - it has it’s own flakey issues, but I’ve adjusted to them.

About a month ago, though, I started getting keyboard repeat problems. About once for every three paragraphs of text I type, I get a random key repeat. It’s not the keyboard (same problem with other keyboards). Plugging the keyboard directly to a PC (avoiding the KVM) resolves the problem, but means I need multiple keyboards on my desk, and negates a cool KVM option (hotkeys to toggle between systems).

Has anybody found any KVMs they’ve been happy with lately? Do they work with wireless keyboards/mice? (I’m using wired, but would like to switch.)

I’ve been using Cybex/Avocent KVMs for a while now, and haven’t really had any major problems with them. There’s a bit more ghosting than I’d like on one system, but that won’t matter with DVI anyway. I haven’t tried any of their DVI/USB models though, just some older VGA/PS/2 ones, and they do tend to be on the more expensive side.

I’ve seen others recommend IOGear, but don’t have any personal experience with them yet.

Hah! My stupid Aten I got a while ago died too. First to go was the USB ports. The thing I hated most was switching needed to press both the USB and the system button. That’s way too much time. Also remember all USB hubs will mean a delay between typing + video switching because the usb needs to be reconnected. PS2 faster, but annoying to use.

I think the killer reason was it stated support for all 5 buttons which not all KVM’s handle.

I’ve purchased three different IOGears before the Aten. They work okay but as you can see, break fairly quickly.

have you tried using the keyboard through the normal USB slots instead of the keyboard-specific slot?

Aten is the OEM for IOGear.

Running the keyboard through the conventional USB slot on the KVM (rather than the keyboard specific slot) does seem to resolve the key repeat issue.

Unfortunately, it increases the time to switch from about 2 seconds (1 second to press key sequence, 1 second for switch to occur) to about 10 seconds (3 seconds to move my hand to the kvm mounted on the side of the desk, then hold button in for 5 seconds, then 2 seconds to move hand back). Annoying, but probably acceptable.

A while back I was doing a search for the perfect KVM. It had reprogrammable hotkey-switching so you won’t switch while playing an FPS by mistake. Unfortunately it was reviewed by Tom’s Hardware (untrustworthy), and it was Fujitsu of Europe so no real way to buy it here.

Features needed:


Physical buttons to quickly switch (ONE button, not two)
Switching must have discrete - i can get from 1 to 3 directly instead of pressing switch twice and waiting for the inevitable lag.
Reprogrammable hotkey. Or some nice plus like Control-Alt-Console#.

Costs under $500. Otherwise I’m just going to get two extra monitors and run synergy / multiplicity.

Just stay away from Belkin. I have two of them and both are pretty flakey POS and way over priced.

I also have a Linksys (works ok but video quality is a bit lacking), and this dirt cheap airlink 4 port with cables for only $30 that works ok. It’s a cheap Fry’s brand.

Yeah haven’t found a perfect KVM yet at a reasonable price but I haven’t been looking either. You just learn to live with the quirks.