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Switcher Hangout The place for switchers to discuss their new machines, and how to work with OS X. General support can be had here for newbie stuff, like "How do I restart my new iMac?" :)

KVM Switch and PC/Mac Combo


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imanta
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I was hoping someone here could help. I am a "new" Mac user or a convert back after so many years, but my work makes it necessary to use a PC as well. I am hoping to find a KVM switch along with keyboard/mouse/monitor that will work well with both.

My Mac is a new 15 inch Powerbook and my PC is a Shuttle.

Thanks for the help and any suggestions.
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jessica
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How ironic, I was just coming here to search for this very question.
My assumption is that any KVM switch would work, but I am not 100% on that so I'll wait for the wiser ones to answer.
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rberry88

 
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Mac Specs: 17" Flat Panel iMac -15" 1.5GHz, 80GB HDD, 128MB ATI video card, 1GB RAM- PowerBook

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Just about any KVM switch will work, it all depends on brand preference and method of switching. I like the IOGear brand that works with USB
but they also have them with PS/2 connections. The IOGear switch back and forth (PC to Mac) by using a keystroke combination of NUMLOCK (CLEAR key on Mac keyboard) and the [-] (minus sign) key and then just hit the key 1 or 2 for the computer you want to switch to.

Looking for a PowerMac G4 for $500 or less USD.
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D3v1L80Y

 
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Yeah, just about any KVM switch will work. I use one at work all the time to switch between a PM G4 and a WinXP box since most of the clients I support at my job use both Mac and PC.

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mynameis

 
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If you are trying to switch a DVI monitor and USB peripherals, there are only 2 that I have found are one made by Apten(www.apten-usa.com) and one by Belkin(www.beklin.com). The Apten one I haven't seen for sale anywhere, it is fairly new. The Beklin one is pretty much soldout/backordered everyplace that carries it.
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Number6

 
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Wow, almost the exact question I was going to pose.....

I recently acquired a graphite G4 running Panther and am trying to incorporate it into my home network (4 W2k machines running off a PS/2 KVM). I've got a PS/2-USB converter that will allow me to connect the Mac istelf to the KVM, but I'd like to use the snazzy new Apple keyboard I also acquired to control the whole setup. I'm using a USB mouse with a PS/2 converter, so I know my KVM can accept "converted" signals, but when I connect my Apple keyboard to the KVM with an identical converter, nothing happens (although the Apple keyboard works just fine when i connect it directly to the individual Win machines).

I contacted the KVM vendor (Startech.com, KVM model KV411) about the problem and their response was:

"I regret to inform you that the Apple USB keyboards do not support any USB to PS/2 adaptor. You will not be able to use the Apple USB keyboard on any PS/2 KVM switch."

This sounded a bit fishy to me; are they trying to pass the buck or am I doomed? Am I going to have to explain to my wife why we need to spend another $150 or so for a new KVM?

-----------------
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EvoMac
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Actually any USB KVM switch should work without problems. I have run into many problems in the past (I am in IT) with PS2 KVM's and trying to use a USB to PS2 adapter. You dont have to spend $150 on a new KVM, there are some on ebay for like $50.00. Granted they are not a name brand, but it will work better then your PS2 to USB.
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djlee12

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by itloser
Actually any USB KVM switch should work without problems. I have run into many problems in the past (I am in IT) with PS2 KVM's and trying to use a USB to PS2 adapter. You dont have to spend $150 on a new KVM, there are some on ebay for like $50.00. Granted they are not a name brand, but it will work better then your PS2 to USB.
I own a custom built windows machine and a mac mini, and I use a Belkin KVM switch to switch between the two.

I wasn't able to get the HP printer (Which is hooked via USB to the Windows) to install on the mac over our network, so I found an old USB hub, plugged the mouse (which uses a ps/2 to usb converter), the keyboard, and the printer into the hub, then the hub into the KVM. Everything works fine with out a problem. All you do is hit the switch on the KVM and it switches the Speakers, Moniter, Keyboard, Mouse, and Printer between the two machines.

Only downside is that I can't use the DVI connection on my LCD. For awhile I didn't use the KVM to switch to the moniter so that I could take advantage of the DVI (Through the mini of course), but the family found it two difficult with more steps to switch between the machines, so now were running off of analog (Not a huge difference anyway).

Pretty flawless. Occasionally it wont switch properly, but that only happens every so often and is eaisly switched by switching back a forth once or twice.

DJ Lee

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jessica
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I just bought the Belkin KVM switch (2-port USB) and it was $25 on ebay. I am 100% it will suit my every need.
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EvoMac
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DjLee, I think you misunderstood what I was trying to say. I was just refering to compatablility issue in general of usb -> PS2. Most of the time it will work, but there is a greater fail rate then using USB to USB. Especially when you get responses like:

"I contacted the KVM vendor (Startech.com, KVM model KV411) about the problem and their response was:

"I regret to inform you that the Apple USB keyboards do not support any USB to PS/2 adaptor. You will not be able to use the Apple USB keyboard on any PS/2 KVM switch."

Being in IT, I've seen a lot more problems when you are forced to use an adapter then without one. Problems such as having to unplug / plug back in the device, randomly stops responding, certain keys dont function properly. If you have a ps2 kvm and it works with your current layout, that is very good. I was just saying that if you are in the same boat as NUMBER6 going with a USB is the best bet.. same applies for someone buying a new KVM, I don't think you would want to buy a PS2 KVM when you know that you will be using USB connections.
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djlee12

 
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Actually, I was just sharing my situation using the KVM. Sorry about that.

Anyway, the adapter I use is PS/2 to USB anyway. I agree, that your always more likely to run into problems when using an array of adapters. Use the audio analogy; the more adapters a plugs you use to transmit a signal, the lower the quality of your audio. Your best bet is to just use straight USB to USB. PS/2 will probably eventually become obsolete.

I hope that cleared things up a bit. Sorry.

DJ Lee

Watts Up Productions
www.wattsupproductions.com
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imanta
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As the starter of this thread, I have to say WOW and thnaks for the great feedback. I hit Fry's today and noticed I may have a problem and here is why and maybe someone can offer some alternatives.

I have:
- 15 inch Powerbook (DVI)
- Shuttle PC (VGA)
- Sony CRT 20 inch (VGA)
- USB Mouse/Keyboard


So my question is.... is there a way to use the VGA monitor on my Powerbook? An adaptor of some kind? I see the DVI/ADC thing on Apple's site, but there are also a ton of knockoffs... are there differences?

Thanks in advance to all the responders. You have been a huge help!
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warrenbert
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I have had the Belkin 2-port USB with audio support for about a month. It sometimes switches unexpectedly like it's possessed or something. Now I just keep my mac connected via DVI and my PC connected via analog and use the input menu on my monitor.

I'd like to know if there are better alternatives available. Has anyone tried the IOGear switches?

Why are the DVI switches so expensive?
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