KVM switch shares monitor, mouse, and keyboard between Macs and Windows PCs

“As personal computers become more affordable, consumers are finding it financially feasible to use two or more PCs side by side. This allows for more flexibility, such as storing memory-gobbling music and digital photos on one desktop while using the other for everyday tasks like email and word processing,” Walter S. Mossberg reports for The Wall Street Journal.

“Some people might want to keep sensitive, work-related documents on one machine, freeing up another for the kids to use. Or, fearing viruses and spyware, more and more folks are keeping their sensitive files on one PC that isn’t connected to the Internet, and using a second, connected PC for online tasks,” Mossberg reports. “And thanks to Apple Computer’s $499 Mac mini computer, many curious Windows users and long-time Mac owners alike have purchased the company’s most inexpensive computer as a companion to a main PC.”

“But these added computers extract hidden costs, beyond the price of the extra PC itself. They normally require their own monitor, keyboard, mouse and speakers, and they can double the desktop space devoted to computing — space not every home has to spare,” Mossberg reports. “There is a creative solution to this problem. It’s technically possible to run two (or more) computers — even mixed combos of Windows and Macintosh machines — using a single, shared monitor, mouse,

Mossberg reviews a number of KVM solutions in his full article here.
For our Windows-only friends: If you’re considering adding a safe, powerful, elegant, and fun Mac OS X machine to your computing arsenal, information about how to do so smoothly, can be found here. For inexpensive entry to the Mac platform, you might want to take a look at Apple’s new Mac mini which starts at just US$499 — it just might be the perfect machine for you.

Related MacDailyNews articles:
Mossberg: Adding a Mac mini? Get a KVM switch to share your keyboard, video, mouse – January 31, 2005

10 Comments

  1. I have run OS9/OSX/Windoze/Linux and have not been satisfied with relying totally on KVM. Even the more expensive KVM switches get confused sometimes and can interrupt the flow of work when it stops responding to the keystrokes to switch consoles.

    Nice try but no cigar.

  2. “Ok seriously, is this REALLY a news article about KVMs? *blink*”

    No… It’s a story about a Walt Mossberg column. And, believe it or not, regardless of your knowledge base, there is a high percentage of computer users that will find KVM “New” and “Wow”. If one has never before had the need of more than one PC at their desk, one would never have a need of learning about KVM. I only learned about them 5 years ago, but I’m sure they had been around a long time before they came into my sphere of conciousness.

  3. Y’know, I’ve looked at KVM switches and they seem…well…ugly, clunky, expensive, and just sort of embarassing. Ones that cost $70 look like about $5 of spare electronic parts incorporated into the ugligest possible cheap plastic. They might be efficient or whatever, but when I hold one in my hand I feel like I’m holding the computer equivalent of a cow turd.

  4. Yes, this is BIG NEWS! Previous DVI KVM switches were in the $400-500 range, and now these are going for $175 at Newegg.com! (I don’t work for them, just a satisfied customer).

    Hoo boy this is great! Now I can run my PC on my 23″ Cinema Display!

  5. Cheap solution to same problem if you have a home network or crossover cable.

    Download UltraVNC on the PC. Configure as a Server.

    Download Chicken of the VNC on the MAC. Configure connection to the PC (you will need the IP address of the PC on your network)

    Configure resolution on both machines to the same.
    Go to full screen mode.

    Voila : PC running on Apple Cinema Display and Mouse.

    Key combination for switching back is CTRL-ALT-APPLE-` – try hitting that accidentally.

    Using it over 54g WiFi, the screen update is fast enough for any normal non-3D Windows app. I’ve run some videos in RealPlayer and OpenGL demos and they aren’t bad – not good enough for gaming, but everything else

    Next : Set PC BIOS to boot without a keyboard. Hide in cupboard or somewhere that will disguise the noise.

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