Updated: May 23, 2015

KVM Switch Reviews:

Imagine the god-like power of controlling multiple computers from your very own console. It is yours with KVM switches. A KVM switch allows you to control different computers from one console, which is the collective name for your keyboard, video display monitor, and mouse. With a simple flick of the switch (or a click of the mouse), you can change control to another computer. Is a KVM switch a necessity for every computer user? Not at all - many people don't even know what they do and never need to. But if you do need more control without more peripherals, the KVM device is a necessity. This guide will discuss the uses of KVM switches, as well as some top brands to consider.
kvm switches


Who Uses KVM Switches? - A KVM switch is useful to anyone who has to handle more than one computer. Why would you need to do this? Say you have a computer that you use for work. This is your scholarly computer, with your documents and files. And then you have your gaming computer that requires a much bigger hard drive, memory, and speed. Instead of having two completely separate set-ups, you use one keyboard, display monitor, and mouse for both. You simply plug the appropriate cables into your KVM device, which looks very much like your wireless router. This allows you to switch from one computer to another. You do not need 2 keyboards, monitors, and mice. Nor do you have to unplug all of these things and then connect them to the other computer if you want to switch. It is a time-saver, money-saver, and space-saver. You will also see them in data centers where administrators have to handle multiple systems or in businesses where some employees use more than one computer but only needs one monitor, keyboard, and mouse. Finding the Right KVM Switches - The right KVM switch will depend on your needs: do you want to connect your gaming computer and your work computer? Or do you want to connect a few hundred computers for a data center? You can find commercial KVM switches that can "daisy chain" or "cascade" and connect thousands of computers. You can find models on the market that accommodate up to 32 computers, but the average model can accommodate 2 or 4. Other features to look for in a KVM switch include:

*Easy set-up and use. A plug-and-play KVM switch allows you to get up and going easily and quickly.
*Hot-plugging. This means that you can add or remove computers without shutting down your KVM or computers.
*Compact design.
*Support with microphone, audio, wireless keyboard, and mouse.
*Ability to daisy chain to accommodate multiple computers (up to 4000 - this isn't going to be a necessary feature for everyone).
*Compatibility with all major operating systems
*VGA and DVI video connections
*Built-in firmware for upgrades
*Distant control up to 500 feet
*IP remote access
*Password security
*Autoscanning function to look for all connected computers.
*Ability to control USB, Sun, or PS/2 computers

You can browse the best selling KVM switches here.


Best KVM Switches:

A name you'll see again and again as you search for a KVM switch is IOGear. This brand consistently shows up on "best of" lists and scores very well with consumers. The IOGear 2-PORT USB KVM Switch GCS22U is a top choice of consumer sites Wize and BestCovery. The GCS22U 2 port KVM switch is designed to allow you to connect a VGA monitor, USB mouse, and USB keyboard for use between two computers. It is compatible with multiple operating systems, including Mac, Windows, and Sun. Because of the fantastic ease of use and ability to connect only two systems, the IOGear KVM switch is considered "entry level." It features a manual switch, wired remote controller, and plug-and-play use. No additional software or cables are needed, and the switch runs off USB power. This is a basic model that will do a great job with two systems, and the price is right at $20. IOGear has a selection of well-reviewed products so you can find what you need whether you have the newest-just-off-the-assembly-line computer or you want to use an older mouse and keyboard and still have DVI support. View all the IOGear switches here. In addition to IOGear, Aten, and StarTech, other top names to look out for include Belkin, Trendnet, ConnectPro, and Tripp Lite. If you need more than one computer in your life, you will find the KVM switches are your best ally in saving money, time, and space. Best Buy and other computer electronics stores also carry these products.


4 Port KVM Switches:

The price increases as you look for KVM switches that can accommodate more systems and that support DVI. With that in mind, let's look at another BestCovery top pick: the StarTech SV431DVIUA 4 Port DVI Audio USB KVM. This port KVM switch is an affordable choice that has the capacity to connect up to four USB-enabled, DVI capable computers. BestCovery praised not only its competency, but its price as well, saying that it is quite difficult to find this kind of quality in the DVI KVM marketplace that sells for under $200. This one sells for $165. Consumer research site TestFreaks gave the Aten CS-1764A KVM Switch a "Freak" score of 9.6 out of 10, calling it a "great deal." A Newegg reviewer said while it was pricy, it was "flawless." The 4 port KVM switch has a lot going for it: it combines 4 ports with a 2 port USB hub and an interface for DVI. One USB console controls up to 4 computers and 2 more USB devices, allowing for tremendous versatility. The Aten features DynaSync technology for optimal display resolution, power-on detection (if one computer is powered off, the switch moves to the next powered-on computer), hotkeys for computer selection, 2.1 channel sound, support for Windows 2000/XP/Vista, Linux, Mac, and Sun, digital and analog monitor support, HDCP compliant, auto scan mode, and upgradeable firmware (via USB). Considering that good 4 port KVM switches are regularly priced over $200, the price tag is not so steep. The Aten is a bit under $190.