Extend the reach of my PC - KVM?
January 30, 2004 8:44 AM   Subscribe

I am thinking about getting a KVM so that I can move my PC tower further away from my desk. What kind of KVMs do you use and more importantly do they slow down gaming?

I want to start keeping the tower further up from the ground, instead of under my desk. I'm building a new AMD 64 3200+ based system, and I need good airflow to keep the thing running nearly silent (thanks to SPCR) and so I want to place it such that it's a lil raised from the floor, but I don't have enough clearance under my desk, so in order to get that to work, I think I need a KVM.
posted by riffola to Computers & Internet (13 answers total)
avoid any and all budget models. They are prone to wierd syncing problems that strike after 1-3 hours of use.

This app, VNC is a free and very effective alternative, requiring only that the the two systems are networked, either locally or over the net. Very secure, very handy.
posted by Fupped Duck at 8:54 AM on January 30, 2004

This is my main system, so if I were to run VNC, it would be on this sytem.
posted by riffola at 9:06 AM on January 30, 2004

Why not just a set of ps2 and VGA extension cables?
posted by mrbill at 9:46 AM on January 30, 2004

I didn't know you get seperate extension cables. I'll look into it. Thanks!
posted by riffola at 10:26 AM on January 30, 2004

i have a belkin something or other (omni-cube?) at home, and it's a bit of a nuisance. sometimes i can't access one machine if another is turned off, for example, and sometimes it gets stuck on one machine and won't change until it's powered off (and left to stand!).

however, that's with a mix of linux and windows boxes. maybe it's better with just windows.
posted by andrew cooke at 10:49 AM on January 30, 2004

be careful plugging/unplugging keyboards in powered on machines. it shouldn't matter, but some machines don't like it (maybe this was just a problem with dells about 6 years ago? - we blew a couple of mobos at work!)
posted by andrew cooke at 10:52 AM on January 30, 2004

Definitely extension cables.
posted by scarabic at 10:54 AM on January 30, 2004

Umm, yeah, VNC requires a password and is probably more secure than say telnet, but its traffic isn't encrypted, and it really isn't that secure. If you want to run VNC over an untrusted network (such as the internet), the best solution would be to pipe it through an SSH tunnel. See the how-to.
posted by thebabelfish at 12:14 PM on January 30, 2004

You can't game over VNC though.. I would get the Iogear GCS14, or if you can spend some more money, the excellent Linksys SVIEW04 - gaming is awesome, I have 3 machines, all locked away in a closet, and the monitor, mouse etc all on my desk.
posted by ac at 1:33 PM on January 30, 2004

I use a Belkin Omni View SE 4-port with my home setup. It's obviously intended for servers -- you can rackmount the KVM, and you can daisy chain four of them into banks, which is something I'm not exactly trying to do at my desk. Still, I've noticed zero problems with gaming. The switch hotkey for this unit is Scroll Lock, which is good for gamers. My work KVM uses Control, which is great when you're programming but lousy when you're smacking your coworkers down in UT.

Unless you have a host of machines you want to tame, a KVM is a lot of unnecessary expense. It's not just the box, either. With four computers the cabling becomes a noticeable financial hit.
posted by amery at 3:26 PM on January 30, 2004

"...getting a KVM so that I can move my PC..."

Hang on a second. You want to move the box and keep the head (the human interaction bits that sit on your desk) in the same location, not add a second box to the same head? A KVM switch is useless for this purpose. A KVM switch is for allowing you to switch the head from one box to another. What you want are longer cables.

If you really are adding another box to the same head, spring for a Black Box ServSwitch. It's very much worth the $500 or so you'll spend if you really need a KVM switch.

Every Belkin and bargain KVM switch I've used (and that's several from the cheapo unpowered A/B switches to the fancier ServSwitch analogs) has failed or caused problems with at least one of the devices attached. Saving money by buying a cheap KVM switch just costs money when you have to replace one or more motherboards because the PS2 ports are shot, or when your monitor croaks from being fed bad signal.
posted by majick at 7:55 AM on January 31, 2004

amery: Play with your work switch's configuration menu. You ought to be able to choose another switch key by poking around in the menu on any decent KVM switch.

Everyone else: Insist on this feature!
posted by majick at 7:59 AM on January 31, 2004

I'll get cable extensions. Thanks!
posted by riffola at 8:04 AM on January 31, 2004

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