The MoniSwitch Pro DVI DL (for DVI + USB) KVM switch from Dr. Bott is a great solution for those needing to share up to four computers with one display, keyboard and mouse. I use it to to switch back and forth between my PowerMac G5 and my MacBook Pro, especially when I have the latter booted into Windows via Boot Camp.
Firstly, letis look at what a KVM (Keyboard, Video, Mouse) switch does. You plug one mouse, one keyboard, and one display into the "out" ports on the device, and then you plug up to four computers into it via one USB cable and one video connector -- DVI in this case -- per computer. A switch on the device allows you to switch between computers, automatically making your keyboard, display, and mouse active on the computer you have chosen.
For those who have to -- or want to -- manage multiple computers, this makes that task immensely easier. For those with limited desk space, it can be even more important.
The MoniSwitch Pro DVI DL (for DVI + USB) KVM switch from Dr. Bott
(Photo courtesy of Dr. Bott)
The MoniSwitch Pro DVI DL
As for Dr. Bottis MoniSwitch Pro DVI DL, itis built by Mac people for Macs, and thatis something I always appreciate. The package comes with the switch, four USB cables and four DVI cables for connecting each computer, and a power supply. It also has a label for naming the four configurations that are other named A, B, C, D.
It supports video resolutions of up to 2560 x 1600, big enough for a 23" or 30" Cinema Display. This might be important to you, as most (read: all) of the cheaper DVI KVM switches on the market only support lower video resolutions, and this is one of the things you will want to check if youire shopping for a KVM switch.
The device also seamlessly supports all of the mice and keyboards I worked with throughout the review. Switching between 1 and 2 (I was testing it with two Macs, as noted above) took me back and forth from each Mac without any hiccups.
I also used it when booted into Windows on the MacBook Pro, and again, it worked smoothly, allowing me to move from the Windows/MacBook Pro to the PowerMac G5 in Mac OS X. Note that Windows sometimes needs a few seconds to re-recognize the mouse and keyboard, as it seemed to forget them when the device was switched to the other Mac -- something that never happened when both Macs were booted into Mac OS X.
The only "complaint" about this product I could come up with was that I wish the switch itself felt a bit more...hefty, for lack of a better word. The device as a whole feels solidly constructed, and wonit move when you reach over to turn the switch -- something that is more significant than you might realize, as it means you donit need two hands to turn it -- but a tighter feel to the switch mechanism would give it an even better, well, feel. As this doesnit affect use in any way, itis a small quibble.
I looked for KVM switches that would handle my resolution needs for some time, and the MoniSwitch Pro DVI DL was one of the few that supported my 23" Cinema Display, let alone the resoluton needed for a 30" display (2560 x 1600).
[Update: A reader noted the VGA-solution from Iogear called the Iogear GCS634U MiniView 4-Port USB KVM Switch, which lists for $129.99 ($74.99 - Amazon). That device doesnit include DVI support, but does include support for resolutions up to 2048 x 1536. A DVI version of IOGEARis line with support for 1920 x 1200 is priced at $349.99 ($189.99 - Amazon). I have not tested either of these devices.]
Better yet, it does what it is supposed to do smoothly. I used the ADB version of the MoniSwitch product line many years ago, and it, too, functioned flawlessly. Accordingly, I can give a hearty recommendation for this product.