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Best and cheapest KVM switch.

Posted on 2006-11-06
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Last Modified: 2008-03-10
Hey everyone, I'm looking for your opinion on which KVM switch I should buy. I need an 8-port switch that will work well with windows xp and linux. The switch must allow for video, keyboard, mouse and hotkeys. I'd like the switch to be able to support daisy-chaining and rack mount style. The first person that can find me the cheapest yet best switch will gain the points. I'm looking for links with prices, this can be on ebay or other channels, included cables are of course a plus.
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Question by:JPERKS1985
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17 Comments
 
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Expert Comment

by:jasonr0025
ID: 17886848
Belkin has a great switch.  It offers usb as well as ps/2 support, daisy chain, rack mountable and works well with my mix of 2003 sbs, standard, enteprise, red hat, and one old linux box running IPcop.  
Here is manufacturers link http://catalog.belkin.com/IWCatProductPage.process?Product_Id=160661
here is better price (2nd and 3rd on list unless you want one with a built in lcd screen, if so check out the first one in list.)(pricey but very nice if space is concern) http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.asp?N=2050290143+1112809018&Submit=ENE&SubCategory=143
One drawback which you will find with some other brands (linksys 8 port) is that belken requires the use of their cables
link to the 6, 10, and 15 feet cables are below (check this with any brand you buy, some only offer one lenth)
http://catalog.belkin.com/IWCatProductPage.process?Product_Id=260059
good luck
Jason
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Expert Comment

by:jasonr0025
ID: 17886850
almost forgot--supports hotkeys and manual switching---:}
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Expert Comment

by:darrenakin
ID: 17887065
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Author Comment

by:JPERKS1985
ID: 17887365
sorry i meant to say this one  


http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16812107268

People say I will need to use USB type cables for my linux machines. Have you ran into this?
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Expert Comment

by:kode99
ID: 17887501
I like the Startech KVM's simple and solid,  small and can cascade(daisy chain) up to 64 computers.  Hot plugging allowed,  works with pretty much anything.

Nothing fancy but does the job,  all PS/2 though.  
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16817183319

Cables
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16812200005


The above unit is out of production and replaced with this one, which adds USB
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16817183311

Cables,
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16812200003
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by:JPERKS1985
ID: 17887530
does it work with linux well?
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Expert Comment

by:Kerem ERSOY
ID: 17888297
Hi,

In fact if you're buying a KVM switch there are severalthings you should look for.

- The lowest level KVM's don't have OSD funcitonality.
- Go for a KVM swwitch which supports OSD functionality.
- Then som KVM's permit you to display  KVM Label transparently and KVM label is always visible but transparend yet some others just display the label for a while.
- Some KVMs allow the use of Mouse along with arrow keys
- Generally all KVM switches theoritacally allow cascading versus Daisy Chaining. But Daisy Chaining is of course better.


In my experience I've never had a problem with Linux/XP/2000/2003/AIX/Solaris with a KVM switch. 'f ou're using Solaris,AIX etc all you have to do is to match the sreen resolution that is all. In the past KVM's were sold as UNIX/ Windows compatible but now and especially with the introduction of USB Kbd / Mose there areno such problems even wth PS/2

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Expert Comment

by:jasonr0025
ID: 17889295
Jperks, that is the right cable for the belkin.  I didn't have to use the usb on my redhat machine but I did have to use usb on my older linux (mandrake) box.  But all in all this is one of the best ones I have used.
Thanks
Jason
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Author Comment

by:JPERKS1985
ID: 17892070
whats the difference between

BELKIN OmniView F1DA108T KVM Switch with On-Screen Display - Retail  

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16817107309

and

Belkin Components
BELKIN OmniView PRO2 F1DA108T-B 8-Port KVM Switch with On-Screen Display - Retail

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16817107357

???
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LVL 9

Expert Comment

by:jasonr0025
ID: 17892692
I two noticed that they are the same.  Belkin now makes the pro2 model which replaced the standard omniview.  From what I can tell there is only refienments in functinality and compatability.  
If 40 dollars isn't much I would still go with the pro2 model to get the newest standards--also I think that the pro2 model supports web updates whereas the standard execpts them by serial interface only.
Hope this helps
Jason R
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Expert Comment

by:brakk0
ID: 17892741
I have the 4 port Zonet and HATE it for two main reasons.

1. it uses the num lock key instead of the scroll lock key to switch. If you like to switch computers using the keyboard and you use the 10-key pad for anything, the num lock status ends up never being where you want it since it often gets changed in the process of switching ports. (and you pretty much have to use the keyboard since you can't fit it anywhere near your keyboard. see #2)

2. the cables come out all 4 sids of it, so it's like an octipus on your desk and takes up a HUGE amount of space. No matter where you put it, it will create a mess of cables and there is no good way of managing them.

I've used several belkins in the past and they are always good.
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by:JPERKS1985
ID: 17893065
jason,

so http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16812107268 will connect my keyboard,mouse and video?
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Accepted Solution

by:
jasonr0025 earned 2000 total points
ID: 17893233
yes,
but If you want ps/2 connections you can use this cable
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16812107201
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Author Comment

by:JPERKS1985
ID: 17893572
thank you sir.
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Author Comment

by:JPERKS1985
ID: 17893663
I just orderd the belkin pro2 with 4 usb packs.  This will be like XMAS.
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Expert Comment

by:jasonr0025
ID: 17895471
awsome, thanks for the grade and I hope you enjoy the product and get great use from it.
Thanks again
Jason
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