Belkin F1DD104L SOHO KVM Switch with Audio and DL DVI Review
High Price: $446.76
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We needed this years ago
difference in how we do things around here. The advent of the 30" Dell
monitor, for example, let us test resolutions as high as 2560x1600.
The building of a NAS server allowed us to work with drive images and
benchmark more efficiently. I THOUGHT the Gefen 4x1 DVI DL KVM Switch,
the first on the market to support 2560x1600 resolutions with dual-link
DVI interfaces would be another such device; not so. The device was
plagued with problems and bugs, was expensive and required additional
accessories to even partially work as we expected.
For those without experience, a KVM (keyboard/video/mouse) switch is a
device intended to all a single monitor, keyboard and mouse
configuration to control multiple PCs without having rewire the
machines each time. Using a button or keyboard press you would be able
to move between each system so that you could use each independently.
Because I am constantly testing so many different pieces of hardware on
a regular basis, a KVM is a requirement - I actually have four distinct
test beds in my office attached to a single 30" Dell 3008WFP monitor
and Logitech keyboard/mouse combo.
Having been a user of various KVMs for years, problems arose when we
moved to the dual-link DVI 30" monitor because at the time there were
no KVMs that supported dual-link connections. The first one to do so
was a model from Gefen, a well-known professional-level device
manufacturer based in the US; the unit worked but had numerous
problems. First, it was expensive, still selling for more than $699
today. Secondly, it required the additional purchase of accessories
(another $70 or so each) called DVI Detectives that were used in pass through between the video
card and KVM connection in order for the monitor's ID to be properly
remembered and emulated; otherwise the PC would have to "rediscover"
the monitor each time you switched back to it which is both annoying
and can be problematic. Also, the Gefen unit did not provide USB
emulation meaning that each time you switched between PCs the computer
had to rediscover the USB devices (with the familiar Vista ba-dum and
dum-ba sounds). That also meant that some automated benchmarks would
not work or would lock up when switching between systems - a big drawback especially for a lot of CPU/platform based testing.
For years now I have DEALT with the issues and just happened to come across news about a Belkin device that claimed to fix all of these issues. Obviously I was eager to buy one and test it out.
The Belkin 4-port SOHO DL DVI KVM
Cable length is about 6ft and that SHOULD be enough for most users though you can always get longer cables from another source like MonoPrice.com.