KVM Switch/Docking Station for Macbook Pro w/ PC (Windows)

kittcg

Distinguished
May 6, 2004
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Does anybody have a recommendation on a KVM or Docking station that will allow me to share a keyboard and dual monitors between a gaming PC and a Macbook Pro?

I have been trying to read up online, but it hasn't given me very clear direction. As general information, I use the MBP for web development and getting a dev environment set up in Windows has been a headache when attempting to switch back and forth between the two different systems. It would be nice if I could just plug in the MBP, flip a switch and use the peripherals(keyboard w/ the monitors). Would be totally fine keeping a second mouse to use with the MBP for swipe capabilities and just share the keyboard and monitors. A decent mechanical keyboard would be nice, but at this point, I'm fine with just a decent keyboard that would work with both MacOS and Windows.

Would like to spend as little as possible, but quality would take priority if I could keep it under $300-$400US. Seems like there is a massive range from cheap KVM switches at < $50 all the way up to hubs and docks that are several hundred dollars.
 

Cloudy1

Estimable
Jan 21, 2016
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I know this thread is a couple of weeks old but....

May I suggest if you are still around and looking for an answer a software based alternative that might possibly suit your needs:

I've been using Synergy for about 5 years and at the moment have it set up with a desktop and three laptops using Windows 7, 8.1, 10 and Ubuntu with seamless control of keyboard and mouse on the active window (monitor).

One machine acts as the server for the single keyboard and mouse with the other clients connecting.

Therefore, I have:

Desktop client running Windows 7 connected to Synergy server - lets call this Monitor 1

Alienware 17R2 client running Windows 8.1 connected to Synergy server (laptop lid closed - using HDMI to External 40" HiSense TV as primary display) - lets call this Monitor 2

Toshiba Qosmio F60 client running Windows 10 acting as Synergy server (with laptop lid open) - lets call this Monitor 3

Old Compaq Presario client running Ubuntu Linux connected to Synergy server (lid open) - let's call this Monitor 4

With this setup, I can for example leave the 40" (Windows 8.1) to the left and enter screen of Monitor 1 (Windows 7) with mouse and keyboard control now transferred to that machine via the server (which has the wireless dongle connected for keyboard/mouse combo). The server will report this activity and all other Monitor entries and exits in an output log window.

So further to the example, I now leave Monitor 1 (Windows 7) to the right with mouse -> I am now on Monitor 2 (Windows 8.1) with full control of keyboard and mouse functionality and if I look at the output on Monitor 3 (Windows 10 with Synergy server) it tells me so -> I then move right again with mouse to Monitor 3 (Windows 10) and have full control of keyboard and mouse and with Synergy reporting I am at that machine -> I move right again and am at Monitor 4 (Ubuntu) with full control of keyboard and mouse and with Synergy server (on Monitor 3) telling me so ... backwards and forwards and to and fro we go - I think you get the idea :)

Oh and by the way it works with MAC OS X as well. The keyboard mapping I'll let you look into yourself but as a good start you might want to take a look at this article:

https://www.lifewire.com/what-are-windows-keyboard-equivalents-to-mac-2260203

The product itself is only $29 one time payment with lifetime access for a Pro version which offers SSL encryption or $19 Basic version without SSL.

You can check out Synergy here: https://symless.com/synergy

Another by the way: I am in no way affiliated with Synergy

Hope this helps,

Have fun :)




 

Cloudy1

Estimable
Jan 21, 2016
127
3
4,715
44
I know this thread is a couple of weeks old but....

May I suggest if you are still around and looking for an answer a software based alternative that might possibly suit your needs:

I've been using Synergy for about 5 years and at the moment have it set up with a desktop and three laptops using Windows 7, 8.1, 10 and Ubuntu with seamless control of keyboard and mouse on the active window (monitor).

One machine acts as the server for the single keyboard and mouse with the other clients connecting.

Therefore, I have:

Desktop client running Windows 7 connected to Synergy server - lets call this Monitor 1

Alienware 17R2 client running Windows 8.1 connected to Synergy server (laptop lid closed - using HDMI to External 40" HiSense TV as primary display) - lets call this Monitor 2

Toshiba Qosmio F60 client running Windows 10 acting as Synergy server (with laptop lid open) - lets call this Monitor 3

Old Compaq Presario client running Ubuntu Linux connected to Synergy server (lid open) - let's call this Monitor 4

With this setup, I can for example leave the 40" (Windows 8.1) to the left and enter screen of Monitor 1 (Windows 7) with mouse and keyboard control now transferred to that machine via the server (which has the wireless dongle connected for keyboard/mouse combo). The server will report this activity and all other Monitor entries and exits in an output log window.

So further to the example, I now leave Monitor 1 (Windows 7) to the right with mouse -> I am now on Monitor 2 (Windows 8.1) with full control of keyboard and mouse functionality and if I look at the output on Monitor 3 (Windows 10 with Synergy server) it tells me so -> I then move right again with mouse to Monitor 3 (Windows 10) and have full control of keyboard and mouse and with Synergy reporting I am at that machine -> I move right again and am at Monitor 4 (Ubuntu) with full control of keyboard and mouse and with Synergy server (on Monitor 3) telling me so ... backwards and forwards and to and fro we go - I think you get the idea :)

Oh and by the way it works with MAC OS X as well. The keyboard mapping I'll let you look into yourself but as a good start you might want to take a look at this article:

https://www.lifewire.com/what-are-windows-keyboard-equivalents-to-mac-2260203

The product itself is only $29 one time payment with lifetime access for a Pro version which offers SSL encryption or $19 Basic version without SSL.

You can check out Synergy here: https://symless.com/synergy

Another by the way: I am in no way affiliated with Synergy

Hope this helps,

Have fun :)




 

gpassero

Prominent
Nov 4, 2017
1
0
510
0
Kittcg,

I have a very similar need, and tried using a KVM switch ("StarTech.com 2 Port DVI VGA Dual Monitor KVM Switch USB with Audio & USB 2.0 Hub - Dual Monitor KVM Switch DVI and VGA") along with a USB3 Docking Station ("StarTech.com DVI Dual­Monitor Docking Station for Laptops ­ HDMI and VGA Adapters ­ USB 3.0 ­ Universal Laptop Dock").

It worked, but.... the display was very sluggish. Compared to a regular Windows display, or the MBP, it was like working in molasses. A friend suggested that was because I took the rendering work away from the GPU and put on the CPU and then piped it over USB.

I'm still looking for a more satisfactory solution to this problem. Let me know if you find one.





 

chris3

Honorable
Oct 7, 2013
3
0
10,510
0
I have the same KVM and the display works OK (not slow) with a 2017 macbook pro. I am running thunderbolt into a Hyperdrive hub, then out of that mini display port into the display port on the KVM and then display port out of the KVM to display port on the monitor. Mouse tracking is annoying for a shared mouse (can't get tracking speed to go fast enough on the macbook), and the keyboard home and end keys don't work, but otherwise it is fine. The biggest issue for me is that if I remove the macbook for a trip, then bring it back and plug it all in, I can't get the macbook to wake up -- which only works properly when I remember to first open the display, plug it in, wait for it to recognize the monitor, and then close it (it will wake up just fine from then until I disconnect it again).

Short reply: I can't get it to work as well as I'd like either, but perhaps your display speed issues can be solved by changing cables.



 
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