New KVM Option

The Edimax KVM will hopefully be on its way back to Amazon on Monday.

Extracting all the leads that I had pre-routed through the trunking behind my new built-in desk was a lot harder than I expected. This was largely because I’d run the wires through the trunking, and then attached the trunking to the wall/desk. Getting them back out without removing the trunking from the wall was not trivial. About an hour into the process I was really starting to regret (a lot) that I’d not tested the KVM before running all the cables. Needless to say, I won’t make that mistake again.

Speaking of which, the new KVM is now on it’s way.

This time I did a LOT more checking of the specifications and reviews before making my selection. Fundamentally my basic needs hadn’t changed, but this time I was a lot more aware of the subtle differences in the manufacturers descriptions of the units. It’s very clear that at the cheaper end of the market most of the manufacturers take one of a couple of old reference designs, and repackage & rebadge them. These wouldn’t support my needs. The key additional criteria I looked for this time was mention of support for laptops, and specifically support for Windows 7.

Windows 7 support is essential because it indicates a KVM that has full support for EDID emulation, which (I believe) is probably also a requirement for the newer Linux desktop environments such as Unity and Gnome Shell. I’m now pretty sure that this is where the Edimax fell short.

In the end, the two cheapest devices that did everything I needed seem to be the ATEN CS64U, and the IOGEAR GCS1804. The IOGEAR is the fuller featured device, with detachable leads etc, but it’s difficult to source in the UK, and comes with a £140 price point. Whereas the ATEN is a bit more restricted (no OSD for example), but is available from Amazon for only £40.

That made the decision trivial.

4 thoughts on “New KVM Option

    • The Edimax is now back with Amazon, and my ATEN CS64U has arrived to replace it. I’ll test it tomorrow evening (no time today) before I hopefully start to reroute all the cables through the trunking again. I’ll report here on how I get on!

    • My new ATEN CS64U works beautifully. I can switch to/from all my machines via keyboard hot-key combinations (there are no hardware selector switches on the unit), and the KVM keeps all the systems happy. Switching can sometimes take 10-15 seconds for the display output to appear, but this seems to be a function of the underlying OS, rather than the KVM.
      So far, I’m very pleased. And its a massive improvement over the Edimax.

      • It looks like I may have spoken slightly too soon. Now that I have all my machines permanently connected to the KVM, I’ve noticed that my laptops (which are connecting in and out of the KVM) all struggle to see the full resolution of the monitor. Instead they appear to be seeing some default VGA resolutions that don’t make best use of my hardware – exactly what ATEN’s Video DynaSync technology is supposed to stop. It’s rather frustrating, but easily solved by writing a little script:

        #! /bin/bash
        xrandr --newmode "1920x1080" 173.00 1920 2048 2248 2576 1080 1083 1088 1120 -HSync +VSync
        xrandr --addmode VGA1 "1920x1080"
        xrandr --output LVDS1 --off --output VGA1 --mode "1920x1080"
        exit 0;

        Running this forces my laptops to recognise the correct capability of my external screen, and use it. I do wish it would “just” work though.

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