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I have a USB-C screen (Lenovo ThinkVision P27H) which I want to connect my laptop to, so that I just need one wire for charging and video. The screen also features a USB hub, which is why I would like to connect my USB mouse and keyboard to the screen, so that I really just need one wire.

Here comes the problem: I want to run a desktop PC with the same screen (but not simultaneously), and this PC also uses the same mouse and keyboard.

So, what I'm looking for is a solution that allows me to use my peripheries on both machines without plugging in and out my mouse and keyboard everytime.

The screen only features one upstream USB port, which is the USB-C one. My desktop doesn't have a USB-C port.

I thought about something like a USB-C switch, or more like a "splitter" (one USB-C in, two USB-C out) that I can connect to the screen. Then I could connect my laptop to this switch, as well as a USB-C to USB-3 adapter to talk to my desktop PC. My hope is that this enables me to use the USB hub of the screen no matter which device I'm currently using.

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USB-C KVM

The product you're describing does exist... kind of. However, because it's a niche product, there are only really two implementations I'm aware of—both of which are very expensive and don't really do quite what you want.

US3310 - $200

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Though the exact branding and seller varies, there are at least two (1, 2) identical versions of this hub for sale. It features two switchable USB-C connections (with power passthrough), two USB-A in, one HDMI 1.4 out, and a USB-C power port. Notice the HDMI out: while this will work just fine, you'll have to drive your monitor off HDMI—not USB-C. This means that you won't be able to use the USB hub in the monitor without a second adapter to plug it in to the USB plugs on the front. Eugh.

Black Box - $300

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Again, we've got two switchable USB-C connections, several USB-A in, and a DisplayPort out. Again, we've got the same issue, where you'd need an adapter to use the hub in the monitor.

Standard KVM + Hub

Another option to keep the single-cable functionality is just to have your laptop connect to a USB-C hub, which then breaks out into a "standard" display interface and USB, then runs into a KVM. Is this discarding one of the key features of your monitor? Yes. Is it cheaper and cleaner than getting a USB-C KVM? Maybe, depends on your idea of cleanliness. But it's almost certainly cheaper. Depending on what specs you end up deciding you want, you can get a hub for about $30 and a KVM for about $40. If you choose to go this route, I can definitely make some more specific suggestions.

Software KVM

Through the power of networking and software, you could get most of the functionality of these hardware solutions with almost none of the hassle. Using something like Synergy, you can share your mouse and keyboard over the network. However, since this would require the laptop to be plugged in, even when you're using the desktop, I'm going to assume this is probably a no-go. Further, other USB devices aren't shared, so if you wanted to (for example) plug in a USB drive, you wouldn't be able to use the hub.

Just buying a different monitor

This is probably going to sound really stupid, and in a certain sense, it is. However, it's also probably the cleanest, nicest way to get what you're looking for. Currently, several monitors offer built-in KVMs and USB-C, with convenient switching between them. Are they all more expensive than the P27H? Yes. But will they also offer a lot of other benefits, including greater resolution, size, or color accuracy (depending on the model)? Yes.

I won't go too in depth into each monitor right now—again, if you decide this is the right path for you, I'll be happy to help more—but here's a quick overview.

Philips 499P9H - $850

48.4", 5120 x 1440 @ 70 Hz, VA 2x HDMI, 1x DP, 2x USB-C, 2x USB-C hub, Ethernet, headphone jack

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Philips 346B1C - $440

34", 3440x1440 @ 100 Hz w/ FreeSync, VA 1x DP, 1x HDMI, 1x USB-C, 1x USB-B, 4x USB-A hub

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Samsung CJ890 - $770

43.4", 3840 x 1200 @ 120 Hz, VA

1x HDMI, 1x DP, 2x USB-C, 1x USB-B, 4x USB-A hub, headphone jack

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Dell U3419W - $750

34.1", 3440 x 1440 @ 60 Hz, IPS

2x HDMI, 1x DP, 1x USB-C, 2x USB-B, 4x USB-A hub

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Dell U3219Q - $750

31.5", 3840 x 2160 @ 60 Hz, IPS

1x DP, 1x HDMI, 1x USB-C, 1x USB-B, 4x USB-A hub

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    Wow, thank you very much for your detailed answer! I will ponder a bit about your suggestions and then I will let you know here in the comments. – bellackn Jan 15 at 19:39
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    I still owe you a comment. :) I ended up using a KVM switch for desktop and laptop. The few times I use a USB-C capable laptop here I just plug the peripheries in the monitor's hubs. It's not as "clean" as I planned it, but it was a simple cost-benefit question in the end. Thank you again! – bellackn Feb 3 at 21:35
  • Glad to hear you found a solution! – JMY1000 Feb 3 at 21:41

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