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Here's my scenario:

I have a home gaming PC connected to two 27" monitors. It also has a Razer Widowmaker keyboard and a Razer mouse.

I also have a work laptop. This laptop has one HDMI input and one USB-C/Thunderbolt input.

I'm looking to find a dock or KVM switch type device that will allow me to switch the dual monitors and peripherals between both devices. So I'd like to be able to have my home PC and my work laptop both hooked up to this, and I can then switch between which computer the devices and dual monitors are using for a seamless transition to working on my home PC to working on my work laptop.

I considered just buying a regular dock, but I get a new work laptop every few years (no gaurantee of the model I'd get) and I know universal docks are generally sucky, so I don't want to drop all that money on investing in a specific dock if it might not work for me in a few years.

I also found some KVM switching devices on Amazon such as this (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B083J4NMZM/ref=ask_ql_qh_dp_hza), for which of course I'd have to buy an HDMI to USB-C adapter, but some of the verbiage makes me concerned that it wouldn't support a more advanced keyboard like mine (especially since it has a dual-USB plug).

My ultimate fallback plan was just to have a separate HDMI switch and USB switch to use, but I'd be nice if I'd be able to have an all-in-one device like the KVM switch.

Does anyone know of any products like this that exist? Or in reading the description about the KVM switch, would that work for my purposes?

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  • Some monitors include a KVM feature: You plug keyboard and mouse into the monitor's built-in USB hub which can be connected to a desktop PC using a USB-A to USB-B cable (along with DisplayPort or HDMI) and to a laptop using USB-C/Thunderbolt. You can configure which USB upstream port goes together with which video input. Check your monitor's manual - maybe it supports something like this? Jul 27, 2020 at 3:21
  • I have the same exact situation, currently I'm using a work-provided Lenovo USB-C Gen 2 dock and got a USB-A-to-C for my desktop - I manually unplug my laptop and plug my desktop when I want to switch, and use the displayport inputs on my monitors from the dock and the HDMI inputs for my PC. It's an < 1 min. swap between the two but it'd be nice to hide my dock and press a single button instead. Closest product I found was this, but it's a only single display: sabrent.com/product/USB-KCPD/…
    – someone1
    Sep 8, 2020 at 16:54

1 Answer 1

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You are on the right track, but your concerns over compatibility (especially the advanced keyboard!!) are spot on. I've been researching this topic myself lately - as a fairly basic KVM switch was working quite well for me until it didn't.

It was a pretty nice setup - I could hit one hotkey sequence on the keyboard, and a second or so later I was looking at and controlling a different computer.

There are different levels of features - and apparently the 50 dollar cheap units simply do not work as well for as many hardware setups. Two-plug keyboards are specifically cited as having problems (it might work well for basic stuff, but the extra features would be iffier). The cheaper units do much more basic emulation.

The problem I ran into was that when you switch to a different computer, that computer basically behaves as if it was just connected to new hardware. Odd screen resizing issues were a fairly minor annoyance - but the dealbreaker was when one of the 3 computers would not recognize the keyboard / mouse any more. That happened rarely, then more and more frequently, until it was almost every single time. And when it happened, even plugging the peripherals directly into the laptop would not work. I had to reboot the entire machine.

Weirdly, the monitor was fine (aside from the window-sizing issues).

Ultimately, I set up one keyboard / mouse combo for 2 of the 3 computers (wireless, Logitech unifying receiver), and another keyboard / mouse for the other computer. I basically put the unused kb/mouse off to one side until I need that set. The desk is definitely more cluttered, but to solve it definitively, I'd need to spend $$$ on a fully DDM-enabled unit - which starts at 300 or more dollars.

I can't recommend a specific device, because I'm still researching this topic myself. The information on ConnectPro's website suggests that one of their higher-end DDM-enabled units would meet my needs - with an outlay of 600 bucks. I'm not quite ready to spend that just yet.

You will want to look at the number of monitors it supports, and the screen resolution as well; dual monitor units are more money of course, as are units that handle HD video. l

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