The 8 Best KVM Switches

Updated June 09, 2017 by Jeff Newburgh

8 Best KVM Switches
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We spent 39 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top selections for this wiki. If you're trying to scale down your data center's hardware, maximize your desktop space, or save on business operating costs, one of these KVM switches is just what you need. Depending on the model, they support either HDMI or DVI connections, while giving you the freedom to seamlessly and simultaneously operate multiple computer systems using a single mouse, keyboard, and monitor. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best kvm switch on Amazon.

8. Aten Cubiq CS1642

Blending advanced functionality with simple operation, the Aten Cubiq CS1642 delivers straightforward dual-monitor support with asynchronous switching and an easy-to-read LED status panel, all of which allow the device to focus on different DVI ports simultaneously.
  • supports use of programmable mice
  • good choice for graphic designers
  • not as durable as its competition
Brand ATEN
Model CS1642
Weight 5.8 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

7. ConnectPro UD-12+

Setting the ConnectPro UD-12+ apart from much of the competition is its patented Dynamic Device Mapping technology, which maintains the connection between your keyboard, mouse, and computer at all times. Its Y-split DVI and USB cords also provide for easy cable management.
  • 6- 10- or 15-foot cable choices
  • accommodates hot-key switching
  • it's a bit on the pricey side
Brand ConnectPRO
Model UD-12+KIT
Weight 4.2 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

6. IOGear GCS62HU

The compact, HDCP-compliant IOGear GCS62HU utilizes its handy DynaSync functionality to retain the memory of a monitor's settings, virtually eliminating any possible changes or delays to the display output when booting or switching between two HDMI-connected devices.
  • automatic power-on detection
  • keyboard emulation can be disabled
  • usb cables are rather short
Brand IOGEAR
Model GCS62HU
Weight 12.8 ounces
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

5. StarTech SV231TDVIUA

With an ability to switch 3 high-definition DVI monitors, a keyboard, mouse, and microphone between two PCs at the push of a button, the StarTech SV231TDVIUA is an excellent option for professional graphic designers looking to maximize desk space at minimal equipment cost.
  • 3-year warranty and lifetime support
  • rubber foot pads for stability
  • rear dvi ports are tightly-spaced
Brand StarTech
Model SV231TDVIUA
Weight 3.1 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

4. JideTech HDMI 9116H-CA1

Boasting nearly universal compatibility with most standard operating systems, the JideTech HDMI 9116H-CA1 utilizes hot-plugging operation, meaning that any peripheral device can be added or removed from the switch without having to power the unit off and on again.
  • rapid 8-second auto scanning feature
  • durable metal exterior housing
  • doesn't support the apple keyboard
Brand JideTech
Model 9116H-CA1
Weight 8.4 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

3. TrendNet TK-422DVK

Specifically built for interfacing with a dual-link DVI-D monitor, the TrendNet TK-422DVK supports displays running a 60 Hz refresh rate. Its integrated resolution optimization has been designed to instantly adopt the screen settings coming from a connected device.
  • 2 bonus usb ports for storage drives
  • supports 2560 by 1600 resolution
  • user documentation is confusing
Brand TRENDnet
Model TK-422DVK
Weight 6.8 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

2. Tripp Lite B004-2DUA4-K

Simultaneously control 4 computer systems equipped with dual-head video cards using the dual-monitor DVI-enabled Tripp Lite B004-2DUA4-K. Switching is accomplished with the unit's front panel push-button interface, using keyboard hotkeys, or with your mouse's scroll wheel.
  • built-in 2-port usb hub
  • quad view mode for using 2 switches
  • compact design for easy placement
Brand Tripp Lite
Model B004-2DUA4-K
Weight 12.2 pounds
Rating 5.0 / 5.0

1. Emerson Cybex SC845H

Ensure superior desktop security, while meeting the demands of modern technology with the Emerson Cybex SC845H. It offers full NIAP certification for secure network isolation as well as advanced video support for ultra high-definition, single-monitor HDMI 1.4 systems.
  • can whitelist other usb devices
  • integrated smart card support
  • 4 dedicated connection channels
Brand Avocent
Model SC845H-001
Weight 16 ounces
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

Connect And Succeed

The majority of consumers in today's technological world are familiar with a single computer setup. A person using a desktop computer, for example, has a central processing unit (CPU) tower that houses the major internal components of their system, a keyboard, mouse, and a video monitor to complete their work. The same can be said for the laptop user. Everything needed to complete tasks on a laptop is in one place with fully-integrated processing power and connections for peripherals. By contrast, a graphic design artist might require the ability to work seamlessly across two different operating systems with the ability to control them using a single workstation. The KVM switch can make this possible.

KVM is an acronym for keyboard, video, and mouse. The KVM switch is a piece of hardware that allows for the toggled control of multiple computer CPUs or servers from a single keyboard, mouse, and video monitor using either a rotary dial or several independent buttons on the switch itself. Think of the KVM switch as a centralized communication hub (or the parent device) that can be used to take control over other machines and servers (its children devices) without forcing the user to get up, go over to the machines, and control them independently using separate keyboards and mice. A majority of KVM switches can control between two and eight computers at a time.

Computers can be connected to a KVM switch in a variety of ways. The most popular connection method is through the use of a specialized KVM cable that combines all of the keyboard, video, and mouse cables into a single extension cable that runs to each machine. This connection method reduces the number of cables required. Other switches may have separate built-in connectors for each machine's keyboard, video, and mouse cables.

KVM switches are either active or passive. Passive switches are typically hardwired internally between their input and output ports. Computers connected to a passive switch are selected manually using a rotary knob on the switch itself. Active switches are more common and they retain the actions performed by the devices (keyboards and mice) connected to them. Active switches are either powered by the connected computers' keyboard cables or they may have their own separate power supplies.

The KVM switch offers many benefits. Firstly, the CPUs (or servers) connected to the device are not required to have the same amount of memory or processing power between them. In fact, they don't even have to be from the same manufacturer. The device significantly improves work productivity by decreasing the amount of time required of a user to switch between computers manually. The switch also reduces both energy and hardware costs, given that a worker no longer has to depend on the use of multiple video monitors (or additional peripherals) to complete their work from different workstations. This convenience comes in particularly handy when space is limited, when various tasks need to be completed quickly, and in situations where the user is responsible for controlling many machines at once.

Ditch The Hitch And Get A Switch

Because the KVM switch can be applied to many different circumstances and job profiles, one must really take their time to research and determine the type of switch that works best for their individual needs.

If you're a graphic designer or your job requires you to switch between different operating systems at the push of a button, then a switch with the capability to interface with both Mac and Windows machines will be the way to go. The good news is that many switches already do this as part of their basic functionality.

Consider the number of machines you'll need to connect to your KVM switch. If you are a telecommuter and plan to manage both your work and home machines but no others, then you won't need the fanciest or most expensive device with extra connection ports. By contrast, if you work as a network administrator with a responsibility for many machines and servers, then you'll want to consider a more robust switch with push-button controls and several available ports. You'll also need to make a determination of the cable system. If you anticipate a significant amount of distance between your switch and the connected hardware, then definitely spring for a device that consolidates those cables as much as possible. Extender cables for KVM switches can be several hundred feet long, which can help in situations where your server room might be down the hall.

A Brief History Of KVM Switches

The KVM switch has a history that dates back to the early 1980's, which marked the beginning of the growth of the computer industry in general and the adoption of Microsoft Windows in 1985. Before the mouse became common, and an important part of server switching applications, the original term for the device was a keyboard video switch (or KVS). Server rooms and data centers were faced with the major problem of maintaining huge numbers of keyboards, mice, and video monitors. Back in the 1980's, there was an additional problem caused by all this equipment taking up excessive amounts of server rack space, while forcing computer technicians to physically walk to the servers that needed attention. The very first switches were rudimentary in design and featured push-button interfaces.

Remigius Shatas, founder of the Cybex Computer Products Corporation (which manufactured peripheral switches), expanded the functionality of the KVS to include the mouse by 1995, thus bringing about the modern KVM solution still used today. Around the same time, the universal serial bus (USB) would also become the industry standard for connecting the majority of computer peripherals.

Since the mid-1990's, single-user KVM switches have evolved to include intelligent, on-screen firmware for controlling multiple servers at the same time. The most cutting-edge use for KVM switches today is via remote access over an internet browser.



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Last updated on June 09, 2017 by Jeff Newburgh

A dedicated writer and communications professional spending his days lost in the intricacies of both proposal and freelance writing. When not sharing the knowledge of both fully and self-insured medical benefits to employer groups of all industries within California, Jeff Newburgh can be found at home spending time with his family and 3 dogs, pondering the next chew toy to be thrown, while kicking back and relaxing with a nice glass of red wine.


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