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Friday, September 10, 2010

KVM Switchbox (TRENDnet)

Once again, I find myself reviewing a product that I think is wonderful, and yet so simple!!  Normally, I don't like to review items until I have had a chance to use them for at least a month (or at the very least a week), but this is going to be one of those exceptions.  I don't know why I didn't think of something like this years ago.

I'm talking, of course, about the use of KVM switch boxes.  This little devices are so very cool, and yet offer the simplest of solutions to a very common dilemma.  Say you have two or more computers that you want to use, but you only have one keyboard, mouse, and monitor.  The solution?  A KVM switch box.  It's a great way to have control over multiple computer systems without having to purchase a separate keyboard, mouse, and monitor for each.

The particular product I'd like to review is the TRENDnet 2-port KVM switch with integrated cables (the TK-205i model).  It's a relatively simple setup.  You simply plug in the hardwired KVM cables into the appropriate monitor, mouse, and keyboard ports on each computer system, then you plug in a mouse, keyboard, and monitor into the central hub.  The device comes with a couple of neat little features.  First, you have a button in the middle that you can use to switch back and forth between computers.  Second, if you're lazy like I am, you can alternatively use keyboard shortcuts to switch back and forth as well.

Below you will find a picture of this model to get a better idea of what it is you would be purchasing.  Remember, this is the model I, myself, purchased, but there are other models and makes out there that are just as good, if not better.

TRENDnet 2-port KVM Switch with Integrated Cables (Model TK-205i)


There are a couple of noteworthy limitations to using this particular model.  One, you don't have the option of splitting the audio between computers, although for a little bit more money, you can purchase another model with that function.  Second, this particular model uses a PS/2 port for both the keyboard and the mouse, and unfortunately, most models either have only PS/2 or USB ports, and not a combo of both.  This was a little disheartening as I wanted to use my USB optical mouse, and even with the PS/2 adapter that it came with, I couldn't use it.  But for the amount I paid for it (I got it used for a little under $10), I can't really complain too much.

Overall, I highly recommend using this type of product (this model included) if you plan on using two or more computers, and especially if you're going to be changing the role of your computer systems like I am.  

Have a comment? Suggestion? A topic you'd like to have discussed on my blog? Email me at And if I don't know the answer, I'll post up information on who to ask, where to go, or what to do to get your answer. :) Until then, have a great day, and I hope you've enjoyed reading my computer tips so far!