2 Monitors, 2 Keyboards, 2 Mice, 1 Computer

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by network23, Oct 24, 2007.

  1. network23 macrumors 6502

    network23

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2002
    Location:
    Illinois
    #1
    I'm planning on selling off my XP Box and MDD Mac and just buying one Mac Pro. The Mac Pro will be situated in the basement (my office). On the other side of the basement wall is our rec room.

    For times when the kids need to use the computer (OS X or XP via Boot Camp), we want them to use it in the rec room rather than in the basement.

    It seems every request I've seen for KVMs is to control two or more computers from a single set of peripherals. What do I need to control one computer from two keyboards, monitors and mice? Would the same KVM swithces work or is there something else I need to be searching for? Once in the past I bought a video switch that was meant to select between two input sources that I just plugged everything in backwards so it would allow me to select between two output destinations, so am wondering if the KVMs might work the same way.

    Obviously, I would not expect both sets to control the Mac at the same time. I'm looking for a wired solution. The required cables would be run through the wall between the rec room and the basement.

    Any help? What do I need?
     
  2. CanadaRAM macrumors G5

    CanadaRAM

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2004
    Location:
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    #2
    Intriguing idea, however most KVM switches have logic built in and they are directional, you can't reverse them.

    If you used simple mechanical switches for USB and video, it may work.
     
  3. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #3
    I don't think you need a switch on the keyboard and mouse. Try plugging in two. I think they will both be active. I know you can use two mice. You can set the monitors up this way to, as mirrors of each other so whatever is on one is one the other. This is used for video projectors and would work with two LCD monitors

    Why not just buy a second computer? I Mini or an iMac.
     
  4. amnesiac1984 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2002
    Location:
    Europe
    #4

    You wouldn't need anything special. Just plug it all in and off you go. You won't be able to have someone use it from the Rec room & the basement at the same time without interference but you'll definately be able to do it. The only issue I foresee is with mirrored displays and resolutions.

    You can plug as many mice and keyboards into a mac as you can fit. I'm currently using an external keyboard and trackball with my macbook but the on board stuff still works at the same time.
     
  5. 119576 Guest

    119576

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2007
    #5
    you can just plug the peripherals into the mac and they will all be active. :)
     
  6. scienide09 macrumors 65816

    scienide09

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    May 5, 2007
    Location:
    Canada
    #6
    That's a great feature. I've done it with an external keyboard and mouse with my MBP set up on an external monitor, and used input from all four.

    I can imagine what would happen if I tried two mice and keyboards on my old PC box -- it would probably drive it over the edge: BSDs, input errors, you name it. Perhaps I should test that out....
     
  7. network23 thread starter macrumors 6502

    network23

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2002
    Location:
    Illinois
    #7
    Well...cool.

    You say it works...on the Mac. Will this same setup (multiple mice and keyboards plugged in) also work on the XP side?

    I'll give that a try, although I'm not fond of what I'm working on always being available onscreen in the other room.

    Would I run a DVI-splitter from the back of the Mac? I have two monitors in the office, so I could not just have the Mac Pro drive both monitors separately. So, then I wouldn't be mirroring the same screen onto both monitors, just splitting the video from one out to the two.
     
  8. rogersmj macrumors 68020

    rogersmj

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    Sep 10, 2006
    Location:
    Indianapolis, IN
    #8
    Yes, the same thing will work in XP.

    You can't just use a DVI splitter. You have to have two DVI connections. DVI is a digital signal so it can't just be split. It would have to be replicated using special hardware, or, more traditionally, you would just have a second connection on the computer, which is standard on the Mac Pro I believe.

    The biggest problem you're going to have here is the length of the runs. USB typically doesn't work if the cable length is over 10 to 16 feet (it varies depending on the device being used), and I don't know what the limit for DVI cables is without additional hardware. You're going to want to look into that.
     
  9. network23 thread starter macrumors 6502

    network23

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2002
    Location:
    Illinois
    #9
    Actually, that won't be a problem. The desk with my computer is on the other side of the rec room wall, and the desk that would hold the keyboard, monitor and mouse would be just on the other side of that wall. Linearly, there's really only a three foot distance.
     
  10. rogersmj macrumors 68020

    rogersmj

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    Sep 10, 2006
    Location:
    Indianapolis, IN
    #10
    Oh, cool. You're good to go then. Just buy your extra monitor, keyboard, and mouse, and setup display mirroring. That should be it!
     
  11. Mundy macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2006
    #11
    This is a very cool idea. It has never occurred to me before, but after thinking about it, I agree with the previous posters that you shouldn't need any special hardware. Just buy two of everything.
     
  12. network23 thread starter macrumors 6502

    network23

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    #12
    Yep, and as I noted in the OP, I'm selling off my XP box, so I already have the extra keyboard, monitor and mouse :)
     
  13. RedTomato macrumors 68040

    RedTomato

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    Mar 4, 2005
    Location:
    .. London ..
    #13
    Yes, just be sure the kids aren't lying awake in bed, with their monitor turned on, when you're looking at your ... ahem.... special material on your mac pro.
     
  14. termina3 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2007
    Location:
    TX
    #14
    All Mac Pro video cards have 2 DVI-outs. As long as one of the monitors doesn't need dual-DVI (30" ACD comes to mind) you'll be fine. Of course, you could add another video card if you do have that problem.

    Also, if you don't want the secondary screen on you can disable it's connection from system preferences.

    Good luck!
     
  15. rogersmj macrumors 68020

    rogersmj

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2006
    Location:
    Indianapolis, IN
    #15
    You're confusing some terms here. Large monitors, like the 30" ACD, do indeed require something called dual link DVI, but it still only uses one physical port. A dual link DVI port looks exactly the same as a standard DVI port, it's just able to pump out more information for larger displays that require it. The distinction was made because the original DVI spec topped out at 1920x1200, the resolution of the 23" ACD, 24" Dells, etc. So even a dual-link capable card that had just two DVI ports could still support two 30" monitors.
     
  16. pjarvi macrumors 65816

    pjarvi

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2006
    Location:
    Round Lake, IL
    #16
    There are console extenders such as this one: http://www.iogear.com/main.php?loc=product&Item=GCE700, but they are rather expensive (over $300). They have 2 boxes, one connects to the PC, and the other connects to the second set of keyboard/mouse/monitor. They connect to one another using a network cable, which means you can have the remote setup up to 500 feet away simply connected by a single network cable.

    It would be much cheaper to just get "active" extension cables and connect the keyboard/mouse/monitor directly to the system, though.
     
  17. network23 thread starter macrumors 6502

    network23

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2002
    Location:
    Illinois
    #17
    I've already bought this DVI-D Splitter to use for another project with my MacBook Pro, and I should be able to use it in this situation.
     
  18. termina3 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2007
    Location:
    TX
    #18
    Ooops :) it's a good thing we have gurus on here to correct fools like myself

    learn new stuff every day!
     

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