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Ibrahem Ahmed

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 31, 2020
5
0
Hi folks, due to work requirments I had to switch to a MBP. I currently have a standard windows desktop connected to two monitors.

I'm trying to find a way to connect the MBP to the two monitors without having to keep on changing cables. I looked into KVMs and HDMI switches/Splitters, but I'm not sure if that would work with MBP. Ideally, the MBP and my Windows desktop would be connected to a device that outputs the singal to both monitors, and I can just switch between the MBP and the windows desktop inputs.

Any help with this is highly appreciated.
 

davegoody

macrumors 6502
Apr 9, 2003
351
83
Nottingham, England.
I would buy a dock. Leave monitors plugged into the dock (as well as everything else) then you can just unplug a single monitor when it's time to move the laptop.
 

pshufd

macrumors 604
Oct 24, 2013
7,363
12,899
New Hampshire
I have three Dell monitors (2x4k + 1xQHD) which both take multiple inputs so I can switch between them using monitor controls. It's not quite as simple as one switch with a KVM but it works. I tried a KVM a long time ago and the cables were a pain.

One other approach would be to leave one machine connected to the monitors and then VNC into the other machine. I currently have this setup right now with my new Windows PC with VNC into one of my MacBook Pros and another Windows PC. I do not know how well this works with multiple monitors as I haven't tried it.
 

Ibrahem Ahmed

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 31, 2020
5
0
I have three Dell monitors (2x4k + 1xQHD) which both take multiple inputs so I can switch between them using monitor controls. It's not quite as simple as one switch with a KVM but it works. I tried a KVM a long time ago and the cables were a pain.

One other approach would be to leave one machine connected to the monitors and then VNC into the other machine. I currently have this setup right now with my new Windows PC with VNC into one of my MacBook Pros and another Windows PC. I do not know how well this works with multiple monitors as I haven't tried it.
I see, I was thinking since my graphic card has a display port I can use a display port switcher/splitter. For the MBP I can get a USB-C to Displayport cable and connect it to the spliter. Do you think that would work?

Desktop - graphic card - display port to input 1 on DP switch/splitter
MBP - USB- C to Displayport cable to input 2 on DP switch/splitter
Monitor 1 - To DP switch/splitter output 1
Monitor 2 - To DP switch/splitter output 2

Would that work? The thing is Im not sure if such DP switch/splitter device exists. Any thoughts?
 

pshufd

macrumors 604
Oct 24, 2013
7,363
12,899
New Hampshire
I see, I was thinking since my graphic card has a display port I can use a display port switcher/splitter. For the MBP I can get a USB-C to Displayport cable and connect it to the spliter. Do you think that would work?

Desktop - graphic card - display port to input 1 on DP switch/splitter
MBP - USB- C to Displayport cable to input 2 on DP switch/splitter
Monitor 1 - To DP switch/splitter output 1
Monitor 2 - To DP switch/splitter output 2

Would that work? The thing is Im not sure if such DP switch/splitter device exists. Any thoughts?

Last time I tried this was in the age of DVI cables.

Amazon sells DisplayPort KVM devices so there are commercial solutions. I didn't see any for just video though.

I suggested using VNC as it shouldn't cost you anything to try it out. You do need GB Ethernet to get adequate performance. The other benefit to using VNC is that you can use both systems at the same time using one keyboard and mouse.
 

davegoody

macrumors 6502
Apr 9, 2003
351
83
Nottingham, England.
would that take my PC input too?
No, but most decent monitors have multiple inputs. For example I have a 27" 5K iMac, that's connected to a a 43" 4K screen and also a 34" ultra-wide monitor. Both external screens are also connected to a Mac Mini and also a little Dell PC that I use as a PLEX server. Just change input on the screens. So the screens would always be plugged-in to both the iMac (or dock in your case) AND the external PC.
 
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rex4mac

macrumors newbie
Jun 11, 2010
14
3
If your budget allows you to spend a little more, then there is a good solution via the DisplayPort KVM switch and docking station (for the MacBook Pro).

If both of your monitors have DisplayPort on them and the video outputs of PC also have two DisplayPort ports on it.
Here is the best solution (but at a higher cost).

MacBook Pro connected via CalDigital TS3 plus docking station to dual monitor DP 1.4 KVM switch,
(with 1 x DP-to-DP cable, 1 x Type-C-to-DP CAC-1557 cable, 1 x USB A-B 3.0 cable).
PC connected directly to the KVM switch with DP-to-DP cables and USB A-B 3.0 cable.

The DP-to-DP 1.4 cables normally come with the KVM switch starter kit..
KVM switch: UDP2-12AP-KIT

This configuration had been tested and proofed working with MacBook Pro 2020 (intel-base)
 
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davegoody

macrumors 6502
Apr 9, 2003
351
83
Nottingham, England.
Thank you for this insight, and I have a similar setup with my iMac which is also Intel. The issue is, as per your comment above, that this works fine with Intel-based Macs, but the M1 SOC only supports two monitors directly, the built-in one for MacBooks, and a single external (though that can be a 6K of course). The M1-based Mac Mini supports two screens, one via HDMI and another via USB-C. My use-case is three Monitors or more, not everybody's is, and the new M1-based Macs, as amazing as they are, won't support this. A work around is to use USB-based DisplayLink adapters, but these are not high-performance enough for my requirements. It's gonna be a wait for the 16" MBP perhaps, or even the next Generation before I can make the jump. Suspect there are a fair-few Pros who use their Mac as their Daily / Main machine that have the same issue. Apple have introduced consumer-based M1 machines first (which makes sense) so it's just a wait.
 

rex4mac

macrumors newbie
Jun 11, 2010
14
3
Total agree with your point. Currently, USB-bese DisplayLink adapter is the only alternative for adding more than two displays to the M1-chip system. However, the solution uses a lot of resources and computing power from the connected systems. It is not a powerful solution.
 
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