Setup help for iMac & PC + 2 external monitor workstation

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Jyos, Mar 10, 2014.

  1. Jyos macrumors newbie

    Mar 10, 2014
    Forgive me if this is a dumb question or the wrong forum, but I'm trying to find a way to setup a workstation where I can switch between my current PC and possibly a new 27" iMac. I currently have 2 external Dell Ultrasharp monitors hooked up to my PC, and was initially looking into KVM switches so that I can share my one keyboard and mouse between an apple device, whether it be an iMac/MBP/Mac Mini, but now I'm more leaning towards an iMac...

    I was wondering if it were possible to switch between the iMac + 2 Dell displays over to the PC + iMac display (main display if possible) + 2 Dell displays all while sharing keyboard and mice (this part im assuming would require a KVM)?

    The best way I can describe this setup is through imagery which I've attached.


    Is there any way for this setup to be possible?
  2. Johbremat macrumors regular

    Feb 8, 2011
    Without the requisite hardware I can't test myself.

    I suspect you wouldn't be able to use the iMac in Target Display Mode unless your PC has TB ports on the motherboard and your CPU has a HD4000 GPU (or better) built in. In addition, if you were capable of using the iMac as a display, you lose one of the two TB ports, so wouldn't be able to daisy-chain anymore than a single additional Dell display.

    What's the use case?

    Would you be able to use a switch between the the PC and the iMac to speed up connectivity - versus connecting over wireless - and remoting into the PC?

    (Probably not suitable for gaming, depending on latency between your inpu/reaction and it showing up on screen)

    Microsoft RDP is available for free from the App Store. May be possible to remote in and spread the session across all three screens if you need the real estate or simply assign to a single display.
  3. Small White Car macrumors G4

    Small White Car

    Aug 29, 2006
    Washington DC
    It's problems like this which is what caused me to eventually force my mother to change her iMac/PC setup into an iMac with Windows installed on it in Fusion. Now she has a mouse touch-gesture that switches between the OSes and I don't have to draw diagrams like this anymore.

    I throw this out there on the off-chance that you haven't considered it.

    I suspect you have, though, and that you rejected it because you need your PC for some real specific reason I can't even imagine.

    So, ok then. I'd suggest hooking the iMac to both monitors with DP and the PC to both monitors with DVI and then using the monitor's input buttons to switch between computers as needed. (And pray that the button is on the front and not hidden behind the monitor somewhere.)

    This is a fairly manual process but has the advantage of being able do things like leave up one screens for each computer simultaneously.

    I've always hated how slow KVM switches are. Not the switches themselves, but getting the computer to recognize the devices which can take a little while. It used to be a big deal to have 2 large keyboards and 2 mice on your desk, but with the really slim keyboards and mice out there (and all with wireless bluetooth) I'd suggest considering it. Remember that it'll be possible to have set your 2 screens to different computers and having two keyboards doesn't seem like the worsts idea.

    All of which leads me back to my fist suggestion: I'd much rather do all of this on one computer. But that's just me.

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