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r6mile

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Feb 3, 2010
1,004
504
London, UK
Hi all,

My setup currently consists of a 2012 i7 Mac Mini, with two aluminium 20' Apple Cinema Displays over DVI using hdmi and mdp adapters. It is running 10.15 Catalina. Connected to it to share network and Internet to are:
- via Ethernet, 2008 Mac Pro running 10.13 High Sierra.
- via FW800, 2003 PowerMac G4 running 10.5 Leopard.

It is a total pain to keep switching the monitors from one computer to the next, so am wondering if there is any way software solution to this, which allows me to use the Mac Mini to login to either of the two other computers?

The inbuilt screen sharing in MacOS is pretty smooth over the wired network, but there is no audio which is quite limiting. If another 'software KVM' solution exists, I would need something that can run on both PowerPC and Intel Macs, which might not exist.

I'm open to getting a proper KVM switch, though ideally I'd like to minimise clutter on the desk and these are not cheap (especially to accomodare dual displays).

Any suggestions? Many thanks!
 

mj_

macrumors 68000
May 18, 2017
1,618
1,281
Austin, TX
I don't think what you're looking for actually exists. There are other remote protocols that support audio, such as RDP, but those are not available on macOS. I'm afraid you will have to look for an actual KVM switch, maybe one you can mount under your desk to avoid desk clutter.
 
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r6mile

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Feb 3, 2010
1,004
504
London, UK
I don't think what you're looking for actually exists. There are other remote protocols that support audio, such as RDP, but those are not available on macOS. I'm afraid you will have to look for an actual KVM switch, maybe one you can mount under your desk to avoid desk clutter.

Thank you, I was afraid so!

Perhaps one idea is to use screen sharing still for video, and for audio just get a couple of long minijack cables to plug to the back of the PowerMac and the Mac Pro, and just plug in my headphones to those when needed. A lot easier to plug a mini jack than getting under the desk to change a DVI cable, USB, etc.

Still, I'll be on the lookout for a reasonably priced physical 3/4-port KVM switch, but they rarely do dual displays so its not ideal (and I like the flexibility of screen sharing).
 
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Wowfunhappy

macrumors 68000
Mar 12, 2019
1,640
2,010
I think you're not going to find any acceptable "software" solution for video. Not that works with a Powermac, at least. Latency is an issue.

My general solution to this type of thing is an hdmi switcher—you can get ones that swap automatically depending on what is outputting video. So, to switch computers, you'd put the one you're finished with to sleep, which causes that computer to stop outputting video, which causes the hdmi switcher to switch displays.

I'm a little hesitant to recommend this though due to that PowerMac. You'd have to convert the Powermac's video output to hdmi, which might work completely fine, but might also confuse the HDMI switcher and not work at all. HDMI gets finicky when you start chaining things together.

You could get a mechanical hdmi switcher, which is more likely to work with whatever video type conversion you need to do (because it's mechanical), but then you don't get automatic switching.
 
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