Windows isn't the only game in town these days for a consumer friendly operating system. LINUX is stepping up their game, running as the standard OS for many netbooks and some desktop systems and you're definitely seeing more Macs at the local Internet Cafe. Each OS has its strengths which is why some people choose to run both Windows and Mac OS based systems. But do you need to run a monitor, mouse and keyboard for each system?
In order to get all the horsepower out of an OS, you need to have the dedicated hardware, but what you don't need to have is a set of dedicated monitors, mice and keyboards for each box. That's where IOGEAR comes in with their line of KVM (Keyboard Video Mouse) switches that allow you to run multiple systems from a single set of peripherals. Today we'll be looking at one of IOGEAR's products called the IOGEAR GSC1204 4 Port Dual-Link DVI KVMP Switch: The perfect solution to a multi-OS environment.
Features and Specifications
The IOGEAR GCS1204 is a four port KVMP switch that supports Dual-Link DVI connectivity. I assume the "P" on the end of "KVM" stands for the fact that it also supports printer sharing via one of it's two USB 2.0 ports. Because of the Dual-Link DVI support, this switch will go up to a 3840 x 2400 resolution with full HDCP pass-through support. That means you could run a single 30 inch monitor easily and have it available for up to four different systems running four different supported operating systems. Display emulation software onboard also remembers the monitors optimal settings, allowing seamless switching and boot up from system to system.
While providing control from a single mouse and keyboard, the GCS1204 also allows you to seamlessly share USB 2.0 capable peripherals like USB drives, scanners, printers and other USB devices using the built in 2 port powered USB 2.0 hub. The unit also allows sharing of a set of speakers and a microphone via a set of inputs in the back. Switching is done using a hotkey combo from the keyboard, or manually use of the buttons on the front panel.
Topping off this enchilada are features like upgradeable firmware to support future OS features and a three year warranty. Of course, there is a price and you can have all this for only $499.95 US. It's not cheap that's for sure but it's a lot cheaper than buying four sets of mice, keyboard and monitor. More hardcore specs are available here. For the rest of you, let's see if this thing is really worth the price of admission.
What's In The Box?
Naturally, for about $500 you'd expect some really cool stuff in the box. Well, if high quality cables and minimal paperwork is cool enough for you, then the GCS1204 has that covered.
Inside the box, you get our GCS1204 KWMP Switch, but you'll also get a manual and registration card. Four sets of custom 6ft DVI/Audio/Mic cables are also included along with a PS2 to USB adapter for you old school peripheral peeps and the firmware upgrade cable. A power adapter is also provided to give the device the juice it needs to power up to four systems.