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  • KVM switch with Dell Monitor and Mac mini

    Hi,

    I'm looking to purchase two new computers for our prepress department and I was hoping to get some information from others here that have used a Dell 20 or 24 inch widescreen for both a Dell and Mac mini with a KVM switch. My questions/concerns are listed below.

    - are the Dell and Mac DVI computers capable of using a KVM switch together.

    - if so, is there any loss of video signal to hinder color quality control from the Dell computer.

    - if there is loss of signal, can a hardware or software calibrator compensate for that loss.

    Our intent is to have an inexpensive Mac computer to use for our minor prepress needs and to save $ by utilizing one Dell monitor for both a Dell Precision and Mac mini computers.

    Thank you all in advance for your input.

    John

  • #2
    Re: KVM switch with Dell Monitor and Mac mini

    I'm not an expert on this, but have used some switches in the past.

    DVI switch between the mini and dell shouldn't be a problem.

    As far as loss of signal or quality, I would think it wouldn't be an issue since DVI is all digital.

    Just be sure you are using a DVI-D cable to guarantee that you are using the digital signal

    check here to tell the difference
    http://www.bluejeanscable.com/store/...cabletypes.htm

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: KVM switch with Dell Monitor and Mac mini

      Have you thought of just using VMWare Fusion and making your Windows machine to be a virtual machine running on your Mac?

      Don

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      • #4
        Re: KVM switch with Dell Monitor and Mac mini

        Digital video runs into limitations with KVMs...resolution limitations. Only when you get into the very expensive units can you find the resolutions you typically use for an LCD monitor. At least that was the case last time I looked into it a year or so ago.

        Color "quality" is a subjective issue and there may be some variation with a KVM, I can't say.

        Othere than that, a USB-based KVM should work well.

        I used KVM some while ago and found it easier to NOT switch the keyboard...I'd just put the mac keyboard aside and bring in the other one and so on.

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        • #5
          Re: KVM switch with Dell Monitor and Mac mini

          There's an easier way to do this - get a monitor (I have an Iiyama) with
          dual inputs and use one for the PC and one for the Mac. Plus 2 keyboards. I
          do this with one of my setups and it works a charm. You can then switch the
          monitor between computers using a button on the front panel of the monitor.
          So no need to buy a KVM.

          Regards,

          Andy.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: KVM switch with Dell Monitor and Mac mini

            I agree with mac and andy. Not to slite Don, he's such an asset to PrintPlanet.
            If you do your due diligence, i.e. buy a KVM that handles your resloution requirements (or 1.6x better) and has the special cables included in the box, you should be OK.

            I've used an ATEN KVM for years. Profiling the monitor, from each computer (they were different with different video cards) has resulted in excelent results.

            BTW, I only use a KVM because of lack of physical desktop space. If you have enough space, why not seperate monitors/keyboards/mice/tablits for each machine? More costly, of course, but you can be guarinteed of no problems/worries.

            Edited by: JohnS on Nov 1, 2007 1:51 PM

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            • #7
              Re: KVM switch with Dell Monitor and Mac mini

              Hi Don,

              Yes I have thought about VMWare Fusion but in my experience its best to have the native computer for the software that the customer files were built on. It sure would be nice to have it all into one machine but since I've been away from Mac's now for 4 years, I don’t have the time or the resources to learn its OS as it pertains to IT. We don’t have an IT dept so I am the go to person for most of the IT problems. I have a greater amount of experience troubleshooting PC's than I do Apple computers. I am by no means a PC guy only, but when it comes to prepress production I trust running an OS on the native computer in which it was originally designed and on its own hard drive. No need to add variables to an already complicated situation. Plus, I am far more proficient on the PC these days than I am on the Mac meaning I'm more accustomed to all the PC shortcuts and key commands for the Adobe CS Suite package.

              Thank you for your suggestion!

              John

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              • #8
                Re: KVM switch with Dell Monitor and Mac mini

                John,

                FWIW Mac's can be maintenanced with one program - Yasu (or Onyx, etc.) Mainly problems on Mac OS X are corrupt cache files or permissions problems. I use Yasu when I have anything strange go on, and it fixes any problems I've had. For backup, I've used PSyncX (but newest version of OS X, Leopard, has Time Machine, so fixing a problem is as simple as "stepping back in time").

                As far as running a virtual machine, everything except the peripherals are the same. Windows 2000 Server on a beige box will run the same as a virtual machine of the physical machine. No problems I've encountered except when dealing with Windows XP (because of WGA), but Windows XP would have to be re-activated anyway if re-installing (which is what I would tell Microsft I'm doing - reinstalling the OS). If dealing with OS prior to XP, no problems. To get back to working order and not using Time Machine, just drag the backup copy from the backup drive to the main drive, replacing the corrupted virtual machine (one file) with the good backup (one file). Then start the VM and you're back up and running. Better than IT can do IMO. To get back up and running using Time Machine in Leopard, just go back in time to the uncorrupted Windows image.

                It's not that hard. Really. If it was, I wouldn't like it.

                Of course, all this additional info is just that - info. You're welcome to take it or leave it. But just think of being able to have that one machine do it all.

                Don

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                • #9
                  Re: KVM switch with Dell Monitor and Mac mini

                  I, too, much prefer a win box over a macintosh. But I've owned macs (not mac's, Don but the ones I owned were mac's macs<BG>) since the plus and currently am happy with a 2G ram Mini driving a 22 inch Viewsonic LCD. For "real" work, it is done on a souped up E6600 (base 2.4 Ghz dual Core, but running at 3.1 or so) and XP Pro. But, unlike many of those here, I spend my own money--not the bosses--for my equipment. Sometimes this is better than convincing the boss that PS level 1 is no longer useful but other times I need

                  But I also insist that mac-generated files are output to PS/PDF on a mac. And have since 1991 when I "went" postscript. (before having an L100, I did handle some Postscript tasks via emulators to Compugraphic MCS sysrtems for a couple years before that. Talk about processing files!<BG>

                  There is software that makes a virtual KVM....(Mordy Golding had a post on this a year ago (?) and he has a blog somewhere about it....I tried it but there were installation issues I just didn't feel like addressing. It sounded keen (that's a pre-postscript phrase<G>) with move the mouse from the pc to the mac and copy and paste between them and the keyboard would work on whatever computer the mouse was active on, and all that.

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                  • #10
                    Re: KVM switch with Dell Monitor and Mac mini

                    Don,

                    That does sound easy so I will re-consider that solution again and price out the systems necessary to accommodate my needs.

                    Thanks again,
                    John

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                    • #11
                      Re: KVM switch with Dell Monitor and Mac mini

                      mac,

                      This is off topic but would it be ok to contact you via email to ask you more about your Windows system?

                      John

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                      • #12
                        Re: KVM switch with Dell Monitor and Mac mini

                        Instead of using a KVM, why don't you buy Timbuktu? It is installed on both computers and allows you to control either one from the other. That way, you can run the Mac headlessly and control it from the PC. The only issue, as I see it, is if you are running Vista on the PC, because Timbuktu doesn't play well with that.
                        Unfortunately, it doesn't look as if Motorola, who bought Netopia, is going to continue development of the software.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: KVM switch with Dell Monitor and Mac mini

                          Mark,

                          I agree that Timbuktu is a useful piece of software and I do have an old copy of it somewhere but it’s been years since I've used it. I was using it to connect to my work computer from my home computer. (Work = Mac, Home = PC) The program is great for getting work done from home without having to purchase a Macbook. I think I'll reserve that solution for what I originally used it for, to get a little work done from home when necessary.

                          Thank you for you input.
                          John

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: KVM switch with Dell Monitor and Mac mini

                            Hi John,
                            Just as an illustration; one of our companies has a five person prepress department, all Mac. Most of the work coming in has been created on Macs. But maybe a job a day comes in from a PC user. We prefer to keep the work in the original app/platform until we get to PDF. So, we have one PC workstation that everyone can get to with Timbuktu. It is as if they are sitting in front of it. All the work is on a server, so they never have to get up and go to the PC. They don't have to switch back and forth between screens. There is no "virtualization" of the OS. And you can have both computers on the screen at the same time.
                            For our situation, it works well.

                            Good luck!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: KVM switch with Dell Monitor and Mac mini

                              It's always the user's choice. I use a KVM switch here, and there are times when I wish I didn't have to use it now that I have it. If something happens and I have to restart and hold down certain keys to get the Mac to boot into safe mode or boot from CD, the KVM never works in this situation. I have always had to use my original Mac keyboard and mouse to do these rare tasks. Not saying KVM's are bad, or that Windows is bad. Just saying virtualization is where I've been looking for a while, and if the company ever decides to upgrade these old Macs, I'll be getting Mac Pros and doing virtualization of 2-3 of the Windows machines in my room (the proofing rip and the production rip because these systems are portable and only require USB dongles for the programs I run in these, maybe virtualizing my production WinXP machine, but not virtualizing the Windows machine driving the platesetter, for the obvious reason of a fat cord going from it to the platesetter). Just depends on what one wants. Me, I want one machine where I can get back up and running quickly if something goes wrong, and I want that machine to be a duplicate of another machine. So two Mac Pros will give me every machine (and a backup of each one) in my room available except the one driving the platesetter (which if it went down, we'd need tech to come out and fix anyways).

                              Don

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