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Belkin OmniCube
Price: $120

Price:

Security: N/A
Interface:N/A
Ease of Use:

Overall:
Rating: 1

Pros: Share many computers using one mouse, keyboard and monitor 
Cons: Troubles with hot-key switching.

 

    This device has nothing to do with security, and technically not networking either. However, for people with more than one computer a Keyboard/Video/Mouse switch box is very handy.

    The Belkin OmniCube 4-port KVM switch box is a rather small device. Place two VHS tapes (laying flat) on top of each other, and you have the size of the switch; small enough to tuck in behind a monitor or just leave on the end of your desk and place your joystick on top of it. 

    The 4-port switch allows you to hook up a max of 4 computer. On the back of the box, there's 4 sets of PS/2 ports & monitors, one video port for your monitor, a reset button and a DC in for power. In the front, there's two PS/2 ports (mouse and keyboard), 4 LEDs to indicate which port is in use, and a Select button to switch to the next port.

     Setup couldn't be simpler. Plug your monitor into the VGA port labeled monitor, and plug the mouse/keyboard in to the front PS/2 ports. Then connect the KVM cable set (purchased separately) into the appropriate port on the back of the switch and then connect to your computer. Start your computer, and assuming you have the correct port selected, you should be able to work on your computer as if nothing has changed. Repeat for all your computers.

    Video is good. There really shouldn't be any degradation, but the length of your monitor cable just doubled ... Personally, I cannot tell any difference between the image quality now and when I'm hooked up directly to the computer. 

    The quickest way of selection which computer to control is to use the hot-key combo. This is where the Belkin product has its strong and weak points. On the positive side, it does not use the CTRL button like other models. Instead it uses the Scroll Lock button. In my opinion, this is a plus. Games I play use the CTRL key, and I would really hate suddenly watching my mail-server access logs rather than the game screen I was watching a second ago... This is also it's weak point. There's something funny with the timing of what constitutes a double-click on the Scroll Lock key. I like to do two quick taps, but sometimes I guess I'm too quick, and it doesn't take. Also, during boot, it doesn't register the Scroll lock key very well either. This is very annoying when you get stuck watching the long lasting blue screen of NT booting ... You could always reach over and hit the button on the box, but you shouldn't have to! Also, it makes a loud beep when you have pressed Scroll Lock twice (so you know...), and a second loud beep when you press the numbers 1 through 4.

    Retraction: I claimed earlier that the OmniCube did not support Logitech Wheel mice. Well, I was wrong. My Logitech Wheel mouse is now working properly. I don't know what has changed; I haven't loaded any new drivers or made any changes what so ever to my setup since I did my initial tests. So, in conclusion, YES, it does support wheel mice, and I'm grateful, because I was going mad without it ... 

    Addition 5/4/1: I have now tested the OmniCube with a Microsoft Wheelmouse as well, and it's also fully supported. 

   There's no OS restrictions on this switch, no software to install. If your computer has standard PS/2 and monitor connections, you're all set. You can also use a PS/2-AT converter if you have an older computer with an AT keyboard connector. I could not get a serial converter to work ... And, there's a solution for Mac users as well; Belkin will sell you a Mac adapter. 

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