With more and more of us having two computers at home, but very little space, something like a KVM (Keyboard, Video, Mouse) switch can be a very handy thing to have. The ability to control more than one computer with the same peripherals can potentially save a huge amount of precious living space. But to really explain what this device is all about, let me paint you a picture.
I live in a small flat in London and I don’t have space for more than one monitor, but I do have more than one computer and it’s this scenario that makes a KVM the ideal solution for me. It’s also really handy if you have a PC and a home server - since you rarely have to access your server you don’t really want a keyboard, mouse and monitor just sitting there dormant for the majority of the time.
Of course as well as the space saving advantages, you also save yourself the cost of a second monitor, keyboard and mouse, and although you’ll have to factor in the cost of a KVM, it is a lot cheaper than a new monitor, even a very basic one.
It has to be said that Belkin doesn’t come up with the best product names in the world and no matter how good a product is, with a name like F1DL102U, this little KVM isn’t going to stick in your mind like, say, the name Pentium 4 would. Luckily Belkin has a fairly easy to use website, which means that you can track the precise product down from there without having to etch preposterously obscure product names into your brain.
Let’s take a closer look at the F1DL102U and its features. The front of the main unit has a D-SUB connector, two USB ports and two audio connectors, one for speakers or headphones and one for a microphone. There is one downside to having the D-SUB connector on the front and that is that the monitor cable is usually hanging down the back of your monitor. This makes the cable routing a little awkward, but it’s a small price to pay for the benefits you’re getting.
On top of the unit is a switch that allows you to manually change between the two PCs that are connected to the F1DL102U. At the rear you’ll find two eight-foot (about 2.4 metre) long cables which are used to connect the KVM to the two PCs. Each end has a D-SUB connector, a USB port and two audio connectors. The only problem with this is that the cables are captive, but if you want a compact KVM, this is the only way to go. Besides, using detachable cables would only increase the cost, and value for money is one of the strongest features of the F1DL102U.