1. It is better to sign-up/log-in before you post your question (or reply to an existing thread), instead of posting as a guest.
    This will allow you to easily look up the Q&A sequence anytime, anywhere, with just one mouse click. Learn more...

    You can log in with your Facebook, Twitter, or Google+ accounts, or create a KVMGalore HelpCenter user-name/password.
    Dismiss Notice

Multi-screen PC Desktop and Laptop Solution (likely Thunderbolt?)

Discussion in 'KVM' started by leebier, Jul 22, 2018.

  1. leebier

    leebier New member

    I am going to be full time work-from-home soon and am looking to avoid a preposterous setup in my home office where I have a personal desktop PC and a work laptop.

    Ideally, I'd like to have dual monitors, a single keyboard/mouse, and ability to switch between computers using all of the above.

    I am pretty flexible on most counts (and can use this as an opportunity to upgrade some of my home setup/peripherals) but I'm gathering that my KVM solution will dictate any possible monitor/motherboard upgrades I do.

    My only major constraint is that the work laptop ONLY has a Thunderbolt 3 output (plus a couple regular USB).

    I've seen a single IOGEAR Thunderbolt 2 KVM but I wonder if I'm missing something about the set of viable solutions if more people aren't making these (and none for Thunderbolt 2).

    Any thoughts on what the path is to having a working setup?


  2. KVMGalore Expert

    KVMGalore Expert Staff Member

    Hello leebier,

    Thank you for reaching out on our HelpCenter and sorry for the delayed response.

    Indeed, KVM switches supporting Thunderbolt are pretty scarce in the marketplace, let alone multi-screen KVM switches.

    However, thunderbolt is compatible with Mini DisplayPort, so you could deploy one of these dual-view KVM switches.

    Since your other system is not Thunderbolt you will not be able to escape using an adapter. That being the case, you may prefer deploying a DVI dual-view KVM switch, since the selection is greater and prices are lower.

    Hope this helps!
    We welcome your questions - please come back and ask us anything, anytime.
  3. leebier

    leebier New member

    Thanks for the answer... I think I'm a bit more confused than before though.

    If I went with the mini DP option, it would be something like:
    Laptop out
    - USB to KVM
    - Audio to KVM
    - Thunderbolt 3 to miniDP cable (or Thunderbolt 3 cable plus miniDP adapter) to KVM
    - 2nd miniDP to KVM??? How???
    - Power (to wall?)
    PC Out
    - USB to KVM
    - Audio to to KVM
    - miniDP to KVM (or cables/adapters from DP or HDMI)
    - 2nd miniDP to KVM???
    - Power to wall
    KVM Console
    - USB to keyboard
    - USB to mouse
    - Audio to audio stuff
    - miniDP to Monitor 1
    - miniDP to Monitor 2 (or can it be daisy-chained?)
    - Power to wall

    In this scenario, can I use one miniDP port on each system (because they can be daisy-chained)? Or do I need two miniDP (or converted) outputs on each machine? Would I need some sort of splitter on my Thunderbolt 3 end for that?

    If I went with the IOGear Thunderbolt 2 KVM option (and upgraded my motherboard to support Thunderbolt), it would be something like:
    Laptop out
    - Thunderbolt 3/Thunderbolt 2 adapter to KVM
    - Power to wall if necessary
    PC Out
    - Thunderbolt 2 or 3 w/ adapter (active cable for length?) to KVM
    - Power to wall
    KVM to Console
    - USB to keyboard
    - USB to mouse
    - Audio to audio stuff
    - miniDP to monitor 1 to monitor 2 (daisy-chained)
    - Power to wall

    Or have I gotten this all wrong?

  4. KVMGalore Expert

    KVMGalore Expert Staff Member

    Since you were looking for a dual-monitor setup, we assumed both your computers already have two video outputs (each), which is a pre-requisite for setting up a dual-monitor system.
    No splitter and no daisy-chaining will accomplish a dual-video setup when using a KVM switch.

    If any of your computers do not have two video outputs - you will need to fit each with an additional video card, either internal or external. Adding an external video card is a lot easier, of course, and it utilizes a USB port on your system. Once your system has two video outputs, you use your OS to setup a dual-view monitor for extended desktop. Only then you can connect your systems to a dual-view KVM switch as we recommended earlier.

    Not sure which product you are referring to - please provide a part # or a link for us to check this option out for you.
  5. leebier

    leebier New member

    A desktop with dual monitor is easy enough to have ready, but the laptop has only the one Thunderbolt port... Does something about the KVM prevent the daisy-chaining of graphics outputs over miniDP?

    The only Thunderbolt 2 KVM I'm aware of is https://www.kvmgalore.com/shopping/iogear-docking-station-thunderbolt-2-kvm-gtd732-p-49876.html.

    Would it make more sense to just buy a beefy Thunderbolt docking station and switch what device it's plugged into?
  6. KVMGalore Expert

    KVMGalore Expert Staff Member

    This is why you need to use and external USB-based video adapter so that your laptop will end up having two video ports.

    This daisy-chaining you are referring to is similar to MST. The majority of KVM switches do not support MST. The only KVM Switch we are aware of that supports MST is CS782DP (and such support is conditioned by a few other factors, as described in this product's page).

    This device does not support dual-video input or output.

    Not sure what you mean by beefy, but if you want to avoid disconnecting and reconnecting your systems - a KVM switch is the only way to go.

Share This Page