KVM Extender?

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KVM Extender?

Postby Aergis » Tue Aug 16, 2011 10:59 pm

Friend of mine told me to look up KVM extenders, it looks great. I have my main machine in a small room and it gets hot as hell in here. I'd like to move the whole workstation to the garage and just run the cat5 cable to one of these units and connect my monitors/usb to that...

But how good are they? It's a couple hundred bucks to do it so I don't want to bother if it's laggy framerate or something else I don't anticipate.

Anyone have experience with them? Oh, and can anyone find a 3 monitor version?? Or do I need 3 extenders + cables? :evil:
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Re: KVM Extender?

Postby laterna » Thu Aug 18, 2011 12:44 am

Got no experience with KVM extenders... I know some of KVM switches (merging 3 inputs to 1 screen, with you being able to control which input is on) but good ones of that sort are upwards of 300$ and they have 2-3sec delay when changing among inputs, but no framerate lag
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Re: KVM Extender?

Postby Aergis » Thu Aug 18, 2011 8:08 pm

Yeah, the KVM extender is similar to the switch in that you connect your monitors/keyboard to it, and then it to the computer itself. The difference is the extender is that box connects to a ethernet cable to another KVM box up to 500 feet away, and that box connects to the computer. Since I already run a cat6 wire from my office to the garage, seemed like the perfect solution. I'd just have a simple box sitting here on my desk, but all the power of the full machine...


But I've been looking more at them and it seems that for 3 monitors it will cost over $1,000.
So I think I'm just going to cut a hole in my wall...
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Re: KVM Extender?

Postby gibborim » Fri Aug 19, 2011 12:14 am

Aergis wrote:But I've been looking more at them and it seems that for 3 monitors it will cost over $1,000.


Yea, it seems like you are going to have a hard time finding exactly what you want for a serious graphics production environment at a reasonable cost.

What if you got the box then ran 2 HDMI cables through that space? Would be very dependent on how far it is. At that point, maybe you want to consider running simple cable extenders the whole distance for each component?

Can't really help without a distance estimation (as the Cat5 flies) to work with.
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Re: KVM Extender?

Postby Aergis » Sun Aug 21, 2011 11:36 am

If I cut right through the wall we're probably talking about 12'-15'. I know 15' is the limit for DVI cables for image degredation, how about HDMI or even VGA with a converter if I have to go that route?
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Re: KVM Extender?

Postby Aergis » Sun Aug 21, 2011 11:38 am

Oh, and I was thinking that the hole in the wall would be for the hot air from an AC unit. Currently since I have no windows and need to keep the door closed, I can't have any type of AC since the hot air has no place to exit. If there's a hole to the garage I could just connect the tube to that, thus keeping my machine in the room and cooling the air itself.
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Re: KVM Extender?

Postby gibborim » Sun Aug 21, 2011 10:31 pm

Aergis wrote:If I cut right through the wall we're probably talking about 12'-15'. I know 15' is the limit for DVI cables for image degredation, how about HDMI or even VGA with a converter if I have to go that route?


The basic HDMI specs are cited as ~45 feet, so you should have no trouble with that as most cables should outperform that. I don't know much about the DVI spec. VGA will be very dependent on the cable you get. I had to get a newer one to handle doing 1080p at all, but it is 25ft so you should have viable options if you go that rout.


The ability of a cable to carry a signal over any specific length has more to do with quality/quantity of insulation used in the cable. The basic specifications you see for for technologies like HDMI/VGA/DVI are the minimum performance levels that they need to meet.
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Re: KVM Extender?

Postby fuzzygeek » Mon Aug 22, 2011 8:58 am

I would suspect you'd be better off venting AC into the garage than putting the computer in the garage and running wiring into the room, but maybe my garage is just considerably more dusty than yours. I would be concerned about climate control wherever the PC itself is.

If I were in your shoes I would rig some sort of air circulation system keeping the A/C machinery in the garage to keep noise levels down as well, but I don't know how intricate you intend to get.

I once had a room that I'd used startech.com's video-over-cat5 products to put a PC a long ways from the TV, but ultimately was not satisfied with the performance.
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Re: KVM Extender?

Postby gibborim » Mon Aug 22, 2011 3:09 pm

Kinda sounds like you might just want to add proper ventilation and cooling to the room. A lot of your heat is probably coming from your monitors anyways, so I son't think moving your computer out of the room is going to have as bi an impact as you hope.

Depending on where you live and how your garage is constructed, you may have significant heat issues with a compute in your garage. My garage is like a giant sweat box that I would never want to run a computer in during the summer.
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Re: KVM Extender?

Postby JL007 » Mon Sep 19, 2011 4:39 am

Check out this USB KVM Extender. It let you extend your USB console up to 500feet
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Re: KVM Extender?

Postby Koatanga » Mon Sep 19, 2011 2:14 pm

Given it is a closed space, ventilation is going to be the answer. Sure, you can kick the PC into another room, but that still leaves other heat-generating devices in the room, such as your monitors and yourself.

3 monitors use around 100 watts of power, and the human body has a net output in average conditions equivalent to 100 watts. Moving the PC out would reduce the heat generation by around half, depending on PC spec and how hard you push it.

But that's just half - your heat issues will remain until you circulate some of the warmed air out of the room.

It could be as simple as installing some vents to the garage at the floor and ceiling. Cool air comes in near the floor, warms up, and exits out the ceiling vents. If you require more cooling, install a fan in the floor vent.

Of course, that will introduce dust issues and potential noise issues, depending on how vocal you are when some idiot stands in the fire. Your local home improvement store should be able to steer you in the appropriate direction.
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Re: KVM Extender?

Postby fafhrd » Tue Oct 04, 2011 2:39 pm

[edit: rereading OP, I realize that your case is using a KVM for a single machine, just to distance yourself from the machine itself. In this case what I wrote below isn't that useful, you do need physical extension cables, although I'd think you wouldn't really need a KVM, since those are usually used to switch input between different machines. Leaving post in anyway]


Is your usecase for the KVM the extension of monitor/k/m cables to the distant PC, or mostly for controlling the distant PC? For the latter, software solutions are generally better than a hardware KVM - for instance, look up the free Synergy program. What it does is, if two computers are on the same network, you hook up your keyboard and mouse to one computer, but when you move your mouse pointer to the edge of that computer's screen, it starts forwarding mouse and keyboard input from your first computer to your second. The net effect is that if you have Monitor A connected to Computer A, and Monitor B connected to Computer B, you can control both computers seamlessly my just moving your single mouse "from" one screen to another. Even clipboard contents are synched up so you can copy/paste across machines. Generally within ~5 seconds of having it set up, you forget that the two (or more) monitors are for different machines and start thinking you just have a multi-display setup on a single machine.

If the computers are far apart, this still leaves you the issue of getting a really long monitor cable to keep monitor B near you hooked up to computer B far away, but it means you just need k+m hooked up normally to computer A, and both computers on the network. It's also much easier to switch between machines than flipping a kvm switch every time.

Clients and servers are available for all the major OSs. I used to use it to control my laptop without having to plug in a kb+mouse every time I brought it home, my friends have been using it for all kinds of other setups for the better part of a decade now.
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Re: KVM Extender?

Postby Punkss2 » Tue Jan 17, 2012 9:54 pm

KVM Extender
This is the main KVM extenders I work with. From experience, they are rock solid and hardly ever have I seen them fail. Some of them I have seen run for 2+ years with no problems. Here is the big negitive though for this particular set, they run $4,500 a set, and does only a single monitor.

I have used ones from this company: http://www.thinklogical.com/ also and they seemed to work well, but once again, I think cost was pretty high on them.
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Re: KVM Extender?

Postby Aergis » Wed Jan 18, 2012 1:16 am

Holy crap...

Yeah, in the end I spent $4 on a 4" drywall bit for my drill and just cut through the damn wall. Now my AC unit pipes to the standard sized drier hole I made in the wall to vent the hot air into the garage. Works like a charm.
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