KVM Nerd's home


Q: Why?

A: Just because.

Q: I mean, why?

A: Because it’s fun and I like retro computing and gaming.

Q: No really, why?

A: I think the deeper sense is to bring back the good old times of youth where I could live in the day without having to work.

Q: Why don’t you just use an emulator?

A: A what?

Q: You cannot tell me you don’t know what an emulator is, so why exactly don’t you use an emulator?

A: As the word already tells, it just emulates things. I you want to have the “real” experience, you need to have a real machine. Many things cannot be emulated well, e. g. special hardware (Creative SoundBlaster AWE32, good luck!), the sound coming from the machine itself, the BIOS, the speed the machine reacts to different actions and so on. It is also meant for future people to get an idea of the evolution the technology took.

Q: Can’t I have all this much easier?

A: You can use emulators (drawbacks see above), or build your own reduced setup.

Q: How much does it cost?

A: Take a look at the parts list and you will get an idea.

Q: Can I buy it?

A: No.

Q: Can you build the same system for me?

A: It’s all a question of the price you pay. The information on my page should be sufficient to build a similar system on your own.

Q: Are you planning some extensions in the future?

A: So it is not already big enough?

Q: I know it’s already huge, but are you planning to do some more?

A: A nice extension would be to have a KVM connection to the outside by using some kind of KVM over IP stuff, but I don’t know if this works well. I suspect it would have some drawbacks regarding delay (see the SteamLink discussion in the history), and also some security issuses. It would be very nice to have it to show the project to someone else without having to transport it, which would be a PITA.

Q: Doesn’t it draw a lot of energy?

A: The plan is not to run all machines at the same time, only maybe two or three for data exchange purposes. My room is not a data center, and I don’t want to waste energy. Also one of the design goals is to save as much energy as possible (see design goals).

Q: Why don’t you use device xy in your setup? It is much better than the device you suggest.

A: If you have your own suggestions, I am looking forward to your message!

Q: Why do you use so many devices made by ATEN/IOGEAR?

A: Looks like there is no way to avoid ATEN/IOGEAR in my case, although there are still a lot of compatibility issues even when using only their devices. I was for exaple trying a device made by Vertiv as the primary KVM in my desk, but it was much worse than ATEN (e. g. only allowing standard HID keyboard functions).

Q: Can you do some compatibility testing for me?

A: If I got some spare time and still own the involved devices, I may do some tests for you, just drop me a message. Please also take look at the compatibility matrix I built beforehand.

Last updated on 16 Jul 2020
Published on 23 Apr 2020
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