StarTech USB 2.0 DisplayPort KVM Switch
The introduction of newer video digital interface standards, such as DisplayPort, offer better image quality, resolutions and refresh rates over existing technologies such as DVI and VGA.
The DisplayPort connection is now being implemented into the KVM (Keyboard, Video, Mouse) Switch: a simple hardware device allowing a user to control multiple computers via a single set of peripheral devices.
With a native resolution of 2560x1600 @ 60Hz, keyboard, mouse and 7.1 HD digital audio supports, the StarTech DisplayPort KVM switch with USB Hub is one such device utilising the new standard.
|Number of KVM Ports||2|
|Maximum Digital Resolutions||2560x1600 @ 60Hz|
|Wide Screen Support||Yes|
|DVI Support||Yes (Dual Link)|
|Console Interfaces||1-20 pin DisplayPort Female; 3 – USB A Female|
|Host Interfaces||2-20 pin DisplayPort Female; 2 – USB B Female|
|OS Compatibility||OS Independent, No Software or drivers required|
Despite the small size of the actual KVM Switch, the packaging is still a fairly hefty box considering the number of accessories included. The three year warranty is paid special attention to on the front of the box and rightly so as it includes lifetime technical support.
Looking more closely at the bundled accessories reveals that alongside the obligatory manual, the only cable to be found is a power cable. The cabling for connecting the KVM Switch up has to be supplied by the user; this makes sense as a user’s setup varies but will add extra cost as cables (or adaptors) are relatively expensive, especially DisplayPort. Indeed, the cheapest to be found at StarTech is upwards of £20 and even more for longer lengths.
The Switch itself is quite understated in its design: a matte black finish broken only by the ports, buttons and white font distinguishing the product and identifying the StarTech brand.
Front on, a Select button moves between the two connected computers with an LED illuminating to indicate which is selected at any given time.
The main set of ports is located at the rear of the device with the DisplayPort, and peripheral, inputs. Note that unlike many KVM Switches USB 2.0 is supported instead of just 1.1 (providing enough power for keyboard/mouse), allowing an extra USB port to be fitted for adding in additional USB devices to be shared between the two connected computers.
As previously mentioned, the native resolution is 2560x1600 @ 60Hz but higher resolutions can be accessed at lower refresh rates.
One of the main attractions of the StarTech USB 2.0 DisplayPort KVM Switch is the fact that it is essentially a “plug and play” device – no drivers or software is required. Therefore, once everything is plugged in, you’re ready to roll without ever needing to do any installing.
With the switch connected up, it’s really very easy to use with the Select button swapping between computers with just a few seconds delay in between. Image quality was sharp and as good as a direct connection from monitor to PC. There’s not much more to be said but it does exactly what it should.
The DisplayPort standard is slowing arriving and although relatively few monitors currently support it, the demand for KVM Switches and other such like devices is growing.
The StarTech Switch fits the bill nicely: a compact, yet understated design allows it to blend into most environments with functionality to suit. The hotkey allows for ease of transfer between the connected computers.
Using the KVM Switch is incredibly easy and there is no discernable loss of signal resulting in poorer image quality. As is stands, the only limiting factors are the lack of DisplayPort monitors available and the price point for the product which, including VAT, comes to a shade over £190.00. Whilst there’s not really any alternatives for DisplayPort KVM Switches (only other StarTech devices with more inputs), switches with older digital interfaces can be found for much less.
Pricing aside, the StarTech DisplayPort USB 2.0 KVM Switch does it exactly what is says on the tin though offering functionality and ease of use.
Thanks go to StarTech for providing the KVM Switch for review.