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KVM DVI Switches: Why So Expensive!?

May 07, 2008 | 1 Minute Read

Right now I’m using a Dell 24-inch screen with my hand-built Windows box. But I also have a 13-inch Macbook that I’ve been using for school and software development (Unix is simply a nicer environment than Windows). I’ve been wanting to get the Mac on the 24-inch screen, but I only have a mini-dvi to DVI adapter. So I was thinking of getting one of those nifty KVM switches that let you use one set of input devices for multiple computers.

A KVM switch that supports DVI video inputs costs like, $175! Why so expensive!? I’m not an electrical engineer (or computer engineer even), but it doesn’t make sense that the hardware can cost so much. Couldn’t you just rig something up that just physically “switches” the wiring? Maybe the switch requires some power, but I can’t imagine the logic being that terribly complex. In comparison, a lot of the VGA KVM switches I’ve looked at cost maybe $25. What’s the difference, besides a few extra signals being re-routed?

So my short term cheapo fix will probably be to buy a $19 Mini-dvi to VGA adapter for my Macbook. My monitor has multiple inputs (VGA, DVI, Component, Composite, S-Video) so I can just switch from VGA to DVI for Mac to PC. The video quality might suffer, but I probably won’t be able to tell the difference anyway (my older brother claims he can).