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2 PC, 1 Laptop into 4-port DP1.2 KVM Solution?!

Disclaimer: I’m a fairly tech savvy, I believe, but have never researched/learned much about the various USB capabilities and how they’re leveraged by KVMs. I only have 2 weeks to make a decision to take advantage of a ‘WFH stipend’ from work; otherwise I’d spend many more hours in research before posting to forums.

I need some guidance on the best approach to integrate a KVM into my setup, please! I just don’t yet understand laptop USB to KVM solution options well enough, and I’m so agitated that I’m unable to use all my peripherals and monitors across machines.

PRIMARY OBJECTIVE:
I want to use all of the monitors and peripherals listed below for 2 PCs, but ALSO want to incorporate a Dell Precision laptop in the ‘PC3’ port(s). To be clear, gaming on one or both of the PCs is important to me, which is why I was drawn towards Level1Tech’s KVMs.

SECONDARY OBJECTIVE
I want to connect all 6 USB devices to the KVM. Do I get a ‘well reviewed’ USB3.0 hub that I plug into one of the KVM’s hid ports and call it good?

Monitors & Peripherals for KVM (2 monitors, 6 USB devices)
Dell S2417DG 1440p (primary, dual monitor config)
Dell S2417DG 1440p (secondary dual monitor config)
Keyboard 1 - Aukey mechanical, usb (for gaming and general use)
Keyboard 2 - Microsoft Sculpt Ergo keyboard, 2.4ghz usb dongle (for work and intensive typing)
Mouse 1 - Logitech G5 (back up until dead primary is replaced)
Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 3rd Gen - for mic, small studio monitors, headphones or earbuds
Logitech C910 webcam
Xbox 360 PC controller

Computers
PC1 = GTX 1070 TI, Asus Sabertooth X99, i7-5820k
PC2 = GTX 660 TI, ASRock…can’t recall, i7-2600k
Laptop1 = Dell Precision 5520 (work asset, likely to be replaced by a latitude 7xxx or newer precision model soonish)

ISSUE & THOUGHTS:
How do I get my laptop into the KVM alongside 2 PCs, in a reliable manner???
I think I need to get the ‘DP1.2 Dual Monitor KVM’, but I don’t understand the best way to use the USB C (or USB A?) output from the Precision laptop. How do I control the laptop using the listed peripherals AND the dual monitors?

-I noticed another post where @Blackbird714 was using an ‘MST Hub’, but that’s only the display port connection. Right? How do I connect all the other peripherals, especially the Focusrite? Those MST hubs are also not cheap.

-I’ve seen folks, including a compatibility statement from @wendell, that reference ‘piggy backing’ KVMs. For example, have a USB-C KVM for the laptop and just run the display port outs to the KVM input. But again, how are the peripherals connected and switchable to both my PCs AND laptop?

-I’d consider just getting a USB-C KVM, sacrificing one of my 1440p monitors to it, but then I can’t easily swap around my Focusrite and webcam. So, that’s a no-go i think. I believe I need everything to feed into the same KVM.

-I just remembered I do have a Dell Thunderbolt TB16 at work my boss told me I could grab and use at home, since we’re not going back to the office until at least January 1st. Maybe that helps me somehow until then, but then I have the same problem again when I must take the dock back to my desk.

All in all, I’m hoping there’s an obvious solution I’m just not seeing?! Thanks in advance for your help!

-Cr0

Welcome to the forum

Your setup is similar to mine:

  • 2 Dell ultrasharps with DP1.2 daisy chained so I only use one cable to my KVM. Check if your model supports daisy chain it will save you a ton. Edit - your model doesn’t have passthrough so you will need the dual display kvm

  • usb3 hub which I mostly use in usb2 mode with two wireless dongles for keyboard and mouse, a game controller and usb headset

  • Lenovo thunderbolt 3 dock connects to port 3 of the KVM and gives me a “one cable” solution on top of the desk for my work laptop or my personal laptop with power, network and video

  • fourth port goes to another old docking station that I use for occasional pc’s that need plugging in for maintenance (servers etc) and for tinkering.

Works great. I use a startech KVM (single monitor) which is similar to the L1 KVM but has the advantage of being “in stock”

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Spectacular, thanks so much for the reply @Airstripone. You’re a rockstar!

Clarifying question about the Startech vs Level1Tech comparison – what’s REALLY the difference? I’ve combed through the obvious specs and images in detail, identifying the following differences…

Level1Tech’s has:

  • no mic input per PC. (don’t care, using USB devices)
  • 4x USB3 ports (not critical for my current devices)
  • is USB3 from KVM to the PC ***I think this is a deal breaker for the the Startech. The Startech, i think, has a USB2 ‘usb-b to pc’ connection. With my Scarlett 2i2 + webcam + my other input devices, I’m thinking I’ll have some audio or video quality issues.

Assuming I’m right about the ‘usb-b to pc’ ports on the Startech being USB2, I definitely need to buy the Level1Tech KVM. I can manage not getting a device until early/mid July, knowing how my world will change for the better, but I just need to see if i can pre-order it so that I may submit a receipt for reimbursement on the ‘WFH stipend’ from work.

This also confirms a leading theory I had that in that I wouldn’t necessarily NEED a thunderbolt 3 dock, but it’s the most efficient way to get dual display port out and not have to plug everything else in to the laptop directly such as the USB from the kvm on top of ethernet and anything else laptop-specific. It does seem more cost effective to use a dock as well, since getting display port out of most dell laptops requires an adapter that costs almost as much as a thunderbolt dock.

Great community here. Not just regarding my post, but I’ve read through dozens of other post throughout and really appreciate the general theme of the users’ behaviour.

Thanks for the acknowledgement. Glad to help.

The L1 KVM has better firmware so works with more specialist keyboards (HID devices) but i’ve had no issues with the 3 keyboards ive tried on mine. Mouse is also fine (Logitech G602).

Ports on my Startech DUA2 are USB2 only, which is fine for my needs. If you are plugging in more than say 5 devices you may want to use a separate USB switcher, especially for video capture.

I’d definitely advocate a docking station (usb c or thunderbolt) just to make your desk tidier. but you are right it is not needed. Mine was around $100 or so. Not a deal breaker for a work tool.

The only real driver for me for the Startech unit was it was available in my market whereas the L1 KVM was not at the time i needed it.

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