Level1Techs KVM FAQ -- Ultimate Guide & Help!

Hello!

This guide is to be a compendium of forum post help, knowledge, and guidance for people who have bought/want to buy the Level1Techs KVMs! Written by yours truly, we will be answering your most common questions and frequent technical difficulties.

Please leave any comments, suggestions, and insight in the comments below. We want this FAQ to grow as our knowledge does! :smile:

KVM Overview & Resources


We strongly recommend you watch these videos below & read the article before purchasing!

Level1Techs KVMs Introduction Video: (Click to show/hide)

Dr Strangeport: How I learned to stop worrying and love the Displayport KVMs - YouTube

What is a KVM?

A KVM is a “dumb box” as we like to call it that switches from 1 workstation to another with the press of a button. It is not controlling or modifying anything, it hopes to be compatible with most hardware. Hence, why we say “dumb box.” If it was “smarter” it would ruin things like Nvidia G-Sync. Instead of unplugging everything, fiddling with your monitor inputs, plugging in your USBs to the other PC, the KVM changes all of that over to a new PC for you. Whether you’re working from home, developing software, or simply an enthusiast, we have a KVM for you.

Why should I buy yours?

The difference in Level1Techs KVMs and others is that we continuously try to troubleshoot, innovate, and polish our KVM models. We do not and will never sell half-baked products that have not been thoroughly tested. In addition to that, we try to have good customer support and ensure people are satisfied. No KVM to exist is perfect, but people tell us ours are darn good & they enjoy working with us to boot. If you have any problems with a model, it would not hurt to contact Wendell for your support options.

This article will be very in-depth, however, if you are more of an auditory person or would simply rather watch a video, these videos are very helpful. Produced at various times, @wendell provides knowledge of the KVMs & explains things in his own, unique, Wendell way.

DisplayPort KVMs

Release/Informational Video: (Click to show/hide)

NEW Level1Techs KVM: DisplayPort 1.4! - YouTube

  • DisplayPort 1.4
    Available in a variety of configurations, this KVM has 5 Gigabit & 10 Gigabit models. This type of KVM is by far our most popular and well-known. Whether you have a single-PC, multi-PC, single monitor, or multi-monitor, we have a DisplayPort 1.4 KVM that’s right for you. These KVMs could be for work-from-home and enthusiast setups alike.
  • DisplayPort 1.2
    We have older DisplayPort 1.2 Models that are discontinued on the Level1Techs Store. Be aware if you acquire one it is 1.2 and will not be capable of what the 1.4 is & may have compatibility issues with modern firmware/software.

HDMI & USB-C KVMs

Release Forum Article:

Release/Informational Video: (Click to show/hide)

New KVMs -- Back And Better Than Ever! (2 New Models - USBc and HDMI) - YouTube

USB-C KVM Tour Video: (Click to show/hide)

usbc KVm mini tour - YouTube

  • USB-C
    This KVM switch will let you ONE DisplayPort monitor plus other USB peripherals like a keyboard and a mouse between up to two USB-C devices such as a laptop and an iPad, two laptops, or a laptop and a desktop.
  • HDMI
    These HDMI KVMs are rather rare as of right now, but they act just as the DisplayPort KVMs. Important to note: HDMI has less bandwidth. It is limited to 4K 60Hz w/great quality cables.

KVM Models


I have written a breakdown of the Level1Techs KVMs including a model chart, pictures, and specifications of each available on the Level1Techs Store. In this article, you will be able to find the exact details of the KVM you’re looking for. Woo!

Model Basics

There are some things that remain constant for most of our KVMs. This is a list to familiarize yourself with what you can expect from any given Level1Techs KVM. (Before we go into model specifics.)

Model #s

  • KVM models that start with…
    • “C” are USB-C input.
    • “P” are DisplayPort input.
    • “M” are HDMI input.

  • In a model #…
    • The last # is # of inputs.
    • The 2nd to last # is # of outputs.
    • “ET” means it is a 10 Gigabit model.

  • Example: PAAG-ETE3112B (DisplayPort - 2 PC, 1 Monitor w/10 Gigabit USB)

10 Gigabit vs 5 Gigabit


USB-HID vs USB-3.0


Our KVMs have USB-HID & USB 3.0 ports. They are different and can lead to some confusion. Find out more in the USB section of the article.
  • USB-HID is black or white.
  • USB 3.0 is blue.
Example: (Click to show/hide)

PAAG-E3112B front

Power

  • All KVMs (except the CAAB-E3112 model) have a 12v power cable.
  • We sell multiple attachments that pop in and out of the brick to accommodate people outside of the US.



Model Table

Note: 4 PC 10-gigabit models will not be coming until around Q1 2023 because there are still some bugs to work out.

  • For the “#inputs pc” column, the way it’s formatted refers to:
    • “how many computers can be used / how many times they are connected to the KVM.” The KVMs do not mix your input cables into multiple outputs. For the best fidelity, each monitor gets its own cable in the KVM per input.

  • If there is not a price beside a KVM, it is a previous model sold, but not on the Level1Techs Store right now. These are mainly old DisplayPort 1.2 models.

  • If a KVM model says “Contact Wendell” you will have to contact us about a special order request. Simply click the link and it will create the email template with your default application.
Model# #Inputs (PCs) #Outputs (Monitors) USB Interface $USD
CAAB-E3112 2x1 USB-C 1x DP 1.4 5 Gigabit $340 BUY NOW
PAAG-E3112B 2x2 DP 1.4 1x DP 1.4 5 Gigabit $299 BUY NOW
PAAG-ET3112B 2x2 DP 1.4 1x DP 1.4 10 Gigabit $390 BUY NOW
PAAG-E3122B 2x2 DP 1.4 2x DP 1.4 5 Gigabit $449 BUY NOW
PAAG-ET3122B 2x2 DP 1.4 2x DP 1.4 10 Gigabit $520 BUY NOW
PAAG-E3132B 2x3 DP 1.4 3x DP 1.4 5 Gigabit $650 BUY NOW
PAAG-ET3132B 2x3 DP 1.4 3x DP 1.4 10 Gigabit $700 BUY NOW
PAAG-E3142 2x2 DP 1.2 4x DP 1.2 5 Gigabit -
PAAG-E3142B 2x4 DP 1.4 4x DP 1.4 5 Gigabit $750 BUY NOW
PAAG-E3114A 4x1 DP 1.2 1x DP 1.2 5 Gigabit -
PAAG-E3114B 4x1 DP 1.4 1x DP 1.4 5 Gigabit $425 BUY NOW
MAAG-G314 4x1 HDMI 2.0 1x HDMI 2.0 5 Gigabit -
PAAG-E3124B 4x2 DP 1.4 2x DP 1.4 5 Gigabit $699 BUY NOW
PAAG-E3144B 4x4 DP 1.4 4x DP 1.4 5 Gigabit $1,200 CONTACT WENDELL

Spec Breakdowns


CAAB-E3112

Model# #Inputs (PCs) #Outputs (Monitors) USB Interface $USD
CAAB-E3112 2x1 USB-C 1x DP 1.4 10 Gigabit $340 BUY NOW

Have you ever wanted a KVM switch that doesn’t suck, supports USBc connections from laptops and desktops, and supports USB3 peripherals?

IMPORTANT

  • Our USB-C KVM needs DISPLAY & DATA capable USB-C inputs. Your PC, GPU, TABLET, IPAD, will not work with DATA ONLY!
  • 10 Gigabit USB-C inputs can use DATA ONLY OR DISPLAY & DATA.
  • This KVM switch will let you ONE DisplayPort monitor plus other USB peripherals like a keyboard and a mouse between up to two USB-C devices such as a laptop and an iPad, two laptops, or a laptop and a desktop: MORE INFO HERE

  • The KVM will not work with just a USB-C USB connection. The device you are connecting to the KVM via USB-C must be from a USB-C port that does USB+DisplayPort such as on the RTX 2080Ti, Some Radeon 6800 series GPUs, and desktops that have a DisplayPort input for thunderbolt passthrough.

  • The USB-C KVM is built to handle up to 120w but only comes with a 70w power adapter. It is 19v, center positive, standard laptop power brick size, which is the most common.

  • When changing the power configuration BE SURE you power off the KVM before sliding the switch to change the config.



Product Details: (Click to show/hide)

Inputs:

  • 1x USB-C input from each of two computers (USB + DisplayPort signal on one wire)

Outputs:

  • Displayport 1.4* (see note, limitations apply)
  • 4x USB HID
  • 2x USB 3.1 gen 1 5gbps
  • 3.5mm Audio Microphone
  • 3.5mm Audio Headphone

Front:

  • 1x USB 2.0 HID port
  • 1x USB 3.0 “A” type (USB 3 10gbps, or USB 3.2 gen 2) ports (up to 1A current)

Controls:

  • USB Models: Unfortunately, it is not possible to support the full DP 1.4 bandwidth AND USB 5gbps speeds with just one wire. So, we give you the option. At the back of the KVM is a switch that lets you pick between USB3 and USB2 speeds. This switch prioritizes DisplayPort bandwidth or USB bandwidth, in other words.
    • USB Mode: 5gbps USB3 (uses 25% of DisplayPort bandwidth)
    • USB2 mode (prioritize DisplayPort bandwidth)
  • Power Mode: Control how many amps to which USB-C Port

Warranty:

  • You pay shipping 1 way
  • One-year free parts and labor service warranty.

PAAG-E3112B / PAAG-ET3112B

Model# #Inputs (PCs) #Outputs (Monitors) USB Interface $USD
PAAG-E3112B 2x1 DP 1.4 1x DP 1.4 5 Gigabit $299 BUY NOW
PAAG-ET3112B 2x1 DP 1.4 1x DP 1.4 10 Gigabit $390 BUY NOW

PAAG-E3112B front



Product Details: (Click to show/hide)

Inputs:

  • 2x 3.5mm Audio (recommended for beeps and boops – may need a ground loop isolator)
  • 2x DisplayPort 1.4
  • 2x USB 3.0 “B” type (USB 3 5gbps, or USB 3.2 gen 1) [5gbps model]
  • 2x USB C (USB 3 10 gbps, or USB 3.2 gen 2) Data Only Inputs [10gbps model]

Outputs:

  • 1x Displayport 1.4 connection
  • 3x USB 2.0 Ports
  • 1x USB 3.0 (USB 3 5gbps, or USB 3.2 gen 1)
  • 1x analog 3.5mm audio

Front:

  • 1x USB 2.0 HID port
  • 1x USB 3.0 “A” type (USB 3 5gbps, or USB 3.2 gen 1) ports (up to 1A current) [5gbps model]
  • 1x USB 3.0 “A” type (USB 3 10gbps, or USB 3.2 gen 2) ports (up to 1A current) [10gbps model]

Dimensions:

  • 6.25” w x 4”d x 1.5”h (15.9 x 10.2 x 3.8 cm)
  • Not compatible with our Level One rack mount kit.

Warranty:

  • You pay shipping 1 way
  • One-year free parts and labor service warranty.

PAAG-E3122B / PAAG-ET3122B

Model# #Inputs (PCs) #Outputs (Monitors) USB Interface $USD
PAAG-E3122B 2x2 DP 1.4 2x DP 1.4 5 Gigabit $449 BUY NOW
PAAG-ET3122B 2x2 DP 1.4 2x DP 1.4 10 Gigabit $520 BUY NOW

This KVM switch will let you TWO monitors plus other USB peripherals like a keyboard and a mouse between up to TWO computers!

This KVM DOES support using (one)Club3d DP 1.4 → 3x DP1.2 MST hub (the one that uses Display Stream Compression!) on the console output port. [ Other MST hubs not recommended. ]





Product Details: (Click to show/hide)

Inputs:

  • 2x 3.5mm Audio (recommended for beeps and boops – may need a ground loop isolator)
  • 4x DisplayPort 1.4
  • 2x USB 3.0 “B” type (USB 3 5gbps, or USB 3.2 gen 1) [5gbps model] --or–
    2x USB C (USB 3 10 gbps, or USB 3.2 gen 2) Data Only Inputs [10gbps model]

Outputs:

  • 2x Displayport 4 connection
  • 3x USB 2.0 Ports
  • 1x USB 3.0 (USB 3 5gbps, or USB 3.2 gen 1)
  • 1x analog 3.5mm audio

Front:

  • 1x USB 2.0 HID port
  • 1x USB 3.0 “A” type (USB 3 5gbps, or USB 3.2 gen 1) ports (up to 1A current) [5gbps model]
  • 1x USB 3.0 “A” type (USB 3 10gbps, or USB 3.2 gen 2) ports (up to 1A current) [10gbps model]

Dimensions:6.25” w x 4”d x 2.25”h (15.9 x 10.2 x 5.7 cm)

  • Not compatible with our Level One rack mount kit

Warranty:

  • You pay shipping 1 way
  • One-year free parts and labor service warranty.


PAAG-E3132B / PAAG-ET3132B

Model# #Inputs (PCs) #Outputs (Monitors) USB Interface $USD
PAAG-E3132B 2x3 DP 1.4 3x DP 1.4 5 Gigabit $650 BUY NOW
PAAG-ET3132B 2x3 DP 1.4 3x DP 1.4 10 Gigabit $700 BUY NOW

This KVM switch will work with USB 3.0 (USB 3 5gbps, or USB 3.2 gen 1) peripherals as well as USB 2.0 HID-type devices.

It has also been tested to work with high-end RGB gaming keyboards like keyboards from Corsair, Cougar, and more.

It has been tested with keyboards that have built-in USB hubs as well as USB passthrough.

While we don’t recommend USB switching with mass storage devices (!!??), it is possible. It will also let you share peripherals like scanners and printers through USB (note: Maximum 1A power through USB connections).



Product Details: (Click to show/hide)

Inputs:

  • 2x 3.5mm Audio (recommended for beeps and boops – may need a ground loop isolator)
  • 6x DisplayPort 1.4
  • 2x USB 3.0 “B” type (USB 3 5gbps, or USB 3.2 gen 1) [5gbps model]
  • 2x USB C (USB 3 10 gbps, or USB 3.2 gen 2) Data Only Inputs [10gbps model]

Outputs:

  • 3x Displayport 4 connection
  • 3x USB 2.0 Ports
  • 1x USB 3.0 (USB 3 5gbps, or USB 3.2 gen 1)
  • 1x analog 3.5mm audio

Front:

  • Pushbutton for switching Inputs
  • 1x USB 2.0 HID port
  • 1x USB 3.0 “A” type (USB 3 5gbps, or USB 3.2 gen 1) ports (up to 1A current) [5gbps model]
  • 1x USB 3.0 “A” type (USB 3 10gbps, or USB 3.2 gen 2) ports (up to 1A current) [10gbps model]

Dimensions:

  • 6.25” w x 4”d x 3”h (15.9 x 10.2 x 7.6 cm)
  • Not compatible with our Level One rack mount kit.

Warranty:

  • You pay shipping 1 way
  • One-year free parts and labor service warranty.

PAAG-E3142B

Model# #Inputs (PCs) #Outputs (Monitors) USB Interface $USD
PAAG-E3142B 2x4 DP 1.4 4x DP 1.4 5 Gigabit $750 BUY NOW

This KVM switch will let you FOUR monitors plus other USB peripherals like a keyboard and a mouse between up to two computers!

QUAD DISPLAY PORT 1.4? You betcha.

NOTE: If you’re planning to use 4 displays with a laptop, make sure your laptop actually supports 4 displays!



Product Details: (Click to show/hide)

Inputs:

  • 2x 3.5mm Audio (recommended for beeps and boops – may need a ground loop isolator)
  • 8x DisplayPort 1.4
  • 2x USB 3.0 “B” type (USB 3 5gbps, or USB 3.2 gen 1) [5gbps model]
  • 2x USB C (USB 3 10 gbps, or USB 3.2 gen 2) Data Only Inputs [10gbps model]

Outputs:

  • 1x Displayport 4 connection
  • 3x USB 2.0 Ports
  • 1x USB 3.0 (USB 3 5gbps, or USB 3.2 gen 1)
  • 1x analog 3.5mm audio

Front:

  • Pushbutton for switching Inputs
  • 1x USB 2.0 HID port
  • 1x USB 3.0 “A” type (USB 3 5gbps, or USB 3.2 gen 1) ports (up to 1A current) [5gbps model]
  • 1x USB 3.0 “A” type (USB 3 10gbps, or USB 3.2 gen 2) ports (up to 1A current) [10gbps model]

Dimensions:

  • 6.25” w x 4”d x 3.725”h (15.9 x 10.2 x 9.5 cm)
  • Not compatible with our Level One rack mount kit.

Warranty:

  • You pay shipping 1 way
  • One-year free parts and labor service warranty.

PAAG-E3114B

Model# #Inputs (PCs) #Outputs (Monitors) USB Interface $USD
PAAG-E3114B 4x1 DP 1.4 1x DP 1.4 5 Gigabit $425 BUY NOW



Product Details: (Click to show/hide)

Inputs:

  • 4x 3.5mm Audio (recommended for beeps and boops – may need a ground loop isolator)
  • 4x DisplayPort 1.4
  • 4x USB 3.0 (USB 3 5gbps, or USB 3.2 gen 1)

Outputs:

  • 1x Displayport 1.4 connection
  • 3x USB 2.0 Ports
  • 1x USB 3.0 (USB 3 5gbps, or USB 3.2 gen 1)
  • 1x analog 3.5mm audio

Front:

  • Pushbuttons for switching to each of the 4 Inputs
  • 1x USB 2.0 HID port
  • 1x USB 3.0 (USB 3 5gbps, or USB 3.2 gen 1) ports (up to 1A current)

Dimensions:

  • 8.75”w x 5.25”d x 1.75”h (22.2 x 13.3 x 4.4 cm)
  • Compatible with our Level One rack mount kit.

Warranty:

  • You pay shipping 1 way
  • One-year free parts and labor service warranty.

PAAG-E3124B

Model# #Inputs (PCs) #Outputs (Monitors) USB Interface $USD
PAAG-E3124B 4x2 DP 1.4 2x DP 1.4 5 Gigabit $699 BUY NOW



Product Details: (Click to show/hide)

Inputs:

  • 2x 3.5mm Audio (recommended for beeps and boops – may need a ground loop isolator)
  • 8x DisplayPort 1.4
  • 2x USB 3.0 (USB 3 5gbps, or USB 3.2 gen 1)

Outputs:

  • 2x Displayport 1.4 connection
  • 3x USB 2.0 Ports
  • 1x USB 3.0 (USB 3 5gbps, or USB 3.2 gen 1)
  • 1x analog 3.5mm audio

Front:

  • Pushbuttons for switching to each of the 4 Inputs
  • 1x USB 2.0 HID port
  • 1x USB 3.0 (USB 3 5gbps, or USB 3.2 gen 1) ports (up to 1A current)

Dimensions:

  • 8.75”w x 5.25”d x 2.5”h (22.2 x 13.3 x 6.4 cm)
  • Compatible with our Level One rack mount kit.

Warranty:

  • You pay shipping 1 way
  • One-year free parts and labor service warranty.

Cables…cables…CABLES!


If you buy a Level1Techs KVM…you have to put a lot of thought into your cables. Wendell bought a $15,000 cable tester (More on that later in the post!) to get to the bottom of the cable quality plague. A company will advertise “Displayport 1.4 8K 120Hz HDMI cable”…and it’s a garbage tier cable. It might even work on its own independently, in a different setting, but will not be suitable for the Level1Techs KVM.

What Cables Do I Buy, Then?

"I’m looking for affordable cables that are good?"

Level1Techs Store

"I’m looking to splurge for the best thing you can buy to push the Level1Techs KVM to the max?"

Club3D

Level1Techs Store

If you are going to buy a KVM, an affordable (but very good) option is to buy the cables listed on the Level1Techs Store. For buying a KVM you can bundle these and have it all sent in from us. These cables have been tested and are not only good quality, but consistent for this use case:

Club3D

The BEST set of cables that are “Level1Techs approved”, and are even better than the set listed on our store, is the Club3D Cables. If you are going to be pushing to the edge of what the KVM can do, these cables are for you (and worth the splurge).

We recommend this brand so strongly, here is a whole list for whatever your use case may be:

Moshi

Moshi is also a very good company. We recommend one of their cables in particular:

More on why in the “Correct Usage” section below.
A summary, though, is that it’s very important to use this cable in particular for connecting DisplayPort output to our USB-C KVM.

Examples: (Click to show/hide)

Club3D CAC-2067 DisplayPort to DisplayPort 1.4
514QMimcSGL.AC_SY450

Level1Techs Store DisplayPort to DisplayPort 1.4
cable-end1

Moshi USB-C To DisplayPort

Quality Testing


"But, but, I spent so much money on these DisplayPort cables. Are they trash??"

Probably.

Level1Techs won’t just recommend something and say “trust us”, we’ll show you why. We test our cables with the before-mentioned $15,000 TotalPhase Advanced Cable Tester V2! This machine is the standard for testing the true quality of cables. All of our tests are performed with the highest benchmarking tests available.

“You will test each cable individually, and because each cable works individually, two cables combined with a KVM must also be fine…right?”

Wrong.

The KVM does not interpret the signal – it just switches. (More on that later!)

Results

Important Note: Even if a cable passes a test, it could be on the lower end of passing, making it a worse cable than others.

All test results we will show have passed the “DisplayPort 1.4 10gbps test,” but some are far inferior.

Rank #1 BEST
Club3D CAC-2067 DisplayPort 1.4
Club3D_Displayport_CableTest|100%
This is an example of a very clear and excellent result. The “eye” in the middle is very high, and the cable overall is very consistent without noise. This is one of the best results Level1Techs has gotten for this test. Like we said before, if you are going to be using a fringe case or pushing the KVM to its limits with a high resolution/Hz rate, we strongly recommend this cable in a 3ft or less option.

Rank #2 GOOD
Level1Techs Store DisplayPort 1.4
Level1Techs_Displayport_CableTest|100%
The Level1Techs DisplayPort cable is a good option for our KVMs. The quality is only marginally worse than the Club3D cables. The eye is still at a pretty good ceiling, the cable is less consistent than the Club3D, but it still good. There’s not any noise, and the quality control we have lets you know every cable is going to perform at this “good” level.

Rank #3 RISKY
TRIPP-Lite DisplayPort 1.4
TRIPP-LIte_Displayport_CableTest|100%
This random TRIPP-Lite cable from Amazon is to show the plethora of cables rated “risky” as far as we’re concerned. The eye in the middle has a very narrow ceiling and you can even make out noise as well as inconsistencies of the cable in testing. In some use cases, it might be fine. If you are using the Level1Techs KVM, however, cables with poor quality like this could very well be the root of your issues!

Rank #4 TRASH
Jce DisplayPort 1.4
Screenshot 2022-07-08 at 13-31-27 Advanced Cable Tester

This cable is an excellent example of “I don’t even know how that passed the test.” On their website, they list it working up to “8K 60Hz” and all I have to say to that is LOL. The eye is not even an eye anymore, and there’s a terrible amount of noise. Do not use these cables under any circumstances, seriously. Cut your losses at this point and buy almost anything else.

Cable Thickness

(For people without a $15,000 cable tester)

Thick copper = thick cable = superior quality

A quality cable is going to be a little chonky, even if it is only 3ft or 1ft in length. In the comparison picture, you can clearly see the difference in how thick the Club3D cable is versus the Jce cable. This is one way to spot a better cable.

Importance of Length


Degrading Signal

The more cable length and connections you have, the more the signal will degrade. You will lose a bit of signal through the KVM; there is no repeater in it. This is necessary because the KVM aspires to be a big dumb switch so it would not interfere with Nvidia G-Sync/AMD Freesync. This way you have fewer problems trying to use whatever hot new thing that hasn’t come out yet. Also, this helps us stick closer to the DP 1.4 raw specification without having to get creative.

Shorter Is Better!!

So keeping the total run length from GPU to Monitor to about 10 feet (~3 meters) or less is important, especially for higher res/refresh. Certain combinations of equipment may require a 3+3 foot cable combination, for example. That’s a total length of about 6 feet, or roughly equivalent to what you’d have with a single cable.

How The KVM Sees Cables

With this setup, your GPU sees one long signal corridor from the DP connector on the GPU all the way to the display. So a 6+3 foot cable is like as if you have about a 10-foot cable. Two 10-foot copper cables are not going to work.

FIBBR brand fiber-optic cables can be used if you need more length, however, they can get warm and may have an issue pushing 10-bit color/HDR whereas 8-bit color/HDR would work fine.

USB Devices


The KVM implements 2 types of USB ports:

  • USB-HID (Black or White)
  • USB 3.0 (Blue)
Example: (Click to show/hide)

Example:

The two different ports were placed as a matter of strategy for dealing with devices that are implemented in different ways.

USB-HID

The USB-HID ports are meant for devices that follow the USB-HID standards, which includes mice and keyboards. You might not be aware, however, you can also include includes audio and video devices. A ~$10 USB DAC from Amazon works pretty well here.

Example: (Click to show/hide)

USB 3.0

The USB 3.0 ports are “hard cutover” – a lot of gamer keyboards violate HID spec and might not work on the hid ports. Unlike other KVMs where you’re just stuck and have no option to use gamer keyboards at all, you can almost always use them fine on the USB 3.0 side of things with the Level1Techs KVMs. The KVMs have one USB 3.0 port on the front, and one on the rear, either 5 or 10gbps depending on the model that you purchased.

Example: (Click to show/hide)

Flexibility

The USB-C KVM can also operate the USB in USB 2.0 mode to assign maximum bandwidth to the display if that is your preference.

Example: (Click to show/hide)

QMK

QMK, an open keyboard firmware, has been tested and is compatible with our KVM. It really depends on your particular situation. You may need to disable nkey rollover as modifier keys like scroll lock and left ctrl can be sent from a different virtual USB keyboard input.

This is a forum post example of nkey rollover problems:

Important: You might not be able to use the keyboard shortcuts to switch inputs if your keyboard is not perfectly HID compliant. It works with hid keyboards, and even QMK-based keyboards (with the one caveat above). Not to worry, though. Macroboards – programmable keyboards with just 4 or 8 keys – can be used as a remote switch if you want to mount the KVM out of sight. I use a Falcon RGB8 8-key macroboard to switch inputs. The macroboard must not use a software bit-banged USB implementation (such as the one found on ATMega328-based soft keyboards) but otherwise generally works well with programmable HID devices.

Correct Usage


This might be self-explanatory to some people, but it really is important to make sure you are using a cable correctly. We will compile here a list of cables frequently used incorrectly.

DisplayPort to HDMI


Correct
This particular cable takes a DisplayPort signal and converts it to HDMI. Therefore, you could plug the DisplayPort input into your PC, then the HDMI output into the Level1Techs HDMI KVM.

Example: (Click to show/hide)

Example:
Club 3D DisplayPort 1.4 to HDMI 2.0


Incorrect
This cable cannot be flipped around to be HDMI to DisplayPort. If you are intent on converting HDMI to DisplayPort you will need a USB-powered adapter solution. The cable shown as an example below is a great quality cable, but not compatible with this use case.

Example: (Click to show/hide)

Club3D HDMI 1.4 to DisplayPort Adapter
41a8UAN0jCL.AC


USB-C to USB-C

Correct
You will need to use a USB-C cable that is compatible with the USB-C Switch v2 KVM. If you are inputting a USB-C PC, GPU, TABLET, etc. you will need DISPLAY & DATA. The easiest way to ensure you’re buying the correct item is by buying the Level1Techs USB-C to USB-C, OR the Club3D USB-C to USB-C cable.

If you are hooking up your 10 Gigabit USB input connections, you can use a DATA ONLY USB-C cable, but the USB-C cables from Level1Techs Store & Club3D will work for all use cases with the KVM. This is because, like said before, they are DISPLAY & DATA.

Example: (Click to show/hide)

Level1Techs USB-C To USB-C
cable-USBc1

Club3D USB-C To USB-C



Incorrect
The USB-C cable that comes with your phone is not going to be suitable for our USB-C KVM input. Don’t use it! The only way you could use it is for the 10 Gigabit USB inputs, NOT PC DISPLAY INPUT.

Example:
USB-C To USB-C Charging Cable


USB-C to DisplayPort

Correct
Use: Moshi USB-C To DisplayPort (Bidirectional) - The reason for this is because it is one of the only cables to exist that is reliably capable of DisplayPort → USB-C DISPLAY because it is bidirectional. Other USB-C To DisplayPort cables are out there, but they are NOT bidirectional. The cable cannot be flipped around. That means they will NOT be able to hook your DisplayPort output (like a GPU) to our USB-C KVM.

Example: (Click to show/hide)

Example:
Moshi USB-C To DisplayPort (Bidirectional)


Incorrect
What’s incorrect? 99% of other USB-C To DisplayPort cables. Seriously. Even if they claim to work bidirectionally, they could be dodgy and I would be very skeptical of the claim. Moshi is your best bet.

Example: (Click to show/hide)

Example:
USB-C to DisplayPort 1.4 NOT Bidirectional


USB-A to USB-B 3.0

Depending on the model, the Level1Techs KVMs will connect your USB peripherals with either:

USB-A To USB-B 3.0
USB-A To USB-C OR USB-C To USB-C

Correct
If you have a KVM model that connects USB-A To USB-B cables, note that not all are created equal. For our KVM, you will need to use a USB-A To USB-B cable that is capable of breaking out to USB 3.0 ports. If you buy a USB 2.0 cable, it is a different shape and will not fit into the KVM.

How to tell: USB 3.0 will have a blue end.

Example: (Click to show/hide)

Level1Techs Store USB 3.0 USB-A To USB-B
3.0


Incorrect
If you buy a cable that is white or black at the end, that is a good sign it is not USB 3.0 & incompatible.

Example: (Click to show/hide)

Amazon Basics USB 2.0 USB-A To USB-B

Known Things to Conisder


SAMSUNG 49" Odyssey G9 NEO


This is an example of having a problem with the firmware. There was a flashing black screen bug Wendell addressed with Samsung, but the firmware update that contained the fix took almost 2 months for Samsung to deliver. As such firmware 1008 or newer is required if you’re using the G9 NEO with the KVM.

Even with the new firmware, it is still really picky. If you want 10-bit/HDR, you will probably need display stream compression (DSC) to be enabled and working. Running at 8bit+HDR or 10bit (no HDR) without DSC is fine, Or putting the monitor in 240Hz mode (to force it to compress the signal, because 240Hz must be compressed) also fixes the issue.

Forum Posts / FAQ


KVM Shortcuts / Command List

The Level1Techs KVM’s shortcuts will be compatible with any HID-compliant keyboard, but many mechanical gaming keyboards are not compliant. You can work around this by using QMK & Macroboards.

The KVM has a variety of shortcuts to help users navigate, and it is lengthy! Thank you to @EricM for responding.

  • L_Ctrl, L_Ctrl, [1-4] - change port
  • L_Ctrl, L_Ctrl, F1 - auto scan ports
  • L_Ctrl, L_Ctrl, F2, [up, down arrows] - manual scan through ports
  • L_Ctrl, L_Ctrl, F3 - adjust scan rate
  • L_Ctrl, L_Ctrl, F5 - audio follows port selection
  • L_Ctrl, L_Ctrl, A - audio to current port
  • L_Ctrl, L_Ctrl, F7 - USB 3.2 follows port selection
  • L_Ctrl, L_Ctrl, U - USB 3.2 to current port
  • L_Ctrl, L_Ctrl, Alt + R_Ctrl - change hotkey prefix L_Ctrl → R_Ctrl
  • R_Ctrl, R_Ctrl, Alt + L_Ctrl - change hotkey prefix R_Ctrl → L_Ctrl

Ok, I see the shortcuts, but when do I use them?

Below we will compile a list of forum troubleshooting as we find them for examples!

Shortcut Usage Examples:

  • USB 3.2 follows port selection

Remote KVM Switching

Nothing official from Level1Techs has been made (yet), but that does not mean there are no options to toy around with.
@SgtAwesomesauce has a GitHub Repository project for this:

I won’t get into the specifics as it is not “officially Level1Techs KVM compatible”, but if this is something you’re interested in, here is a forum link to explore more!


Remember Window Locations Fix

  • Windows 10

    One of the problems people face is the KVM switches not remembering where you windows were. Sometimes it minimizes everything, or it puts them in weird spots. This Github link should fix those problems.
  • Windows 11

    Settings → System → Display (This problem is fixed with the toggle)
Example: (Click to show/hide)


Audio Cycling

The audio on the Level1Techs KVMs are static. We advise using a cheap audio DAC mentioned before and a direct-connect line to speakers you would like to use.


Daisy Chaining KVMs Together

The Level1Techs KVMs are capable of daisy chaining, however, you get into the issue mentioned before about the signal degrading. You want to have as direct a connection as possible. It is not the ideal scenario, but it does work.


Help Us Help You

Did we miss anything? Let us know!

Comment, link other posts, and help us with this FAQ so that we can help everyone!

3 Likes

I have an iPad gen 7 with Lightning port. Will the Apple Lightning to Digital AV Adapter combined with Club3D CAC-2330 HDMI 1.4 to DisplayPort Adapter work with the Displayport KVM?

Also, I’d like a way to get usb devices to work at the same time, but I suspect lightning doesn’t have the bandwidth for splitting into both hdmi and usb.

Club3D CAC-2330 HDMI 1.4 to DisplayPort Adapter work with the Displayport KVM?

I’m sorry to say there’s no way to know if it reliably works with both, I do not have an Apple Lightning to Digital AV Adapter to test that, but

it does work with the usbc ipads.