Anyone looking to run different peripherals with both Mac and PC might take a look at today’s setup advice-fest. The user runs a Mac mini with dual displays and typical Apple input devices, but wants to add a Dell laptop from work into the mix.
They got plenty of advice on doing just that with the right kind of dock or KVM switch, below.
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Adding PC laptop to Mac mini setup calls for the right dock or KVM switch
Redditor Chrysothemis (“Chrys”) showcased the somewhat cramped dual-display setup in a post entitled, “Looking for the perfect docking station/KVM switch to add my work laptop (Dell) to this setup.”
Here’s how Chrys described their situation:
My current setup is powered by a M1 Mac mini from 2020. It definitely lacks aesthetics, but for now I’m focusing on the practical aspect: my workplace gave me a Dell laptop that I’d like to connect to my current peripherals as I’m used to them.
I’m completely new to this whole docking station/KVM switch thing there is out there, but I’ve made some research and stumbled upon this [Avaaccess KVM switch with docking station]. [See it under gear list below].
My questions are: Does anyone know this brand ? Is it reliable ? And, most importantly, is this what I need or is there an alternative that would cost me less?
I don’t necessarily need to be able to switch from my Mac mini to my Dell laptop at the single press of a button, but I like the idea of not having to unplug and plug a USB-C every day as I often work from home. Plus I’m not even sure the Mac mini would accept to be connected only by a USB-C dongle to all my peripherals.
Advice from commenters
KVM stands for “keyboard, video (monitor), mouse.” In the first exchanges, commenter make a few suggestions:
- Commenter 1: Not certain whether it’s the BEST solution, but in my experience the Dell D6000 allowed me to seamlessly switch between my M1 Mini and Dell laptop via USB-C with monitor, wireless keyboard/mouse, webcam, microphone, and speakers attached with additional ports available for use of thumb drives/etc.
- Chrys: Yeah I might have been a bit over the top when I wrote “perfect”. Anything that works with what I currently have would be great. My only concern with the Dell D6000 (besides its price point) is its compatibility : will it still work when my workplace decides to change our laptops for another brand ?
- Commenter 1: In my experience, yes. The device isn’t specifically designed with compatibility for Dell devices alone. I’ve used the dock with a variety of devices (Mac/PC) and operating systems (macOS/Windows/Linux) and does so through the use of DisplayLink. Also, look to the used market for a good price on the device (FaceBook Marketplace or similar).
- Commeter 2: I’ve been very happy with TESmart KVMs and have used a “4 PC’s / 1 Monitor” HDMI-based switch to share KVM between 2 Macs, 1 Surface laptop, and an iPad Pro. They recommended TESmart devices.
- Commenter 3: Look at Wendell from Level1Techs kvms. Alternatively, [Sabrent Thunderbolt dock].
- I have my gaming rig and a ’23 MBP 14″ at my home desk. For the MBP I run a TS3+ dock. For switching between … I use Bluetooth mouse+keyboard and use the switching built into those to switch between the two. On my Alienware monitor I just switch sources. I then have a USB3 switch that has my webcam, mic and audio DAC plugged into. It’s the “best” solution I’ve had over the years with no real issues.
And here someone asks for more background on switching and gets it:
- Commenter 1: Can you help a fellow geek out and let me know how it seamlessly switches? This could be fun, expensive but fun.
- Commenter 2: Seamless, I suppose, is a matter of opinion. Unplug the USB-C connection from the Mini and plug it into the Dell laptop. No need to shut the Mini down as it will sleep on its own due to inactivity. All peripherals connected to the dock are then recognized by the newly connected device (laptop). When done, simply swap the cable back. Assuming one utilizes a Dell charger to power the dock, the unit has the added benefit of also providing power/charging to the laptop.
A bot chimes in
And even VettedBot got in on the action:
Hi, I’m Vetted AI Bot! I researched the ‘IOGEAR USB 3.0 Peripheral Sharing Switch with USB C Adapter’ you mentioned in your comment along with its brand, IOgear, and I thought you might find the following analysis helpful.
Product works as intended (backed by 1 comment)
High quality and stylish design (backed by 1 comment)
Keyboard and mouse inputs are unreliable and glitchy (backed by 1 comment)
According to Reddit, IOgear is generally less popular than its competitors.
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