KVMP (Keyboard, Video, Mouse, Peripheral) devices conjure up visions of bulky boxes taking up space on your desktop and vast amounts of cabling running behind your desk.
These visions are entirely justified and for many people KVMPs are just too awkward to consider.
However, if two PCs have to run through one monitor and you intend to use one keyboard and mouse, your choices are limited to how you proceed. That's why we've taken a look at ATEN's two-port switch, which provides stellar performance in a unit that won't look out of place in your home.
A stellar performance
The CS1762 is a DVI KVMP switch that features a built-in sound effect function, so you can share your speaker set between machines as well. It's specially designed for users with two machines, but goes beyond standard KVMPs by offering microphone and stereo input, too.
The CS1762 can be controlled either via the two front-mounted switches (which also indicate the currently selected PC) or via hotkeys on the keyboard, which makes switching much more convenient.
Switching is also instant, unlike some inferior cable devices that experience a slight delay before providing access to the shared monitor.
A frustration of other switches is that when you switch from one PC to another you usually lose audio, but the CS1762 gets around this perfectly. You can do a full switch or just switch the things you want via various hotkey combinations.
Essentially, the USB, Audio and KVMP functions are all independent and so can be tailored to your needs. The rear USB ports are great additions that enable the device to acts as a hub, but a few more ports would have been beneficial considering that there's ample space available.
It might be a lot to pay for a KVMP, but if have two PCs and want to run a monitor between them then it's leagues ahead of cheaper offerings. There's also a four-port model with added Ethernet connectivity available, but the cost shoots up to £170.