11 Replies Latest reply: Jul 13, 2013 4:22 PM by VikingOSX
jedimasterkyle88 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

So I have a dilemma here. 

 

How do I digitally switch between my PC and an eventual Mac Mini using the SAME monitors?

 

I am planning on getting a Mac Mini this fall but I would like to keep the new hardware buying to a minimum as I dont have the desk space for another monitor.  I currently have 3 (three) 20" monitors running on my Windows 7 PC and they are taking up quite a bit of desk space but I would like to use one of the monitors as a monitor for a Mac Mini.  I'll illustrate below:
required_setup.png

 

Basically, what I would like to do is to be able to run my Windows 7 PC across all 3 monitors AND be able to use one of the monitors when I want to switch over to the Mac Mini.  I hope the illustration helps those who are reading this because its the simplest way I could explain it.

 

I know of KVM switches that allow users to switch between PC and Mac but is there a way to do it with 3 monitors?  I'm not wanting OS X to run across all 3 monitors, just one of them.  But I would also like to be able to keep Windows 7 running on the other 2 monitors (if possible.  If not, thats ok)


iPhone 5, Windows 7
  • 1. Re: Digitally switch between PC and Mac
    Kappy Level 10 Level 10 (226,795 points)

    Connect one of the monitors separately to the Mini. Separately connect the other two to your PC much like are now doing - just one less monitor.

  • 2. Re: Digitally switch between PC and Mac
    jedimasterkyle88 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I guess I should have clarified a little better.

     

    What I want to be able to do is switch the middle monitor back and forth between windows and OS X. I could physically disconnect the monitor every time I switched but I would like to be able to use a KVM switch instead. I am wanting to know if this is possible and how it can be done

  • 3. Re: Digitally switch between PC and Mac
    Kappy Level 10 Level 10 (226,795 points)

    I suppose it would be. Other users have used KVM switches to switch between monitors and keyboards. Perhaps in your case you wire the switch's output port to the monitor, then each of the computer ports to each of the computers.

  • 4. Re: Digitally switch between PC and Mac
    jedimasterkyle88 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Ok so I have been looking into KVM switches all night and it looks like most, if not all of them are VGA. Would I be able to use VGA on a Mac mini?  2 of my monitors are running DVI and my 3rd monitor is running DVI to mini-HDMI.

     

    Would there be a way I could somehow get my mini-hdmi monitor to be split between windows and OS X since that might be the easiest to flip back and forth?

  • 5. Re: Digitally switch between PC and Mac
    Kappy Level 10 Level 10 (226,795 points)

    Well, you should be able to use VGA with an adaptor. The Mini will likely have a Mini-DisplayPort, so you would need an adaptor for that to VGA which Apple sells. The Mini may have HDMI, but right now the Apple Store is offline so I can't check specs.

     

    I'm surprised there aren't any digital switches you can use, but then I've never tried to use more than one monitor most of the time.

     

    I don't think it's even possible to split one line between two monitors.

  • 6. Re: Digitally switch between PC and Mac
    John Lockwood Level 5 Level 5 (5,370 points)

    There are also plenty of DVI compatible KVM units on the market, see the following as one example.

     

    http://www.amazon.com/StarTech-Switch-Cables-Audio-SV211KDVI/dp/B0017JY5EU/ref=s r_1_73?ie=UTF8&qid=1373625895&sr=8-73&keywords=dvi+kvm

     

    Another potential option is that some monitors have more than one input e.g. VGA and DVI or DVI and Displayport. In this case you could tell the monitor to switch inputs, this approach however does not let you share the keyboard and mouse unlike the KVM approach.

  • 7. Re: Digitally switch between PC and Mac
    mooblie Level 4 Level 4 (1,925 points)

    As John said, surely your middle monitor has more than one input?  Just connect the Windows PC to one, e.g. VGA, and the Mini to another, e.g.DVI,  Use the "Select input" switches on the monitor to switch between them.  Won't cost anything!

  • 8. Re: Digitally switch between PC and Mac
    jedimasterkyle88 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    @mooblie and John Lockwood

     

    Thats actually a really good idea!  I never thought about just switching the inputs source on the monitor.  That would be a **** of a lot easier than a KVM switch.  Since all 3 of my monitors are currently using their DVI ports, would I be able to use VGA on the Mac Mini?  If so, could someone point out which adapter I would need?  I was looking at the Mac Mini features earlier today and I still cannot figure out how the monitor actually connects, whether its the thunderbolt port, HDMI, or the USB ports.

  • 9. Re: Digitally switch between PC and Mac
    John Lockwood Level 5 Level 5 (5,370 points)

    Yes in theory you could use a Mini Displayport to VGA adapter, you can only connect a single VGA monitor to the Mac mini this way.

     

    However many people find that the Mac mini is less reliable using VGA connections than DVI. If you could get the PC to use the VGA and then put the Mac mini on DVI that might be better. Check to see if the monitor has any other connectors besides DVI and VGA, maybe there is another better choice.

  • 10. Re: Digitally switch between PC and Mac
    jedimasterkyle88 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    All 3 of my monitors only have DVI or VGA and my current setup is pretty delicate as far as getting Windows 7 to span across all 3.  I'd prefer to have Windows use the DVI and have the Mac use VGA if possible.

  • 11. Re: Digitally switch between PC and Mac
    VikingOSX Level 5 Level 5 (5,500 points)

    For the middle monitor, Use different input connectors for the PC (VGA) and Mac mini (DVI). The monitor should have a button to switch inputs and with a simple button press, you can switch between two running Windoze and OS X. This is what I do.