What is the ideal KVM solution using these with a laptop?


#1

I want to hook up 2 monitors to my laptop using these devices, but also have a KVM in play (thinkpad port replicator). Will this work? Does each UGA-2K-A USB need to plug in directly to my laptop or can it go through a hub/replicator?


#2

Hi Tim - Thanks for the question!

I’ll answer the second question first: The UGA-2K-A doesn’t need to be plugged directly in to the computer – can can be through any standard USB hub or switch (as long as it provides the USB 2.0 standard 500mA per port of power – so any hub or switch with 2+ ports will need to have it’s own power adapter or source to meet that requirement).

Then on to the first question - when I think of KVMs, I think of a switching KVM - that is, a device to allow you to share one Keyboard, VGA, and Mouse among 2 or more computers.

I wouldn’t think of a ThinkPad port replicator as being in that category - rather it’s just a hub for expanding the available ports of a PC. That’s an extremely common use, and won’t be a problem with devices like the UGA-2K-A (it will typically have its own power supply).

Just to confirm, can you post a link to the port replicator model you have?

And does the explanation above make sense, or are you using the devices in a unique way?

Thanks again for your question!
Bernie


#3

Thanks Bernie, here is the port replicator: http://www-307.ibm.com/pc/support/sit…

My goal: hook up 2 monitors to my laptop, use a normal keyboard, and have my KVM accessible for other machines.


#4

Hi Tim,

As a scenario in general, that should be no problem. And are you going to be running one UGA-2K-A, and then using the video on the port replicator for the second external monitor, or a different setup?

Looking at the detailed specs of the Lenovo port replicator, there’s a different potential issue we also need to confirm first. Lenovo sometimes uses DisplayLink technology, and sometimes uses their own technology for USB graphics – and unfortunately that can cause driver conflicts.

On their page (above, your link) they warn about their own products in combination: “ThinkPad switchable graphic systems does not support simultaneous attachment of the ThinkPad USB Port Replicator with Digital Video and the Lenovo USB-to-DVI Monitor Adapter (45K5296)”

And I’m concerned that our UGA-2K-A will have exactly the same problems that their own adapter has.

To help figure out if there might be a problem, can you check Win7’s “Programs and Features” and see if you already have “DisplayLink Core Software” installed (for the port replicator)?

Sorry that with Lenovo there are extra issues to consider …

Bernie


#5

I don’t have the port replicator yet (en route) but will check after installing it. It is unfortunately the only one they sell now that works with my model laptop (and we have to use them).


#6

Hi Tim,

Yes, great - please let us know once you have the Lenovo port replicator, and can confirm some of those details. We’d recommend holding off of a purchase of our adapter until then.

Thanks!
Bernie


#7

Bernie, I just got the port replicator and installed the device drivers and all is working. I do *not* have a “DisplayLink Core Software” entry in my installed programs nor does a quick search on the system yield anything.

Do you think I’m safe here? Perhaps I’d just buy one to see, but I don’t see that software anywhere.


#8

Hi Tim,

Unfortunately, this confirms that Lenovo USB dock won’t work with other USB graphics hardware (now that I see it, it’s also stated in reviews of the product – see http://www.amazon.com/Lenovo-Port-Rep…)

As we saw before, the dock is not even compatible Lenovo’s own USB graphics adapter, which is kind of amazing.

If you do want to get that third monitor working, unfortunately it will involve carefully uninstalling the graphics drivers for the Lenovo dock (to eliminate the conflict), and buy a DisplayLink-based dock (like our http://plugable.com/products/ud-160-a/ or a Toshiba, HP, etc.) or since you’re focusing on getting to 3 monitors, simply buy a powered USB hub and 2 USB graphics adapters (like our http://plugable.com/products/uga-165/ or our UGA-2K-A)

Sorry for that bad news that Lenovo has a clear incompatibility here. There doesn’t appear to be a way around it.

Let us know if you have any questions at all.

Best wishes,
Bernie


#9

so your recommendation to get a 3 monitor solution would be to get a powered USB hub and 2 adapters? IN the video for your DisplayLink-based dock it looks like that is working with 3 monitors with just that setup…how are those being hooked up in the sample?


#10

Hi Tim,

Internally, the Pluagble universal docking station is really just a self-powered USB 7 port hub + DisplayLink USB graphics + Cmedia USB audio + ASIX USB 10/100 network (and 4 available USB ports), all in one package.

One DisplayLink chip - whether USB graphics adapter or dock - is required per extra monitor.

So to add one display, you’d just need either the dock or an adapter. To get to 2 extra external monitors, you’d need a dock+1 adapter or (a hub)+2 adapters.

Hub vs. Dock is really just about whether you want the other functions on the dock - the USB audio and USB 10/100 network. If you don’t, building on a hub will be cheaper in the end. But if you do, the dock is the way to go.

So sorry for confusing things, but wanted to mention that potentially cheaper hub option, since the focus seemed to be on the graphics functionality alone.

Best wishes,
Bernie


#11

Awesome, thanks for the clarification. I might want the audio for Pandora’s sake :slight_smile: so I’ll consider that, but that would be the only thing. Thanks Bernie for a) being so responsive and b) being detailed and ensuring any purchase I make is the right one.


#12